Nearly everyone who’s involved in the hobby of building cars can remember the moment at which the bug first bit them — a moment of sudden clarity when you realize cars are a real passion that can change the way you live, not just a way to get from A to B. Spencer Tull of Raleigh, North Carolina, is a true enthusiast, having owned his 240SX for the last seven years. And as you may have guessed, this is no shop-built garage queen. Spencer’s S14 is a real daily driver, with good power and practicality, and to top it all off, he has built it all on his own.
“I’ve always been a fan of the styling of the [Kouki] 240SX,” Spencer tells us. “I have been into cars since I was young. As a kid, I built a lot of plastic car models and watched car programs on TV, but the import bug didn’t really get me until I picked up a Sport Compact Car magazine at a gas station in 1998. Import magazines started to draw me to the 240SX, and that was before very many people in the U.S. had done any substantial modification to those cars.”
As a recent college graduate, Spencer plans to keep his prized 240 around for a while. We can understand why, seeing how much work he has put into the car to make it what it is today. “I purchased this car seven years ago in original condition from a small used car dealer in rural NC,” Spencer says. “Unfortunately, It took me over six months to find a clean car worth buying, but it was worth the wait. At first, it wasn’t much to look at, but little by little I have been modifying it and have been learning as I go. It’s even my ‘dog hauler’ — people get a kick out of seeing a tuner car with a big Doberman in the back seat!”
Spencer has done pretty much all of the work on this car himself, from the turbo installation down to the paint and body work. The choice to go turbo-KA was because he liked the torque of the factory KA and wanted to be different than the rest of the crowd, which, at the time, was mostly going with the obligatory SR swap. Not that there’s anything wrong with the SR, but the turbo KA definitely stands out because it’s the route less travelled, and Spencer has done it the right way — he wasn’t content to simply slap on a turbo kit and call it good. The bottom end is built to withstand the stress of adding a turbo, with low-compression pistons, strengthened connecting rods and aftermarket head studs.
Spencer has kept the suspension setup modest because, as he puts it, “I drive the car daily, so comfort and fun are the main priorities, although it has seen the occasional weekend autocross.” A set of Godspeed coilovers and a few other minor pieces (along with 5-lug hubs) complete the street-friendly setup.
The interior and exterior continue with the clean and subtle theme, with a few simple gauges and a clean OEM body, re-sprayed in GM Forest Green Metallic paint. We also like how appropriate the Enkei RPF1 wheels are for this car — they just look so clean and right at home. Thankfully, Spencer plans to keep the car in the clean and subtle mode and also plans to add more power. “My future plans for the car are a 350Z 6-speed transmission, upgraded clutch, more power on pump gas and minor cosmetic interior changes,” he says. “Now that I’ve graduated, it will hopefully become more of a weekend car and I can be less conservative with it!”
Specs & Details
'98 Nissan 240SX
Engine Nissan KA24DET 2.4-liter DOHC inline-4
Engine Modifications Eagle connecting rods; CP 89.5mm 9:1 pistons; ARP head studs; Garrett T04e p-trim turbocharger; Revhard cast turbo manifold; Tial 38mm wastegate; custom downpipe, intake & charge piping; 750cc Subaru fuel injectors; Walbro 255-lph fuel pump; 300ZX MAFs; GReddy air filter; HKS blow-off valve; A’PEXi dual N1 exhaust
Engine Management Nistune-tuned ECU
Drivetrain South Bend TZ2 clutch
Suspension 5-lug hub conversion; Godspeed coilovers; Moog outer tie rods; Megan Racing rear upper control arms
Interior Auto Meter boost gauge; AEM UEGO wideband; chrome interior door handles
Exterior GM Forest Green Metallic paint; OEM side skirts & front lip; custom-built dual projector hid retrofit; de-badged exterior
Wheels, Tires & Brakes 17x10" +18mm Enkei RPF1 wheels; Yokohoma AVS ES100 tires 235/40R17 (f) & 255/40R17 (r); 15mm bolt-on spacers (f)
Why We Picked It
We like this S14 because of its simplicity. Spencer has kept the car clean and to the point, with his emphasis on daily driving and occasional weekend autocross or track use. Because it looks so minty fresh, yet he claims it was in rough shape to start with, we have to tip our hat to the home-brewed paint and bodywork. Way to take pride in your ride!
Check out Spencer and his car club: ignitesoul.blogspot.com