I say 2JZ EVERYTHING
Text: Christopher Andrews
Photos: Reinis Babrovskis
Necessity is the mother of all invention. When the human race has found itself in a tricky predicament, man has used is inbuilt ingenuity to overcome all hindrances in his path. Man was cold. He invented fire. Man was hungry. He hunted bison. And probably cooked it on his new fire.
Unlikely as it may seem, Les Lamont’s 200SX is a living testament to the ability of man to adapt and change as the need arises, using the various tools and implements at his disposal. Granted, Les didn’t make any grand discoveries that advanced the future of the human race, but I think it’s fair to say that he has taken the evolution of this S14a to a totally different plane from Mr Nissan’s original intentions.
Five years ago, Les acquired a fairly mundane and tired 200SX. At that point, the plan was to turn this sedate sports car into an all action drift machine. A serious Formula D addiction, coupled with the wayward influence of friends had convinced Les that he needed to attack the track and the well-established drift credentials and relatively plentiful supply of cars and parts, meant that the Nissan was the machine of choice. The first alterations were relatively straightforward – a cage, seats and harnesses to comply with drift circuit safety regulations - as well as the usual introductory exhaust and induction modifications. The aim was to get the SR20DET in or around 300BHP.
The car stayed in this form for about a year, with Les tracking the car on as many weekends as he could muster. However, Les got a bit bored with his 300 ponies and went on the quest for more power. As a die-hard car nut, Les has had the good fortune to own some very fast machines. Imprezas, M3s and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions have graced his drive. But I think it’s fair to say that he held a special affection for his mighty Toyota Supra TT with the legendary 2JZ-GTE engine.
Les wanted more power for his drift car, but new the Nissan 4 pot had its tuning limitations. But on the other hand, he knew that the 2JZ had endless big power potential. In Les’s mind, the simple solution was to introduce the 200SX chassis to 6 cylinder Toyota power! So, to mark the birth of his first child and new son, Les bought an engine. Let’s face it; it’s faster than a pram!
The marriage of Nissan and Toyota commenced in earnest. I think it’s worth noting that this wasn’t some chequebook build. The vast bulk of the engineering, fabrication and alterations required to make everything fit happened in Les’s own garage, with the help of his army of close friends. If parts didn’t work off the shelf, it re-worked until it did. The end result is stunning; a super-clean engine bay with a 2JZ that just looks as it is always belonged there. Les was meticulous in his build – a custom made fuel rail, a custom made down pipe and exhaust, Sard injectors to feed the big single Garrett GT35 turbo, coupled with a Tial wastegate. The HKS catalogue has been raided to control, vent and monitor boost; a Link engine management system, mapped by Bradley Motorworks, keeps all six cylinders on song.
Brakes and suspension were also upgraded to handle the massive power hike, as were the cooling systems. The end result was a total beast of a drift car. Unfortunately, due to inescapable work commitments, the opportunities to get on track became scarcer and scarcer. The potent Nismota, as it had been christened, was spending far too much time in the garage for Les’s liking. He was faced with another quandary. What to do?
The easy solution would have been to call time and sell the car on. Les, on the other hand, was determined to maximise time behind the steering wheel. What he really needed was something that he could drive on the roads, when the occasion arose and take his son, Jamie, with him. So, naturally, he set about the next evolution of this S14a. Turning this no-compromise, 614bhp smoke machine into a perfectly legal, road car.
This was to be a fine balancing act and no mean feat. The aim was to keeping the lunatic qualities of the track build, but sanitising the Nissan, so that a trip to the shop for a pint of milk could be a hassle free experience. All the necessary equipment needed to comply with everyday motoring regulations was restored. The car was given new front wings, rear quarters and beautiful paint job, courtesy of AJM Autobody. The crowning glory has to be the eye-catching 18 inch Volk Racing GTC wheels.
The combination of Les’s resourcefulness, eye for detail and months of hard work has resulted in the creation of one of a truly striking 200SX that packs a punch that’s as hard as that mean stance.