The S-chassis community has a bit of a reputation for what we'll politely call "thriftiness." That's right, S-chassis owners, people think you're cheap. Jump on popular forums like Zilvia.net and browse the For Sale section for evidence of lowball offers that'd make a Somali pirate blush. This has given some of us in the Modified universe the sense that well-built S-chassis Nissans - where no corners have been cut and build quality is prioritized over bargain hunting - are becoming more and more of a rare breed.
But thanks to enthusiasts like Toby Broadfield and Damon Young, we still have a few shining examples of how to build a street-driven 240SX the right way. Fueled by the passion to pursue a higher standard, what's interesting about these two S13s - their body styles and color schemes appearing to have been purposely chosen to contrast each other - is that two very different enthusiasts built them. So why the heck are we featuring both of them?
As fate would have it, the two came together for the first time this past summer at the Broadfield annual Nissan/Datsun Cookout, an event Toby hosts in his hometown of Normal, Illinois (though his store, Mobile Audio Plus, operates out of Bloomington, Illinois). Damon and his black hatchback actually reside in Howell, Michigan, a good six-hour drive to meet up with Toby and his white notchback in Illinois. Pictures soon emerged online from this BBQ meet, and these clean yet contrasting S13s looked so good next to each other that the idea of a double feature was born.
So that's how this story came to be, but how did these two Nissans become poster children for properly built S13 street machines? Like a lot of us, Toby's journey with modifying cars got a jumpstart thanks to his dad. "Modifying cars is in my blood," Toby says. "My father has built several street rods and muscle cars in his time, and we built my very first car together [a '78 Monte Carlo] when I was only 15 years old. So it's no real surprise that I have built several nice cars and have been modifying vehicles for a living for the past 18 years." Having played with domestics for a while, Toby then got hooked on Japanese machines in 2002 when he bought a brand-new WRX. After that came his now-famous '04 STI, a Subie that he pioneered the wingless and hood-scoopless look with. (Do a Google search on "Broadfield STI," and you'll see what we're talking about.)
Having accomplished everything he wanted to with his STI, Toby needed a change - and change came a knockin' in the form this S13 coupe, a car he had poured a considerable amount of sweat equity into when helping build it with his friend, Nate. Although he missed out on the opportunity to buy it when Nate originally sold it, Nate ending up buying it back and a few years later and then sold it to Toby. "Nate had put a lot of his own time and money into this car," Toby says. "It had a lot of nice parts, but a lot of the areas were not done to my standards or taste. The day he dropped it off, I literally made a list of 35 things that I needed to fix, tidy up, replace and/or upgrade within the first month. The first thing was engine management and a tune. When I bought the car, it had stock injectors and a SAFC running the S15 SR20 with a GT2871R. It wouldn't idle, would die on decel, not to mention it was starving for fuel. I dropped in some PE 850cc injectors, picked up a PowerFC and ripped the SAFC out. I had it fully tuned, and it was instantly a monster."
From here Toby really started to dig into his newly acquired S13, turning it into the work of art it is today. He started by fabricating his now famous Broadfield Defi gauge cluster, HUD and center vent gauges. Then when the turbo oil seal failed, he used this as an excuse to make the entire engine bay his own. In went a Full-Race setup with a GT30R turbo to go along with a complete wire tuck, new oil, fuel, coolant and pressure lines. After that, Toby tackled the interior, including the limited-edition Maziora Bride Gias seats and Bride reupholstery treatment you see now. Transforming the car's exterior is a fresh new set of aggressively offset Work S1-3p polished wheels. To make the 18x.9.5 +12 rims work up front, Toby installed +20mm Chargespeed fenders, filling in the vents for a cleaner look. Out back the fenders were pulled, inner wheel wells massaged and lower control arms notched to allow the massive 18x11 +30 rims to fit.
