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 |   |  1993 Nissan Altima - Against All Odds
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1993 Nissan Altima - Against All Odds

When Going Against The Norm Should Be The Norm

Jonathan Wong
Apr 1, 2000
Photographer: Brent Romans

Leftover New Year’s Resolution #256: all Hondas, all the time. No, just kidding. While we certainly love our Honda crowd, we are the first to embrace all makes of imports. And to prove our point, here is Kevin Tan’s ’93 Nissan Altima. A Nissan what? That’s right, an Altima. Here’s why. It’s got all the right stuff: body kit, clean Japanese road wheels, and a turbocharged power unit that clocks in 13-second runs all day long. That’s about as fast as a lighter-chassis Civic hatchback with a motor swap and a turbo kit except for one thing: Kevin’s Altima, typically a family car, is considerably heavier.

Break it all down and what you’ll find is a 2.4L DOHC built tough from the factory. It was soon torn down after the realization that nitrous wasn’t going to propel the engine any farther, except for maybe shooting the pistons up out of the block. You see, the original game plan for Kevin’s car was an all-motor setup and a little bit of squeeze, a 100-shot, to be exact. The cylinder head was prepped for high compression, and a free-flowing header was installed to provide power as the rpms climbed. With a stock bottom end, the car was dyno’d at a max power output of 215 hp to the wheels. From then on, the decision was made to go the way of forced induction.

Leaning to the Dark Side
The car was brought to MS Performance so the engine could be taken apart and reassembled into a Honda-killer, compliments of Arias 8.5:1 low-compression pistons, Nismo connecting rods, and Ford SVO piston rings. MS Performance also bored and honed the cylinder block, and then balanced the block components before reassembling it. Along with the bottom-end treatment, a new cylinder head was ported and polished, and the valvetrain was upgraded with Jim Wolf Technology camshafts and lapped cylinder head valves. Jim Wolf also provided its modified ECU to work properly with the bread and butter of this project car: the turbo kit.

A modified F-MAX turbo system consisting of a new exhaust manifold with reshaped ports, Turbonetics T4/T3 ball-bearing turbocharger, Deltagate wastegate, and HKS blow-off valve up the horsepower figures pretty nicely (the paltry stock Altima rates at 150 hp). A Spearco intercooler core keeps the intake charge cool, and what’s left of the exhaust fumes exit a stainless-steel downpipe, through a 3-inch Random Technologies high-flow catalytic converter, and out an A’pex exhaust. A 10-pound nitrous bottle is on tap and can be used with the 100-shot system. And since Kevin’s been off finishing his studies at dental school, his new turbocharged/nitrous setup won’t be dyno-tuned until summer break. However, before he left, Kevin timed his car at the May ’99 Battle of the Imports where he pulled off a 13.6 at 102 mph with the turbocharger alone.

Aside from the engine buildup, the factory fuel system was given an uplift with a fuel pump from a turbo 300Z and a Nismo four-bar adjustable fuel pressure regulator, which controls the Jim Wolf Technologies fuel rail and the four 50-pound MSD injectors. The ignition has been improved with an MSD SCI ignition system and Blaster Coil along with a set of NGK-R spark plugs.

Image is Everything
Kevin also thought it would be a good idea to improve on the looks of a normal sedan. A Stillen chin spoiler was match-painted to the silver chassis along with a rear bumper. You won’t be able to tell from the pictures here, but subtle graphics were put in place, and the factory headlights now house the ever- desired HID system, which was previously upgraded with PIAA Super White H4 bulbs and 85-watt foglight bulbs, also from PIAA.

The 17-inch three-piece BR Sports wheels that you see now have been replaced with a set of 18-inch Volk TE-37s from Rays Engineering. At the dragstrip, the high-profile wheels are swapped out for a pair of 15-inch Jacknife wheels mounted with Mickey Thompson drag slicks. The car comes to a screeching halt with Stillen cross-drilled rotors, Metal Matrix brake pads, and Motul high-performance brake fluid. The rather soft OE suspension was stiffened at all fours with Ground Control coilovers and Tokico five-way adjustable gas shocks. Setting the negative camber back to zero are Stillen’s camber plates, and a GAB upper strut bar keeps the shock tower points rigid.

The interior has been upgraded subtly with a custom interior from Carcraft and Räzo pedals. Electronic turbo monitoring equipment has been strategically placed in various nooks and crannies within the cabin. An A’pex boost gauge is mounted on the A-pillar, while an HKS EVC IV boost controller and turbo timer reside underneath the stereo location.

And what about the stereo? A Pioneer 835R CD player and DEQ-9200 EQ system sit flush on the center console. Boston Acoustics 6.4 Pro component systems, Rockford Fosgate 4080 Punch amplifier, Infinity 6.2i rear speakers, and a Pioneer CD changer work with the head unit and EQ to provide quality audio at affordable pricing.

Along with capturing 13-second time-slips at the track, Kevin has been scoring extra points in the show scene. He has won numerous awards for sedan, four-door, and Nissan categories at the local competitions including Import Showoff, Hot Import Daze, and Import Autorama. See, it really does pay off when you go out on your own against all the odds.

By Jonathan Wong
505 Articles

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