Being involved with the s-chassis for nearly a decade now, I’ve seen many different types of builds, and I can tell you, these cars are very versatile when it comes to what you choose to build your car for. Drifting, time attack, auto cross, drag, touge, gymkhana, stance, street are a few of the profiles that are well suited toward any s-chassis. In the end it doesn’t really matter what you build for, be it a purpose build race car, a daily commuter, or a show car, there is really no wrong build, but when it comes to execution, that is where we see the shit hit the fan.
When I think of s-chassis owners, I like to believe there are 3 categories of “tuners”. The perfectionists, the purists, and the band wagoners.
The perfectionists are the guys who go out and buy an s-chassis in any condition, and restore it back to show room condition, the types of guys that buy a shell, completely strip it down to bare nothing, patching up any rust holes, replacing every nut and bolt, and replacing every part with newer, shinier, and more modern parts. I always enjoy reading build threads like these, there is so much to learn with every read, especially for people like myself, and I’m sure many others who haven’t had a very strong automotive background.
The things I love most about the perfectionists, is the crazy attention to detail in every aspect of the car and I sure have learned a lot of neat tips and tricks to help make my own car cleaner, safer, more efficient, and look/feel nicer than it would be if I never had bothered to go out and look for inspiration from these guys. These perfectionists don’t follow any specific guidelines to what motor they put in, or how they style their car, but fabrication and quality parts are always involved. Its these types of builders that have inspired me to be extremely meticulous, especially when it comes to a lot of interior work and I did to my car.
The second type of s-chassis owner, is the purist. They are often seen as collectors, nostalgic, “jdm fanboys”, and some can say arrogant. Purists have the mindset to build a car with a very specific theme in mind, always the JDM sr20det or ca18det, and are always heavily influenced by Japanese car culture. Period correctness is huge, and a key factor towards executing a build in a purist mindset. Discontinued parts, brand themes, dated styling, old option magazines, oem optional parts, almost anything put in the car has to be true to the era, and how the car looks is very important to the builder. Spending months on end to find that rare part, or paying ridiculous amounts of money to acquire that period correct part isn’t anything strange to the builder. Typically we see a lot of bolt on parts, the classic full bucket driver seat with reclining passenger seat – true to old school jdm style – funky colours, aged parts that are out dated and have replacements that are light years ahead in terms of performance, but that is what a purist is. This type of builder was a huge inspiration to my build, and personally I get it, its a good feeling to have something that a lot of people do not have, or the feeling of looking for a part for months, sometimes years, and the satisfaction you get when you finally acquire that jdm gem. When it comes to s-chassis, its these types of purist old school oriented builds I enjoy the most, right down to the old Japanese fart infused 20 year old seat cushions.
The Band Wagoners
Lastly, we have the band wagoners, the true IG fame whores, fanboys, the fucbois, scene kids, sheep, posers etc. This group consists of people who want to be like the perfectionists, or purists, but don’t want to put in the time, effort, or money. Typically younger folks, seeking instant gratification that social media offers, seeking a sense of community, popularity, fame, and “ethernet cred”. These types of people can be spotted quite easily, using cheap replica parts, constantly blaming the chassis for being a broken piece of shit like it was designed to be constantly broken and on jack stands. the people who spend all of their money on 3pc wheels with 80 degrees of camber with the classic full replica fiberglass wide body kit, oil pissing out of their barely running stock KA motor.
The peeps who buy ISR parts, and throw in ebay turbos, and complain that sr20’s are unreliable as hell. The girls who wear minimal amounts of clothing, driven by insecurity and a rusted out pos appearing once in a while on their Instagram feeds lost in the background with the focus of the photo being primarily that rehearsed pose capturing the best angle of their “proudest” feature.
Then there are the drift missile guys, which are a huge consensus of the s-chassis owners, and sadly are also the people who bring down the reputation of s-chassis. The type of people you hear things like “yo whats the point of buying real aero, if I’m just gonna smash it into a wall”, or “I’d rather spend money on power rather than have a real kit or real wheels” – or real seats that you know, can save your life, or real harnesses that also determine your existential status in the case of an accident, as they gloat about their back yard 5.3 “ls swap” – not that I have anything against LS swaps. “respect the build” “you’re not a real car enthusiast if…” “haterz” type folks.
So What is the Right Build?
Ultimately there is no specific right “build” – drag, drift, time attack, etc, but there are definitely wrong ways to go about it. When building your s-chassis, as mentioned in a previous blog post, KNOW YOUR LANE. Build it the right way, trust me, it might take a lot longer, but in the end, the satisfaction, pride, and quality are priceless, which is something everyone, but most importantly YOU can appreciate.