Specs & Details
'92 Nissan 240SX Coupe
Engine S15 2.0-liter SR20DET inline-4
Engine Modifications Garrett GT3076R twin-scroll turbo; Full-Race twin-scroll top-mount turbo manifold & downpipe; TiAL 44mm external wastegate & 50mm BOV; Toda 264 camshafts & valvesprings; Brian Crower valve retainers; Tomei rocker arm stoppers; Broadfield custom 4" intake, 2.25" hot side & 3" cold side intercooler piping & wire tuck; Hose Techniques intercooler couplers, 70mm N15 throttle body w/ Tomei adapter plate; Splitfire coil packs; R34 GT-R fuel pump; Aeromotive FPR; Power Enterprise 850cc fuel injectors & Kevlar belts; T1 crankcase breather box; Buddy Club Spec II exhaust & test pipe; GReddy R Spec intercooler, intake manifold, air filter, pulleys, oil pan & radiator; Samco rad hoses; SPAL electric fans; Earl's flexalite fuel lines, oil lines, coolant lines, vacuum/boost lines, breather lines & AN fittings; Golden Eagle vacuum box; Billet Project Silvia oil filter relocate; Gallery Fresh engine bay bolts; Password:JDM cooling panel; Braille battery
Drivetrain S15 6-speed transmission; Blitz twin plate clutch & flywheel; custom short throw shifter; The Driveshaft Shop 1-piece aluminum driveshaft; S15 rear end w/ S15 HLSD
Engine Management A'PEXi PowerFC D-Jetro
Wheels, Tires & Brakes Work Meister S1-3p full polished 18x9.5" +12 (f) & 18x11" +30 (r) wheels; Hankook Ventus V12 Evo 245/35R18 (f) & 285/30R18 (r) tires; StopTech 13" BBK (f), Z32 11" rotors & calipers (r); custom zinc-plated bolts & hardware; SS brake lines; Z32 e-brake conversion; Project Kics Neo Chro lug nuts; Z32 brake master cylinder
Suspension Ichiba 5-lug conversion; Stance GR+ coilovers & RUCAs; Cusco front strut brace & 6-point black powdercoated rollcage; custom welded 3-point rear brace; Nismo power brace; Tanabe fender brace
Interior Maziora limited-edition Bride Gias seats; seat rails & upholstered rear deck, shift boot, glovebox, arm rest & door cards; black carpet, floor mats & trunk liner; Nardi 330mm Deep Corn steering wheel; Works Bell hub; Broadfield custom cluster w/ Defi 52mm EGT, water temp gauges & 80mm boost & rpm gauges; custom HUD w/ Defi VSD Concept Display; custom center vent package w/ Defi 52mm oil temp, oil pressure & fuel pressure gauges; JDM S13 digital climate control; manual seat belt conversion
Numbers 400 whp & 336 wtq on pump gas
Special Thanks Mike's Collision (Bloomington), Chuck at Adrenaline (St. Louis) & most importantly my wife, for enduring the thousand-plus hours of my time that I've put into the build
Damon Young's story is more typical of the average enthusiast, though he's by no means a stranger to the wrench or the feeling of a cold garage floor on his back. It all started for Damon with R/C cars and the '94 Toyota Camry he began modifying in high school. Then, after a relative left him some money, he upgraded to a new Solara V-6 5-speed coupe and traveled down that brave and lonesome path of modifying a bit of an obscure car.
To Damon's credit, a year and a half later his Solara was one of the most highly modified and well-built examples in the country, featuring a TRD supercharger that bumped engine output up to 254 whp. As Damon put it, "I loved the fact that everyone hated the car when I first bought it, but loved it by the time I was done. I learned a lot about engine modifications and working on cars in general when I had this car, and managed to make some great friends in the process. The car was actually in the Modified Readers' Rides issue [March 2008], which was a pretty awesome accomplishment in my eyes!"
But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and in Damon's case this meant his Solara being rear-ended and rendered a total write-off. Although he was seriously bummed out about the accident, as Damon put it, "The Solara being wrecked was actually a blessing in disguise. I got a good chunk of change from insurance and was able to make back a large portion of what I spent on it by parting out the modifications. This helped me to pay for my last semester of college, my wife's engagement ring and a new car." That new car turned out to be this black '93 240SX SE hatchback.
Having bought the car in November 2008, Damon has managed to turn a bit of a lemon into some seriously tasty lemonade. "To be honest, the car did not have many fans at first," Damon says. "My family and friends thought I was crazy to replace my clean, reliable Toyota with this heap of a 240. The car didn't even have a front bumper when I bought it - it was just filthy in general, especially in the engine bay."
Over the next few months, Damon gradually revived his S13, redoing the suspension including Ksport coilovers, adjustable suspension components, bushings, upgraded brakes, a VLSD and a 5-lug conversion. Since the car already had a SR motor swap, he left that more or less alone at first, focusing instead on cleaning up the interior. "It was a pretty awesome feeling to have the car back on the road in the spring of 2009," Damon says. "Things were starting to take shape after I added a Xenon front lip, OEM Chuki side skirts, OEM kouki 180SX rear valences and a carbon-fiber hood and hatch. I continued to modify the car through the summer and drove it as much as I could, but it was still far from reliable, something went wrong with it about once a week."
