The eternal struggle in our community is trying to be "different." No matter how hard you try to set yourself apart from the rest, you end up in the cycle of trends where your ideas get thrown in with what will eventually become popular. You find yourself no different than the guy who took your idea and posted it on Instagram more times than you did before. That's the trouble with our community today. That sense of individuality is gone because Internet "fame" and being a social media superhero is more important than building a truly unique vehicle.
It seems the only way to be an individual in 2014 is to avoid the Internet completely and just keep to yourself. The problem that presents itself at that point is you're becoming too quiet and avoiding anyone who can potentially appreciate your ride or become "inspired" by your build. It's a double-edge sword. You want to be able to enjoy this hobby with your fellow enthusiasts, but you also don't want someone to build a car just like yours and take the credit for coming up with your ideas first. You can say you don't care, but then again, nobody likes a copycat. The alternative is to build something that is a little too far beyond the realm of anyone's expectations, and to create something incredibly unique, borderline ridiculous, where most people wouldn't attempt to go. You risk being mocked for your efforts, and only the few who appreciate forward thinking will understand what you've done.
Chris Milan is one of those risk takers who drew inspiration from multiple areas and created something that he can genuinely call his own. While we're on the path of honesty, allow us to be the first to admit that Chris' Super Grape Metallic S14 is a tad ridiculous—just a tad. That can be good or bad, depending on which end of the spectrum you stand, but you really need to understand what all went into this build before you can pass judgment on it. "Unique" is a word that you could easily apply to his build because there aren't many guys squeezing 18x12" -81 offset wheels on their projects, and more importantly, doing the bodywork to make it fit. This may not be your cup of tea, but before you flip the pages to the next story, please continue to read on because there are some modifications that will literally make you appreciate what Chris has put together. You'll find yourself pulling this issue closer to your face so you can study the details of this Kouki S14.
"I've always been into cars ever since I was a kid," Chris started. "I would always play racing video games with my brother, and my dad would even tell me stories about how he used to race when he was younger. My older brother was a huge influence in keeping me around cars constantly, and I knew I wanted to build a car the moment I learned how to drive. After two years of saving up, I was able to get a Mitsubishi Evo, but it kept breaking so often that I just lost interest in it. I found myself going to a lot of local drift events and hanging out with other guys who were modding Nissan S-chassis'—so I began to hunt for one."
Luckily, S-chassis aren't too hard to find—what's problematic is finding a clean one. Not only is it rare to find an unmolested one, try finding one that has all the original body panels on it...even that seems impossible. All this would lead you to believe that we're going to tell you that Chris found himself a gem of an S14, but that is certainly not the case. He went and unearthed himself the biggest pile of shit ever!
"This S14 shell was literally a rolling piece of junk that I bought off some guy in Miami for $400," he explains. "I really wanted to buy a right-hand drive S15 Silvia, but I just didn't have $20K, so I settled. It had a crashed front end, beat-up quarter-panels, and an interior that looked like a bear might have torn through it. I towed it home, dragged it into my one-car garage, and started tearing it apart."
Realistically, Chris had no idea what he was doing. He was always good with his hands and had a good imagination, but he had zero experience when it came to building a full-on project from start to finish. What you see here came as a result of a whole lot of trial and error. As he tells us, "I bought a MIG welder, angle grinder, and just started cutting into the car while I collected information through a popular S-chassis web forum. One of the first mods that I did was the right-hand drive conversion. Once I completed that, it gave me confidence to do everything else, so I fabricated my own rollcage, widened the wheel wells by tubbing them, and tubed the front end for better structural rigidity. I really just kept going and did as much as I could to challenge myself. It wasn't easy. I went through so many different variations of mods until I was eventually satisfied, then I would move onto something else and repeat the process. Something as simple as a fuse panel, I made nine times just so it was as close to perfect as I envisioned it!"
After six months of intense fab work, Chris sold his Evo to free up some money for the engine swap. The chassis was just a rolling shell without a motor when he acquired it, so he had freedom to go with any engine his heart desired. An SR20DET or even RB26 was a possibility, but he chose the affordable but potent Toyota 1JZ-GTE swap. The 1JZ was the 2.5-liter version of the venerable 2JZ-GTE and was capable of producing good, reliable power. Providing it with some added kick was a turbo kit from CXRacing.
