My Nissan s13 1991 Silvia is the best car to start in the import world. It's cheap and has a lot of parts and companies supporting it. When I bought my car, it came with a front end crash. It only cost me up to 900 dollars to repair it (done the work myself, can't tell the difference.)
The car is very easy to understand as it's a very simple design.
The engine had 116 000kms on the clock when I brought it. And the car only weighs 1070kgs.
And it has not missed a beat with the sr20 engine (warning, don't buy the ca18 version, they are unreliable and will cost you money in the long run, unless you use it as a daily driving car, not for racing).
I found the sr20de only has 105kw (160hp), I was a bit shocked when I found out, because the Toyota 4agze has more kw, and some Pulsars have more hp then me. So I don't race everyone!
The fuel consumption is great. I only put in 15 dollars a week and I drive everywhere.
The LSD is not the greatest one, but if you have a chance to change it, I would recommend you do, as you will feel the difference in taking off from a standstill, and handling.
The steering is wonderful; wherever I steer it, it goes, and I can feel the road and position of the car too. This car gave me my confidence back as I can control the car, it feels light not heavy steering like the 6 cylinder Skylines, Supras and the other ones. So if you're reading this, I would take one for a test drive and take it a little bit hard into a corner and you will feel it, what I'm talking about. It has great feedback.
The gear box is great, I have no problem with it. Even the way I drive, it handles very good (manual).
The interior is okay. I changed my seats to a series 2 Skyline so they are comfortable. Only when you have people in the back seat does it start to get uncomfortable, as it's pretty tight for big people, but if you're small it's okay.
So in the end I would recommend one to my friends before they start spending $15 000 on a expensive sports car. With the right money and mods, these cars can keep up to the latest cars and do any event that you're into (drift, drag, circuit, street racing and even targa events if you are interested in that stuff).
The mods I have done to my car are:
Nissan s13: $2500 (champagne gold with grey trim).
Body repairs when I bought it: $900
- 17 inch rims: $750
- Suspension: $800
- Strut bars: $160
- Toe in and camber adjuster: $200
- R33 series2 bucket seats: $400
- Clear lense, parker and indicator: $400
- 3 inch exhaust system: $400
- Decals: $50
- BN widebodykit: $950
- Cadence sound system and neons: $800
- Wheel spacers: $250
- Interior toys and items: $100, girls love it!:)
All the work is done by myself by reading a book and getting information off the net. So try and do it yourself, as you will save a lot of money and build your confidence in mechanics. So in the future car of yours, it won't cost you $95 a hour from a performance shop. Take it nice and easy as I learnt from the beginning.
If you are not poor like me, please buy a turbo version as you can avoid the trouble in the future of a engine swap. And also make sure it's a manual as you can get the nice burble noise of a sr20, even if it's non turbo (autos have a droning noise and are not fun to drive.
Just remember when tuning your car, just be patient in looking for parts, as the good parts will eventually show up, and do a lot of research and searching for a better deal.
If you are a Silvia fan like me, join my msn or send me a email as we can share tips and ideas to help each other, or even start a cool team :)
Anyways, I hope you enjoy your car as I will do with mine for the next couple of years. Maybe after that I'll upgrade to the s14 series 1 by then. So take care and be careful on the road, and remember sometimes leave all the racing to the track, as you will know you will go home that day. :)