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Project 240 LSR,gram lights,  land speed racing, 200 mph club, scta, 240sx, s13, sr20det, chuck johnson, Annie Sam

Project 240SX Land Speed Racer:  The Best Laid Schemes of Mice and Men

By Chuck Johnson

If I could go back in time, I would ask myself, "What the hell were you thinking?" and then follow it up with a swift slap to the side of my own noggin.  In all fairness to myself though, how the hell was I supposed to see this coming?  Even "The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry."

 Project 240 LSR,gram lights,  land speed racing, 200 mph club, scta, 240sx, s13, sr20det, chuck johnson, Annie Sam

In the beginning of this perhaps irrational quest to conquer a land speed record, I somehow rationalized the purchase of another S13 hatch because I just "couldn’t bring myself to ruin another perfectly good street car."  It’s funny how life has a way of correcting you when you’ve made a wrong turn though.  In order to preserve my clean S13 street car, I bought another S13 only to instead end up having someone else ruin my original S13 for me.  WTF, Chuck?  I guess my crystal ball was overdue for calibration as I didn’t see that only a few months later, an uninsured motorist would cut a corner short and clobber the very S13 hatch I "couldn’t bring myself to ruin."  [Insert long string of profanities here.]  In the eyes of the insurance company, my S13 was a total loss.  

Project 240 LSR,gram lights,  land speed racing, 200 mph club, scta, 240sx, s13, sr20det, chuck johnson, Annie Sam, moto iq Project 240 LSR,gram lights,  land speed racing, 200 mph club, scta, 240sx, s13, sr20det, chuck johnson, Annie Sam, moto iq

This car has a lot of history, both personally with me and in the industry spot light.  Fresh out of College and completely unemployed, Joe Lu, now Moto IQ photographer and I, decided the smart thing to do was to invest in a project car.  Slightly mislead and perhaps partly moronic, we bought an S13 and then completed the SR20 swap in Joe’s Mom’s garage when we should have probably been looking for real jobs.  Instead of polishing resumes though, we spent our time detailing the build on the now defunct Nissan Performance Magazine.com, which by the way, eventually evolved into the website before you today.  I would like to think the S13 build helped Joe weasel his way into a marketing position at SEMA and me into an engineering position in the racing industry.  I guess we weren’t so dumb after all.

sport compact car magazine, grass roots, Project 240 LSR,gram lights,  land speed racing, 200 mph club, scta, 240sx, s13, sr20det, chuck johnson, Annie Sam, moto iq

A few years after the initial build, the S13 was featured in Sport Compact Car (SCC) Magazine’s, "Budget Bad Boys" issue where it was subjected to a battery of SCC testing.   As the S13 build continued to evolve, it was then featured in Grass Roots Motorsports Magazine and finally, made another appearance in the 20th anniversary issue of SCC.  IMO, it's every car guy's dream to have his car featured in print; this S13 managed it three times over.

dyno, jim wolf technology, Project 240 LSR,gram lights,  land speed racing, 200 mph club, scta, 240sx, s13, sr20det, chuck johnson, Annie Sam, moto iq  dyno, jim wolf technology, Project 240 LSR,gram lights,  land speed racing, 200 mph club, scta, 240sx, s13, sr20det, chuck johnson, Annie Sam, moto iq

With Toyo RA-1s wrapped around its 17" Gram Lights, it could easily pull over one lateral G on the skid pad.  And after it was done shredding the skid pad, it belted out a respectable 330 plus horsepower on the dyno with the help of a maxed out Garrett GT28RS and a slew of parts from Jim Wolf Technology. 

willow springs, jim wolf technology, Project 240 LSR,gram lights,  land speed racing, 200 mph club, scta, 240sx, s13, sr20det, chuck johnson, Annie Sam, moto iq

What I loved most about this S13 was how well rounded and versatile of a machine it was.  During its life, it saw action at both Willow Springs and Battle of the Imports while remaining dead reliable during thousands of miles commuting in brutal Los Angeles traffic.  Damn, I miss this car.  Nonetheless, sometimes sacrifices have to be made to accomplish greater things.