A right-hand drive S14 with a boosted Toyota engine already sounds cool, but it just continued to get crazier from there. Inside the cockpit was a fully retrofitted dashboard and center console from an S15 Silvia. The dashboard looks as if it came that way from the factory, other than the added aftermarket gauges and custom switch panel. The interior also featured a white Cusco rollcage, Sparco EVO seats replacing the tattered OEM pieces, while a Grip Royal steering wheel superseded the bulky factory wheel.
Clearly, the most extreme of alterations to this S14 is the exterior. Drawing inspiration from the Japanese, Chris realized his love for extreme ride height and aggressive "oni-kyan" or "demon camber." He went through a couple of different wheel setups before he purchased a pair of BN Sports front fenders and super-wide Chargespeed rear blister fenders. Realizing there wasn't a set of off-the-shelf wheels that would fit this otherwise uncommon fender combo, Milan opted to build his own. He contacted the wheel specialists at 5ONE who were able to take apart a set of old OZ Superleggeras and mate the faces with new forged barrels. By doing so, he was able to use a traditional wheel and re-create them to his exact one-of-a-kind specifications. The result is something otherworldly with the fronts being 18x11 inches and the rears 12-inches deep!
You'd think this S14 was on air suspension judging by how low it sits, but the vehicle is indeed at this static ride height courtesy of Japanese R.Y.O RII coilovers. Amazing how the M-Sport front bumper and BN Sports rear survive the rigors of everyday driving as they float just millimeters above the pavement.
Hate it or love it, you have to appreciate the fact that this wild machination came to be inside of a tiny one-car garage. One man was able to teach himself how to create a very exceptional car with just the ideas in his head and some basic handtools. If the end goal was to be different, then mission accomplished. There simply isn't anything else like Chris' S14 around, and there aren't many enthusiasts who are hardcore enough to go to these extremes.
1996 Nissan 240SX
Owner Chris Milan
Location Boca Raton, FL
Power 350hp (estimated)
Engine 1992 2.5L Toyota 1JZ-GTE swap; Xcessive Manufacturing motor mount brackets; custom 3" side-exit exhaust with HKS muffler; Walbro 255lph external fuel pump; OEM Toyota 440CC 2JZ-GTE injectors; Summit Racing 10-gallon fuel cell with -6AN fuel lines; CXRacing turbo kit featuring GT35 turbocharger, T-304 stainless steel turbo manifold, downpipe, 50mm wastegate; Race Part Solutions 3" intercooler, intercooler piping; ISIS aluminum KA radiator; Drift Motion radiator hoses; Mishimoto 10" cooling fans
Drivetrain Toyota R154 manual transmission; welded factory differential; Driveshaft Power one-piece driveshaft; OEM S13 axles; ACT stage 4 clutch, lightweight flywheel
Engine Management APEX'i S-AFC NEO piggyback EMS; STRI Motorsport Electronics boost, water temperature, oil pressure, voltmeter and fuel pressure gauges; Innovate wideband MTX-L; Turbosmart boost controller
Footwork & Chassis R.Y.O RII Hi-Max coilovers with 8K front, 6K rear spring rates; ISIS rear camber arms, toe control arms, rear traction arms; Cusco six-point rollcage; JDM right-hand drive S14 Silvia conversion with steering rack; custom tubbed front and rear wheel wells; tubed front end, bash bar
Brakes OEM Z32 front calipers; StopTech stainless lines; JDM brake booster; Race Part Solutions hard lines
Wheels & Tires 18x11" -50 front, 18x12" -81 rear 5ONE OZ Superleggera III wheels; 245/35 R18 front Achilles ATR Sport, 265/35 R18 rear Syron Race tires; Agency Power closed-end lug nuts
Exterior M-Sport front bumper, side skirts; BN Sports Type 1 rear bumper, front fenders; custom 350Z carbon-fiber rear diffuser; D-Max rear spoiler; Chaser Aero vented hood; Chargespeed rear over-fenders bowed to 90mm; Super Grape Metallic paint; JDM Kouki S14 Silvia headlights, taillights; Circuit Sport clear turn signals
Interior Sparco EVO seats, four-point harnesses; NRG harness bar, steering short hub; Grip Royal steering wheel; retrofitted S15 dashboard, gauge cluster, center console; Black Marine carpet; custom interior wiring, switch panel, fuse panel
Thanks You Steve at 5ONE for building these amazing wheels; Elite Roads for always taking care of me with tires and alignments; Dan at HQ Auto Body for the great paint jobs; My parents for being so patient with me and for being so supportive; my brother because I wouldn't even be into cars without him
Web Exclusive Photos