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Slap bang in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean is a place where this V8-powered Nissan 200SX would be right at home. Originally built with a four-piston turbocharged engine, this Japanese coupe received an all-American pushrod V8 heart from British firm Apex Performance Parts. The result is effortless speed, flawless reliability, and an incredible smile factor from that V8 noise.
Bren Simpson, managing director of Apex Performance, is no stranger to highly tuned Japanese machinery. The company has grown rapidly with the help of 200SX enthusiasts who like the Bren way of doing business – every piece of Apex is thoroughly tested. From suspension components to exhaust manifolds, Apex Performance puts your parts in your cars and your money where your 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 car profits.
So why the switch to V8 power? Well the story is long, but it essentially comes down to reliability and cost. Bren explains: “A few years ago, I got sick of a lack of reliability with our 596’bhp RS3 GTS-t drift and track car. I spent tens of thousands on it to try and reach an acceptable level of reliability. We had problems with Engine failures, turbo failures, manifold failures and gearbox failures. It was a nightmare. “
Bren continues: “In the end I was running an expensive straight cut dog crate, MoTeC M800 management, and a custom GReddv / Garrett turbo kit. We still had issues with the boost at the end of the season and after destroying another RB25 engine. due to poor oil control, that was enough. The RB25 came out and an old-school 6.3-liter V8 in, with 53 lbhp and 500 lb / ft of torque. The car was great. Powerful, growling came out of its ears and, more importantly, he ran a full season without problems. “
This was the seed that eventually became the V8 200SX you see here. Bren found an engine and gearbox in America from a 2006 Pontiac GTO with just 18,000 miles on the clock. By the time it arrived, Gary Hay Ward installed the full package on AP-Tuning. Bren provided Gary with a ‘Sikky’ conversion kit from the United States for the job, which consisted of all the engine mounts and the gearbox and driveshaft. With Gary’s experience in handling the wrench, the car was soon in motion. Only the transmission tunnel needed very gentle persuasion. However, like many of Apex’s products, this was just the beginning of the journey.
Bren adds: “This was always intended to be our test mule for the V8 conversions, which we now offer on our website V8Apcx.com.” The car was up and running in a few weeks. This was in early 2009, and for the rest of the year and throughout 2010, the car has undergone changes. The goal has always been to keep this comfortable road car – a daily driver for both Bren and his wife Ann, and their expanding family.
However, it has still won the scalp of racing cars. It has a minimal but MSA approved roll cage, kill switch, and built-in fire extinguisher, so it was able to participate in competitive events. He finished second in a Prescott Hill hillclimb organized by the SX Owners’ Club. He also finished consistently above midfield in the Time Attack Club Challenge. Even a last minute decision to let Apex bum Kieran Cameron drive him in a round of the FJ) C at Knockhill resulted in a podium finish. Very remarkable for a daily driving car with a standard bog engine!
In fact, it was a competitive moment from EDC that resulted in a minor bump to the front end and the start of the custom widebody conversion. The car already had wide arches from ABW Designs, but Richard at RT Autobodies expertly reworked them. After testing several aftermarket front bumpers that had a really poor fit, Richard ended up creating his own using an OE bumper as a base, l that is, he then took a mold of the bumper and recreated it in FRR The result is a car aggressive looking, not unlike the C-West Silvias that raced in the Japanese Super GT series.
In fact, you could definitely envision NISMO releasing a road version of those GT racers, and the result would look a lot like this. An appearance that is enhanced by the roaring presence of that V8 engine and the wide track provided by 9-5-inch wide wheels, pushed out by Apex adjustable suspension arms to provide a wider wheelbase and much grip. higher.
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 smiles, “you’ll quickly understand why I love it. We haven’t turned our back on the SR20DET engine, in fact we’ve been building a very special 200SX for a long time. It has a 2.2-liter Tomei forged engine. and it will run on a large T78 turbocharger. The Chevy V8 is just another option for our customers – once you’ve experienced one and done the sums, the conversion makes perfect sense. ” You can’t put a price on happiness, but after three years Bren has no plans to sell this car. He still puts a smile on his face every time he turns the key and hears the 6.0-liter V8 come to life. The joy of the six indeed!