If you’re a regular reader of this site or frequently check the ej9.co.uk Facebook page you’ll no doubt be familiar with Struggle’s bright purple S14. In fact, you’re probably sick of seeing it and must be wondering why I keep posting pictures of it. Over the last few months the car has undergone a number of changes in preparation for this year’s summer drift season so I thought I’d best go and have a look for myself.
Often when browsing obscure Japanese blogs or trawling through YouTube videos from the land of the rising sun I find myself questioning if some of the cars featured are drivable, let alone driftable. Here in the UK things are a little different; function over form is often the choice of modifying path for the drifting crowd which, to be honest, makes sense. Drifting is a motorsport at the end of the day and therefore it’d be stupid to have a car that isn’t up to the task! At the other end of the spectrum there are a number of cars floating around on drifting forums that are pretty much an exercise in aesthetics with regards to who can go the lowest or widest. As outrageous as these cars may look, it’s rare that you’ll see their respective owners clutch kicking their way around their nearest roundabout.
However, there are a few who have managed to combine both form and function with great results: a car that drifts properly yet still looks absolutely outrageous with regards to stance/fitment and overall presence. Struggle’s S14 is one such car, and this is why I am such a fan of it. Oh, and did I mention that this thing gets abused on a regular basis?
Struggle (or Ed as he’s known to his mum) started building this S14 at the start of 2011 and, with the help of Mitch from Drift Garage, managed to get it finished in order to hit up a wide array of drift events during the 2011 season. In this incarnation the car was sporting a Supermade Instant Gentleman aero package coupled with a set of extremely girthy blue 18″ Rota Grids, and, aesthetically speaking, it went down a storm.
However, there was far more to the car than just the outrageous exterior. Once people began to scratch the surface and discovered the work that had gone on underneath this particular S14 it became clear that it was more than just an exercise in internet willy waving on stance and fitment blogs and forums.
The suspension specification reads like the catalogues from Driftworks and Japspeed, with Driftworks supplying the Geomaster 2 hubs, CS2 coilovers and Geomaster tension rods. The camber, traction and toe arms are from the Japspeed line-up which, along with the polybushed steering rack, subframe, lower arms and hubs, the extended lower arms and the Whiteline anti-roll bars, top off an extremely focused and intensive suspension setup.
Of course, it’s impossible to ignore the visual presence this car has. The Instant Gentleman body kit has been replaced with a Vertex package which has been complimented by the addition of 50mm rear overfenders and a D-Max roof spoiler. Interestingly, the once widened front wings have since been replaced with standard Nissan items. I believe this is due to suit the recent downsize in wheel specification, with the once 18″ Rota Grids having been replaced with 17×9 and 17.9.5 versions, respectively.
Obviously, one doesn’t simply achieve the stance that this car has by bolting on a few parts and hoping for the best. The aggressive fitment of the wheels coupled with the tailored suspension setup and extreme lock that is now available meant that the shell needed modifying accordingly in order to avoid any clearance issues. As such, both the front and rear arches have been tubbed and the front, back and upper chassis rails have been cut back.
In comparison to the rest of the car, the engine setup is relatively tame and simple. A front-mounted intercooler and Walbro fuel pump have been fitted to help keep the SR20 engine fed on a healthy diet of cold, compressed air with a sizeable portion of fuel. Aiding the breathing capabilities of the aforementioned SR20 is an A’PEXi manifold, a Japspeed turbo elbow and downpipe (of the twin variety in order to aid clearance), decat and full cat-back exhaust. It’s safe to say that the soundtrack this car has is absolutely fantastic and it definitely isn’t adverse to throwing the odd flame or three. Boost has also been upped to one bar, meaning that this thing certainly doesn’t hang about.
Harnessing the power from the turbocharged lump is an Exedy paddle clutch paired with a Driftworks lightened flywheel, allowing Struggle to clutch-kick in confidence. Nismo engine and gearbox mounts have been fitted as well as a welded 4.3 ratio differential which helps to generate as much smoke as possible while still keeping the gear ratios relatively short.
Moving on to the interior and I think it’s fair to say that it can be best described as sparse! Everything has been stripped out with the exception of the dashboard and door cards in order to aid the fitting of the Fabricage roll cage which is definitely a necessity in a car that gets abused as much as this one. Keeping Struggle and whoever is riding shotgun safe and secure is a pair of Cobra bucket seats mounted on Driftworks super-low rails coupled with Driftworks harnesses. The fairly ghastly OEM steering wheel has been replaced with a Nardi item mounted on a snap-off boss which both aids security and also makes it a lot easier to get in and out of the extremely snug seats (funny story: I was once sat in the drivers’ seat of the car and tried to detach the snap-off boss so I could get out. I got it wrong and ended up punching myself in the face and gave myself a nose bleed!). Also present is the obligatory dildo-style bubble shift knob and a Driftworks hydraulic handbrake in order to lock up the rear wheels instantly (the car’s rear brake setup has been upgraded to one from a Z32). As you can probably see, the standard hydro handle has been replaced with a giant spanner!
As many have pointed out, the specification of this S14 is equal to (if not better in some places) many of the competition cars being used in the British Drift Championship. However, that’s not what it was built for. Many drift cars of this specification are dedicated track toys that are trailored to and from events but you’ll be glad to know that this is car still bears a tax disc, a valid MOT and a number plate to keep it useable on the UK’s roads. The phrase “keep drifting fun” is passed around a lot these days but that is exactly what Struggle and his S14 are all about: maximum fun on and off the track!