This article on Adel's 200SX was originally published in issue #16 of Street Machine's LSX Tuner magazine, 2017
ADEL Khallouf openly admits he’s a Japanese-car guy, but like the rest of us, he loves the rumbling sound that only a V8 can give you. “I’ve always wanted to own a V8, I’ve always loved the sound of a V8, but I’ve always been into the Jap world,” he says.
Adel has some regrets about selling the VN, but he’s very happy with the impact the S14 creates wherever it goes: “When people see it they freak out. Anybody that sees it just falls in love with it; it’s an all-ages thing, but especially older people, the guys that love their V8s. They don’t like Japanese cars, but when they see the V8 in the Japanese car they’re like: ‘Wow!’”
He’s fixed that now with this wild S14-series 200SX packing a turbocharged LS3 making nearly 750rwhp, although it took him a while to come over to the pushrod dark side.
“A couple of years ago I had the same type of car built into a two-litre and had an accident in it,” he says. “I got rid of it and was out of the whole car scene for a year or two. I hung out with a few of my mates that had turbo LS Commodores and, from there, I had a vision in my head that my next build was definitely going to be a V8, but I wasn’t sure which car I wanted to do – I just knew it had to be something different to what was out there.
“I bought a VN Commodore that was mini-tubbed and had a nine-inch in it, and got the turbo LS3 motor and ’box built for it, but it just wasn’t working for me. I sold it as a rolling shell and bought the S14, and went to go and build a two-litre for it. Then I realised: ‘Hang on, I’ve already got everything, why don’t we just make it happen and put it all together?’”
If there are any S14 restorers out there, don’t get too upset about what Adel has done. As he puts it: “It was a bucket of shit when I got it.” It had been sitting in someone’s backyard for years, had been damaged in an accident and the body was really, really rough. In other words, it was the perfect car for the project.
You would think stuffing a V8 into a car originally equipped with a four-cylinder would be a tight squeeze but, thanks to Nissan’s compact suspension design, there’s actually quite a bit of room. “There’s actually more room than in the Holden,” Adel says. “I’ve also got a VF SS and it’s a lot easier to do the plugs on the S14 than in the VF. The S-series cars actually have a really wide engine bay between the struts, so the only thing we had to modify was the tunnel because the Turbo 400 is much, much bigger than the factory gearbox.”
The engine copped a bit of love internally as well with a few choice upgrades to help with reliability. There’s a hot cam, Crow Cams pushrods, retainers and double valve springs, and a high-volume oil pump
What wasn’t covered by the CS Engineering LS conversion kit, the guys at SDR Fabrications handled, including the mods to the firewall and trans tunnel. The car was then sent off to Queen Street Customs to get finished off. “They did the whole restoration on the car; shaved the bay, painted the ’cage and car, did the undercarriage – pretty much the whole thing,” Adel says. “I went to Nissan and got all new window moulds and door rubbers and put all the genuine stuff back on there.”
Without doubt, the crowning glory on the whole build is the Plazmaman LS Pro-Series intake and 100mm throttlebody – a thing of beauty that Adel just couldn’t resist: “I was running the factory intake, but I went to Plazmaman to get some clamps because I don’t like the rubber hoses,” he says. “When I walked in there was one sitting on display on the bench, and it was like: ‘For God’s sake, why?’ So I said: ‘Please, can you pack me a black one?’”
It was one very expensive impulse buy, but you have to admit it was money well spent. “I really bought it just for the looks, but the extra power it gave me was just a bonus,” Adel says. “Any show the car ever goes to, once the bonnet pops up and everyone sees the intake they just freak out.”
To fit the GTX4508R turbo, the sheet metal underneath was cut out and refabricated to make space. “I reckon the ’45 is about as big as the whole SR20 engine was!” Adel laughs
Speaking of the bonnet, how about that reverse-cowl? Adel’s not just trying to fit in with all the cool kids; it was born from necessity, but unlike most, not for clearance: “We didn’t actually do the scoop to clear the intake. The car was originally finished with a factory bonnet but we had overheating issues at the start. LS engines get very hot and it started to melt the wiring harnesses in the engine bay. Because it had the Welds I couldn’t go with one of those scooped Jap bonnets.”
The brakes have been upgraded massively, with Alcon six-piston calipers up front, as well as the booster and master cylinder from a much larger R33 Skyline GT-R, with custom braided lines used all ’round
When the idea came up, Adel wasn’t sure if it was going to look right, but it ended up being a case of form following function – something had to be done about the heat issues. “If it looks good, it looks good. If it doesn’t, I’m just going to have to suck it up and deal with it. When it actually got done and put on the car I was absolutely in love with it.”
Another feature that separates it from the crowd is the fact it’s not a fibreglass job. The cowl was actually fabricated from steel by Lowe Fabrications in Sydney, and then welded to the original bonnet.
