Car Feature>> The World’s Fastest S13

As a Bonneville newbie, one item that’s become clear to me is that the chassis and engine selection for a land speed record car are two very separate and distinct choices for any car builder.  Most competitors combine the engine and the chassis in order to enter what appears to be hundreds of different classes. Often a builder will try and find an overlooked class, build a special car and go for the record. People may even show up at Bonneville with more than one engine in order to set multiple records with one chassis.

For the McMeekin Bros race team, the choice of a S13 chassis was entirely based on its good aero numbers. They were also looking for a car that could easily accept a wide variety of engines, depending on what class they were looking to run at Bonneville on any given year…

… So the choice of the 240SX chassis was a practical one based on the needs of their Bonneville plans… but unwittingly, the McMeekin team are now in possession of the fastest S13 on the planet. And as we know, this is a chassis type which has a huge following in drift car scenes around the world… but it’s an unexpected gem to an example constructed to fly down the salt flats of Bonneville!

As a good portion of Speedhunters readers are partial to machines from the land of the rising sun, one of our goals at Speed Week was to collect images of all the Japanese cars at the event. Although Bonneville is very much the stronghold of American evolved rods, lakesters and muscle machines, Japanese cars do have a reasonable presence at the event.

So I knew I was on to a winner when I spotted this red S13 in the startline area of the Salt flats a few days ago.

A glance at the inspection certification stickers showed the car has been coming to Bonneville for a few years now…

Look though at what’s under the hood!…. What is it?

Check it out…. a vintage Buick straight 8 engine has been shoe horned into the engine “room”.

Why a such a crazy choice of power plant? Well the thought was to find an interesting class to enter the car into with the aim of setting a new record… in this case, the XO/GALT class. In basic terms, XO is a class for unblown, vintage inline engines and GALT designates Gas fueled (no nitro) and an ALTered coupe chassis. Something like that…

Let’s look inside the car.

Accidents at Bonneville are not normally based on a car hitting another car or impacting a trackside object…. if you get in trouble above 200 mph, it usually means that the car is going to go into a series of rolls, or slide a long way on its roof…. so all safety measures take these elements into account.

Don told me that they built the car to be “safe” even at speeds edging past 240 mph. This is rather evident when you inspect the roll cage area. It’s properly beefy.

The center pillar in a roll cage is something I’ve never seen previously… but after seeing video footage of cars going airborne at Bonneville… I can understand why it’s been built this way.

The McMeekin Brothers 240SX was built to house a wide variety of engine types. The Buick straight 8 is the third engine the car’s housed… it’s previously been home to a Flathead V8 and a Indy spec Aurora V8 both of powered the car to the XF/GC record of 156.778 in 2005 and the E/FALT record of 235.890 in 2006. This second record certainly makes this car the world’s fastest S13 chassis!

You’ll notice that the dry sump system sits inside the cockpit area. I assume this is to allow for full flexibility with engine setups.

Also notice how a full tube chassis has been built into the floor of the car. Both subframes have also been tied together…

All of this has been done to make this chassis as strong as possible…. I noticed that some competitors often added weight to their car to gain traction and stability on the salt flats, so in this case, making the car heavier is likely to help its performance and stability at speed on the salt.

I like how the team has remixed the Nissan logo hahaha…

While I was shooting the S13, the Dandy Tanaka Mazda FC pulled up, ready for its next run….

I called the team over to have a look at the car… Needless to say, they were quite intrigued with the straight eight engine setup!… They also seemed interested in the chassis substructures too… The Dandy team also had a photographer from Option travelling with them too, so you can expect to see shots of this S13 in the magazine in the coming months.

The McMeekin team is currently only partially aware of what a large following S13 chassis has inside drift cultures around the world, so they’ll be looking closely at this story to see what kind of response it gets from you guys.

They were pretty unhappy with how the Straight 8 engine performed at Bonneville Speedweek…  For the first time ever, they came away from Bonneville with a S13/engine combination which did not set a new record. The best it did all week was 158 mph against a record of 166 mph…. they’ve decided enough is enough and will be dumping this engine setup in favour of a new one.

Any thoughts on what engine setup you think they should run next time around?

:Rod Chong

Mckeelin Brothers Land Speed Racing Blog

Bonneville 2009 Stories on Speedhunters

Special August Speed stories



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Wow. That's an amazing car. I wonder how fast would it be when you put the Top Secret VK45 twin turbo engine. :)


easy! twin turbo vq35!!!!!




VR6 turbo? :D


426 HEMI !



or a bmw s85b50


No one could have guessed this Buick Inline 8! That's why it's great.


I like what Fabio said. I would make it a 540 C.I. all aluminum HEMI with a 8-71 blower with fuel injection. It may push the car pass light speed.



they need a vintage inline motor.


