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The Joy of Six – Nissan 100SX V8
Slap bang in the middle of the North Pacific is where this V8-engined Nissan 200SX would be right at home. Originally built with a turbocharged four-pot engine, this Japanese coupe has been given an American heart V8 pushrod by UK company Apex Performance Parts. The result is effortless speed, incredible reliability and an incredible grin factor from that V8 sound.
Bren Simpson, managing director of Apex Performance, is no stranger to finely tuned Japanese machines. The company has grown rapidly with the help of 200SX enthusiasts who love Bren’s way of doing business: all Apex parts are extensively tested. From suspension components to exhaust manifolds, Apex Performance put their parts on their cars and their money where their mouth is. They have a strong presence in both Time Attack and the European Drift Championship, and anyone who buys parts for their road or track pros.
So why the change to V8 power? Well, the story is long, but basically it comes down to reliability and cost. Bren explains, “A few years ago, 1 got tired of the unreliability of our 596’bhp RS3 GTS-t track and drift car. I spent tens of thousands on it trying to get a reliable rating. engine failures, turbo failures, manifold failures and gearbox failures. It was a nightmare.”
Bren continues, “He ended up running an expensive straightcut dog box, MoTeC M800 regulation and a custom GReddv/Garrett turbo kit. We still had problems with boost at the end of the season, and after destroying another RB25 engine due to poor oil control, enough was enough. Out came the RB25 and in went the old school 6.3ltr V8, which ‘ ran 53lbp and 500lb/ft of torque The car was great, powerful, grunt coming out of his ears and, most importantly, ran a whole season without any problems.”
This was the seed that eventually grew into the V8 200SX you see here. Bren found an engine and gearbox in America from a 2006 Pontiac GTO with only 18k miles on the clock. The moment it arrived, the entire package was installed by Gary Hay’s ward at AP-Tuning. Bren supplied Gary with a ‘Sikky’ conversion kit from the States for the job, which contained all the engine and gearbox components and the propshaft. With Gary’s practical experience, the car soon caught fire. Only the transmission tunnel required very gentle persuasion. However, like so many Apex products, this was only the beginning of the journey.
Bren said, “This was always intended to be our test drive for the V8 modifications, which we now offer on our V8Apcx.com website.” The car ran within weeks. This was at the beginning of 2009, and for the rest of the year and throughout 2010, the car has been evolving. It has always been the goal to keep this a comfortable road car – a daily driver for Bren and his wife Anna, and their expanding family.
But it still has a claim to the scalp of competition cars that have been produced. It has a minimal but MSA-approved roll cage, kill switch and internal fire extinguisher, so it was able to enter competitive events. He finished second in a hill climb at Prescott Hill organized by the SX Owners Club. He consistently finished above midfield in the Time Attack Club Challenge. Even a last minute decision to let Apex driver Kieran Cameron drive in a round of the FJ)C at Knocka’nuck resulted in a podium finish. Pretty amazing for an everyday car with a soft custom engine!
In fact, it was a period of EDC competition that led to a small bump on the front end and the beginning of the custom widebody revolution. The car already had wide arches from ABW Designs, but they were expertly reworked by Richard at RT Autobodies. After trying several aftermarket front bumpers that had a really bad fit, Richard ended up creating his own using an OE bumper as a base, that is, he then took a mold of the bumper and made recreate it in FRR. unlike the C-West Silvias racing in the Japanese Super GT series.
In fact, you could certainly imagine NISMO releasing a road version of these GT racers, and the result would look very J like this. A look that’s further enhanced by the ferocious presence of that V8 motor and the wide track provided by wide 9-5in wheels, pushed out by Apex adjustable suspension arms to give a wider wheelbase wide and provide much greater grip.
So, what does Bren say to people who see the GM LS2 engine as old technology, with its pushrod design and only two valves per cylinder? “Just try one,” he laughed, “You’ll quickly understand why I love him. We haven’t turned our backs on the SR20DET engine – in fact, we’ve been building a very special 200SX for a long time. It has a 2.2ltr Tomei shaped engine and runs a big T78 turbocharger. The Chevy V8 is just another option for our customers – once you’ve experienced one and done the sums, the switch makes perfect sense.” You can’t put a price on it happiness, but after three years Bren has no plans to sell this car. It still puts a smile on his face every time he turns the key and hears the 6.0ltr V8 roaring the life. Joy six indeed!
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