Updated: Mar 18, 2019
It all started with a message from Stuart, asking for help choosing a winner for a monthly competition we run.
“These are the cars the have been short listed for the Dirtee South CarClub Motor of the Month… Which one do you think?”
Scrolling through the cars… then… Wow! That colour.
That was my selection.
That car, well that’ll be Phillip Murphy’s beautiful Nissan 200SX S14a.
This also turned out to be the choice of everyone else Stuart asked, pretty much a unanimous decision.
We set the date for the feature shoot, and I couldn’t be more excited.
Fast forward to the day.
Philip managed to secure us a fantastic location for the shoot, a workshop. What a perfect setting to photograph this epic car.
We arrive at the workshop and park up, to notice that it appears Philip has been there for a while as when we walk in he’s under the bonnet putting some final touches to the car.
We introduce ourselves to Philip and get a little bit of information about him, what he does for a living and how long he’s owned the car. No wonder the Nissan looks immaculate under the bonnet, Philip is a Mechanic/ MOT Tester. Philip has owned the car for a little under 12 years and has clearly been a labour of love for all those years.
We get set up and have a walk around to see what angles look best, where to get the best light. There’s one thing both myself and Stuart agree on immediately, it doesn’t matter what angle we shoot from, or what light there is, this car is photogenic from any given angle!
As the bonnet is already up, we decided to look at the engine first.
What. An. Engine
The first thing that catches my eye is a huge Owen Developments GBT 6982 Turbocharger. It looks so at home in the engine bay. Wee look slightly left and see a really nice detail and that is the rocker cover that Philip has had painted the exact same colour as the car. What shocks us even more is that even after all the upgrades Philip has done, this is still the original engine.
As Philips says, regarding the original engine “…No point changing a good engine!”
We take several photos in between asking Philip about what other upgrades or modifications he’s done. This is where Philip really lights up. You can tell this is his ‘Baby’ as he knows every single mod or upgrade that has been done to this SR20 engine. He tells us that he’s had the cylinder head polished and ported as well as several HKS upgrades including Step 2 Cams, Step 2 Valve Springs, Rocker Stopper Arms (of which Philip is the only one to have this from HKS Europe) and a Step 2 Head Kit. All these are partnered with Wossner Pistons, Rings and Rods.
This engine is built to perform; and perform it does with Philip mentioning that is its around 590WHP giving 480 Torques. So not only does it have the power, it has the acceleration to go with that. No wonder Philip needs Race Logic traction control to keep this on the straight and narrow. That being said, Philip did tell us (with photographic evidence to back this up) that there is so much torque, that at the Jap Show a few years ago, he launched the car so hard it twisted and broke the output shaft from the gearbox like it was nothing.
There’s also been quite a lot of hidden work done on this car, including having HKS F Con ECU Boost control, HKS EVC 6 Boost control and Launch Control added.
We finish shooting the engine bay and some open bonnet shots.
Philip closes the bonnet and what do we see? A beautiful Seibon carbon fibre bonnet. It adds a fantastic accent to the flawless factory Sapphire Blue paint on the Nissan. This in addition the tinted headlights, gives this 200SX a ‘Don’t Mess with Me’ appearance.
I walk around the car to see what exterior changes have been done to the car.
It’s sitting a bit lower than that of a standard car. This stance is due to some fantastic Tien coilovers, with the rear stance additionally supported by some Nismo lower arms. WHAT A STANCE! What’s great about what Philip has done is that its that ‘Just Right’ amount of lowered that really suits the car. Philip has the plan to ‘bush up’ the rear in the future.
We now start to focus on the wheels. These are certainly something special, and just like the Seibon bonnet, these accent the car’s styling to a tee. Getting up close and personal with them, we’re told they are XXR 18” Alloys wrapped in Kuhmo rubber.
Peeking through the spokes of the alloys, we see that familiar Brembo logo on the callipers. Philips tells us that the front callipers are those commonly found on the immense Nissan GTR R34 matched with Brembo discs and pads. On the rear we see the wonderfully colourful pads that tell us they are the fantastic Red Stuff pads.
We continue around the exterior and begin to focus on the car as a whole.
We notice the body kit.
Between the wheels there sits the Doluck side skirts. On the front there is an epic looking Charge Speed front bumper with the APEX type 2 intercooler radiator tucked behind it. On the rear, there’s a Doluck Boot lid plus spoiler paired with a Vertex rear bumper. All of this beautifully put together and painted the factory Sapphire Blue by the brilliant James Ramsden and Beautiful Body’s. The work that’s been done is second to none.
Just popping its ‘nose’ out of the rear bumper is the exhaust. This too is not your standard exhaust system as Philip was keen to point out. Starting from the front to the back we have a custom Nortech Performance manifold and downpipe flowing through to an RSR CAT back exhaust.
I have to say, the noise when Philip moved the car into alternate positions was amazing (I even considered getting him to move it several times more, just so I could hear that exhaust note).
Everything that had been done to the exterior of the car, from what we can see, has been done with such finesse and respect for what this car is.
After many, many more photo of this gorgeous exterior (and a lot of drooling), we have a look inside the car.
We see that the interior has been kept relatively standard. It’s actually pretty nice to see. The standard front seats look great amongst all the mod. Although these are planned to be changed in the future along with the addition of a roll cage. But that’s going to be quite a while yet as Philip is currently loving how his car looks at the moment.
There are some small modifications, the one that sticks out the most are the 2 additional DEFI gauges on the dashboard showing oil temp and pressure. Philip is particularly proud of his Dragon Ball Z gear knob, which attracts the light and draws yours eyes to it whenever you’re looking in to the cabin.
The factory steering wheel has also been replaced with a nice subtle, yet great looking Nardi steering wheel with a HKB boss.
We can’t comprehend how much work and love has obviously gone into this car. When asking Philip what’s his estimated build time and cost, he tells us, “… the time is still going, but it’s well over £40,000 at the moment”. That’s something we’re trying to fathom, that if this car isn’t complete yet… we really, really can’t wait to see the finished project. But that’s the fun of building your own dream car. You have no one to tell you what’s wrong and what’s right, you only have to answer to yourself.
And we believe that Philip has certainly been answering the right questions that he has been asking.
Overall, what a car to start off the Club Car of the Month feature. We thought we’d try to set the bar high, but Philip and his Nissan 200SX S14a has pretty much obliterated it. Its out in orbit it’s that high!
Keep an eye out for this S14 when you’re at the Dirtee South meets and go see this car in person. You’ll understand what we mean when say this is an outstanding car with a very passionate owner.
Thank you, Philip, for allowing us the opportunity to photograph your pride and joy.
Philip would like to thank a few people that have helped him on his way:
Torque Developments – for helping me build this awesome machine
James at Beautiful Body’s – for the wicked paint and body work he has done
Nortech Performance – for making me an epic manifold
Motorline Toyota - xa
We personally would love to thank Dirtee South for all there help and support in finding the 1st CarClub Motor of the Month.