Street racing (in one form or another) has been around virtually as long as the automobile itself and its popularity knows no boundaries. From all corners of the earth we can find people coming up with creative new ways to misuse vehicles. Practically anywhere occupied by men with big egos and an addiction to adrenaline you can expect to find cars being abused in dangerous ways. You might call street racers insane, badass or even idiotic. The Japanese call them hashiriya.
In Japan there are many popular forms of civil disobedience involving the automobile, including touge (moutain racing), dorifuto (drifting) and zero-yon (drag racing). But by far the most well-known form of illegal racing is kosoku, which takes place at high speeds over long distances on the expressways of Japan. The hashiriya lifestyle was catapulted into popular western culture with the release of the video game Tokyo Xtreme Racer, where anyone with a gaming console could be an outlaw from the safety of their own living room.
The real underground street racers in Japan are viewed by most as more of a gang than a car club. They often wear masks similar to bosozoku (motorcycle gangs), but don’t necessarily partake in other illegal acts associated with yakuza like the motorcycle gangs do. Typically, they’ll wait until it’s late at night so they don’t endanger others then they will adorn their masks and blast through toll booths and out onto the highways. The styling of a hashiriya’s car is typically low-key compared to most other Japanese trends and the models are usually from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.
So what the hell does that have to do with this 240SX? We’re getting there. One man who has become synonymous with the Osaka hashiriya scene is Kei Muira, owner of TRA Kyoto. You might remember his uniquely styled EF Civic we featured in our December 2009 issue; if not you should look it up. He’s the man behind the wildly popular 6666 Customs GT Rodeo kits often inaccurately referred to as “Rocket Bunny kits” (Rocket Bunny being another line Muira produces for Kei cars) as seen here on David’s car.
The real underground street racers in Japan wait until it’s late at night and blast through toll booths and out onto the highways.
By night Miura-san can be found adorning his favorite Jason hockey mask and terrorizing the streets with his band of friends. By day, however, he’s a designer, developing and manufacturing body kits for many popular Japanese brands. In the time he has left over he works on his own lines for TRA Kyoto, including Rocket Bunny, Number 6 and Four-Six Customs—the latter of which representing an Americana-infused style that Miura and his friends actually rock on their own rides.
It’s this shocking yet refreshing style that makes the GT Rodeo kits so interesting. They don’t look anything like the traditional low-skirt style drift kits that you see on the majority of 240s, yet they’re equally aggressive. I still remember the first time I saw one Miura-san’s now infamous gas station pictures some years ago, I was floored by the uniqueness. I think the same could be said for most enthusiasts as it was for David Lee. “When I first saw the Four-Six customs cars, I was instantly drawn,” he says, adding, “It didn’t look like anything I had seen before, and I’ve seen everything that has to do with S-chassis.”
Now that might sound like a bold statement but I can assure you David isn’t boasting. As the owner of the popular tuning shop Touge Factory as well as a dedicated member of the Chicago drifting scene, this man lives for cars like this. He knew that he had to build a TRA Kyoto style car of his own but at the same time he wanted to bring the products over for his loyal customers. In February of 2011, David set up a meeting with Kei Miura and a short while later they had penned a deal making Touge Factory the official exclusive North American distributor for TRA products.
This was great because it killed two birds with one stone; it allowed TF to sell these amazing kits but also enabled David to build his dream car as a promotional demo machine. But rather than simply duplicating Miura’s cars, David decided to put his own spin on this S13. For starters the keen will have noticed that this car still rocks the pop-up headlights it came with, which differ from the Silvia front end that Japan received on their S13 coupe. Because of this Onevia layout Lee decided to use the kit designed for the 180SX rather than 6666’s Silvia kit like the one seen on Dai Yoshihara’s pro drift car.
Surprisingly, I think the bubble flares work better on the coupe body than they do on the hatch they were designed for. “Everyone’s trying so hard to create something wild and crazy these days,” David tells me. “I just wanted to build something that inspired me and [was fun to drive.] I’ve always liked the Onevia S13, and it was perfect for the look I wanted.” In the three weeks it took to build this car, David created one hell of a mean looking S-chassis and the first ever Four Six Onevia that we know of. But the real kicker is the still controversial eight-cylinder in the engine bay.
“There are going to be many people reading this article that will question, even hate the fact that it has a LS1 drivetrain in it.” David explains and then goes on to tell me that most people that are opposed to the engine have surely never driven one. He lists reliability, aftermarket support and the excellent horsepower-per-dollar ratio offered by the GM V8 as strong arguments in the engine’s favor and we couldn’t agree more. To top it off the swap suits the NASCAR styling of the body kit making this an all-around perfect package in our eyes.
But why would such a pretty car need so much torque you might be asking yourself. Well, contrary to the car’s current appearance, it is a dedicated street and track drift slut. After making its rounds as a PR tool for Touge Factory, you’ll likely see this S13 going viral on YouTube drift videos come this spring. If the rear license plate is any indictor of the kind of abuse this car has seen in the past, it’s safe to say that David isn’t afraid to let it all hang out. It’s a beautiful example of form meeting function and the only way this car could be further improved would be seeing it covered in battle scars.
1991 Nissan 240SX
Owner David Lee
Hometown Elk Grove Village, IL
Occupation Owner of Touge Factory
Power 390HP @6400 RPM, 335lb-ft @4700 RPM
Engine 5.7L Chevy LS1 V8; Thunder Racing T-Rex camshaft; Comp Cams cam gear, 921 dual valve springs, titanium retainers; Daft Innovation engine mounts, headers; Katech rod bolts; Hypertech thermostat; GTO oil pan; Melling oil pump; Walbro 255lph fuel pump (X2); Fuelab pressure regulator; Speed Inc fuel rails; A'PEXi N1 exhaust; NGK TR55 spark plugs; TF Works wire harness; Setrab oil cooler and relocation kit using Earl’s lines; Koyo radiator; Nissan Altima radiator fans; Amsoil engine oil
Drivetrain Chevy T56 gearbox; Kaaz LSD; Driveshaft Shop aluminum driveshaft; LS7 clutch and flywheel; Amsoil fluid
Engine Management HP Tuners reflash; Auto Meter oil pressure, oil temp and water temp gauges
Footwork & Chassis Stance XR coilovers with 11k front/7k rear spring rates, rear camber arms, rear toe links, tension rods; Whiteline front and rear sway bars
Brakes Evo IX Brembo front calipers; Nissan Z32 rear calipers; Hawk HP+ pads
Wheels & Tires 17X9.5" +12 front, 18X10.5" +15 rear, NISMO LM-GT4 wheels; 235/40R17 front, 295/30R18 rear, Advan Neova AD08 tires; Muteki lug nuts
Exterior TRA Kyoto 6666 Customs GT Rodeo body kit (front bumper, side skirts, rear bumper, front fenders, trunk spoiler); Black paint by Greatlakes Auto Repair; Graphics by itsproper.com
Interior Bride Zeta II driver’s seat and rail; Touge Factory Relax passenger seat; BuddyClub passenger side seat rail; Personal Neo Grinta steering wheel; NRG quick-release
Thanks You Touge Factory, TRA Kyoto, Stance suspension, Origin USA, itsproper.com, TF-Works, Leo @ Greatlakes Auto Repair, Nissan, NISMO, GM, Chris Black, all the staff @ Touge Factory
WWW tougefactory.com; itsproper.com; tra-kyoto.com; stance-usa.com; junkhouse.us