Classic Revival: 1989 Nissan 240SX
Discover the allure of the 1989 Nissan 240SX in Stance Auto Magazine's exclusive feature. Uncover the epitome of a classic car revived, showcasing sleek design and impressive performance. Don't miss this timeless beauty
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Classic Revival: 1989 Nissan 240SX
1989 Nissan 240SX
Nadine Sachiko Hsu
Photographer: Marvin Recinos
Performance Stats: 300hp / 293 tq on 91 octane street tune by Blast Racing VIA Apexi Power FC
I was one of the 1st females to go drifting in the USA back in 2002. I founded an organization called Drifting Pretty in 2003, which taught women how to work on cars and race them. I stunt-doubled for Neela in Fast & The Furious Tokyo Drift and was one of the first women to compete in the Formula Drift Series in 2005. I am a lover of motorsports and have driven drag races, street races, go-kart, autox, road races and drift (which I most love!).
Last year I launched my children's book series called "Sachiko Goes Racing" which is about a little girl who drifts cars. I am teaching our kids through this book series about all the valuable life lessons I learned being a professional driver in a male-dominated motorsport and normalizing the fact that girls race cars. I just wrote the 2nd book in my series and it's currently on Kickstarter, please support book 2: Sachiko & The Bully!
I am currently the co-host & co-producer of the Sileightymania Podcast, which is a podcast about the history of Drifting. I also host my own podcast, The Drifting Pretty Podcast. I run a luxury portrait photography studio & own an accounting firm both in Arcadia, California.
I'm a mom of 4 girls and live happily married to Benson, who I met at a 240SX owners club meet back in 2000. In my free time, I donate photoshoots to non-profits, serve on the board of directors for my city's Chamber of Commerce, dance with an all-mom hip-hop crew and spend time with my 4 daughters and husband.
Before I got my Driver’s license, I would go with my friends to street races all over SoCal (1995/96). All the drivers were men except for one girl. She had a purple honda civic coupe and was killing it. I was inspired by her and longed to be a girl racer.
A distant relative sold me a Nissan 240SX for $500 when I got my license in 1997. I had plans of selling it so I could get a Honda Civic until I saw my 1st issue of Option 2 magazine (from Japan). The magazine had a 180SX on the cover (the JDM version of my S13 240SX) and it was then I fell in LOVE with the 240 and made it a goal to build her and get on covers of magazines.
Why I bought this Car and Customised it
The car chose me. A distant cousin sold it to me for $500 and told me to be careful because the car was “no good.” I was about to sell the car so I could get a Honda Civic until I happened to find Option 2 magazine, a super influential car mag from Japan. There were 240s all over the magazine, fully built and being used for drifting. I was so intrigued. It was then that I fell in love with all parts JDM for my 240 and wanted to rip off all the knockoff parts I had been throwing on the car and start my new JDM 180SX build.
What it feels like owning this car
This car has become an extension of me. My personality, memories ( good and bad) and evolution of style is all in this car. I got my driver’s license in this car…and did my 1st drag race, autox, road race and drift event in it. She’s travelled with me in the Formula D series (2005) and I’ve crashed her 3 times and has been 3 different colors: grey, red and pink. This car is sentimental and each time I drive her it brings back different memories of all the dope firsts I experienced with her. It's a dream come true to still have her today in top condition.
What makes my car Unique
4 things: The history of this car, the bolt-on front-end conversion, the color and the fact that this is female-styled and built. I got this car in 1997 and built it 3 times over from 1997-2006. She was my daily driver until 2005 when I drove Formula D in her. After that, I did the full color change to pink and only took her out a few times to go drift from 2006-2023. Largely she was kept on ice until now. She’s a time capsule that holds the style, prestige and not-to-mention rare JDM parts I acquired back in the early 2000’s.
She is an S13.5, which means she has an S13 chassis but the front end (headlights, radiator support and special fenders) is from an S15 (which is the newest 240 in Japan they made from 1999-2002). This conversion is seldom done anywhere else but in Japan.
I chose this conversion in 2006 because of the newer aesthetic AND for function because my pop-up headlights from my original front end weren’t bright enough. I longed for HID Projector lamps. Putting a different front end on a car that doesn’t belong is an extension of my car show days, but I felt like it being a straight bolt-on (as opposed to a Bondo molded on the front end that doesn’t really fit) from the same make and model car (just a newer model) wasn’t too “ricey.”
