Have you guys ever seen an S13 that started as a perfectly stock looking car and transformed over time into a work of art? . Well this is a completely different type of story. In this story our hero starts with a really shitty shell and begins to transform it back into its former state of stock glory. To really make this story a good one we need the back story on the car and owner right? Okay here we go!
I fell in love with the S13 fastback when I was 10 years old, when my older cousin bought an 89 fastback. From that day forward I was hooked. I spent many years after that learning to work on cars primarily Nissans (Stanza’s were my staple).
Fast forward to age 17. I bought my first 240sx (my cousins 89 fastback) and drove it for years until the single cam finally died. I did not replace the engine and regretfully sold it and bought another car (1987 200sx SEV6), I loved the S12 as well but my true love was still the S13. At age 26 I bought a fully restored 1989 S13 from a man in Richmond for $1000 dollars and drove it until the single cam spun a rod, I replaced the single cam with a DE from a wrecked 91 I found in the trading post. I bought the whole car for 200 bucks as it had been destroyed in the rear end. I pulled every part I needed and every part worth selling and scrapped the 91 shell. I then decided to build an N/A motor which ran, but like shit and decided to switch it up. I lowered the compression and beefed up the rods and built a pretty decent Turbo KA. After that blew I replaced it with an SR. I sold the car due to a growing family and a need for a back seat. I ultimately ended up with 2 (me and my wife) 2002 Nissan Sentra SE-R SpecV’s. They were great fun, affordable, and worked for my family. A few years later I decided to buy another 240sx though it was an S14 (95) and dropped a blacktop SR in it. The car was relatively stock aside from ebay coilovers (ksport I think), FN01RC’s (17×8 all around) and the stock SR with a FMIC and JWT tuned ECU. I sold the car after running into financial hardships, and have not owned another for many years.
That all changed yesterday (3/10/17)…
Yesterday I picked up the biggest project car I have ever seen. Let me explain why,
My 11 year old son recently told me that he was interested in cars and would like to learn to work on them like I (me his dad) used to. My wife really took this as a way for us to bond and I ran with it. I sold my kayak (Rip 2015 Vibe SG130) and made $700 dollars. I found a few cars that had just sold on craigslist, you know those ones that seem like a great deal and evidently they were because they are sold? I finally found the S13 in Norfolk Va. I sent a text to the guy and he still had it, he gave me some info so I went to take a look at it. It was everything I was looking for for a $500 dollar budget. It had all it body parts, most of the interior pieces were at least in the car even though they were all in the hatch area, The car was an auto but had already been converted to manual (though it has no engine or trans in it), and strange as it may seem it already had S14 SE 5 lug hubs swapped onto it (SCORE!) so I bought it.
This is where things get harry…
Being that I live in NC, the car would have to be transported to my house on a trailer. Sadly the race car trailer I often borrow from a friend was being used. So I decided to rent one from Uhaul. I figured I could find one in Chesapeake at the Uhaul hub closer to the sellers house and just drop it off at my local Uhaul branch. LMAO this was not the case. After waiting for 2 hours on a woman that was supposed to bring a trailer back, only to find she was keeping it for another day. SUPER! So I asked for a dolly instead and she started to locate one for me. She came back and told me that I was in luck there was a dolly available and it wasn’t too far away in Elizabeth City NC. (where I live) so I got in my truck and drove an hour home to pick up the dolly.
2 more hours later…
I finally arrived at the sellers house with the tow dolly and loaded up the car. Like I said its a torn apart shell and as such the steering wheel is hanging down unbolted from its column position and therefore unable to use the steering wheel lock. Fortunately I had a few ratchet straps and strapped the steering wheel in place. (It still swung a bit on the trailer) . Okay I’m on the road. SWEET! First hard turn meet welded dif something the seller neglected to tell me about. Clunk, Clunk, Clunk!!! It seemed to be pulling fine on the dolly so I had no issues doing 65 on the way home. Oh wait, that wheel looks like it’s wobbling wtf?
Take a look at the featured image, check out the rear wheel, does it look like excessive camber? Well it isn’t. The wheel has three studs in it, 2 of which have nuts on them, and one of which is actually tight. Yeah I slowed down, after that. 45 MPH for the next last 8 miles.
Replaced all of the missing studs and replaced all of the missing lug nuts. Hubs are in good condition, all 4 calpers need to be replaced along with brackets (2 seem to be stripped). I took inventory of all of the interior pieces I have and put them in a safe place together out of the car. I collected the million bolts, screws, and plastic clips I found and put them all together as well. I then noticed the fuel sending unit was not bolted down and the cover plate was off as well. I threw some stabil in the tank which had very little fuel but seemed rust free inside and closed it up. I collected all of the garbage that was in the car and disposed of it, and vacuumed out what seemed to be a full back of play ground sand (no doubt from the previous owner sand blasting the sound deadening material from the floor panels. All in all I got the care safely move able, cleaned, a list made, and ready to be worked on. I will start to tackle lining up the driver fender and door tomorrow, along with a surface rust issue I have on the interior of the hatch.
That’s it for today, thanks for reading!