Monday, 30 March 2015

Late, Base, S12 Coupe...

Another interesting (and immaculate) car currently available at a dealer in Japan..
A very late, very basic, 1987 S12 Nissan Silvia R-X Coupe.

1987 being the second last year of a 5year production run; with the S12 introduced late 1983 to replace the S110 chassis.

1987 was also the year of a fairly thorough refresh; with new bumpers, mouldings, rear lights, and (probably most obviously) this full-width front grill treatment. Early cars had wider corner lights that ran the width of the headlight.

Headlights up! the shape and position of the headlights reminds me a lot of the N13 Exa..

No lip, spoiler, or skirts; black mouldings.. and steel wheels..

...Cloth seats (with fantastic genuine accessory covers), untrimmed wheel, and.. maybe a cassette player..? Nope, radio-only here..

This late in the S12's production, the R-X was about as basic as things got.

To add insult to injury; the R-X came equipped with the ferocious CA18S.
I remember shaking my head at a friends CA20E-powered R31 - completely unaware how exotic that twinspark-masterpiece was, compared to the dreariness Nissan was producing at the same time..
.and here it is.
The CA18S -  a fractionally undersquare, carburetted, single-cam four; mustering up ~66kw (90hp) out of its 1.8 litres of capacity.
In its defence, things like this are often brilliantly under-stressed - maybe even a further 100,000km of running on three cylinders with a knock; but this chassis deserved better..!
Luckily (and not surprisingly), it did. From here it stepped all the way up to the CA18DET-powered Twincam Turbo RS-X model, with the CA18ET (Injected, Single-cam, Turbo) Turbo R-X model in between.
Early top-spec S12's even came with the old FJ20ET 2litre turbo.. and I know I've mentioned how fond I am of those before...!

Late-model brochure image of the different coupe variants..

..and for comparison, the (arguably prettier) hatchback equivalents.

One last pic of the car for sale.
I pick on it; but seriously love things like this - It's just so basic an innocent. It look sharp in the solid white, and I'm sure the 5spd and skinny tires make it a bit of fun to punt about in.
This particular car is in absolutely amazing condition, and is listed with a claimed 16,000km on the clock - which I don't doubt.
Whats even more amazing; its only ~660,000yen. Importable, interesting, and so mechanically simple (and common) that I doubt there'd be any problem getting so, so, much more use out of something like this.
It's unique, affordable, and needing nothing. Very cool. 

Friday, 27 March 2015

The Utilitas DR30's @ NOS2DAYS

A pair of beautiful DR30 Nissan Skyline RS', displayed by Utilitas at Nos2Days this year.

UTILITAS are a dealer & workshop specializing in Landcruisers and DR30 Skylines - an odd yet awesome combination. I've posted pics of some of their DR30's before here, here and here.
While there sadly were no 60-series Landcruisers on display the day I took these pics, the pair of DR30's - one early and one late (despite being only months apart) - were in spotless condition. Both coupes, and in what would have to be my pick of the DR30 colour combinations..

The later, update, 'Ironmask' DR30 RS; with the bonnet completely removed to give a clear view of the restored FJ20E.

Interesting trumpet on the front of the intake, replacing the original intake ducting..

The other DR30, a pre-update RS-TURBO.
Manufactured in the small window between the introduction of the FJ20ET in early 1983, and the late 1983 update which would have had it looking like the car beside it..

Here an agressive set of Star Road Glow Star wheels are used, which definitely seem a lot more 'gold' than the Enkei 92's on the other car. You'd get used to it, but I wish it was the more like the drier gold of the Enkei's, which seems to match the decals a little better.

I'd love to be able to tell you more about this front spoiler, but I cant. Optional/accessory part? aftermarket?

Regardless, I'm a huge fan. I love the large foglights positioned so close to centre.. and they're behind transparent covers? Just awesome.

At 4.9 and 4million yen for these respectively, they're not cheap. They are just about perfect examples of the model though, so for someone who missed their chance to buy a new one thirty years ago....

Monday, 23 March 2015

The Nissan MID4..

A little more detail on what was one of my favourite cars at Nostalgic 2Days this year..

The 1985 Nissan MID4. A concept Nissan supercar originally unveiled at the '85 Frankfurt Autoshow.

Obviously this car has done the rounds plenty of times over the years; but was the first time I'd seen it.. and was more than a little impressed..!
Initially for the usual reasons - its its mid-engine.. its red.. its got pop-up headlights. All good things, right? But what really stuck was just how production-ready it seemed..
This isn't some wild concept with see-through 20" wheels and crazy doors; no, had you told me this was just a low volume production car, I could almost be fooled. Regular wheels and tyres, lights and sidemarkers, separate bumpers, licence plate mounts, sensible mirrors.. handles.. locks.. wipers.. doorseals. Too sensible even to be a kit car..

While initially aimed to go into production, this just ended up being a technical showcase for Nissan engineering and technology.
This is one of at least four prototypes that were made, of which at least one car was white...

...The red definitely completes the classic 'I-think-it's-a-Ferrari' look though.
If I blur my eyes a little (okay.. maybe a little more than the industry standard for blurring..), the vertical rear quarter glass and long 'flying buttress' C-pillars gives this quite the Ferrari Testarossa look..
..or maybe Lotus Esprit..

Interesting vents above the rear tail-lights.
After seeing the engine-bay pics, I'm not sure what those would be doing..

A simple single-sided exhaust with chrome tips was surprisingly sweet to see.
Also worth noting that I've seen both the white and red cars with and without that rear spoiler..

 Simple two-piece welded alloy wheels with hidden nuts.

Like an MR2, there looks to be space for a second boot/trunk behind the engine compartment.
A tinted transparent roof spoiler extends over the engine lid...

