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Go to any drift event across the country, be it a grassroots event in a parking lot or at any stop on the Formula DRIFT tour, and you’ll find an array of platforms utilizing GM’s hallowed LS engine. What you don’t often see, however, is a non-Ford vehicle getting its motivation from a product of the Blue Oval.
And while Kelsey Rowlings isn’t the first person to transplant Ford power into a Nissan S14, she may be one of the more successful people to campaign it, having done so for several years in Formula DRIFT Pro 2 and later ProSpec competition.
Her 1996 240SX is powered by a supercharged 5.0 Aluminator engine mated to a 4-speed G-Force GSR dogbox, putting down 740 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels. Also helping to put that power to the ground is a Driveshaft Shop driveshaft and rear axle with a Winters quick change rear end.
“I went Ford partially because I didn’t want to be like everyone else,” Rowlings said. “But also because I had a conversation with Justin Pawlak, who was telling us so many good things about the engine and how reliable it had been for him. So when we figured out we could make it fit, we decided we’d go that route for power, reliability, and just to be a little different.”
Rowlings got her start in drifting in 2008, then began competing in ProAm competitions in 2013 in both the Streetwise and Three Palms series, where she earned her Pro 2 license.
“It was a lot of throwing a stock 240SX around in a parking lot and going to some track days here and there,” Rowlings said of her beginnings. “But I got addicted like everybody does.”
During her ProAm era, her 240SX was getting power from Nissan’s four-cylinder turbo SR20, which only made around 500 horsepower. She campaigned that setup into her first year of Pro 2, realizing the car was going to need more power to be competitive.
“We decided in 2016 to build this car with this platform, so (this car) has always had this engine,” Rowlings said. “Since 2016 we have not rebuilt this engine. It has the same pistons and same rods. The only thing we’ve done a few months ago for preventative maintenance was head gaskets. Otherwise, it’s a beast.”
Rowlings said she has been coming to Ford Fest since year one.
“I figured I was representing a little bit more of that rare engine swap crowd, so I figured I’d come out here and show that Ford engines aren’t just good for Fords,” she said.