The term "Restorod" or "Restomod" is usually reserved for the domestic automotive community. It is probably best used to describe a classic vehicle that has been restored to spec while utilizing aftermarket performance modifications. For purists, it may be automotive sacrilege. They want everything to have numbers-matching and be period-correct. For others, they see it as the perfect mix of OEM-restoration and aftermarket parts.
In the import automotive community however, this term is probably unfamiliar. This is most likely due to the fact that the majority of the cars being built aren't exactly cars that we consider to be "old" or "vintage" vehicles. Sure, the Fairlady Zs and Hakosuka Skylines are placed in that class but a vehicle the likes of a 240SX could never be a classic, right? It's hard to imagine that some S13 240s are now over 20 years old! These cars blew up in a big way when drifting hit the U.S. Though it's not exactly regarded as a classic, the S13's popularity and almost cult-like following will eventually catapult it into collector-car status.
The problem with it becoming a collector-car is that more and more of these are getting beat on worse than the mystery meat at a truck stop gloryhole. Drifting is still very popular and the S13 is one of the more popular chassis for beginners. Jared Hageman isn't exactly a beginner and definitely not a hardcore drifter. He just happens to be a fellow enthusiast with a love for the 240SX and it's Japanese-counterpart: the 180SX.
"I have mad respect for drifters as well as grip 240s." Jared states. "But I wanted to restore a 240SX so people can enjoy what one looks like with quality parts from Japan that's not all beat-up."
There are some that would contend that a car like this only looks good after it's been beat on. Jared isn't one of those guys. It's understandable that the guy likes his cars to be clean and damage-free, but restoring a 1989 240SX? Why?
"I guarantee that I have more brand new OEM parts for this chassis than most people." Jared says confidently. "You'd be surprised how many OEM parts are still available from the Nissan dealership." He went as far as to install a brand new OEM hood with all the OEM hood seals, clips and hood prop. Being a fan of his car's Japanese-counterpart, Hageman turned to the internet to locate every OEM 180SX piece he could find.
"During my search, I came upon a set of original 180SX rear quarter windows with the louvered visors. It's probably one of the rarest pieces on my car."
One will never be able to predict what they'll come upon while searching the net. Often times, you either find the exact opposite of what you're looking for, or the x-rated version of it. So Jared's next come-up, a carbon-fiber "Wangan-style" rear wing, landed in his hands by pure luck. "People ask me about the wing all the time," Jared says. "I have no idea what brand it is or who makes it, I just saw it online one day and I knew I had to have it."
To compliment the aggressive wing, Hageman decided to go wide with a complete Version Select Type 1 widebody kit. Before going into paint, Jared and his painter, John Jansen, decided it would be best to reinforce the over-fenders for added strength. Jansen also molded the widened rear panels to the body and added wider corners to the door for a more streamlined look. All this custom fiberglass work would be overlooked if Jared stuck with the stock paint so John Jansen re-shot the entire car in six coats of Imperial Orange. The bright orange hue happens to be OEM as well but for a different year and model Nissan. He just added his own little custom touch by having gold flake added to the mix.
In the 240SX game, stance is usually everything. It can practically make or break the car. First impressions between owners are judged by overall stance and wheel fitment. If you go widebody, that's even more evident. Wheel wells today are stuffed with as much rim as possible and not just with cotton like years past. Jared knew that he had to come correct so he contacted Fortune Auto for a set of their 40-way adjustable coilovers. The Fortune Auto units give Jared the flexibility to go as low as he wants and to close the distance between the fenders and the staggered 17x9.5/18x10.5 Enkei RPF-1s.
Even with the flashy exterior, widened stance, and rare JDM OEM goodies, where this S13 hatch really shines is under the hood. We say that not to mislead you, because there definitely isn't an RB or SR-swap. Though those are the popular and more potent swaps, Hageman decided to stay true to his restoration. He opted for the more period-correct CA18DET swap.
"I went with the CA-swap because that's the engine that was available in Japan for the 89-90 model 180SXs. I have a 1989 chassis so it went with my JDM OEM-restoration theme. The only hurdle was that the engine was 20 years old and it showed. There were small leaks everywhere, electrical sensors were failing, and little things here and there were beginning to fall apart. So I took everything out of the car except for the block itself and replaced every piece I could. All the hoses were replaced; every failed sensor was switched out for new ones, and I even had the alternator and starter rebuilt. Once I had my E-Mance remapped ECU, the engine ran like a million bucks. It starts and idles perfectly!"
