I met Mike when I first moved to Portland OR. At the time, we were both into Volkswagens. He had a couple of different budget projects going. Namely an mk1 Jetta coupe with a thrown together 8v turbo motor. I was there on the first and only test drive. It looked like a coal-burning train and sounded like a tractor, but it ran! However, upon further inspection, the motor completely fried one of the pistons. More motor swaps and different cars were to come until eventually, Mike decided, much like I did to get himself a Nissan! At first, he got himself a retired pro-am built R32 Skyline GT coupe shell. This was short-lived, however, as he tore into the car he quickly came to the conclusion it wasn’t quite what he wanted to be building. That’s when he sourced the shell for the car you see here, a 1993 240sx coupe.
The front end had been chopped off. The hood had flown up and destroyed the roof. Some nitwits had decided to poorly spray paint half just half of the car before giving up. The suspension was hobbled together. The price was right though, which is all that really mattered because the plan was to redo EVERYTHING. And Mike did just that. I don’t dare list everything that has been done to the car. But I’ll give you a little bit about what I can assure you is Mike’s favorite part of the car, the engine. What you see is a 1jzgte vvti with two Comp oil-less turbos attached to the motor with an amazing manifold built by Gabe Watson. It is also equipt with a Koyorad radiator. This Koyorad radiator is actually meant for the 240SX with KA engine and is fairly common for this engine swap. You can see the water outlet on the engine lines up nicely with the radiator inlet pipe with a fairly straight radiator hose. In contrast, the radiator for a 240SX with SR engine has the coolant inlet pipe on the driver’s side of the car which would require a fabricated crossover pipe to reach the engine water outlet.
This was Gabe’s last project for his former personal business Rampage Fab. You can now find him up at Speed Factory Turning where he is no surprise the Fabrication Manager. Gabe also built the beautiful intake manifold you see here as well as the 3.5” stainless oval exhaust that you don’t see(The exhaust was built after these photos were taken). The tube front that encapsulates the whole thing was built by our good friend Scott Pham of SV Performance.
This brings me to the bad news. Mike sourced this motor from Ebay, and always wondered if it was any good. Unfortunately, after letting it warm up for the very first time as it sat on the dyno at Speedfactory a rod knock appeared and the motor was shut off. The car was brought home and stored away. After 2 weeks of sitting, Mike decided to empty his piggy bank. Oscar Perez the owner of SV Performance had 2J block with brand new pistons, rods and some other goodies lying around. Mike ordered up some newly released BC 272 vvti cams to compliment the new block.
And here we are! Nervously waiting for the machine shop to do their thing, so that the new motor can be plopped in. The exterior shots of the car are from Nissanfest earlier this year. The car had just been painted the week prior and we were still assembling the car late into the night before the show. The engine bay photos are more recent, shot a couple days after the car was brought back from the dyno. The fans weren’t cooperating, hence the blue wires you see in the bottom left corner.
And here we are. I’ve personally watched this build rather closely, and am incredibly anxious to no only hear this car run but see it out on the track. So I can only imagine how Mike feels. Stay tuned and give Mike a follow on Instagram @belikemike52 if you care to do so. It’s as close as you’ll get to a build thread for this car.
Photography and words by Jake Wolf