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Comments
8695Beaters
8695Beaterslink
Monday, July 09, 2012 3:13 AM
Sorry to hear about the old car Chuck. Losing any car is hard, more so when it's one that has a lot of sentimental value, and doubly so when someone else does the job for you. At least there was a silver lining to its loss.

You're not selling any parts off of it are you?
Wrecked
Wreckedlink
Monday, July 09, 2012 10:12 AM
That's a write off? Around here we call that a fender bender.

Did you not wish to fix it because it would end up with a salvage title?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, July 09, 2012 10:32 AM
The insurance company totaled it.
Wrecked
Wreckedlink
Monday, July 09, 2012 10:42 AM
So in California, once it is totalled there is no possiblity of repairing and relicensing it?
spdracerut
spdracerutlink
Monday, July 09, 2012 10:43 AM
Didn't know the Greddy oil pan was baffled. Good to know.
Rockwood
Rockwoodlink
Monday, July 09, 2012 11:52 AM
You can reconstruct it with a salvage title, but that requires a whole slew of inspections.

How the hell does the owner of a late model Acura like that not have insurance? Bastards!
Dusty Duster
Dusty Dusterlink
Monday, July 09, 2012 12:23 PM
Yeah, that car could probably be rebuilt in just about any state other than the People's Republic of Kalifornia...
Dusty Duster
Dusty Dusterlink
Monday, July 09, 2012 12:24 PM
You could just send it to me, though. I'm sure I could find an LSx to drop in it. :-D
Chuck Johnson
Chuck Johnsonlink
Monday, July 09, 2012 1:13 PM
Admittedly, this could have easily been repaired. There were three main issues that drove me to the decision of letting the car go.

1) The car would have had a salvage title and although the damage doesn't look that bad on the outside, the body shop felt it had frame damage. Lesson learned? Don't modify your bumper support to fit an intercooler!

2) I'm out of room in the driveway and was already trying to figure out, which car I was going to have to sell. My insurance paid me OK money for the car which made things a bit easier.

3) Time! Time! Time! We are really trying to get to Boneville this year to make some passes so sometimes sacrifices have to be made to achieve big goals. There are a lot of people who have pitched in labor, parts, expertise, and experience to support this project, so making it to speed week is is the least I can do in return.

I'm still debating on what to do with the shell. Right now it's shoved in a corner of the backyard where I don't have to see it. Mike wants the shell to convert into a race car, but honestly I'm not sure if it's worth his time. Besides, he has too many cars already!
8695Beaters
8695Beaterslink
Monday, July 09, 2012 7:16 PM
@ Rockwood: No insurance is how he was able to afford the Acura in the first place!

I bet your car isn't rusty, unlike my East Coast S13. Ugh, if it wasn't for stupid school...I'm really sick of working on and owning a rusty ass car! If I wasn't broke from getting my degree I'd totally take that car off your hands. However, if you're parting it out, I might be able to take some bits off your hands. I need some suspension and chassis parts. PM me if you decide to get rid of anything, especially interior.
Chuck Johnson
Chuck Johnsonlink
Monday, July 09, 2012 8:29 PM
Actually, the person driving the car didn't even own it. Neither the driver or the owner had insurance!

@8695beaters- I'm going to deal with parting out the shell during the winter after the season is finished and things settle down a bit. PM me if there is anything in particular you are looking for from the interior.
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Monday, July 09, 2012 8:35 PM
I's say give it to Mike, but I'd still rather see what he could do with a live-rear axle AE86 and a sick VQ or LS swap!
Rockwood
Rockwoodlink
Tuesday, July 10, 2012 9:33 AM
Did Martin come by and translate for you then? ;-p
Wes Dumalski
Wes Dumalskilink
Tuesday, July 10, 2012 11:47 AM
^ haha now that's funny!

Good luck on making speedweek Chuck!

wd
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