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1989 Nissan RPS13 240SX - The Pursuit of Perfection

An Iconic Expression of Passion

Text By Dax Rodriguez, Photography by Dax Rodriguez

When Nissan designed the first S13, they thought they created a car that would serve the needs of the public and allow them to have a little fun along the way. Never would they have imagined a car that would become an icon for the next two decades. If you showed Jared Nieves’ car to the designers of the S13, I imagine they would have stared in bewilderment. This car is far from stock, but it maintains the same essence and the same dutiful purpose mixed with the bit of fun Nissan designed into their little hatchback some 20 years ago. This car, in particular, might be a little more fun than they envisioned, but nonetheless, it maintains an elevated level of the same goal created in the late ’80s. Present day, this car does not encompass anything unusual, except for keeping an SR20DET engine, a sadly waning trend in recent years. This car contains all the pieces of the puzzle, which were put together meticulously over the course of this build. Being an icon for such a long time, countless S13s have been built in a similar fashion to the one on these very pages. Now, you, the reader, may begin to wonder why this particular one deserves a feature, and not your car or your friend’s beater. What makes this car so special?

Well, nothing in particular, if I am totally honest. However, it is more than just the overall picture. The way each piece of this puzzle is particularly crafted, placed, and assembled entices a curiosity and an undeniable presence when you view the car. I’ve seen this car many times at local car meets, parked some distance away, yet demanding my attention. Even if I have dozens of equally impressive cars sitting in front of me, this car begs to be looked at. Like a good photograph or painting, it has a visual tension that cannot be denied. There is something about the way this car hovers above the ground yet maintains a harmonious unity with it at the same time. It is an organic shape taking part in the scenery. The Porsche Meteor Gray paint is a subtlety that boldly hugs the curves Nissan so delicately drew onto paper. Origin aero took the job of master stylist and added some J.Lo curves to the already sleek design, no doubt pleasing onlookers.

While inspecting the paint, the engine bay is one particular thing to notice. Again, a color that has been done, but the choice of color is one that no man should touch: purple. And it isn’t because purple is feminine or lame; it’s the superstitious following behind purple paint known as “the purple curse”. Some of you may be familiar with this philosophy that purple cars are cursed and unlucky. Jared, however, seems to defy this theory with his reliable SR that sees frequent street use. Carefully selecting the parts used for the motor aids the SR’s unquestionable reliability. Tomei products are used throughout the cylinder head, matched with a Garrett GTX3071R turbo, mixed with some top quality, locally made exhaust parts. For the most part, this car seems trouble free, but that’s not without some less-than-glorious moments of luck.

It isn’t because purple is feminine or lame; it’s the superstitious following behind purple paint known as “the purple curse”.

There are few occasions where his paint choice has gotten the best of him. When he originally upgraded his turbo, he was out cruising around and managed to break a few rocker arms. After he got that issue sorted, he started going through transmissions faster than he went through tanks of gas. Sensibly, he upgraded to the Z33 adapter kit, which is manufactured locally, and has been worry free ever since. Then, there was a recent incident when he was cruising around Phoenix and got pulled over, purely out of suspicion. This encounter resulted in the car being impounded, because as the officer said, “A bunch of these motors have been reported stolen.” Clearly, he was misinformed. This is always nerve-racking, because impound lots are not known for being gentle with stock cars, never mind insanely low, beautiful cars like this one that requires a certain elegance when being handled. After a very thorough “investigation”, much similar to a Barnum & Bailey affair, he finally received his car back from the impound lot, making it out unscathed in the unlikeliest of outcomes.

This endurance of love and the trials of passion bring us back to why this car deserves to be here. Jared is unwavering in his pursuit of perfection. Despite all the tests and troubles, despite the long process to get to this point, Jared saw this through to the bittersweet ending, the very car sitting before you. The look of this car has changed many times, arriving at this current recipe for success. The car looks the part and plays it too. It is not just driven to and from car shows; the grocery store, track, and to weekend barbecues, as well. That bit of economy, mixed with the glimmering hint of fun and the undeniable looks, carried through two decades of existence and still plays a major part in today’s choice of automobile appeal. This car receives love across the Internet and deservedly so. Nissan did not know what a gem they created when they first set out to mass-produce the 240SX, but after seeing this car, and what glorious potential it possesses, nobody can deny that, in the right hands, this is more than just a car, it’s a work of art. It is a transportation masterpiece, and when Jared opens the garage and starts this car, he can’t wipe the smile off his face. I’d say that’s pretty damn special, considering that this is just another S13.

Behind the Build

Name
Jared Nieves

Age
29

Location
Glendale, AZ

Occupation
Warehouse manager

Hobbies
Shoes, gaming, cars, sports, clothes

Build time
Three years

Motivation
“Because people said that you can’t make a 240 hatch look good.”

1989 Nissan RPS13 240SX

402 whp / 370 lb-ft of torque (est.)

Engine JDM Nissan S13 SR20DET engine, Garrett GTX3071R .82 AR twin scroll turbo; A’pexi Power FC D Jetro; Tomei 256 intake/exhaust cams, 1.2mm head gasket, oil pan, valvesprings/retainers, fuel pressure regulator/gauge, 850cc injectors; Blitz front-mount intercooler; Future Fabrication intercooling piping, custom downpipe/exhaust, oil catch can; Tial 50mm blow-off valve, twin 38mm wastegates; Isis intake manifold; Koyo radiator; Nismo power brace, thermostat, motor/transmission mount; Nissan SR20DET S13.4 valve cover with -10 AN fitting; Nissan RB25DET clutch fan

Drivetrain Nissan 350Z (Z33) transmission; Spec Stage 3 clutch; Carbonetic two-way differential; Suspicious Garage clutch line

Suspension Powered by Max ProComp coilovers, solid subframes risers; Stance rear upper control arms, rear toe arms, tension rods, traction rods; modified front spindles and steering rack spacer

Wheels/Tires Work VS-KF 3D Chrome 18x9.5 -23 R disc 225/35/18 (front), 18x11 -5 offset 235/40/18 (rear)

Brakes Nissan 300ZX (Z32) calipers/rotors (front and rear), Suspicious Garage brake lines

Exterior Origin Aggressive Type 1 body kit, 40mm front fenders, 50mm rear fenders; DMAX vented hood; Nissan 180SX kouki taillights

Interior Bride Low Max Gias seat and seat rail; NRG steering wheel, quick-release hub; Kelly Wolfe four-point rollcage with gussets; GReddy boost controller, 60mm gauges (oil pressure, oil temp, and water temp); DEFI white racer boost gauge; HKS turbo timer

Gratitude “Shout-out to Concept Z Performance, Pit Stop Performance, Team Top Flight, Boost Junkyz, Future Fabrication, Twisted Metal Auto, Echelon Motorsports, Suspicious Garage, Kelly Wolfe, Adam Mattson, Patrick Kemper, and all my friends and family.”

HOTBOX
Concept Z Performance
4434 N. 7th Ave Ste Z
Phoenix
AZ  85013
602-283-3500
www.czp.us
Top Flight
www.teamtopflight.blogspot.com
Street Sweeper Gang
www.streetsweepergang
By Dax Rodriguez
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