First Day of Summer

I’m told that today marks the official kickoff to summer (according to Facebook.) It’s been close to a month since my last update so I figured now would be a good time to talk a bit about what I have been up to and what’s been going on with the car.

For the most part things have been relatively quiet in my garage (from a working on cars standpoint anyway.) I’ve done little to the S13 since my last update aside from removing my NeXt miracle cross bar and installing the factory rear seat belts in its place. This small change has allowed Alicia and I to take our daughters along with us which has been a real treat. While we haven’t done that a ton, we did take the car to Dairy Queen and a local car meet, in addition to the occasional daycare pick up and drop off duty per my youngest daughter’s request (Hattie mumbles, “Race car? Race car?” when I arrive to pick her up in the Mazda5.) After having the bar laying around in the garage for a few weeks, I ultimately decided to part ways with it and sold it for a price I was happy with last week. While it was always one of my favorite pieces for the car, it didn’t make a lot of sense to me to keep it around. I guess a more practical mindset is shifting into frame for me from a car standpoint right now. I went ahead and installed my 180SX headliner while removing the cross bar- so nice to finally have this piece in place!

I also parted ways with a few other items including my Ganador mirrors and Bride seat rail. I gave the Ganadors one more go and still love the look of them on the car, but I’ve grown accustomed to being able to actually see what’s behind me, so I decided to cash out on those as well. I’ve done this a number of times in the past so it’s not irreversible, but I am digging the look of the stock mirrors right now. Last week I removed my Raybrig headlight housings and HID kit and replaced them with a pair of Hella E Code housings and bulbs. I like the slightly more factory look of the Hella lights when combined with the full OEM lighting up front and they provide better light output with less unwanted attention- all good things. Finally, the NISMO 2 way diff I had previously installed was driving me nuts. I hated the constant clunking and blank stares from people at the grocery store assuming my car was broken. I’ve switched back to the J30 VLSD which works just fine for street cruising.

Yesterday I attended the Eyes on Design car show at the historic Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Point, Michigan that takes place on Father’s Day every year. It’s a pretty large show filled with everything from vintage bicycles and motorcycles to cars ranging in age from the Model T to 70s muscle cars, even new concept vehicles. There’s a small “tuner” class every year that always brings an interesting group of cars. It’s a bit of a catch all and probably pales in comparison to much of the show (my car included) but it’s always fun to be a part of it. This was my fifth year at the show and my third with the S13.

My cars at Eyes on Design shows from past years: 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2016:

It was fun to see a lot of cool cars and run into new and old faces. My car seemed to hold up well aside from the obvious fact that I still really need to get it aligned. I haven’t been driving it much now that I work very close to home and don’t have a solid lead on a good alignment place at the moment so I have been avoiding it. Alicia brought the girls out for a bit and it was fun to walk around the grounds with them and eat sponge bob popsicles ( a welcome treat as it was sunny and 90 degrees out.)

In many ways the vehicles and owners of the more classic classes at this show reflect how I feel about my car these days. If my S13 is truly going to be the car I hold onto, it changes the way I think about what I do to it and what I use it for. I’ll always be into modifying cars, but this feels like a bit of a natural resting point for me right now. Many people have asked me what I am doing and if I am parting the car out again, but the only real answer is that I am enjoying a more simplified version of my car right now. It’s refreshing to take the car down to what you feel is the bare-bones amount of choice modifications to still enjoy it, and I feel for the most part that’s where I am right now. Having lots of cool parts is definitely a blast, but there’s something to be said for a conservative approach as well.

As for what the rest of the summer holds car wise, I really don’t think I will get into much. At some point I would like to add some sound deadening to the floor and under dash area in addition to replacing the carpet as mine still has holes in it from the Cusco cage and Do Luck floor bar. I will probably go with a slightly lighter hue this time that isn’t quite black like I have now- maybe a gray that is a bit darker than the stock carpet but isn’t black either. I would also like to add some fabric to the door cards to clean those up a bit- something subtle that will likely be a similar color to the new carpet. Alicia gave me the green light to pick up a new head unit and speakers for the car for Father’s Day, so I need to go ahead and order those items. I’ve always had the factory setup in my car and it really doesn’t work well at all due to its age, so it would be really cool to be able to listen to music on our trip to Final Bout next month.

I’ve been strongly considering changing my wheel and tire setup to something square- perhaps 17×9 +22 with a 245/40 all around. This would of course require the height to be raised, but if it still managed to look good I think it would drastically improve the car’s drivability. I’m pretty torn on this since I do love the TE37s and the way the car sits at the moment, but it sure would be nice to stroll into a normal tire place to have the car aligned and to get my tires mounted. I think the only wheels I would probably use for something like this would be either TE37s or LMGT4s, both in bronze. We’l see what the future holds though.

As for the engine, I would like to add a catch can at some point. I have a power steering leak that needs to be addressed but I have been too lazy to fix it. I am also using a fairly old air filter and the stock intake tube, so improving those things would be nice to take care of. I’m growing a bit tired of Cusco solid engine mounts and don’t need the clearance for the vented hood any more, so maybe I’ll swap those in favor of a pair of NISMO units. Aside from those small details I don’t plan to change anything under the hood unless something breaks.

So that’s where things stand currently! Looking forward to our trip to Final Bout: SSC next month in Wisconsin to see old friends and make some new ones. Thanks for stopping by!


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3 Responses to First Day of Summer

  1. codygarcia says:

    I’m going through the same sort of revelations on my S2000 that you’re going through on this, with the exception of realizing it before I really started doing anything beyond part collecting. Where to draw the line between making visions become reality & keeping the car enjoyable on a regular basis is an elusive quest.

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