After returning from his honeymoon, the S13 developed an exhaust leak and some fuel issues. That's when Damon realized the stock T25 turbo was on its way out, so he took the car off the road again and went back to the drawing board on the engine setup. Having pulled the motor with his cousin Nick, a ground-up rebuild began including a new Garrett GT28R turbo and a whole host of top-quality supporting mods. According to Damon, "I had never pulled an engine before and had little knowledge of turbo systems, so this was all new to me. I learned as I went, and with a ton of help from Nick, my friends and forums like Zilvia.net, we got the job done."
With the car back on the road in July 2010, Damon's S13 has been running flawlessly ever since and made the long commute for that fateful cookout at Toby's place. Former naysayers (like Damon's own wife) have been converted to fans of the car, thanks in part to the ECU tuning done by Matt at Monkey Wrench Racing.
So there you have it - two very different builders with two very different S13s, both representing what's right about the S-chassis scene and the tuner scene in general. It may be getting harder to find super-clean S13 chassis to build these days, but if you've got the passion and the determination of guys like Toby Broadfield and Damon Young, you too could find yourself behind the wheel of a daily driven 240SX that inspires all those lowballers and eBay shoppers to modify their mindset and pursue a higher standard.
Specs & Details
'93 Nissan 240SX SE
Engine 2.0L SR20DET Blacktop
Engine Modifications A'PEXi 1.2mm head gasket; ARP head studs; Tomei Poncams; Expreme turbo manifold, rocker arm stoppers & coil pack cover; Garrett GT28R turbo (S15 Spec R turbo); DIF turbo lines; HKS turbo actuator, rad cap & oil cap; GReddy type RZ BOV, VSPL FMIC kit, intake manifold, suction kit intake & oil pan; Z32 MAF sensor; Nismo 555cc fuel injectors, oil filter & thermostat; Walbro 255-lph fuel pump; Earl's fuel lines & AN fittings; Wiring Specialties engine harness; Koyo radiator; Samco hoses; ARC cooling panel; Circuit Sports overflow tank & poly exhaust hanger bushings; Parts Shop Max Cobra downpipe; Megan Racing test pipe; D-Max after-cat exhaust; Cusco engine mounts; Redline Tuning hood dampers
Drivetrain Tomei TRAX 2-way LSD; B&M short shifter; The Driveshaft Shop 1-piece steel driveshaft; Nismo clutch line, slave cylinder, clutch pivot ball & transmission mount; SPEC Stage II clutch; ACT flywheel
Engine Management A'PEXi PowerFC w/ Commander, Blitz SBC ID electronic boost controller & turbo timer
Wheels, Tires, & Brakes Work CR Kai 17x9 +17 (f) & 18x9.5 +12 (r) wheels; Dunlop DZ101 215/45R17 (f) & 225/40R18 (r) tires; H&R TRAK 5mm wheel spacers (f); Work blue aluminum lug nuts; Rotora slotted Q45 rotors & calipers (f); Brembo rotors (r); SPL brake lines; Hawk HPS brake pads (f/r)
Suspension Ksport Control Pro coilovers; SPL aluminum subframe bushings; Energy Suspension spindle bushings, LCA bushings & steering rack bushings; DIF aluminum steering column bushing; SPC RUCAs, rear toe rods & rear traction rods; Ichiba 5-lug hubs; Megan Racing roll center adjusters
Interior 180SX manual seatbelt conversion; 180SX Kouki back seat & front passenger seat; Bride Zeta III Type L driver seat & upholstered door panels, arm rest & glovebox; Nagisa side mount seat rail; AEM UEGO wideband AFR gauge, boost gauge & oil pressure gauge; Nismo GT Spec shift knob, black carpet; D-Max floor mats; Nardi Deep Corn 330mm steering wheel; Works Bell Splash hub; Broadway mirror; stripped sound deadening; Pivot headlight controller
Numbers 349 whp at 16 psi (DynaPack); quarter-mile in 12.9 at 114 mph
Special Thanks My wife Alicia for her constant support, Russell at NissanParts.cc, Matt at Monkey Wrench Racing, Yury at Wiring Specialties, Redline Tuning, XceedSpeed.com, Zilvia.net, the countless friends who contributed to this build (you guys know who you are!) & my family for their constant support & encouragement!