#FeatureThis: An S13 Goes Full Kustom
Another S13?

Another S13? Haven’t we already seen enough of those? That might be a question you ask when you see this story, and I can’t blame you for that. With the massive popularity of a car like the Nissan S-chassis comes the very real possibility of over-saturation. Is there anything that hasn’t been done to these cars yet?


It’s a very valid point, and when you have something with a fanbase as large as the S13, it can be hard to find people doing something new and exciting with these cars. However, if you look hard enough you’ll find that such cars do exist and as evidence I present this Nissan 240SX based out of Southern California.


The car is built and owned by Southern California’s Kyle Ranauro and whether you’re talking about the US, Japan or elsewhere, it’s one of the most complete and interesting S13 builds I’ve seen in quite some time.


I spotted the car in October during the Slammed Society show at Formula Drift Irwindale and it immediately won me over with its bold image and more importantly its combination of drift, VIP and even hot rod elements.


While there were plenty of cool machines that came out to Irwindale, choosing Kyle’s S13 as our #FeatureThis award winner was not a difficult choice. Along with a slick trophy, I awarded Kyle with an advance copy of our #JoyOfMachine book and then we dispatched Larry Chen to photograph the car so we could break it down in detail.

Mixing roots

Kyle grew up idolizing American cars and lowriders, and that’s where a lot of the inspiration for this build came from. Later as a middle school student he discovered the 240SX and immediately fell in love with the rear-wheel drive Nissan. Like so many of us, he soon found himself scouring Japanese book stores for Drift Tengoku videos and learning as much about Japanese tuning culture as he could.


Prior to this car, Kyle has owned two other 240SXs – an S14 and an S13 coupe. He’d always wanted to build an S13 hatchback, and when he came across a base car with no sunroof and manual windows he jumped on it. Thus began a five-year process of working on the car on and off in his garage, with the final product being the machine you see here.


If it’s not the car’s outrageous stance or aggressive bodywork that catches your eye first, it might be the hood – which as you can see has more than its fair share of metal louvers spread across it.


“I love louvers”, Kyle says. “I also hate fiberglass hoods. Nothing fits like a metal hood.” There you have it.


And when you open that louvered hood, you won’t find an SR20DET swap or an LSx V8 swap. You won’t find a turbocharged Nissan or Toyota inline six swap either. Kyle has instead stuck with the 240SX’s original KA24DE engine.


But this KA24 has been heavily modified and doesn’t bear much resemblance to the ‘truck motor’ that Nissan decided to put in all of the S13s and S14s exported to North America.


The once modest 2.4 liter workhorse has been fully built, and is now bored .020 over with a decked block and head, JE pistons, Carillo rods, Jim Wolf cams and a whole lot more.


Additional power comes from a Garrett 3071 turbocharger with a Tial 44mm wastegate. The intake manifold is from Xcessive Manufacturing and the turbo manifold is from JGS, while a Greddy intercooler sits up front.


The engine is mated to a rebuilt and reinforced five-speed transmission with an Exedy clutch and power heads to the ground through a NISMO two-way mechanical LSD.

Maximum low

The car’s ridiculously low ride height comes from a set of Parts Shop Max competition coilovers with H&R springs. Larry tells me that it’s by far the lowest car he’s ever photographed, with not a shred of daylight visible beneath it.


Aside from the coilovers, Parts Shop Max also provided the rear toe arms, rear upper camber arms and knuckles. Other chassis and suspension upgrades include Kazama rear track links, Ikeya Formula tie rods, Megan lower control arms and a whole lot more.


Then comes the wheels. They are Schwert SC4s from Work, which probably aren’t the first wheel you think of when it comes to S13s. But that’s what makes them work so well here.


Making them stand out even more is the custom pinstipring that’s been applied to the outer lips of the wheels. It’s just one of the many unique little touches found all over this car.


The wheels measure 18″x 9.5 up front and 19″x10.5 in the rear, and if you can take your eyes off them for a moment, you’ll notice the 300ZX TT brakes lurking behind.


As for the body, the car is running a full kit from VIS along with BN Sports blister fenders – 30mm in the front and 50mm in the rear.


Let’s not forget the Altezza lights out back. It’s not an easy look to pull off, but Kyle’s done it well.

Kustom drift?

Last but not least there’s a BN Sports hatch which gives the car a completely unique profile with its gun slit rear window. I’m sure you’ve noticed the pinstriping as well.


The striping was done by Manny from Manny’s Auto Art and can be seen throughout the car.


You can even see it on things like the front strut towers and on the back of the driver’s seat.


