About two months ago I went against my parents, grandparents, teachers, and girlfriends advice and bought myself another car. I’m 20, in college, and am paying for everything myself. I bought a 1987 Nissan 200sx and I haven’t been happier.
About three or four months ago I started taking the bus to school to save money on gas and parking. And then a few weeks go by and I start noticing a car in the back of a used car lot. At first I thought it was an AE86 and I just looked at it in awe and thought “that’s so cool.”
A few more days go by and it didn’t move at all and I started saying to myself one day i’m going to ask them if it’s for sale. A week goes by and I noticed that it said Nissan on the front not Toyota and I was confused about what it was, because I have never seen a Nissan like that before. Later that same week I see a post here on carthrottle with a picture of the same car I was seeing so, naturally I asked what type of car it was. I was told it was a 200sx or s12 and that’s when I figured out what the car I was seeing in the lot was. Finally a month goes by and I do it. I get off at the bus stop where my girlfriend is picking me up from and I tell her to take me to the used car lot. She’s confused and I tell her I just want to look at it. She takes me reluctantly and we get there and she waits in the car as I found someone to talk to ask about the car. Surprisingly they get the keys and show it to me on the spot.
We walk over to the car and it’s a bit of a mess. When I got the saw it was missing the passenger window, an oil leak, expired tags, a cracked windshield, speedometer/odometer broken, broken glass everywhere, surface rust all over the place, one head light up and the other down, didn’t even start at first, power steering didn’t work, the back hatch is held up with a piece of wood, it was an automatic, and the parking brake was more like a suggestion. All of these things should have been a red flag something was wrong and I should walk away but I couldn’t. From the very first second I say in the car there was just something about it I knew I couldn’t walk away from it.
Before I knew it an hour passed by and my girlfriend comes out and sees the car and just gives me this look and says “why are you taking so long looking at this old piece of junk?!” and then tells she’s leaving with or without me. Before leaving I exchange information with the guy I talked to and he said he’ll talk to the owner. I finally get into contact with the owner and then he asks me if I want to test drive it and I jump on the soonest opportunity I get to drive it. After driving it I tell him I want it and he tells me he will let me pick it up that day if I pay him 50 bucks within the hour so he can go smog it. I bought the car for 350 bucks plus smog which was 50 and a new battery which was a 100. By the time I left the lot I already spent 500 bucks. And I was happy as hell and broke.
So far I have somewhat fixed the oil leak and I have been able to find and replace the broken window. I did the basic maintenance and replaced all liquids and replaced the front brakes. But by far the most expensive thing that this car has cost cost me would be the 200 dollars of dmv fees I had to pay to get it registered under my name.
As a car it has surprised everyone. Nobody, not my parents, grandparents, girlfriend, her parents, or some of my friends thought it would make it more than a month of before it broke down. And here I am problem free. (knock on wood) I daily this car because my other car was broken into and they stole my registration and I just haven’t had the time to go and get a new one at the dmv or replace the broken window. As a daily it’s fun, people don’t know what I drive and I kinda like it. There’s something about a 20 year old college student getting out of an almost 30 year old, very rare/uncommon, japanese car. It’s got a charm to it that other cars just don’t have. My friend saw it and he wanted to drive it so I let him and I took his 350z and followed and as I was following it I kept thinking how lucky I was to find it. As I drive the 200sx it gives off some kinda aura that makes me feel like it just wants to go on, it doesn’t want to stop or give up.
So how is it to drive? A little bit scary because, the steering isn’t the most direct. You turn the wheel and then turn some more and then you go. I don’t think I will ever have the guts to go past 90 in this thing especially with the head lights up it’s not so much the car that scares me as the aerodynamics of it. Parallel parking becomes the worse thing it the world for two reasons, one, the powered steering doesn’t work so it’s hard to turn the wheel if you are not moving and two, the horn buttons are right on next to where you hold the wheel to get the best leverage. And that combination means you’ll honk a lot on accident.(If I disable the horn I also disable the emergency lights.) Other than those two things there’s nothing I have a problem with. It pulls like hell and still makes it to 60 under 9 seconds. If I could change anything about this car it would be so that there were more parts available for them because right now it’s a pain in the ass to find them. If you find one even if it’s an automatic I highly suggest picking it up. You won’t regret it.