In the realm of modified cars, it seems rare to see one that has been owned by the same person for more than, say, a couple years. Of course, that’s not true for everyone, but most of the time cars get bought, built and then sold. But that’s not everyone’s style, and Roland Nemerson is one of the few and proud who can legitimately claim to know everything about his car’s history. Why, you may ask? Simple, Roland is the original owner of this ’89 240SX, so he has literally seen it all.
“My dad first got me involved with cars (mostly Nissans) at an early age in our native home of Puerto Rico,” Roland says. “One thing we (Puerto Ricans) take very seriously is old school JDM cars, and that’s what I’ve tried to accomplish since I first bought this Nissan in 1989.” It’s a bit odd to think back to the year 1989 and realize that lots of stuff that we take for granted in 2012 didn’t used to exist. With no Internet or message forums, it’s no surprise that the 240SX wasn’t exactly the most loved car by North American enthusiasts. Thankfully, Roland is a military man, and like so many of his brothers in arms, he was able to dabble in the world on the other side of the Pacific, the true homeland of the S13 as we commonly think of today.
The minute I walked into the Nissan dealer while stationed in Ft. Hood, Texas, I fell in love with the car at that point, and it has been my daily driver since
Roland took his time in modifying this car, and in fact it sat for nearly three years in storage at one point in its life. But once he decided to begin taking the plunge, the waiting was well worth it. On the outside, this car is clean and simple, with a look that’s still as appealing today as it was more than 20 years ago when the car first hit the showroom floor. OEM 180SX side skirts accompany a Ken Style Wan-gan wing and Yokohama West rear valances, and the USDM front bumper is retained (including the amber corner lights). It’s almost weird for us to see a USDM front end 240 these days, but it really does look good. Not to mention the fact that all of the paint and bodywork of Roland’s car is impeccable — not a claim every 240 owner can make.
On the inside, this S13 provides more clues to how well maintained and cared for it has been its whole life. A few minor upgrades like a Nardi steering wheel and S14 seats are almost the only signs of change from the original state, aside from the nicely upgraded stereo system, that is. And because this car is Roland’s daily driver, we totally understand the desire for nice and clear-sounding entertainment. In the spirit of keeping the car daily driver friendly, you won’t find any crazy hardcore racing suspension on here, either — a set of KSport coliovers and Cusco strut tower braces are all that’s needed for Roland’s duties.
The go-fast department hasn’t been neglected. Once you pop the 240’s hood, a (now) familiar sight meets your eyes — a built S15 SR20DE swap has been stuffed into the engine compartment, and what a clean swap it is! Roland has actually retained many of the working amenities that some people dispose of, such as air conditioning, power steering and the stock CEL indicator remains in working order. Talk about a rare sight.
“The minute I walked into the Nissan dealer while stationed in Ft. Hood, Texas, I fell in love with the car at that point, and it has been my daily driver since,” Roland says. “It’s not just a car, it’s family!”
Why We Picked It
This one pretty much speaks for itself; an original-owner S13 with a clean, fully functional, street-driven SR swap isn’t something you see every day. Although we would love to see this car making a bit more power, the flip side is that we don’t want to see it get ruined by going too over the top. Roland’s car is greater than the sum of its parts, and we want to see it stay that way.
Specs & Details
'89 Nissan 240SX
Engine Nissan SR20DE 2.0 liter DOHC inline-4
Engine Modifications S15 Silvia Autech SR20DE (high compression, 200 hp) fully functional swap w/ A/C, P/S, CEL indicator; ASE polished coolant overflow tank; HKS intake filter; Mishimoto radiator & electric fans; NISMO engine mounts; Tsudo exhaust
Drivetrain S15 6-speed transmission
Suspension Cusco strut bars (f/r); KSport coilovers
Interior Kenwood KDC-716 head unit, KFC-P707 6.5" component speakers, KFC-W2503 10" subs & KAC-7202 amp; HUD/digital gauge cluster conversion; reupholstered doors & glove compartment; classic Nardi steering wheel; aluminum Autoevation pedals; S14/180SX seats
Exterior 20% window tint; Kouki taillight conversion; Ken Style Wan-gan wing; Yokohama West valances; 180SX side skirts
Wheels, Tires & Brakes 17" Zauber 3-piece mesh wheels; Brembo routed/cross-drilled rotors