Inside, the car has a six-point Auto Power roll cage, a Bride Zeta III seat and a 330mm Nardi steering wheel.


Kyle also made a one-off cluster using a selection of Autometer ES Series gauges, which look rather cool when lit up.


The spot where the stereo once sat is now occupied by a custom panel to house the car’s Blitz SBC i-D sequential boost controller.


Now that he has the car looking the way he wants it, Kyle is planning to get behind the wheel and work on his driving. Later on he plans to evolve the look into something that he says will be even crazier.


There are certainly those out there who would rather eschew the more popular platforms in favor of a car that’s a little more unique or obscure, but sometimes it’s just as rewarding to take a common car and do something unusual with it.


Along with its bitchin’ style, that’s the thing I love most about Kyle’s 240SX. He’s managed to take the venerable S13 platform and prove it still has plenty of creative life left in it.



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The hood is a bit strange but other than that its a sweet little S13. Love me some pinstripes, and that rear hatch is absolutely rad as hell!

turbo BEAMS ae86

Nice!!!  Love s13!


No offense, but I had a good laugh in regards to the metal hood having a good fit when all I see is a finger thick gap all the way around both bumpers!
The rest of the car is really unique, love the BN sports hatch and the pin-stripping fits the car's personality so well. Nice to see an S13 being treated well!

Seeking Perfection

For me, the custom pinstriping on the wheels is the biggest highlight. Props to the owner for having such an impeccable taste and mixing all those details harmonically. 
It makes miss this >> 


Appreciate the work, hate the style. Owned a few rough, tough, and swapped street S13s, and know the work that went into this. Kudos on the effort. The hood is nuts.


That hoods not finished surely? Punched panels riveted over the stock hood, no blending, no finesse... hardly kustom. However, the striping is lovely, just misplaced here but then I'm a traditionalist. I'll get back to leading over my trim holes...


i love what he's done with the engine. i am not a nissan purist but i know that there are many options available for the usdm s chassis cars n sticking with its particular motor n boosting it is awesome. i also like what he did with the gauges.


All that work and they can't get the panel fitment right or do a proper louvered hood. Lame.


This one is not my vibe.


The rest while not my thing is clean as, the inner wheel arch / bottom of the shock tower is a mess!


It's daring to do something so different. Seeing something that looks like its from TAS 10 years ago sliding would be awesome. I like that he went back in time a bit and went with a show car look with tucked wheels rather than a lot of poke and negative camber. Then there is the downside to this build. If you slide with that height and the kit is going to be ripped to shreds.The rivets on the bonnet and rear wide body totally destroy the smooth look this car nearly pulls off. That hatch is certainly unusual, but doesn't tie in with thick black edge around the rear quarter windows. Then there is the rough cut in the front bumper. Don't tell me it is for cooling because neither it, nor the main opening look to be ducted. This is more like a pig with a paint job than anything else. Imagine it with dents, shitty paint and you will see what I am talking about.


Not what I would do with a car, but it still puts a smile on my face. I guess if it was what I would do with a car then the article would be about me. Blown away by the quality, top notch stuff. I also love the pin-striping.


xrockonx what do you mean? because the panels are riveted in and not welded and ground flush? I guess it doesnt bother me so much because seeing the work that went in everywhere else It seems more like a choice instead of "he wasn't capable", you know?


shiftyXTI This was a setup that was ready to drift. Both front and rear bumpers were not bolted on, but held on with zipties. The bumpers will come off super easy when he goes off course.


@Seeking Perfection He just took that car out to All Star Bash!


Vilko That is the whole point with this car. Have you see this car? 


The philosophy behind this car is that it will evolve as it gets damaged. The reason why the owner wanted to shoot the car when we did was because this weekend he is taking it to a drift event at Willow Springs to drive it super hard. This car was meant to be driven and then eventually rebuilt into something else when it gets too thrashed.


xrockonx Panel fitment was perfect. The bumpers were ziptied on because it was heading to a drift event right afterwards.


Wow. I'll say that I'm impressed. 

Not that I'd go with that stance, but I give big points for the originality. 
I dig the color, the hood is very unique along with the MR2-ish rear window and above all using the KA24. 

Tip my hat to the owner/builder.


Oh and the pinstripes are the perfect touch.


whooa.. im so confused. have fun with it!


man some harsh critics in here.  this car is purposely a mix between several styles so why are people complaining about things like panel fitment when it is not a dedicated show car or ride height when its not a competition ready drift car? this build touches on several areas of customization without painting itself into an automotive corner.  AND it does it all pretty damn well.

