Project Land Speed Racer 240SX: Chassis Prep and Roll Cage Fabrication
By Chuck Johnson
Ah yes, the beginning of any good sedan type racecar build almost always starts with ruining a perfectly decent streetcar. In the case of Project Land Speed Racer 240SX though, I'm not sure if we are really ruining a perfectly good streetcar. Honestly, from the looks of things, it must have been owned by a series of wannabe dorifto hacks before falling into my hands. If anything, I think we saved it from a continued life of embarrassment running around with its “demon camber,” four corded tires, and doing a crap ass job at pulling off that coveted hellaflush style.
God damn, give me a gun, let me shoot this car, and put it out of its misery. Or better yet, anyone have that flamethrower attachment from Call of Duty Black Ops? Let's roast some marshmallows! Ok never mind, there are already too many S13 chassis in the junkyard and the 240SX seems to be making its home on the endangered species list somewhere between the Bug Eyed Frog and the Zululand Black Millipede. We're gonna have to do the “right thing” and save this one… That is, save this one to claim our small piece of history with.
To start off the build of Project Land Speed Racer 240SX, we needed to prepare the chassis for the roll cage construction. This is probably the most therapeutic part of building a racecar, especially if you don't care about how the interior comes out. In our case we started out caring, methodically removing the interior panels with the intentions of selling them for a few bucks. About half way through though, the beer kicked in, we came to our senses, and just started tearing, ripping, and gutting out the interior. It just wasn't worth spending our precious free time getting flaked on or haggling over a few bucks.
Fortunately, we sobered up from our rampage just in time to carefully remove the interior wire harness, which runs throughout the cabin and under the dash. We disconnected it at the super multiple junction box, which is on the driver's side underneath the dash. Since it would be months before we reassembled the car again, we also made sure to label all of the important connectors using masking tape and a sharpie.
We found several interesting modifications to our wire harness. Surely, this one was performed by a highly skilled electrician.
With the interior panels and wire harness out of the way, we bought 20 pounds of dry ice to remove the sound deadening on floorboards. When you do this part, be sure to use gloves, as the dry ice will burn bare skin. Also, make sure you are in a well ventilated area unless asphyxiation via carbon dioxide is your thing. Whatever floats your boat dude. For an older car, the S13 240SX has a lot of sound deadening, which is a bit annoying. On the flat surfaces, it helps to crush the dry ice up into smaller chunks with a hammer and then chisel the sound deadening up once gets cold enough. On vertical surfaces like the transmission tunnel, we taped pieces of cardboard in place to hold the dry ice against the sound deadening.