..which although looks good, does stop the engine lid from opening fully.
In the shadows under that 45degree lid; the transverse-mounted, Nissan VG30DE - A quad-cam, 24valve, 3litre, naturally aspirated V6.
The single cam VG30E (no 'D' for DOHC) was already on the market from 1984. The twincam heads developed for this car (making the VG30DE) made their way into production Nissans from 1986.
The ~220hp  the MID4's VG30DE developed went through a 5speed manual, before being distributed to the wheels via a pre-ATTESA all-wheel-drive system.
Along with the mid-mounted engine, and AWD; the MID4 also launched Nissan's HICAS four-wheel-steering system. As with the VG30DE mentioned above, this was introduced into production Nissans the following year.

Inside, nice low seats, a good looking wheel, and a high console.
Fair bit of wear-and-tear to the side bolster for this 30year old showcar..

And one more image with the front-hinged bonnet open. I unfortunately didn't nab a pic of it in there for whatever reason..
Speaking of which; again, apologies for the phone pics. They're a bit grainy, the colours are odd, uneven, not centred, aaaand so on; BUT - with the alternative being me lugging around a DSLR there-and-back on the train... well.. phone pics it is!

A few more pictures, because I'm just really liking this..
What look like early promotional images..

A likely period Fujimi model kit..

Road&Track, December 1985

Car And Driver, March 1986 (notice the rear wing added..)


Pop-up headlights, hanging foglights, a mid-mounted quadcam V6, around 220hp and 1230kg. Just a shame it didn't go into production..

Thursday, 19 March 2015

SSR EX-C Aero Covers..

I had been searching for a set (or pair.. or single.. or piece..) of SSR aero covers for quite some time.
So few come up for sale that it is hard to even gauge an idea of price; but after wanting some for so long, that was pretty much irrelevant. Next ones I'd see, I'd go for.

A couple weeks back two separate pairs of the covers went through Yahoo - a high offset white (with red text) pair, and these.. a low offset silver (with black text) 'pair'.

Beggars definitely cannot be choosers here; so a tired two-and-a-half-piece 'set' is as close as I may possibly ever get..

So here they are - the 15", low-offset, Silver-with-black-text covers - in all their faded, chipped, and discoloured glory:
Just to back up up a little for anyone who has stumbled across this page randomly in google; what the hell is it I'm talking about, and.. why...?

Well on the table in the above picture is a wheel.. and on the front of the wheel what is essentially an unnecessarily elaborate hubcap. Its the flat, saucer-looking piece with 'SPEED STAR RACING' written on it in that fantastically 80's font.

This is a bit of a nod towards the aero covers.. or brake fans.. on the wheels of racing cars from that era, and were there to simply draw air past the brakes. These covers just may well work the same way too.. but falls well into the realm of adjustable spoilers and canards on a street car.. (I'm the last to complain there though...!) 

The cover is made to suit the SSR EX-C Fin and Mesh; but would also obviously fit the Takechi Project / RacingHart Spinner Fin and Mesh (which use the same faces), as well as any other SSR wheel with a screw on collar and enough clearance.

As mentioned already; the ones I have here are a low offset version, and made to suit a 15" wheel. There are at least two other depth versions available; to likely suit the very common 6.5" ~+20 size, and the 6" ~+40 'FF' style - like in the picture above.

Along with the multiple sizes; they came in four different colours:
- White with red letters.
- White with black letters.
- Silver with red letters.
...and purple with green letters.

No. Maybe not..

Unimaginatively, the fourth colourway is Silver with Black letters - like the ones I have here. Or moreseo like the ones here originally were - which has now discoloured to a hilarious shade of gold...

..Which leads onto the explanation as to why these photos look a little.. dry?  

After setting up the tired old aero cover on a deliberately matching 8" Fin (I've mentioned before how cool tired wheelscan look..).. well the filthy 'gold' the silver paint had become basically made my eyes bleed.

SO down the saturation went, for some almost-black-and-white-but-not-quite subtlety! 

Moving onto a little more detail...  
Remembering this us a 8" +/-0 wheel, really demonstrates how deep the cover is. The tall EX-C cap is completely sunken into the cover..

Valve cutout, still a couple inches away from the actual valve.
Broken fin on the aero cover is a nice touch..


Yep - by creating parts for racing, we have the ability to develop similar parts for road cars.

Here the know-how of Racing machine !!


Just the same as they do on the Volk 84C covers I've posted about before, this inner ring is simply pressed into the fins on the main cover.

The cover itself is actually made out of three pieces, which will probably be a bit clearer when you see the back in the picture further down the page; but you can just make out the edge of the inner ring in the above picture. Its a quality fit.

One more of the face.. 
The cover is about an inch too shallow for this wheel (So actually doing nothing as opposed to just likely doing nothing) .. but still, deeeeep..

Cap unscrewed from the standard tall EX-C collar.

The collar screws directly into the face of the wheel, sandwiching the cover. This setup replaces the EX-C 'plate'. 
The above picture shows the locating pins on the cover to easily set the position of the collar. The screw holes for the SSR collars are on the one PCD (two variations depending on the cap), but are spaced in a way that means the collar can only mount in one way. These small plastic pins on the cover align with the notches on the base flange of the collar.

Back of the cover; showing the two separate parts that make up the main cover, and the tabs on the back of the inner ring pressed through the spokes/fins.

The lip which goes into the centrebore of the wheel, and mounting marks from 30years of use..

One last pic of the back of the cover; showing the two main parts plastic-welded together at half a dozen points. 

And that'd be... just.. about.. it.

SSR EX-C Aero cover.
Had wanted for a very long time.
Got these.
All good things.