Alex Ching was born and raised in Hawaii, and he just might be the most diehard Nissan 240SX guy on the island. He caught our attention at the '15 SpoCom Hawaii show when he debuted a new look on his '89 240SX. We presented Alex's coupe our Editor's Choice Award, not just because his S13 sported a sexy Odyvia front end and a turbocharged KA, but because Alex's story is one we can all aspire to—a story of having a dream and doing whatever it took to see it through, even after 10+ years.
Alex got into cars well before the age of social media, blogs, and YouTube. It all started when he was sitting in a high school classroom, flipping through magazines like Super Street and Import Tuner. It was then that he had a revelation that he wanted to own one of the sickest modified cars in Hawaii. But knowing he wouldn't have a lot of dough to throw at a project car right away, he got into the field of autobody. Over the years he picked up the tricks of the trade and developed his skills by helping out with his friends' cars and also building from the ground up, not one, not two, but four personal 240SX project cars. This particular S13 coupe is his latest baby and has been a long labor of love since '11 when he bought it as a shell with no interior or motor. "I remember the day me and my friends picked up the car," he told us. "We towed it back to my house and my friends were laughing at me thinking, 'Why did I just buy a car that's not running and with no parts?' I wanted the experience and the hard work of building the car myself."
The journey began by Alex sourcing every OE Nissan component needed to get the car driveable; this included the factory KA24DE motor. Initially, it took six months for the car to run without any issues, and with the ultimate goal of creating one of the dopest 240s in Hawaii, it meant the car would need to be down for several months at a time to complete things like the turbo conversion, as well as the custom body and paint work—which he did all himself, of course.
The first iteration of his Nissan was called "Minion S13" for its yellow pearl paint job. It rocked a JDM S15 Silvia front end, but according to Alex, he still wasn't satisfied with the look and didn't think it had enough wow factor to break out in a highly competitive Hawaiian car show community. So he went for something more unique, which was a partial Odyvia conversion from Spirit Rei Japan. This conversion shocked the world back in '10 and did so because it utilized the headlights from a Honda Odyssey minivan. Sounds a bit crazy, but Motohiro Taniguchi of Spirit Rei knew what he was doing when he decided to marry Honda headlights to a Nissan S13. Along with a redesigned hood, grille, and front bumper, the whole look magically flows together and remains one of the sexiest S-chassis front ends we've seen to date!
With the bodywork complete, Alex finished his project by cleaning up the engine bay, redoing the interior with goodies like Sparco seats and a steering wheel, and repainting the entire car a custom deep blue—a color that isn't as overpowering as the bright yellow he used to have, but complements the build as a whole.
It's been more than a decade since Alex was sitting in a classroom, daydreaming about the 240SX he'd one day build, but after years of developing his skills in autobody, building four project cars, and overcoming several obstacles along the way, he's finally finished a unique S13 that will be remembered for years to come.