Scott Buwalda of Cumming, GA owns the 1995 Nissan, um, car, shown here. Because he has done such a great job on the car, you may not recognize it at all. It’s a 260SX...sorta. You see, with nearly 12,000 hours spread over seven years and enough money to buy a nice little house, the car no longer looks like a run-of-the-mill sports coupe. No, it’s much more, and I’m going to try to explain the project.
Let’s start under the hood. The power plant is an N1 block crate-motor RB26DETT, normally found in the Nissan Skyline. The crate motor was enhanced using Tomei, Ross, Nismo, GReddy and HKS components. The head was ported and polished by Simon Drummond in New Zealand. The crank was strengthened and balanced, then mated to the flywheel, clutch and pressure plate which was balanced to within 0.001 grams. All the plumbing was done with Spectre, Magnabraid and Jegs expandable stainless braided shield, and a Rotora Import Pro Shop (RIPS) catch can captures any oil vapours. The engine was then run for 4,000km to ensure flawless performance. In case you’re curious, yes, the run-in was done in New Zealand, on the road, in a donor R33 chassis.
Strapped to the side of the head is a Turbonetics Super T-Series T04 Turbo complete with a 50 psi mechanical boost control. The exhaust manifold was fabricated from 316 stainless and includes a 4-inch down-pipe that feeds into a Magnaflow muffler and out to a 5-inch outlet. A Turbonetics NewGen wastegate fitted with a 15lb spring ensures accurate boost control. Up front, a 20 x 12 x 4.5-inch cored Spearco custom intercooler helps extract heat from the compressed air that flows through custom-bent 4.5-inch stainless piping that was ceramic coated.
Rounding out the power production is a Nitrous Express EFI Direct Port kit that was configured with 250-shot nozzles. A 5-pound bottle with a remote bottle opener feeds 4-AN tubing from the trunk to the solenoids that were mounted with Irvan Smith brackets. 4-AN lines also feed the fuel side and the whole thing is controlled by a Nitrous Express Maximizer II power Controller. An Aeromotive fuel pump, regulator and dual filters ensure the 50/50 blend of C-16 and Q-16 race fuel from the Race Safe 7-gallon cell flows consistently through Russell braided 10-AN lines. Six SARD 1,200cc injectors dump atomized fuel into a RIPS single 90mm throttle body intake plenum. Splitfire coils ignite Blitz 6105-8 spark plugs. Controlling the engine is a full AEM EMS computer system complete with a 5-bar map sensor and wideband O2 sensor. An HKS CAMP system lets Buwalda keep tabs on EGT, Boost, Oil pressure and voltage. Power from the ultra-smooth running engine passes through a twin-plate Ogura racing clutch into a Skyline GT-R32 5-speed transmission that was converted to rear wheel drive only operation.
All engine components have been polished, chromed, ceramic coated or powder coated, while the block itself was jet coated. All bolts were converted to stainless steel socket head cap screws and nuts are grade 8 stainless.
Buwalda strapped the beast to the dyno at Top Speed Motorsports in Alpharetta, GA and laid down 879 horses at the rear wheels without spray while running Q16 fuel. He figures hitting the bottle would bring the output very close to 1,000hp.
An engine like this needs a classy home. Buwalda invested a significant amount of time in body and chassis work on the car. More than 370 holes were filled in the engine compartment. Everything that wasn’t being used was filled with 22-gauge steel or simply weld-filled. Closer inspection of the engine compartment reveals that there are no right angles between any panels. Buwalda sighs and explains that it took the better part of a summer to radius each and every joint by hand using high quality body filler and lots of meticulous sanding. The result is a perfectly smooth engine bay.
Work continued with the removal of all the OEM seam sealant in the car for preparation for solid wire-fed seam welding. This was followed with grinding to ensure a perfectly smooth finish that matched the engine compartment. Around this time Buwalda realized that there were going to be steering rack clearance problems. Not wanting to simply hammer out the firewall, he chose to graft a large section of firewall from a JDM Silvia chassis in place. The graft extended from the transmission tunnel up to and along the cowl line. The panel was welded from both sides to ensure its rigidity. Buwalda reports that even S14 experts have a hard time determining if this is a converted USDM car or a JDM one.
Work continued with an S15 front end conversion, starting with modification of the core support to ensure the deep S15 projector light assemblies fit. The next step and one that Buwalda credits as being one of the more complex bodywork tasks was the fabrication of hybrid S14/S15 fenders. OEM S14 fenders were cut so that only the mounting surface at the base of the fender and two thirds of the body line remained. Similarly, S15 fenders were mounted to the fenders and the opposite material removed. Mounted to the car, an irregular S pattern was cut out of both. The two pieces were then stitched together methodically. With some patience, the fenders mated together and simultaneously blend into a Vertex front bumper. The new fenders were welded to the A-pillar so that no seam exists, and they mold into the side skirts and door sills as well. The same treatment was given to the side skirts and rear bumper to ensure a flush fit.
Buwalda created a new rear window out of fibreglass. This panel opens to reveal audio equipment underneath. However, it required the creation of a water channel and seal just as would be found on a hatchback. Buwalda included fake defroster lines in the rear window paint, and having seen it in person, I can attest to it looking like heavily tinted rear glass. The motorization of the window was planned and detailed extensively before being executed, including days of searching for the perfect hinges and actuators to ensure the final result would operate flawlessly.
The car was prepped with a typical primer then sealer technique, and then treated to two base coats and four coats of clear. The choice of colour was Sikkens Jet Black. This paint has the reputation of being the blackest on the market today, and Buwalda points out that it makes most OEM black paints look grey by comparison. The only graphic on the car is a Hybrid Audio Technologies logo across the windshield – Buwalda likes things clean. If you think the paint looks good, you’re right, but it took three attempts before he gave it his seal of approval.