Every hero needs a
Well, in the case of Ryan
Blank – the owner of this sweet Nissan 180SX - his sidekick is none other than a
furry toy lion.
“He’s been everywhere with
me since I bought the car,” says Ryan.
As you can see, the lion’s
favourite resting spot is here – on top of the boost gauge.
“Yeah, he watches the boost
for me” laughs Ryan.
So while he may pretend to
be cute, this lion does serve a purpose. We can only surmise that he lets out a
little roar when he sees the needle over-boosting...
But let’s get to
Ryan’s 1994 Nissan 180SX is
a shining example of how easy it is to get these sexy coupes looking cool and
“I bought the car about 2
years ago,” says Ryan.
“I definitely wanted a
180SX over a Silvia because they look a lot sleeker – especially in the
The car arrived in Ryan’s
hands with only a couple of basic suspension mods – a front strut brace and a
set of aftermarket coil-overs. This is one of the rare S13s that escaped engine
mods – for a while, anyway...
Ryan’s first group of mods
was responsible for the biggest percentage power gain that’s come from the car.
Of course, the pathetic stock exhaust was replaced by a 3 inch turbo-back system
with a 5 inch tip. The airbox was also hauled out to make space for an
aftermarket pod filter.
Just these most basic of
basic mods really woke up the SR20DET.
However, for a lion-size
power hit, the standard intercooler and turbo had to go. A polished PWR
bar-and-plate intercooler now lives in the nosecone and is fed charge-air by
custom mandrel piping. A compact Odyssey battery was necessary to accommodate
the new pipe route from the ‘cooler to the throttle.
Huffing an’ puffing through
the big intercooler is a Garrett GT28 ‘440hp’ ball-bearing turbocharger mounted
on the Nissan exhaust manifold. Boost pressure at this stage was kept down to
around 14 psi due to the limits of the stock injectors. A Malpassi rising rate
fuel pressure reg and a re-written chip helped, but it still wasn’t
And here we enter Round 2
of mechanical mods.
After growing tired of
being held back by fuel flow capacity, Ryan and his trusty lion agreed to take
the next step. A set of replacement 550cc Nizmo injectors were inserted into the
rail to solve the problem. Oh and, while they were at it, a larger diameter Z32
airflow meter went in along with a suitably remapped chip.
Ahhh, with ample fuel flow
Ryan could now adjust the under-bonnet bleed valve to deliver around 17 psi of
boost. On special occasions - such as on the dyno - Ryan will add a tad more
boost for good luck. Around 19 psi is as far as he’s gone.
With the GT28 blowing at 19
psi Ryan’s 180 has delivered a nice round 200kW at the back wheels. With a short
shifter and 3 puck clutch added to the driveline, Ryan – and you-know-who – have
run a best quarter mile time of 12.2 seconds at 117 mph. This was achieved with
slicks, mind you – street tyres add about 0.6 seconds and sacrifice a couple of
mile per hour.
And, yes, both Ryan and
the lion look cool while running fast.
The original pearl white
paint job remains with the exception of a black/gold pearl painted bonnet - but
Ryan has added a few add-ons to give it more impact. Most noticeable is the R1
GT rear wing, followed closely by the dramatically lowered ride height, rims and
side skirts – in that order. There are also some stickers to represent Zoom Auto
Imports and Club Empire – a car club for the hottest of hot cars.
Ryan ripped out the
existing aftermarket coil-overs and went for some local KYB struts, which drop
it “at least 3 inches.” The only other suspension mod is the fitting of low-compliance drift
pineapples for the diff cradle.
The rims are attractive
polished 18 inch LWT alloys encrusted in 215/35 rubber.
And what’s that hiding
behind the front wheels, you ask?
Well, the SR20DET 180SX
comes factory with a fairly decent set of stoppers but Ryan couldn’t resist the
tried-and-proven upgrade using Skyline parts. The car now uses R33 Skyline Turbo
front discs and calipers working with the original booster and master cylinder.
Ryan says these make a huge difference.
It’s almost enough to make
a little lion fall of his boost gauge...
Inside the lion den you’ll
find a number of upgrades to the normally drab Nissan trim. The front seats have
been swapped for R32 GT-R jobs, and Ryan is buckled in with a Sabelt harness.
Yellow highlights are spread throughout the cabin, the gauge cluster surround is
painted silver and a Blitz turbo timer has found a new home.
And we can’t overlook the
eagerly watched Splitfire boost gauge mounted on the door.
Jungle tunes – a lion’s
natural choice in music – pound from a 600W 15 inch Clarion sub, Clarion splits,
a giant Clarion amp and a Chameleon JVC head unit.
Both Ryan and the lion have
tasted blood on the drag strip and on the street and now, well, you wouldn’t
want to get in their way – their really getting into the stride.
While you’re reading this
an A’PEXi Power FC is being installed, an aftermarket exhaust manifold has been
bolted on and another motor is in the build - an engine that just happens to
have all the good internal bits.
“I’ll boost the sh&^
out of it and I’m pretty sure of around 400hp at the wheels,” says Ryan.
“I’ll probably also do some
more with the interior and get more involved in car shows,” says
We can only assume he’ll
have a roaring success... (sorry!)
Zoom Auto Imports
+61 7 3348 6939