This is the first time I saw Straight 8 engine !


That thing needs a twin turbo VK!


SR20? Haha


rb26dett is what that car needs!


rb26dett is what that car needs!


They find a class for NA straight fours!


Lol at these responses. Most of you guys are obviously drift minded.

For an Engine, why not a Hudson Hornet 308 or my favorite, a JagiaR XK6 I6.

Or even an odd ball such as a Honda CBX1000. Won't be fast but, there must be a car with old motorbike power record.


Why not a good old CA?


That would be a fireball eight from an old Buick Roadmaster. Ancient engine with an edge. Funny to see such a powerplant in a somewhat newer vehicle. Props to the call on this mill. Definately down in the books as a one off creation.


Haha Bonnevilles all about innovation and what not, build a custom block and crank.. and mate two RB26's together to create the worlds first RB52DETT V12 =D Then go and stick it to Top Secrets V12 Supra ;)


lol when i saw what was under the hood!


Needs a ca18det and some spare shells


the McMeekin bros fail at offset........

lol. im joking


I'm with the above comment, I'd like to see a Hemi or a viper V10 in it.


Nissan L-series diesel.


how about a v12 from a jag?


v12 out of an 88 or so bmw 750i?


Rolls Royce Merlin?


That straight 8 fits great and looks even better! Love old inline engines. :) Cool car.


@ Ian. Shop called Rising uses just that diese engine. A 28 diesel crank made from steel, heavily massaged and stuffed and RB block. With a shorter rod, larger pistons she turns up 2.0 liters. Very short life engine with the stroke into it. More used in drag use over here.


if it has to be an inline engine.... one of those inline 12 or 16 cylinder wwII plane engines :) sure there was one of those in an oldie here in aus.... made some stupid 1000+ hp... would be the grouse for salt flats :)


Uhm, not sure if you guys are listening, but this is the FASTEST s13. Those other engines you guys were naming - I'm pretty sure it doesn't stand a chance. S13 has a light chasis that is being powered by that... monstrosity so rb26det won't stand a chance.


I have hit 150mph with a sr20 on the interstate on stock engine and trans. So that inline 8 made soooo much power it blasted up to 158 in 5sec and they ran out of gear? yeah right. It prolly doesnt make enough power or turn the rpms to push a car over 160. It is the fastest S13 only because no one else (that has the $$$$$) plays with s13s would do this really, they are all drift, drag, or road race. I can guarantee the mazworx cars make far more power  and umm one of them reaches  what like 180mph in 7sec?  with a sr20! A built rb26 with the right gearing in that car will hit at least 250mph.

Props to the guys who built the car, there is plenty of outstanding work done.... just put a better engine in it.


That's a video of the straight 8 in this car running.


im sure theres some funny reason theyve gone to so much trouble to put that straight 8 in, but ive gotta agree with blobber4life in that 150mph is pretty darn considering these people specialise in making THE fastest outright speed cars in the world! im sure people with SR's and even CA's have hit 150mph! i mean how about the r33 driving through that tunnel in japan which hits 300kmh!


simple - GM LSX crate motor.

General Motors Performance Parts have already made 2,048hp reliably with a destroked twin turbo 454 LSX crate engine (destroked to 408ci).(Sept. 2009 issue of super chevy magazine)

And any true Nissan fan knows the S-chassis love the 3rd & 4th gen small block chevy v8's (LS motors)


GAA Sherman Tank V8. WWII vintage, 1,100 ci V8. In the '40s, it was rated at 500 hp and 1,050 ft. lbs.....without any power adders. With new heads, intake, exhaust, a big turbo (or two, or four!) this thing would destroy ALL. (^_^ )


How 'bout a tuned Porsche 911 turbo engine such as RuF or Sportec, mounted in the front? That would sure be different, and companies such as Sportec, Switzer, etc make ones with over 1000hp. Compact, low center of gravity, plus could reduce the frontal area of the car.


wonder how it would be to drift with that engine....


I saw this car when I was at Bonneville in '07. Talked with one of the Mckeekin bros for quite a while, very nice folks.

What most of the people here don't understand is that the engine choice has as much to do with the record as the chassis it's in. These guys take a unique approach as the S13 isn't something you see on the salt, then they compete in a vintage engine class. With a more modern engine choice the records can be quite high and thus the cost to be competitive that much greater.

Readers should also take into account that adding boost also puts you into a whole different class.

Either way these guys are out there doing it, that's what counts.


Maybe there is some other class that they can run with a classic HEMI V8. They did run in other class with better results. I have a 200sx (s13 with a ca18det) but if i had the chance...


Why an american engine?

Why not a vintage Japanese engine?


Have you ever come across someone that you consider "old" who continues to harp on about how


Have you ever come across someone that you consider "old" who continues to harp on about how