As a member of the United States Air Force, Zack Baumgardner needs a fun and stress-relieving hobby more than most of us. That's why back in 2001 just after enlisting, Zack bought this '95 Nissan 240SX, building it himself and racing it in Street Modified class at local SCCA autocross events. "I have no sponsors and I'm not rich. I'm just patient," Zack says. For anyone out there building a car on a tight budget, I'm sure you can relate.
Zack's patience was put to the test when he decided to have the KA24 engine built by Top Hat Performance. Shortly after firing it up, the freshly built crate engine came apart due to a machining error. Rather than having a shop rebuild it for him, Zack decided to build his dream KA himself with the help of a friend. Together they built the block with Wiseco 8.5:1 pistons, AMS rods, Clevite bearings, Supertech valvesprings, BC valves and ARP fasteners in preparation for a serious turbo setup.
As Zack wrote on his CarDomain profile (http://www.cardomain.com/ride/636608), "Although I converted the exterior to JDM Silvia badges, I didn't convert the motor because my personal opinion on the SR is that it's a waste of time when you have the KA's potential." Definitely a hotly debated topic in the world of S-chassis Nissan enthusiasts, but it's impossible to argue with Zack's passion for the KA and his ability to build a strong one given the 400-plus horsepower it pumps out at 20 psi.
As you'd expect on a serious autocross machine, Zack's given the suspension and brakes on his S14 just as much attention as the engine and drivetrain. Using JIC FLT TAR coilovers with 10kg/8kg spring rates and Suspension Technique sway bars as the basis of its corner-carving ability, the chassis has been tightened up with an extensive collection of bars and braces including Tanabe front and rear Drift Spec bars, Pro 1 front and rear ladder bars and C-tuning floor support braces. Stopping power is controlled by a Z32 master cylinder, with brake pedal commands being sent to the EBC Red stuffed Z32 front calipers and Ztuner 12.5-inch front rotors via braided stainless steel brake lines.
Having placed first in Street Modified at the first three OKSCCA autocross events of the season, it may seem like everything is coming up roses for Zack these days. But the real reason he submitted his S14 as a Reader's Ride is this: "My brother was killed a few months ago and he loved cars, and as his big brother I dedicated the engine rebuild and turbo setup to him because I had been talking about doing it for years, and after losing him it seemed only right because he always said to live life to the fullest because you never know when you're going to go." With the engine build complete and the trophies piling up, it's clear Zack is honoring his brother's memory and advice while inspiring us to live life to the fullest.
Specifications & Details
'95 Nissan 240sx
2.4-liter KA24DE inline-4
Wiseco 8.5:1 pistons, AMS rods, Clevlite bearings, Supertech valvesprings, BC valves, ARP fasteners, JWT ECU, S1 cams and sprockets; Garrett 3071R turbo, Peak Boost turbo manifold GReddy RS BOV, oil catch can and radiator; Maxbored 70mm TB, ported intake manifold, Unorthodox pulleys, custom intercooler and downpipe/flex pipe, HKS Hi-Power exhaust, Nismo 740cc injectors, FPR, thermostat and motor mounts; 300ZX MAF, ARC rad cap, Cusco rad shroud, Forza coolant tank, Walbro fuel pump
ACT 6-Puck Xtreme clutch kit, Fidanza flywheel, Nismo pivot fork, slave cylinder, and 4.36 gear set; B&M shifter, Driveshaft Shop aluminum driveshaft, S15 helical LSD and spindles; SPL diff mounts, Royal Purple fluids
Wheels, Tires And Brakes
Stern Beast staggered 18" wheels, BFGoodrich 245/35R18 (f) and 285/30R18 (r) tires, Z32 front calipers and master cylinder; Ztuner 12.5" front rotors, 12.3" Fast Brakes rear rotors, EBC Red pads, SS braided brake lines
JIC FLT TAR coilovers, Suspension Techniques sway bars, SPL adjustable end links, Z32 tie rod kit and subframe collars; Tanabe camber arms Drift Spec bar set; Nismo bushings, C-Tuning Rear toe/traction arms and floor support braces; Cusco rear strut bar and B-pillar bar; GReddy front strut bar, Forza rear tie bar, JDMC-pillar bar, Do-Luck RXB, Pro 1 ladder bars and tension arms; GTSPEC trunk bar
ARC front lip splitter, JDM S14 front bumper, grille, emblems, foglights, 3-piece spoiler, Kouki rear bumper and rear valances, Zenki side skirts, and window visors; Bomex eye mask and aero mirrors; Origin winker lights, Ksport turn signals, Nismo gas cap
AC Autotechniques voltmeter, oil temp, boost/vac, air/fuel ratio, and oil pressure gauges; Auto Meter shift light, Cusco drift knob, A'PEXi SAFC, GReddy Profec B and turbo timer, Dakota Digital EGT display, Sparco Evo racing seat, Nagisa seat rails, Schroth 4-point harness, Silvia S15 steering wheel, MOMO airleather shifter, shift boot, doorsills, and grand prix pedals; ZTEK heel plate.
I'd like to dedicate this to my brother Justin who was killed last year. I'd also like to thank Ryan at Cool Cat Racing out of Macon, Georgia, for helping me with the motor work, and a special thanks to my fiancée Sarah who has been very supportive