Car Feature>> Henry’s S12 (not An ’86)

It's always when you least expect it that you fall into love. It's never when you're out on the prowl looking for it. It just happens. This was the case for Henry Nguyen as he was going about looking for a car to get him to and from school. 

At first glance, from the front, you'd think this was one of them Toyota Corolla tofu-carrier things, but you'd be wrong.

Another glance, but from the rear, shows you what sort of animal you're really dealing with….

Henry stumbled upon this S12 Nissan 200sx beater which he picked up for a basic A-to-B people mover price of $800. 

In the blink of an eye, his relatively stock 200sx transformed into a completely different animal and in even a quicker blink of an eye, that $800 multiplied itself a couple of times. 

But hey, when you fall in love, you tend to do crazy things, no?

This S12's stance has been brought to you buy a set of S13 coil overs form Powered by Max, the same brand that Team Need for Speed's Matt Powers runs on his Formula D S14! Day Motorsports weld-on threaded perch was used for the rear spring: 450lb 4x5in rear spring (Henry only used the adjustable shock from the rear coil overs). S13/Z31 prothane bushings replaced all the oem bushings. S13 SPL tension rods, S14 tension rod brackets, S13 front lower control arms, S13 front knuckles, A1 tie rod ends and Powered by Max steering rack spacers also helped bring the whole suspension setup to a rather slide-able condition.

The brakes were upgraded with calipers from an Infiniti Q45. 

Henry chose a great mix of wheels for a really classic look. Hayashi Streets 15×8 +0 with a 5mm spacer and 195/50/15 Yokohama S-drives sit perfect in the front… 

…whereas the rear has a set of SSR MKIII 15×9 -17, with added 10mm spacer, and 205/50/15 Falken Ziex 512.

The S12s original engine and transmission was swapped out for an S13s KA24DE and transmission. Henry originally wanted to boost the motor and proceed to slide the car about at the local race tracks, but after going to this year's All Star Bash and seeing a few S13s rock it out and have an absolutely blast with just stock KAs, he was inspired to stay naturally aspirated. The engine has been relatively untouched because of that.

The spec list that Henry sent me included this item: "hockey puck motor mounts."

'Nuff said.

An S13 front drive shaft was mated with an S12 tail shaft which allowed the KA and C trans to bolt right in. Henry also did the budget-drifter thing and welded his diff. It's cheap and it works. When you're on a top ramen budget, those modifications are as effective as it gets! 

I do have to admit that the drawings on the valve cover and through out the engine bay add a very cool and personal touch. 

I've been told that the skinnier character without a shirt is none other than Yuta Akaishi. The owner of That 240z!

An S13 and S14 strut bar was rewelded together so it can be bolted up into the S12s strut towers. Totally lovin' the spray painted on pink hearts!

The interior of the car has been stripped out and a lot of personalized interior decorating has happened. A 340mm Nardi Classic replaces the stock wheel. It is fitted on with a Circuit Sports S13 short hub and NRG quick release. 

A finger monster has taken over the windshield wiper stalk.

The gear lever, as with parts of the door skins have been wrapped in wood vinyl. Totally tacky, totally not wrapped well, but it surprisingly, it matches the rest of the car very well. The Razor scooter handle cover on the e-brake is an amazing contribution to the interior's eclectic nature.

I'm happy to report that the digital cluster works with the KA24! The car would've lost a good portion of its magic if the digital gauges had to go. Though, an old school mechanical HKS water temp and oil pressure gauges were installed just incase those finicky digital cluster, from the future-according-to-the-1980s, stops working for some odd reason….

In the typical daily driver and weekend road warrior fashion, the driver seat has been replaced with a bucket seat. A Bride VIOS III is as comfortable as bucket seats can get!

Here's Henry looking super cool with a cigarette hanging off his lips. 

Like I've mentioned earlier, this isn't a car that just sits pretty. Henry gives this car a good life and takes it out on exciting dates every couple of weekends. What a guy!

Being a Speedhunter gives me the opportunity to see the whole gamut of things automotive related: from professional race cars to cars from college-bound car enthusiasts on instant Ramen budgets. As mind blowing as those professionally built race and show cars are, for some reason, I find that the eccentric and eclectic cars built by the Joe Schmoe-everyday-man, like this very S12, is much more tangible, than those with huge budgets, for the simple fact that you can connect to it so easily. 

You walk around a car like this S12 and see all the little imperfections that you would normally not see in a laboratory clean big budget car. And it's exactly those imperfections that humanize the car and with that very humanization, we instantly connect with it and fall for it.

It's never the super model that we fall in love with, it's always the girl next door.