I applaud the builders creativity, presentation, and open mindedness.  the owner obviously is cool with mixing it up and so should you (some of you sound like an old man yelling at kids for walking on your grass).  that's why I read SpeedHunters, to expose myself to new styles, genres, history of all things automotive so I can hopefully build my next project better.


Larry Chen Vilko im okay with this.


This screams "I don't know what I'm doing"


The most unique s13 I've ever seen.


Pancakes thats the standard factory seam sealer, he hasn't painted the actual engine bay by the look of the standard grey colour


cool. good color choice.


Action pics or it's just an overbuilt show car by another guy who owns a 240 and thinks he is a "drifter".

"Yeah I'm gonna drift it."


Action pics or gtfo.


I like the bolts on the roll cage


@byron because do it the best you can or don't even bother


This car is very stylish and I like the unique color but it is still an S13 with mostly typical bolt-on stuff. The pinstriping is very cool, but the louvered panels riveted onto the hood look cheezy. I get that it's a nod to Kustom style, but Kustom is defined by a high level of finish while these look very unfinished, so I think they miss the mark in that respect. The hatch is "unique" as in most people don't go for it but it is still just a bolt-on affair and not "Kustom" either. Really the only Kustom aspect is the pinstriping which looks awesome. Drifting is no excuse for ziptie'd saggy body parts. Hopefully the owner is pleased, whatever he does with this vehicle.


There's a lot of things on this car that I wouldn't do to my 240 if I owned one, but for that reason, I love it! Very original. Nice.


I just noticed the wheel wells aren't tubbed.... good luck drifting THAT!


this is the best colour and styl for s13 i ever seen!!


Larry Chen  The rest of the car is very tastefully done so that makes more sense. I'm glad to hear that he's not afraid to beat on the car, with a paint job like that, I admit I would be a little apprehensive to battle it out sideways, much respect to Kyle!


Oh dear, that's not gone well.


S13 are like belly button everybody got one and im sorry but this one is stupid ugly


What is he supposed to do? He did what 20% of 240sx owner did which is "Do what they want and what they like" Not like the other percentage of kids that get an s13 or 14 and do what they "See" a 240 "HAS" to look like.Every fukn 240 looks exactly the same, 1 inch off the ground, horrible suspension, retarded useless camber that looks cool but is gonna be the cause of them rear ending someone, hydroplaning or not being able to stop in time because there contact patch is the size of a dime, Hella FAG FLUSH wheels a stupid train handle hanging off the tow hook, an SR20 of course and a huge lightsaber of a shift knob that almost hits the headliner. Judging by how many cookie cutter s13s i seen since 98' till now, Im guessing thats how dude's like you and most of the 240 owners that got caught in the " Its the hot shit right now, I GOTTA HAVE ONE fad, know what a 240 looks like. The guys that see whats the dope shit right now becuase they don't KNOW WHAT TO DO and just goes with the rest of the crowd. Just give the dude props for being different and doing what he wants with HIS money and stop being a grumpers. . .


BS on the drifting bit. Of course, I'd love to be proven wrong with even 1 photo of the car in action.




LV wrapped engine.
Because Paris Hilton.


Its hideous , looks like an overdone car you'd see on a videogame


not my cup of tea...but cus i aint no hater...props for doing something different!


JForan Those are coming soon.


@thefirelizard I will post one when I get one. Next week is Just Drift at Willow Springs.


on a track?


Awesome ride! Definitely a lot of time, money, and planning went into this S13. Huge props on the bodywork and color. You also have balls driving around that low with no air ride!
P.S. Don't worry about all the haters cause they just mad that one of your wheels are worth more than there car!!!!!!!!!


Ugly as hell...

Paint and hood are horrible

Definitly a "not what to do" on a S13...


I love it. You did something unique and that in itself is an achievement. those who don't respect a build like this because of the way it looks just don't get it. I have major respect for anyone willing to go against the norm. and the result is amazing. good work. don't let haters get you down.


definitely lots of cool touches and I really like the general theme. love the color. not a big fan of body kits in general, so i'm sorta bias against this one.

I just can not believe that this car gets driven. seems completely impossible to drive on any road with even the slightest irregular surface.
and the louvers, I always thought the old-school rodders have a louver-pressing machine that punches the shape into an existing panel, one louver at a time. I didn't know you could just buy a big louvered piece of metal and tack it on.  I think doing some actual welding and grinding would make the hood 1000 times better looking.
cool build nonetheless! thumbs up!


Wild 240. Thats a scary looking hood tho.


Someone please tell what body kit this is is !!! It says it's a vis but i dont think the b speed kit is that aggressive ?!


Not my cup of tea even though it's colored like it ha.


This car is very unique and I'm thankful it is.


Yea its a b-speed