Family is an incredibly important factor in everyone’s life. They help shape who you are, from childhood to the adult years, passing on values that you’ll hold throughout your lifetime. They are there at your greatest hits and catch you when you fall. If you’re an automotive enthusiast, you probably understand that your build is only as good as the sum of its parts. That also holds true to you as a person; like your project car, you too, are only as good as the sum of your parts—your parts, however, aren’t “parts” per se—they are the people that you hold dear to you. And don’t forget the friends who are like family—they’re all an essential part to making you, well, you. But unlike your friends, who more than likely share your same passions (especially for cars), family can often times miss the point, and while they still support your desire to go buckwild on a car, they don’t fully grasp the “why” portion.
Luckily, Brett Levan doesn’t have that problem. Not only does his family fully support his hobby, they are also important contributors to his build. Brett has friends who are fellow car heads but the two men he considers to be his source of motivation for his 1993 Nissan 240SX project are his father and grandfather. They are enthusiasts like him and the automotive bug just seems to run in their blood. “My whole family has been into cars as long as I can remember,” he says. “This build has been a family effort and I can’t thank them enough for their help. How many people can say that they shared a project with their grandfather, you know?”
Loyalty is probably a key value taught in the Levan family because this isn’t Brett’s first go-round with the S13 chassis. He built one pretty extensively before and has stayed true to the platform. Had it not been for the previous statement, you might have assumed it was the same car. His reason for starting over with another S13 is because of how meticulous he is; there were some issues with body damage here and there that turned Brett off from building his Nissan to its maximum potential. If he were able to find another, it would’ve offered a fresh canvas for the trio to work on.
“My father, Jay, was the one who actually found this (240SX). He knew that I had been looking for one and spotted one for sale down the road from his house. Like his previous chassis, ironically enough, it was also gold in color and SE-trim. He said that it was one of the cleanest, completely-stock S13 chassis he’d ever seen so I took his word for it and went down to buy it. Turns out that the 240SX had only two owners its entire life and the guy I bought it from had owned it since 1995—I couldn’t have asked for a better chassis to build and it’s cool that my dad helped discover this gem,” Brett recalls.
After the purchase, the car was only driven once in its completely stock state before taking it to his grandfather’s shop for the teardown. The 240SX may have been unmolested, but it didn’t mean that the plan was to keep it that way; Brett just wanted to be the first one to lay a hand on it. The first order of business was stripping the entire car down to its bare shell. Brett and his grandfather, Gary, started by pulling the front end, doors and rear hatch off of the car before ditching the aged brown interior. He had plans to go with an all-black interior later on so it was unnecessary to hold onto any of the old interior pieces. Once the chassis was stripped down, Brett dived right into the bodywork. There wasn’t anything significant that needed to be repaired, but a nearly two-decade old chassis shows its age. Prepping the body also helped to get the car in and out of the body shop in a timely manner after the entire shell was sprayed a custom metallic teal.