Most would overlook the essentials of getting a car to run correctly and go straight for the mods, so it definitely shows how determined Jared Hageman is to building a complete car. With the engine running in top form, he decided to reward his S13's new heart. Jared went with all the rare SARD goods he could locate as well as many assorted NISMO trinkets. He even bumped up the power with an OEM T25 turbo upgrade.
The domestic car guys call it a "restorod". For the import guys, it is probably best left undefined. We're often subjected to enough labels as is. If there were a "restorod" among us however, this car would be pretty damn close. To a guy like Jared Hageman, this is automotive bliss. "With the amount of money I've spent restoring this car; people have told me numerous times that I could be making some serious power already. I've heard it all. Yes I already know that it could have been a crazy drift car, but to each their own. I don't care for crazy horsepower and I'm not trying to drift. Many of these cars are being junked by drifters and wannabe drift-kings. I'm merely trying to preserve a classic for future generations."
1989 Nissan 240SX
Owner: Jared Hageman
Hometown: Bowling Green, Virginia
Daily Grind: Manager At Do It Best Homecenter
Under the Hood: 1989 1.8L CA18DET; KA24E throttle-body; Z32 mass air-flow sensor; Drift Factory aluminum pulleys; SARD Sports EX air intake; DSM 450cc fuel injectors; NISMO fuel pressure regulator; Walbro 255lph fuel pump; Z32 TT fuel filter; SARD Torque Control Valve; A'PEX'i N1 titanium gold muffler; Jet-coated OEM exhaust manifold; OEM T25 turbocharger @12lbs; SARD R2D2 blow-off valve; Godspeed intercooler and piping; OEM Koyo radiator; Yashio Factory cooling panel; NISMO radiator cap; Samco Sport hoses; Circuit Sports catch can; SARD Magic Box; Power Enterprise V-belt; Powder-coated valve cover
Drivetrain: Competition stage 2 clutch; Infiniti J30 VLSD; Cusco brass bushings; NISMO shifter, slave cylinder and stainless steel clutch line; Redline gear oil
Brains: E-Mance reprogrammed ECU; HKS turbo timer and EIDS
Stiff Stuff: Fortune Auto 40-way adjustable coilovers; Circuit Sports front strut-tower brace; Energy Suspension bushings; K-Sport rear upper control arms; Battle Version traction bars; SPL toe arms, Peak Performance rear urethane swaybar endlinks; Secchi pillow-ball tension rods; Nagisa Auto fender braces
Stoppers: Z33 front brake calipers; R1 Wurks Z33 aluminum rotor upgrade bracket; EBC Z33 cross-drilled/slotted front brake rotors; Peak Perfomance 5-lug hubs; Agency Power stainless brake lines; Z32 rear 5-lug conversion;
Rollers: 17x9.5 +18 Enkei RPF-1; 235/40-17 Nankang NS1 tires; Project KICS 20mm wheel spacers (front);18x10.5 +15 Enkei RPF-1 (rear); 255/35-18 Hankook Ventus K104; Project KICS 30mm wheel spacers (rear)
Outside: PPG Nissan Imperial Orange w/gold flake; Gloss black roof; Version Select Type 1 widebody kit; JDM Nissan 180SX Type-X taillights, carbon fiber pillar garnish, window visors, rear-quarter glass louvered-visors and quarter glass; Pivot Sleepy-Eye Controller; carbon fiber Wangan-style wing
Inside: JDM S14 front seats; JDM 1996 180SX lighted keyswitch; S14 manual seat belt conversion; Nardi steering wheel; VIP-style cluster trim, aluminum gauge bezel, UKDM 200SX gauge cluster; Ichiban pedal set; Carbon fiber armrest, console overlays, door sills, custom cup holder; NISMO leather shift knob; Yashio factory E-brake knob; Autometer carbon-fiber boost and oil pressure gauges
Ice: Powerbass Evolution 6.5" components, coaxials, midbass drivers; Powerbass Autosound ASA400.4 amplifier; Mobile-Spec wiring; Panasonic CQC9901U head unit; XM Radio
Props: RHDJapan.com, Terry at Fortune Auto, Versus1, John Jansen, A&M Homecenter, Fredericksburg Powdercoating, Southern Truck & Customs
WWW: apexi-usa.com, autometer.com, ebcbrakes.com, enkei.com, hankooktireusa.com, koyorad.com, mackinindustries.com (Project KICS), more-japan.com (Nagisa Auto/SARD), peak-performance.net, powerenterpriseusa.net, rhdjapan.com