In a world faster than ever, where most desires are filled on a "need it now basis", a culture where ADHD-ridden Internet kids demand solutions now has emerged. The Internet puts purchasing and information at the fingertips of the world, and it created a demand seeking an immediate deadline. However, there are still a unique few who desire something more. Patience, discipline, creativity, and attention to detail still exist, albeit rarely. These necessities sculpt some of the most memorable cars ever built, and this particular S14 has all of them.
Raymond Hargraves Jr. is the designer of the S14 before you. His combination of the four traits mentioned above, are what makes him and his car particularly unique. The most important thing to know before going any further into this build is that Raymond has one additional trait: humility. The most humble dude built one of the most outspoken cars. He acts like everybody else, and isn't the one to tell you how cool his car is or how much he spent. Raymond lets the car do the talking for him; he is gracious in the much-deserved praise he receives for the car.
This project began in the proverbial waiting room. Raymond had a line on some BN Sports but he encountered one problem. He couldn't get the full kit. He had bumpers, side skirts, and front fenders; however, he was lacking rear over fenders. Not a problem for anyone else. Open the Internet, head straight to Google/eBay/mail-order and purchase some BN style over fenders. Problem solved. Not Raymond, he sourced BN rear over fenders directly. The only problem was the grueling months it took for them to get to his order, make the fenders, and then put them on a boat to the United States. Quite some time later, he had a body kit. Now it was time to find some wheels. Just like before, it wasn't a matter of opening the Internet, heading to eBay and getting knockoffs, or even used wheels. Originally, Raymond ordered some SSR VF1s, which looked incredible on this car, but he wanted more. After a short period of time, they went up for sale and he headed back to the catalog and picked out one of the sexiest wheels any man could purchase-Weds Kranze LXZ, brand new. After another several months of waiting, these holy rollers arrived in the States and went on his car for the first test-fit. These have the kind of fitment the entire Internet dreams about, stretched tires, poked lips, and fender-scraping goodness. Lips so deep that the neighborhood cats can be seen settling in for an afternoon nap. The only thing it takes to achieve this, aside from thousands of dollars, is extreme patience.
Another obstacle to overcome is the discipline required to find and purchase all of these particular parts, when forming the ultimate automobile. It wasn't a matter of BN Sports not having rear over fenders and turning to the alternative solution; it was knowing that it would take many months to receive his top-of-the-line parts and still have to pay top dollar. The simple, easy solution is to spend a fraction of that on someone's replica and getting it next week. The downside? Hours of labor fitting and straightening the fiberglass to look acceptable. Even still, getting the premier local body shop, Elevens' Paint and Fiber, to make these "cost-effective alternatives" look incredible, would be faster and cheaper than ordering the BN product. Raymond kept his sights set and resisted the urge to defer to a secondary plan. "BN is honestly the best stuff you can buy," he says. "It's not to be elitist or 'better' than anyone, but it comes predrilled, it fits perfectly, and it doesn't need any bodywork. The fiberglass is flexible and tough; I can't complain at all." For those of you who think bodywork is the devil, here is your solution. Raymond also added, "I am by no means rich, but I'd rather take my time and save up so I can get the right stuff the first time. If I say I want something, there is no point in buying the alternative first if I'm only going to end up buying the thing I really want anyway." His discipline gets its due reward, not only when it comes to putting his car together, but also every time he walks outside and sees his car.
Let's face it, there are tons of S-chassis everywhere and often they become commonplace, especially in the world of drifting. Building an easily recognizable car becomes tougher every day, based simply by volume. It is a curious endeavor wondering what it takes to make a 240 stand out these days, but it is apparent that this car does. Just as an artist, a designer, or a photographer has to take unique and creative approaches to their work, a car builder needs a similar eye for creativity in order to construct something different. Raymond's car may not be anything earth-shatteringly new, but it has a presence that undeniably demands attention. It is a matter of putting things together in a way that everything works uniformly to form the big picture. Many cars out there today have all the right parts, get all the money spent on them, and still never look quite right. It isn't just an issue of having deep pockets, because that doesn't transform the canvas; it only supplies the tools needed to accomplish the job. However, when those tools end up in the right hands, they can create something truly amazing.