The color is a custom color inspired by a bottle of nail polish. I went to an infamous body shop (PJ Bonefacio) which was known for its car show paint jobs. I had them give me a car show quality paint job for my drift car, which blew minds. They warned me that it would be hard to match in the future should I need to paint new parts and that I shouldn’t use that color for a drift car.
that’s my style…I want car show quality that I can use at the track, win car shows with and enjoy being the only car with this color in the world. I went on to win Import Showoff’s Nissan class with this car, grace covers of magazines in France, Japan and the USA and win numerous drifting competitions across California. This car is a testament to the notion that your track car can look like a show car.
That fateful day in 1997 when I got the car, I cut the stock springs and lowered it. Ever since then, I’ve been learning how to build and race all on this original chassis. I was one of the few female builders & drift drivers back in the early 2000’s and it was challenging. I was constantly stereotyped and asked “Is this your man’s car?” and “Oh are you watching the drift event today?” when I was in fact driving it.
My friends at the track gave me the support I needed to build this car and tune out the noise and judgement. It's not AS big of a deal these days for a female to build a car, but this car is a product of early 2000 female involvement in building and drifting, which makes it a part of history. Fun Fact: The Japanese American National Museum recently interviewed me about this car and my involvement in the car culture for their Japanese American car culture archives.
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- S13 SR20DET Black Top
- KoyoRad Racing Radiator
- Apexi Power FC
- Apexi AVC‐R
- Sun Automotive Hyperground System
- Sun Automotive Hyper Voltage System
- Tomei Poncams
- Tomei Rocker Arm Stoppers
- Apexi Head Gasket
- Greddy pulley kit
- Greddy oil cap
- NGK BKR7EIX IX Iridium Plugs
- NISMO 740cc injectors
- NISMO Fuel Pressure Regulator
- SARD Fuel Pump
- Custom Fujita Competition air intake system
- Nissan T28 S15 Turbo
- ARC front mount intercooler set
- ARC blow-off valve
- Apexi ExTi exhaust system
- Nismo Exhaust hangers
- 5Zigen front pipe
- Phase2Motortrend turbo outlet pipe
- ACT (NS1‐XTR6 kit)
- ACT XACT Flywheel
- Kaaz 2‐way LSD
- NISMO motor & tranny mounts
- NISMO pivot ball
- NISMO clutch line
- NISMO master-slave cylinder
- GP Sports GR‐6 coilovers (10 & 8 kgmm)
- Swift Springs
- Tanabe Shakitto Plates
- Tanabe Rear subframe spacers
- Peak Performance tension rods
- Peak Performance rear toe rods
- Peak Performance upper links
- Peak Performance rear upper camber arms
- Peak Performance tie rod
- Tein tie rod ends
- 5 lug conversion
- Custom 8‐point roll cage by Design Craft Gary Castillo
- Stoptech Big Brake Kit with cross drilled rotors (F)
- Project MU rear brake shoes (R )
- Z32 Rear Calipers + drum brakes
- Axxis brake pads (F & R)
Wheels & Tires
- Advan Model 5 18x10 R / 17x9 F
- F Falken Azenis RT615K 235/40/17
- R Dunlop DZ101 245/4018
- Project Kics neo chrome lugnuts
- Custom Rose Quartz Paint by PJ Bonafacio / Richard Tang
- “S15′′ core support
- “S15′′ headlights
- Origin “Raijin” Front Bumper
- Origin “Stylish” rear bumper
- Origin “Stylish” side steps
- Origin rear overfenders (30mm)
- Origin S13.5 conversion front fenders
- Veilside Ganador aero mirrors
- GP‐Sports G‐four rear trunk spoiler
- GP‐Sports G‐four rear spoiler
- Nissan carbon kevlar center garnish
- Sticker scheme designed by Russell Takashima of Fujita
- Santeca 4300K Hi/Lo HIDs
- Hippo Sleek LED Tail lights
- Bride Zeta III Type‐S bucket (D)
- Bride Ergo (P)
- Custom Bride rear seats + door cards
- Custom Sanrio Charmmy Kitty shift boot by Just Shift Boots
- Nardi Twinline steering wheel
- Works Bell quick release
- Cute shift knob
- Apexi EL System
- Sparco 6-point racing harness
- Custom 6-point roll cage by Designcraft Fabrication
In the early days (1997-2004) I did all the work myself and learned everything about working on cars and experimented on this car regularly. The girls of Drifting Pretty would learn how to work on cars and swap motors using my car as the guinea pig.
