When the idea for this car was conceived, it was influenced by a couple of friends who had developed LS swaps for their own Nissan S-chassis builds local to the Bowling Green area. When you couple that with the news of a 3.2 mile road course announced to open in the next few years, the wheels in my head started turning. It was about that time that I started my career in the automotive space and I got to work on amassing parts for a transformation. I’ve been calling the car “Project LS2 S14” since I started working on the LS swap years ago. The car was used as a development vehicle for a Hooker LS engine swap kit that we sell at Holley Performance. The car ran great, but as these things sometimes go, there were some areas where corners were cut in order to get the car on the road. This is version 2.0 of the build.
The car’s designed purpose is to be able to hold its own at events likes USCA, SCCA, and Holley LS Fest. It’s being built to excel in all aspects of performance. A lot of enthusiasts tend to focus on building vehicles that do one thing well. This car, however, not only has to accelerate, but it also needs to be proficient at lateral acceleration, and braking. And as far as these things go, I also don’t want to take the build too far so that the enjoyment of driving it on a weekend cruise or the occasional date night out is unbearable. It is a car that will be dance the fine line between street car/race car.
I met Jesse through work actually. I was on the Hot Rod Power Tour back in 2012 I believe, in Stillwater Oklahoma. He had just finished his own personal project at the time, a silver S14 with a Kouki front end, full road cage, fuel cell, wing, big brakes, the whole package. It was then that I got to see what kind of work Jesse was capable of. We’ve kept in touch and worked on several projects together since then, the most recent of which is his LSA supercharged LS powered Square Body C10 shop truck. So when it came time for me to get my car back on the road, I knew exactly who to call on to get the intricate portions of the car done correctly.
Jesse will be rewiring the car from back to front in with a Racepak Street Smartwire kit. This will allow the deletion of the factory chassis wiring harness, which is 21 years old at present. It goes without saying that this upgrade alone will increase the reliability of the car, but it also helps in reducing unneeded weight and complexity of the factory bits. The tacky looking fuse box that normally resides on top of the fender on the passenger side of the engine bay will be gone, along with all the relays the car had when it left the factory. With those gone, the Smartwire will control all of the different electronic functions of the car through its solid state module. It is capable of controlling 30 outputs and 12 inputs, all of which are user-definable.
He’ll also be shortening up the Dominator EFI harnesses that, while working as they should, are a bit long when used in this type of car and could stand to be shortened. In the process, I’ll be changing to a Racepak IQ3S dash as my primary gauge panel, and relocating the Holley Digital Dash I was using before that to the double DIN radio area in the car. It will continue to be used for datalogging, any tuning on the fly that needs to be made, and for monitoring other parameters of the car that I don’t need right in front of me on the IQ3S.
He’ll also be helping with some other aspects from the fabrication side, where I lack expertise. We’re ditching the half-baked radiator shroud and fans I had on the car when he took delivery of it and replacing it with a better sealed, larger single fan design. Replacing the factory Nissan coolant overflow tank to something that works a bit more hot rod. He is also mounting the power steering and oil coolers the car will be running to ensure that it can stay out and play for the full duration of track session’s without dealing with performance hampering high temps.