Our Fleet: Nissan 200SX

Our Fleet: Nissan 200SX

CARS ARE expensive, we all know that. Especially enthusiast cars, and especially old enthusiast cars.

I’d always been pretty confident my Nissan 200SX was in pretty good nick for its 23 years on this planet. When I bought it, I went over it with a fine-tooth comb looking for rust – but its first MOT in my ownership uncovered the fact I might need a better comb.

I booked the car in with Turner’s Garage in Bury, West Sussex, and wasn’t surprised to get a call later that day saying the car had failed – but the fact that rust was one of the reasons tied a knot in my stomach.

They had found a decent chunk of the dreaded stuff in the driver’s side sill, and welding it without setting fire to the car – which I was rather keen on – would require ripping out some of the interior.

The steering coupling was also in a bad way, so the column had to be taken out to replace it. The item itself was £20.99 but, as you can probably guess, the cost of labour quickly ramped up.

Aside from that, the only other part needed was a new off-side rear shock absorber, which set me back about £75, while I also ordered some spark plugs for about £30.

My total bill was £695.14. Not long ago, that would have been as much as I’d ever spend actually buying a car.

I keep reminding myself it’s an investment, but accounting for the purchase price and fixes so far I’m approaching £5,000 all-in. I don’t want to go much above that as I don’t want to wait decades for it to appreciate into profit!

However, all worries went to the back of my mind the second I drove it. It feels sweeter than ever before, and even the intermittent misfire disappeared for our first day back together.

That 1.8-litre engine is so damn smooth when it’s on-song that it has motivated me to finally get it sorted. Probably for the best if I book it in after my next payday, though. Then all that’s left to do is get new rubber all round. The rears are getting close to the legal limit while the fronts were an advisory for showing signs of perishing, which I’ve been pretending not to notice.

Ignoring the massive outlay this month, I have fallen back in love with the Nissan 200SX. And with the engine firing like a dream, I even got a taste of why these cars became the darlings of the drift scene – helped by torrential downpours and borderline rubber, of course.

Despite the big expense, on the balance of things, this has been a largely positive month in ‘S13’ ownership.

Model: Nissan 200SX
Owned by: Darren Cassey
Engine: Turbocharged 1.8-litre inline-four
Bought for: £3,750
Mileage: 131,720
Spent this month: £695.14
Highlight of the month: Falling back in love with my JDM unicorn.

Written by Darren Cassey

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