Many people consider Hawaii to be the ultimate vacation destination. I can’t imagine anybody arguing that the cluster of islands in the Pacific Ocean isn’t one of the most beautiful places on our planet. For the locals, however, especially the car enthusiasts, living there can have its downsides. One of the obvious factors is that although Hawaii is much closer to Japan geographically than any other state, sourcing parts still means going through a distributor more than likely located on the mainland, resulting in astronomical shipping costs. Buying rare discontinued parts from a private seller can be a nightmare living in the continental United States, so imagine finding somebody willing to ship to Hawaii. Despite the odds, Hawaii is home to some of the most impressive builds that we have ever laid eyes on. To drive this point home is this insanely aggressive ’91 Nissan 240SX, owned by Scott-Michael Waracka.
Cars and racing have always been a part of Scott’s life—his father has a Formula Ford stored at Infineon Raceway, and Scott himself started racing go-karts when he was 10 years old. He stayed as competitive as possible while being limited due to his location—he was even awarded a racing clinic scholarship from Memo Gidley and became Hawaii State Karting Champion in 2001. However, passion and skill can only take you so far. Scott soon realized that money was going to be an issue if he was to continue racing competitively, so he refocused his passion to drifting in 2003. Up until 2006, Hawaii had a track that was open to the public, which held track days for enthusiasts to take their cars to drift. There, Scott began his love affair with drifting in his first and second S13s, driving with his friends—some now recognized names like Ross Petty and Forrest Wang.
A few years later, Scott was contacted through the network of car enthusiasts by a younger guy who had just swapped a blacktop SR20DET into his S13 fastback, the owner was having issues getting the car to start and decided to enlist Scott’s assistance. With Scott’s help the car started and ran; with a couple hundred bucks in his pocket and the gratitude of a fellow S-chassis owner, Scott went on his way. Fast-forward a couple years, although the only venue for legal drifting on the Island was gone, Scott was itching to start a new S13 project. One day while dropping off some paperwork at his coworker’s home, Scott found himself next door to the S13 he worked on two years ago! The garage was open and the car was sitting inside with no plates. When inquiring about the car to his coworker, Scott learned that it hadn’t moved in months. So he left a note stating that he may be interested in buying the car. Soon after, he received a call from an older lady who told him that the car belonged to her son, and that if Scott was willing to pay what her son owed her—$700—he could take the car. Knowing that there was no way he would ever come across a deal like this, Scott was once again the proud owner of an S13.
As soon as the car was in his garage, Scott started putting the car back together—although the car now started, there was something obviously wrong with the engine. A compression check and leakdown test later confirmed that there was no compression in one cylinder. Scott removed the head and discovered that a washer had lodged itself between the head and an intake valve—a minor issue. However in a classic case of “might as well”, it was decided that the engine would undergo a full rebuild. The head and block were sent to Head Hunters. Brian Crower 264 cams, Supertech titanium springs and retainers, ARP head studs and mains, and a Cosworth head gasket were ordered for the upper half of the engine. JE pistons and rings as well as Eagle rods, ATI super damper, and Yashio Factory water pump pulley were chosen for the bottom end. While the engine was out, Scott started on the chassis, figuring he had reached the point of no return—or in his own words: “Go big or go home!”—he purchased a Miller Millermatic 180 MIG welder. Putting his new tool (or toy, depending on how you look at it) to use, Scott started by stripping down and stitch welding the entire chassis. He then started on his rollcage, actually building the section forward of the main hood twice due to changing his mind and opting to run the ’cage through the dash instead of around it. He then created the tubs to make room for his monstrous Weds Kranze Rapiers, sized at 19x10 +13 up front and 19x12 -3 in the rear. Ironically enough, he bought them secondhand from a seller in Maine—pretty much as far as possible from Hawaii as you can get while staying within U.S. borders.
As things progressed, Scott decided that “all out” was the only way to go. Now that the engine’s internals were complete and built to handle close to anything he could throw at it, it was time to choose a turbo setup. A Garrett GT3071R was ordered, as was a second-generation Full Race SR Pro Street manifold and elbow. Connecting the turbo elbow to the A’pexi N1 exhaust is a Greddy downpipe. When Scott went to install his new manifold, he discovered that his 300ZX brake booster, installed to support the switch to 300ZX brakes and master cylinder, was occupying the same space as his Tial 44mm external wastegate, to remedy this slight setback Scott simply took a bandsaw to his shiny new manifold and sectioned the wastegate flange to shorten it. Following in the custom nature of this build he also cut the throttle-body flange on his PNT intake manifold when creating his intercooler piping to create clearance for the wheelwell tubs.
Now that the chassis and engine were complete, Scott turned his attention to fitting his massive rollers, he had always been a fan of Koguchi Yoshinori’s style and Koguchi Power parts but sourcing them was virtually impossible. In a stroke of luck, Scott’s friend had recently acquired a set of Koguchi Power over-fenders for his S13 fastback. Armed with nothing more than the online site Google, Scott and a few of his friends decided that there wouldn’t be a better time to learn how to make a fiberglass mold. They somehow succeeded (this seems to be a trend with this build—try something for the first time and simply make it happen) in making a few handmade replicas of the over-fenders to use on their own cars. Now that he had plenty of clearance for his wheels, Scott looked into aero options that would match the new aggressive body lines of his car, purchasing a URAS Type 4 replica kit that a local shop had in stock. Considering that the entire car had been put together by Scott and a few of his close friends, I’m sure you can guess who prepped and painted this car, in his garage, by trial and error. Yes, Scott.
It was finally time to assemble the car once and for all, keep in mind that the car had been completely stripped for the fabrication and paint. Choosing to completely rewire the car with a Painless wiring kit rather than put the 20-year-old stock chassis harnesses back in, Scott meticulously wired up everything from the headlights to the Bosch fuel pump, finally mounting the control panel in the dash. Literally everything on this car had been updated or upgraded in some way so there was no way that the suspension would be left stock. Tein Super Drift coilovers, Kazama arms and subframe collars, as well as Tanabe sway bars were installed, dialed in, and a final ride height was set.
I can only imagine the sense of accomplishment that Scott must have felt driving this car for the first time—having started the build in 2007 and completing it in 2011. For Scott, it was four years of saving money, trying new things, learning from mistakes, and stopping at nothing to build a car to his (very high) standards. Scott shared with us that although he had always been a Nissan guy (his daily is a Frontier and his wife drives a Cube), his previous S13s had never been built to this extent, mainly due to the fact that he was more interested in taking them to the track as much as possible. When the track closed down, Scott kept an optimistic attitude and decided to use his newfound spare time to build his dream car, and in the process mastered skills such as welding and painting. When Scott started this build he had hoped to finish the car around the same time that the track would reopen. Now that the car is complete, the only track in Hawaii shows no sign of opening its gates to the public again. For the sake of Scott, his beautiful S13, and every car enthusiast in Hawaii, we hope that a venue for legal drifting becomes available again soon.