With a 10.3 timeslip already under his belt the one and only time he’s hit the track, Adel knows there’s a lot more in it once he gets used to the car. “I took off with the foot brake, came on and off it three times, backed off way before the finish line and rolled through. When I got back and got my timeslip I thought: ‘Wow! I was definitely was not expecting that!’”
When you consider the car has made 740hp on a hub dyno on just 12psi, it’s not surprising that it went so quick. “I kind of wanted to push it a bit more, but to be honest, it actually scares the living hell out of me the way it is right now!”
The standard plastic cabin trim has been swathed in black suede, while later S15-series seats and door trims got the nod. There’s also an Aeroflow lever to operate the Simpson parachute, while an ANDRA tech-approved ’cage and side bars keep Adel safe. He watches engine vitals on a Haltech IQ3 Racepak dash
Sounds like Adel got the fusion of Japanese styling and good ol' American muscle just right.
To fit the LS3, Adel used a conversion kit from CS Engineering, with a VX Gen III LS1 sump fitted under the Gen IV motor. Jammas Auto Sports built the 6.2-litre LS3 with a reverse-pattern ‘turbo cam’ given the nod, though the rest of the bottom-end has been left alone. The rectangle-port heads already flow 320cfm out of the box, though they copped Crow double valve springs and pushrods to ensure they’ll handle boost properly.
Said boost is supplied by a full-frame Garrett GTX4508 billet-wheeled turbo, with a 50mm external wastegate preventing over-boosting problems. Charge-air is cooled by a custom Plazmaman front-mounted intercooler with the company’s awesome heavy-duty billet clamps.
More billet porn comes from the Plazmaman Pro-Series high-rise intake matched to same-brand billet fuel rails holding ID 2200cc injectors. The squirters get their pump fuel from an Aeroflow 60L fuel cell packed with three Walbro 460 pumps, while a custom four-core radiator and shroud work with a 12-inch Spal thermo fan to keep the Silvia cool.
Maatouks Racing worked the laptop and the Haltech Elite 2500 ECU to wring 660hp on just 9psi and a healthy 740hp on 12psi, which is getting serious with the stock production aluminium block. Along with a Haltech wiring loom Adel also opted for a Haltech wideband sensor so he can keep an eye on air/fuel ratios, to prevent detonation killing the stock-bottom-end combo.
An Al’s Race Glides manualised TH400 auto with transbrake required a little clearancing in the trans tunnel. It’s fitted up to a custom converter, SRI flexplate and aftermarket bellhousing to the back of the LS3. Gears are banged by a B&M Stealth Ratchet shifter, while a billet tailshaft handles the pain from the engine.
While the stock Nissan R200 rear-end is known for being a strong unit, Adel had his upgraded with the cradle, diff and CV shafts from the bigger, meaner R32 GT-R Skyline.
He also opted to replace the arms with heavier-duty Slide Worx units that also removed the R32’s stock HICAS four-wheel steering.
The tough, understated pearl grey the Queen Street Customs crew sprayed the Nissan almost didn’t happen, as Adel wrestled with the choice of colour right up to the time the shell was due to be painted.
It’s a common problem for people building street machines, though Adel went to long lengths to pick the final colour, Meteor Grey off a Ford Ranger.
“If we’re going to start with the story about the colour, we’ll need a whole new magazine,” he laughs. “From the day I started building the car until the car got to the paint shop, got prepped and got to the booth, I changed the colour about 50,000 times and every single day I had a different colour in my head.
"The car was prepped, ready to go and I got a phone call: ‘Listen, there’s no more stuffing around, you’ve got two hours to come up with a colour, otherwise I’m going to paint it whatever I think is going to look good on it.’
“I said: ‘No, no. Give me a second.’ I don’t really like going through colours on paint chips; you always want to see the colour in the sun on an actual car. So I jumped in my car and drove down to Church Street, Parramatta, where all the caryards are, and I was running around like a headless chicken.
"About 100m away I saw something glowing; the colour looked so good that I can’t even remember what car it was! All I did was open up the door, take a photo of the paint code and sent it straight to the painter.”
1999 NISSAN 200SX S14
Ford Ranger Meteor Grey
Type: GM Gen IV LS3 6.2L
Inlet: Plazmaman LS Pro Series
Turbo: Garrett GTX4508R
Cam: Reverse-pattern turbo grind
Exhaust: Single 3.5in
Injectors: ID 2200cc
ECU: Haltech Elite 2500
’Box: Turbo 400 with transbrake
Converter: Custom Dominator
Diff: R32 Skyline GTR IRS cradle, diff and shafts
Shocks: Slide Worx custom coil-overs
Brakes: Alcon six-piston (f), GT-R Skyline (r)
Rims: Weld Racing V Series; 17x4.5 (f), 15x8 (r)
Rubber: Mickey Thompson (f), Mickey Thompson Radial Pro 275/50 R15 (r)