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thats a 200SX, not a 240SX


engine drawings = +5 whp



Congrats baby doll!


Beautiful. Just that.

This is the first time that I'll be really happy if we could have every photo in wallpaper size, cause they are, at least, as beautiful as the 12. (Well, with just the 1º and the 3º ones, I'll be happy enough :P)


This car has just so much character. Thats what I like the most of low budget build cars, they are not perfect in any way, but they are a lot more interresting than alot of those big money show cars.


sweet!, looks great!, i love that car


sic with it.

diggin' that last line, " It's never the super model that we fall in love with, it's always the girl next door. "

went perfect with the showing.


Ive seen this car in super street acouple months back & I have to say I fell in love with how original and stylish this piece of machinery is.....the minute i saw it i knew this was not guna be the last i would see of this ride.....Ive seen it already on many drift sites......Gr8 job on this ride Henry its just simple and down right perrrrfect!


That was a great read, nothing better than home grown builds like these..


Wallpaper on the first picture pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasssssssssssssssssssseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee


He swapped out the Namco wheel.. I like the Nardi wheel better in a way though


S12 is a 200SX not 240SX. Even though it has a 2.4l now.


Insane photos, insane car, insane write-up :-o


love those type of features...amazing car!!


Congrats to my boy Henry on the feature!!

NEW DESKTOP of his awesome S12!!!


Go KA-T!!!!!!!


Cool writeup, awesome car, and mind blowing photos as per usual from you Linhbergh~

One mistake though "A Bride VIOS III is as comfortable as it gets bucket seats can get!"


i've never thought this car was anything special. probably because of the minor width of the wheels and not enough stretch. it just doesn't do it for me.



all these photos are amazing.

possible to get the first or last rolling shot as a desktop?


that is a surprise - looks really cool


josh, your comment is full of negativity.

HENRY! sweet car man. this shoot/writeup just made me go look on ebay for an s12


So good to see a Gazelle getting some love, overlooked way to often. Rocking rare as wheels in frankly awesome specs, all it needs now is an SR under the hood.

Ridiculously awesome photos as always as well


im stealing the wood wrapped gear shift idea...


being tacky=priceless!lol.

Live the car and love the pics,Wall Papers of just about every pic please?


Cool car... lots of character. Definitely my style.


please dessktop... pretty neat, sober, awesomee!


wow, beautiful car, wallpaper please!


best looking s12 stateside. love the wheel combo


another great write up from linghberg , thanks man, this was excelent


yeah I love this car, and great article too. I like the conclusion. :D


Awesome three last sentences!


Gotta be the only S12 i would happily look at, the title is well deserved actually lol i honestly thought it was a kouki trueno untill i past the first picture!!


Bigupps man! Much respek!


Please, 2th, 8th and 10th photo, for desktop! PLEASE, PLEASE


Wallpaper on 1st and last one please.


Love this S12!

This car has character and Uniqueness all over the place.

Very much my style of car.



Props man! I occasionally see u + Yuta around SJ and this has always been my favorite S12 around the Bay. Love it bro!


just perfect s12




mismatched wheelz are ghetto, uncool is not the new cool. car would be 10x better with a matching set of either wheels, but 2 pairs of really cool wheels dont add up to a full set of decent ones.


first time i saw this car on the net it had a Namco (


You walk around a car like this S12 and see all the little imperfections that you would normally not see in a laboratory clean big budget car. And it's exactly those imperfections that humanize the car and with that very humanization, we instantly connect with it and fall for it.

It's never the super model that we fall in love with, it's always the girl next door.




short and sweet! best write-up yet! infact i made some ramen just before i logged on! "imperfections are perfect". idk who said that but it holds true!


It used to be an AE86 but it's grown in s12 ))))


This is why I am a die-hard nissan fan.


Great looking car. nice little details and personal touches all over it. nice to see an S12 Gazelle done for something different too..

Fantastic pictures btw - the first one would be great as a desktop ;)


I think an individual throttle body SR20 would be a cool idea for a car like this. I belive the Nissan Sunny in Japan came with a SR20 with I.T.B. & turbo set up straight from the factory, I think a transplant from a car like that might also best fit a old school ride like this one.


Even makes the spoiled kids wet. My s12 is soo much better then my s13 was.


LOL @ "hunters13"

Henry has more full sets of baller wheels than Jay-Z has problems.


Wallpapers pleaseeeeeee!!!


i need one of these in my life !!


isnt that the same S12 featured in Super Street a couple of months back?


one of this year's favs...


