Sneak Peek: S13 Tube Chassis Drift Car, Part I
Khiem Dinh is an engineer for Honeywell Turbo Technologies at the time of this writing. All statements and opinions expressed by Khiem Dinh are solely those of Khiem Dinh and not reflective of Honeywell Turbo Technologies.
A few of you have probably heard of Gary Castillo of Design Craft Fabrications, you know, the guy who can fab just about anything. He’s got a buddy named Greg Kruse. Greg is from the land down under and has his own company GK Tech producing S-chassis drift parts. Greg is the type of guy who gets motivated to make stuff for one simple reason, because he wants it. In this case, he wanted a tube chassis S13 for drifting.
There is a plan behind the madness leading to a goal. What’s the goal? Well, we have to back up a little and explain the situation a bit. You see, down in Australia, S-chassis cars are barely legal. Anyone doing any modifications to the cars makes them completely illegal for road use. So how do you get around the legality issue? You make a “kit car”. Greg got the idea after a friend imported an Ultima GTR from the UK with a LS7 dropped in. So, Greg’s plan is produce a tube chassis which still utilizes the stock front and rear subframes. Why keep the subframes? Two reasons I can think of would be to reduce cost and also allow the use of the gazillion S-chassis suspension parts already in existence. The end result is a “kit car” that is completely legal to drive in Australia and completely badass. Greg has no illusions of making any money on this project, but he didn’t do it to make money; he did it because he wants one. With that being said, after this tube chassis is completed, Greg plans on doing a 3D scan of it. After a bit of FEA optimization, duplicates of the tube chassis can be made using Greg’s fancy CNC mandrel benders and tube notchers should anyone else want a tube chassis S13. Of note, because the SR20 is not emissions compliant in Australia for use in a kit car, people will have to resort to engines which are emissions legal. I personally think the supercharged LS9 would be fun, but I suppose a more mundane LS7 would do too. Or maybe a brand new LT1…
In case you were wondering how much the chassis weighed without the engine and the weight distribution, Gary put the car on scales. The new tube chassis version should be significantly lighter than the sheet metal unibody.
A funny thing can happen when you start hacking up the guts of a unibody; the body can get a bit distorted. So, the first step was to fabricate a body jig to keep all the panels lined up.