If you read my last piece about my Nissan 200SX, you might be surprised to hear that I’ve been thinking about modifications. Because of a change in circumstances I’ve been daily driving my S13 for the past six weeks, and it’s given me a new perspective.
You see, when I was only driving it on the occasional weekend its quirks and features were fun to explore, but when you are faced with them every day they can start to grate.
So I’ve been thinking, if I was to start chopping and changing my S13 to make it exactly how I want it, what would I do?
My biggest criticism of the S13’s technical ability is also one of the things I enjoy when I’m not driving it regularly, and that’s the way it rolls in corners.
While it’s a fun challenge to keep the car in a flowing rhythm, faced with it every day I’m left longing for just a bit more rigidity and faster responses. An uprated suspension system would go a long way to remedying this, as well as dropping the ride height a bit, the one thing about the exterior look that bugs me. Add in some strut braces and I think we’d be almost perfect.
Urgency is something I keep mentioning, but the S13’s laziness to respond is my biggest bugbear. When you turn the wheel there’s a slight delay; a softness to its response. A bit of Googling turned up a stainless steel bush that can replace the S13’s rubber one. For £20 delivered I might do that now, actually…
The driving position in the S13 is absolutely spot on. You sit low in the car and because the cabin is so light and airy you still get great visibility.
However, the seats are pretty awful, offering little-to-no lateral support and being about as comfortable as sitting on a church pew. If I didn’t care so much about everything being ‘correct’ I’d be scouring eBay for something more supportive and cosseting to replace it.
When I first got the car, one of the few things that needed fairly prompt attention were the engine mounts. At the time I couldn’t find any stock ones, and the Nismo set were way too expensive, so I went for a set of Vibratechnics mounts – either way, aftermarket ones were going to be stiffer.
When you’re giving it some welly I adore how they transform the character of the car, giving it a real sense of urgency and making the whole car feel alive. However, when you’re dailying it, the fact that it makes the trim rattle at lower revs starts to grate. I guess this counts as an un-modification, but it’s a tempting one. That, or spend a day finding every part that rattles and fixing them…
It’s not just performance-related modifications that have been on my mind. In the pursuit of creating the ‘stockest’ S13 around I found the original stereo on eBay and will fit it as soon as I manage to get the ancient and wholly crap Sony CD player out.
While the cassette player looks cool and I’m looking forward to going to a charity shop to find some old tapes, what I really want is a modern head-unit with uprated speakers. Originally I planned to get a modern unit with retro styling, but I can’t find any that aren’t ludicrously expensive. Old school it is, then.