The big picture started coming together, but that is never what truly makes a car stand out. Any cool car that gets a lot of attention has very specific attention to detail. Many times, these little things go unnoticed but they complete the overall picture and are a necessity to any well-built car. Raymond paid much attention to these small details, and they all came together in the end. Little things like choosing the right tire size, wheel offset, and camber setting make the visual affect that much stronger. Small, unique items-like the Vertex steering wheel, Defi gauges, and the dash-inside make the car come together. Finding an uncracked dash in Arizona, or any hot desert climate, is a true rarity, but Raymond's looks factory fresh. Don't let this street king fool you either; it has all the makings to be a true beast on the track, and I expect to see it there soon. He sorted out all the small details and made sure the car stuck to its true potential.
All of this sounds quite simple and straightforward, but anyone who has attempted or started a project on any similar level to this will attest that it isn't as easy as Raymond makes it sound. What keeps an individual motivated to see a project of this size through? Friends, personal pride, the Internet, admirers, and haters all get credit. The biggest thing, for Raymond, is his close friends who have all built noteworthy cars themselves. They crack a lot of jokes at one another about their cars and are quick to point out each other's flaws, but he says, it is all in good fun. "It's more of a way to keep everyone focused and on point rather than to bring anyone down. You know, 'get on my level, son,' " he says. He honestly cares that he, his friends, and peers build cool cars. He wants to establish a strong community here where everyone can hang out and enjoy each other's builds, for the quality and uniqueness they possess. One thing is for certain; it isn't about claiming to be cooler than anyone else. "I'm not cool, my car might be, but I'm definitely not." As humble as he may be, his S14 is the complete opposite, and that is exactly why this car and the builder are so very cool.
I am by no means rich, but I'd rather take my time and save up so I can get the right stuff the first time.
Behind the Build
sales rep at Concept Z Performance
cars, drifting, wheels, fashion
To build something that would raise the standard of cars in Arizona.
1995 Nissan 240SX
Engine Nissan S14 Kouki SR20DET, GT2871R with 3071 compressor housing; Boost Junkyz turbine elbow, Twin Scroll exhaust manifold; Greddy intake manifold, oil pan; Power Enterprise 850cc injectors; Tomei 256 intake and 260 exhaust cams, fuel pressure regulator with gauge; Supertech dual valvesprings and retainers Power Enterprise belts; Max HMIC; Koyo radiator with Nismo cap; dual 12-inch FAL fans; Fuel Lab fuel filter, A'PEXi GT-spec exhaust; AN power steering conversion lines; Future Fab custom catch can
Drivetrain South Bend Stage 4 clutch; one-piece aluminum driveshaft; Carbonetic carbon two-way differential, bubble shift knob
Suspension Max coilovers 10k (front), 8k (rear), solid subframe bushings, rear upper control arms; Tanabe front sway bar; Nismo power brace; SPL tension rods, outer/inner tie rods, rear toe arms, solid differential bushings
Wheels/Tires Weds Kranze LXZ 18x10 -44, Federal SS595 225/35/18 (front) 18x11.5-8 Federal SS595 255/35/18(rear)
Brakes Nissan Sentra SE-R Brembo front brakes
Exterior BN Sports Type 4 aero kit, BN Sports 30mm front fenders and 50mm rear fenders; D-Max Kouki hood; Melbourne Metallic Red (BMW E92 M3); European Kouki headlights
Interior Works Bell short hub, quick release; Vertex Anniversary steering wheel; Defi white racer gauges, boost, water temp, oil press, Bride Zeta III seats
Gratitude "I'll start by thanking the two major shops that helped me along the way. I'd like to thank Pitstop Performance for all the help and allowing me to use the lift and tools at the shop to make this build happen. I'd also like to thank Coz at Concept Z Performance for hooking me up on all the parts I bought for the build (before I worked there). I appreciate you guys and salute you! Last, but not least, I'd like to thank all the other people who played a role in the build process. The Top Flight and Street Sweeper gang for keeping me motivated through this journey of patience and frustration. Also, I'd like to give a shout-out to Elevens' Paint and Fiber, Suspicious Garage, Future Fabrication, and Boost Junkyz. Sorry if I missed anyone else, but thank you, too. Oh, and Dax Rodriguez for the legit photos!"