My build got serious and required professional hands when I prepped it for Formula Drift in 2004. Every one of my mods was either imported direct from Nissan Japan, from Japanese shops or brought to the USA brand new and into my hands brand new by a friend.
I did a refresh in 2022 and swapped the wheels out and got a new front bumper (that hubby found by chance here in California: famed Japanese drift driver (who drives in Formula Drift) Kazuya Taguchi @kazuya_taguchi123 just happened to have the bumper for sale on a local parts app. Thankful to Seven Apple @sevenapplellc (Makito) for painstakingly color-matching the new bumper and to Edgar Ferman for recoloring the wheels.
- Paint - PJ Bonefacio circa 2005
- Aero - from by besties at Origin LAB USA / TF Works@tfworks
- Tuning - Blast Racing (Tadatoshi Wakita)
My husband Benson Hsu always filled in where I needed help on this build as well.
I’ve always wanted NOS, I think it was a remnant of my old love for drag racing…so that is next mechanically. I’m interested to feel what drifting while squeezing feels like.
Aesthetically I will go for a new sticker livery and if/when I crash at the track, she will go through another color change and go back to grey (her original color) so I can have a chance to actually drive on the street unnoticed. I want to refresh the dash gauges and put in a Bluetooth sound system as well. There are maintenance things I have to do like a new rack and rear main seal, so those are next. Other than that, I’m largely happy with her state.
I recommend staying true to yourself and your personal style when building. Build to make yourself happy and let it be a direct representation of your personal style and swag…not a copy of that car you saw online. Dare to be different and “do you.”
Building cars will be a never-ending process. You’re never going to be “done.” When you plan your build, always remember that by modifying the car, you get what you pay for. Try not to sacrifice a real part for a cheaper generic version. Chances are, the cheaper parts won’t last as long and you’ll have to replace them away sooner than the real ones or they’ll simply break on you. When was the last time wearing fake anything was cool?
I dedicate this feature to the members of @driftingpretty these girls have been racing and working on cars with me since 2003. You are my constant inspiration and fuel to keep going. I love the bond that we have and every time we’re back together it's like we never left.
Thank you to the love of my life Benson Hsu (@sileightymania @bensonhsu) for always egging me on to build the car and go drifting. I couldn’t have done the best build for my car without you. I am the luckiest girl in the world to marry someone who shares the love of the car life just as much as I do.
Cheers to all the female racers and builders reading this article. Ever since 1996, it was a dream of mine to know just ONE female racer. You all have come so far and I’m so lucky to have witnessed a shift that is normalizing the fact that girls build and race cars. Give yourselves a pat on the back and know that you are so key in this new movement.
The car scene is so much more to me than a “scene” it's the “car life” to me. It's become a lifestyle, where my love for cars never leaves and it's the one constant that never wavers. I retired from competitive drifting, but I keep the car life going in other ways: I rent a building for my business and made sure that there was a roll-up so I can stare at my car all day (and doubles as a space to work on the car). I co-host and co-produce a Podcast about the history of drifting with my husband Benson Hsu, called “The Sileightymania Podcast” https://podcast.sileightymania.com/
I have a Children’s book series about a little girl who drifts cars, called “Sachiko Goes Racing.” I recently launched the Kickstarter to publish the 2nd book: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sachikobooks/sachiko-and-the-bully
My hubby and I bought another car to build for drifting, a Nissan 350Z and I drive it to work and take my kids one at a time to school in it sometimes. All my kids and their friends at school know I’m the resident car lover/race car driver. Cars will always be a part of my life and even be a part of my estate when I grow old.
I like to call them “goal cars” so I can make sure I’m going to actually acquire them. My goal car is a Nissan R35 GTR. I hope to get a used one next year and use it as a daily. In 2nd place is the Porsche 911 Carrera GTS which would also be a nice daily for me. My dream track car is my 240SX and that won’t ever change.
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