I have an s12, 50mm custom fender flairs, 6 point cage, megan coils, SR20DET with twin turbos from a 99 vr4 3000gt, 550cc injectors, external WG, and an air to water intercooler. Can I do a Blog for the next round of the DMCC West pro drift event?


lol @ yuta, this from the guy who thinks the busted and broke look is the new cool

if he has full sets of cool wheels, he should just be cool then and put a full set on

i guess maybe it's a fad for guys with s12's or other older cars to look un-cool. and try to be cool? whatever. my buddy's 240z is cool. and doesn't look like a pile. anyone can look like crap. it's easy.

anyways this s12 needs a real engine, not a handmedown.


dmcc 28: That sounds great! Send me an email at :D


I didn't know the s12 could look so good!


i love this guy an car, both inspire me,

go old school JDM!!!


All these years of never seeing a modded s12, finally! My first car and first love. *sniff*


one of my favorite cars ever




those shots are.. wow... ugh.



Had me fooled and thought it was an AE86.

This S12 looks really nice!


It great to see those car features for those cars that aren't the usual s13/14, r34 etc. The guy took a relatively ignored car and made it into a real classic!! Great feature!


making us viet proud! good stuff mideng!



Highway 9 is a beautiful road !


this car makes me happy in bad places, thats it im finding an s12 to put my ka-t in instead of having 2 s13's! great writeup and unique ride


Really heartbraker!


It made me want to go outside and hug my beat up s13. Home build ftw


yep like most people though at fist glance it looks like a AE86, but those rear tails let you know.. i actually forgot about these cars.. very very rare now.. but i bet now they'll start coming out of the woodwork - very individual car you own here.. love those wheels - both sets.. Heartbreaker indeed!! Oh io clocked this on MotorMavens a little while ago.. the pics weren't as good as these!!


Awesome Car with a ShitTON of Character

Def a Nominee for Car of the Year...


Congrats Henry!




This one is a game changer for all S12's..... take note!


totally awesome street car. luv it!


Car looks amazing!

And i love flipping through your blog at times. Much love for the 'lowly' S12 you transformed this into!


I want one...


In the words of the worst pirate you've ever heard of: "but you HAVE heard of me".

leave a link or at least an email address if you're gonna talk shit.


technically its not a 200sx. since its got a 2.4l engine its a 240sx. thats why they named them 240's in america and 180's in austrailia (primarily). the 180sx's have ca18(d)e's in them. S13's with Sr's are dubbed 200sx's.


Well done usual!


Cheap Cars


harry logan

Cheap Cars


In our line of work, conflicting dates is something we have to work around. After all there are only so many weekends in a year. While Rod and Linhergh headed to Sonoma to shoot Formula Drift over the weekend, it was decided that I'd hang around SoCal


There’s stupid, extremely stupid, ridiculously stupid, Dark Helmet approved, ludicrously stupid


I always love visiting shops and car builders. You see customer cars, cars that are being built and cars


Hi, my name is Andre. Im from Portugal, and i've been looking for an S12 like this... And when I saw this post... I just fell for it! My dad owns a 180SX S13, (my current car ;) ) but this S12.. Wow... I thought about importing one, since its really hard for nice cars to come by, here. Do you have any idea how I can get one? Even on sites like autoscout24 this cars are disapearing. Help please...


It would be my own first car :D


 @Andre Leal it's rare to see one of those..absolutely an amazing car tho..


Does anyone know where there is any video of him drifting? Would really like to see this car slide


Why would anyone swap a KA in a rolla?


Why would anyone swap a KA in a rolla?


@MarkReuterskiold Because it's a Silvia?


@MarkReuterskiold Naw man, that's DEFINITELY an 86, i know my japanese.......okay, maybe I'm done trolling, Corolla>S12 any day, I haven''t had an S12 yet but I've owned tons of the ae86 chassis. I do however like this one and would totally be down to do some skids with the guy if he ever makes it out to the midwest


@Andre Leal Make friends in the US and see if they can hook you up, they may be a little rare but there are plenty of them driving around, I'm sure some one will help, I can't since I'm in the Midwest, you would need someone from the west or southern states because they don't get snow so the cars will be clean


is there a wallpaper for the heading picture?


Here's my S12, got them two years ago.


I got an 88 s12 hatchback, v6 with the five speed manual trans, eagle aluminum 5 spoke rims, 4 inch muffler, needs a distributer but is an all around sound machine, text me at 417 274 9643


MarkReuterskiold  Uh, you DON'T know your Japanese...

THAT is a Silvia/Gazelle... nice try, and thanks for playing.


I saw the photo and I was like, "not another one" Then I saw "S12" and I was like. =D


Hey @Linhbergh you are one hell of a writer. 10 thumbs up, I've borrowed the thumbs of my friends for you ^ ^