My efforts in the garage this week resulted in the realization of a fairly significant milestone that I’ve dreamed of reaching for the last several years: I am now the owner of not one Nissan 240SX, but a pair of them- a 1993 fastback and a 1992 coupe. Sure, in typical S-chassis fashion they’re both a minimum of three different colors right now (the coupe being seven different colors,) but they are in fact running, driving vehicles that more or less include nearly ever component that I would like them to.
That’s a pretty big deal for me.
But before we get into all that, let’s talk a little bit about the progress on my original S13- the hatch. I think I have driven this car at least once every year I have owned it, but some years have definitely been lighter than others. After selling my Mercury Silver TE37s (for the second time) in June of 2019, the car sat for the majority of the summer “fun car” season here in Michigan. This was somewhat difficult for me to handle at the time, but it’s the sacrifice I chose to make in favor of larger obligations to my family and personal finances. It was tough, but at least I got to drive it for a couple months before putting the car away.
Enter 2020: I stumbled upon a great deal on a set of 17/18 AVS Model V and decided I could swing it. I got my tires mounted up and installed some GK Tech spacers to get the fitment decent. The car didn’t look terrible by any means, but the Model V definitely left something to be desired for me. As fate would have it, COVID swept over the world and essentially killed any real opportunity to drive the car. With being constantly stuck at home and uncertainty with my job, I ultimately decided to flip the Model Vs, put the hatch back on jack stands, and focus my efforts on the coupe build. That’s the way things stayed through the end of 2020- the hatch spending the majority of the last two years in my garage on stands, running and complete, without any wheels.
Towards the end of 2020, the gentleman I sold my old front pair of bronze TE37 reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in buying them back. He had taken great care of them so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I expected the search for a rear pair to be long and difficult, but thanks to a tip from a friend I was able to source a matching rear pair somewhat quickly. I kept my Advan Flevas from the silver TE37s since they essentially only had a trip to Shawano and back on them and used those again for the new setup.
The specs on this bronze set of TE37 aren’t ideal like the Mercury Silver set, but they could be worse. This set is 17x9J +22 and 18×9.5J +22. I moved my +11mm Project Kics wheel spacers to the rear of the car to bring those to +11 effective offset, then purchased a pair of +15mm spacers for the front to bring the effective offset to +7mm. The result is a rear setup that’s 1mm more aggressive than the silver TE37, and a front setup that is +3mm less aggressive. Not perfect, but I can live with it for now. I also grabbed another set of Muteki steel lug nuts for the hatch since my previous set made their way onto the coupe during the build.
After a few weeks of navigating the holidays and waiting for the right opportunity to make the 30 minute drive to see my friend Jalen in Lansing, I was finally able to get the tires mounted up last weekend. Jalen is a fellow S13 owner and has had some really cool setups over the years. He’s always down to help me out with mounting and dismounting tires and works around my busy family schedule which I greatly appreciate.
The moment had finally arrived. My wife had a Zoom call with some close friends from college this week and I was able to spend an evening in the garage bolting up the wheels and tires. Though the results are not really anything new or groundbreaking to me, I was still overcome with that feeling of excitement and accomplishment the first time I rolled the car off of the ramps and stepped back to take it all in. I stared in astonishment and muttered “that’s it” to myself. This is always the single best feeling of tinkering with these cars for me- stepping back and taking in the results of your carefully planned changes.
Yesterday Alexi and I went outside during my lunch break to move some cars around, shovel some snow, and grab some photos of the car back on the ground once again. Apparently my battery tender isn’t doing its job since the car wouldn’t start, but we rolled it outside anyway. The lack of clouds weren’t ideal for photos, but this was by far the warmest day in the forecast at 37° – so we had to take what we could get. I think the results weren’t too bad though all things considered.
I was of course very concerned about the two pairs of TE37s matching. The front pair is a bit older than the rear, but both have the additional stamping along the lips that was added in 2011 or so. My previous rear pair of bronze TEs didn’t have this and it bugged me that the pairs didn’t match, so I was glad things worked out this time. The rear pair is newer and has a little more orange to the color, where the fronts have a more chocolate sort of hue. It’s very close, but I think it is just good enough that I can live with it. I almost get the feeling that if I didn’t point it out, 98% of people wouldn’t notice- so that’s probably just fine. I would prefer the older TE37s in the classic bronze finish like on Itai and Itoh’s cars, but that is getting so difficult to find these days.
All in all, I think I am going to be really happy with this set of wheels. I think these will likely be keepers since it’s getting so difficult to find these things in OK shape for an affordable price. I know, I know… I’ve said that a few times before. We’ll see what happens. Despite it being fairly familiar, I think this is technically the first time the car has had bronze TE37s with OEM aero and Ganador mirrors. The N1 ducts are also a first for me and I am really excited to see them painted this summer. More on the Ganador mirrors in a future post.
Anyway, back to the realization that I have two of these things now. To be honest, I never had much interest in owning the coupe version of the S13. My interest in them came and went a few times over the years, but never got serious until 2016 or so. I always felt the 180SX just looked so much more aggressive with OEM aero than the Silvia did, and it just looked more like a sports car to me. But with a largely complete S13 hatch at home, I began to dream of owning a matching coupe as well. S13s were becoming scarce and Silvia front end parts were getting more expensive. My desire to own a coupe began to grow, and I even briefly considered parting out my hatch to build one. I’m pretty glad I didn’t.
Alexi and I decided to roll the coupe outside as well to grab some photos of the cars together. And while I definitely questioned my sanity seeing both cars in the driveway at once, I also felt a massive sense of accomplishment. They’re not complete yet, and probably never will be, but they’re both mine. While all of the body panels aren’t painted, they’re all bolted in place. The black interiors are fully assembled. They both have running SR20DET engine swaps. This realization completely blows me away.
The coupe definitely looks a lot worse next to an S13 that’s nearly all one color, but it was still a cool thing to witness. I’ve just got to remind myself not to get discouraged and to enjoy the process they’ll get there eventually.
I only have one battery for the cars at the moment since I didn’t want to buy a brand new one for the coupe at the end of fall only to sit all winter, so after I got it charged up I was able to fire up both cars and back them into the garage again. So, I haven’t gotten to hop into each car and crank them up to hear them both run at the same time, but I look forward to that day this spring. What a crazy and silly feeling- two of the same darn car.
It’s a small undertaking to toss on a set of wheels and tires and roll two cars out of the garage, but this was a big day to me and a great start to my attempt at getting back into the swing of this hobby a bit in 2021. Sometimes a small step forward can feel like a huge milestone, and yesterday was for sure one of those days. I’m feeling very hopeful and excited for the future of my cars and this blog in the coming months. Life is crazier than ever, but I’m confident I can keep things moving!
Thank you as always for stopping by. It’s more of an ask than ever these days to try to get people to navigate to an actual website and read words, so I really appreciate everyone that is able to find some enjoyment and encouragement from following along. As always, don’t hesitate to drop me an email or DM (@camryonbronze) to chat or ask a question.
Have an awesome weekend!