This is a 1991 Nissan Laurel.
The Nissan Laurel basically came with S13 (240sx) suspension and an RB20DET engine. So in the Nissan lineup, it sits somewhere right smack between a 240sx, and a 4-door R32 GTS-T Skyline. It works well in the US aftermarket world, because everything suspension-wise can be purchased for an S13/S14 240sx, making it a lot easier not having to source all your parts from Japan.
Why not just buy an S13 240SX with a clean/easy title?
Because that’s just not weird enough, nerd! lol. When Kevin Hausberger purchased this Nissan Laurel from Japan, it already had an RB25DET NEO swap previously done to it. The ‘NEO’ is the later model R34 skyline engine. On one hand, it’s the best & most sought-after version of the engine there is. But on the other hand, it’s got more sensors & electronics to deal with than the earlier RB engines. The engine needed some love & TLC by the time it got passed down to Kevin on US shores. But as a package, the Laurel WITH the RB25 NEO already swapped was much more of an affordable opportunity than it would ever be… trying to buy them separately. So sometimes you gotta roll the dice & take the shot.
And it’s a good thing he shot.
Because Kevin got in right before the JDM boom & price surge. See, when the iconic R32 Nissan Skyline became available to import, it really opened the gates. It made people realize how doable it was to import these JDM cars. Throw in a few high-profile influencer-builds, and it drove up the demand & began the domino effect… which in turn drove up the entire market on all the JDM cars.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when buying & importing a JDM car:
What are you trying to buy? And why are you buying it? Are you wanting a pristine car… a low-mileage perfect example? I can certainly understand that. But… with JDM cars specifically, I think there’s another element to it. I think a lot of us want a piece of the culture. Authentic Japanese car culture is a huge inspiration/foundation for a lot of us in the tuner world. And if that’s what you’re drawn to, do you really want showroom-stock perfection?? Or… do you want to find a JDM car that’s lived it???? Something scuffed, kitted, riveted, & decal’d… with a little wear on the armrests & steering wheel. A car that’s had a life in Japan, and has a story to tell, with some previous owner vibes.
When you buy a car like that, there are unknowns. But isn’t that the mystique of it?!
Put it this way: Do you want a car that’s like the ones that ran in the mountains of Japan? Or do want a car that’s been guardrail’d literally IN the mountains of Japan! Personally I’ll take the latter, but I often make dumb choices so do what you want lol.
This Nissan Laurel it came to US shores with a story.
It had a half-hacked RB25 swap, a bolt-in cage, and a Formula D Japan ‘tech-pass’ decal on the driver’s seat. To me, that’s super cool. That’s as cool as the car itself. It’s got a presence that holds more value to me than a window sticker. Kevin Hausberger has taken a car that’s lived a wild life in Japan… and now it’s living a wild life here in the US. Two car enthusiasts from entirely different corners of the world, living different lives & speaking completely different languages… but sharing the same car, for the same purpose, with the same mindset & attitude. That’s magnetic to me. I wonder if this Nissan Laurel’s last real owner in Japan knows his/her old car is in America, alive & healthy, slinging around running team competitions in a drift crew called Terror Kvlt. How does one say… “Hell yeah!” in Japanese?
RB25DET Neo swap
HKS mushroom filter
ISR oil cooler
Tuned with Apexi AFC Neo
Suspension / Drivetrain
GKTech camber, caster, toe arms, and inner tie rods (and side mirrors)
Megan outer tie rods
KAAZ 2-way differential
Modified steering knuckles
SSR mk1 & mk3 wheels
Cusco bolt-in cage
Thrash Love driver seat
Bride passenger seat
Grip Royal steering wheel
This is from S3 Magazine, Issue 56. Text by Wooley, Photos by Sam Igel II. $25 for a 2-year subscription + a t-shirt + the current issue.
PS: To explore JDM car options, check out Prentice Performance Imports out of Orlando, FL.