Wow, two weeks of new posts in a row. What’s going on around here?! My hope is that this is the first step in making posting here a regular habit this winter, but we’ll see what happens. Maybe going into the offseason will afford me a bit more time to post on the blog.
Last weekend was consumed by prepping our home for winter- which wasn’t as bad as it typically is since we had temperatures in the 70s. It definitely felt strange to have that weather in November, but it made the task of cutting the lawn one last time, putting away patio furniture, and installing snow tires much more bearable. After installing the snow tires on my mom’s Accord, I took the coupe to top off the gas tank and take it for one more spin before tucking it back into my mom’s garage for winter. I just need to add some fuel stabilizer and throw a cover on it and the car should be good to sit for a while.
I drove the hatch to work on Monday since the sun and warm temperatures continued into the week. The time change happened over the weekend, so it was weird to arrive home from the office after dark- but it felt great to get one more commute in with my hatch. It’s still having a hard time starting if it sits for more than a day or two, even with a battery tender installed. I suspect this Odyssey battery just doesn’t have the CCA that my old Braille used to have, so I may need to replace it next season- which is annoying. It’s on my list of things to investigate this winter. There also seems to be an exhaust leak somewhere, with a sound reminiscent of when my first T25 turbo let go many years ago. It could just be the four-bolt gasket going bad, but that will need some attention as well. All in due time!
On Wednesday, the transporter arrived to pick up Tim’s rolling chassis and haul it to Chicago for the buyer. The buyer is none other than “180 Dave,” a Chicago guy that has been around for a very long time. In fact, I actually had a bunch of photos of his black S13 hatch with kouki 180SX aero saved from over the years – small world. I don’t think we have ever met in person, but we seem to have a lot of common connections and friends. I think he is going to do an amazing job bringing this car back to life and I can’t wait to see the results. The tow driver Billy also turned out to be an awesome guy that shares a lot of mutual friends as well. It’s always cool to be reminded of how tight knit this community actually is.
I got a ton of comments and DMs lamenting Tim’s car being parted out. While I totally understand the sentiment, I thought it was a little interesting how upset about it people were. While it’s definitely true that Tim put together a beautiful example of an S13, I completely respect his decision to part it out vs. selling the car whole. There are a number of factors that come into a decision like that, and I think it comes down to two big ones: the ability to let someone else own “your” car, and the money you hope to get out of it.
For some people, the thought of seeing their car being ruined online or being touted as someone else’s handiwork is too much to bear. While it might seem a bit arrogant to have that mindset, I think a lot of us have it about our project cars. When you spend so much time, money, and energy on building something and making it your own, the idea of someone else owning it just feels wrong. I sort of have this mindset about my personal S13s, and I know a lot of my friends do too. Heck, Jimmy even crushed his white S13 shell just so no one else could have it. It’s a bit extreme, but it is a real thing. I think people that have owned a car like this understand the feeling a bit more than those that haven’t. As weird as it might seem, it’s just the way some of us feel – and it was definitely the way Tim felt about his car.
As for the topic of selling the car whole, while it was a beautiful example, the car wasn’t technically finished. Sure, it looked great online, but there are many things that come with completing a build and getting it roadworthy. The car essentially had zero miles on it after the refresh and a lot of work still lied ahead for it before it was considered road worthy. The engine needed to be tuned, and it was proving difficult for Tim to find a place to tune the Power FC efficiently anywhere in Michigan. While some will say it was an easy solution, for Tim it just ended up being the straw that broke the camel’s back. He’s a mechanic for a living and just doesn’t want to turn wrenches when he gets home at night. He also has a new son at home that takes up a lot of his free time. Tim had thought about parting the car many times over the last three or four years and finally decided it was time to let go. It doesn’t really matter how nice a car is or how close to the finish line it may be – when you decide you’re done, you’re done. I know I’ve been there.
To sell a car like this as a complete car, you need number of things. To fetch top dollar, it’s gotta be running and driving just about flawlessly – which Tim’s car was not. He didn’t want to invest any more time and money into it, so that made the decision easy. The second thing you need is a buyer with a LOT of disposable income to make it worth your while. Let’s face it- not many people have the cash laying around to pay even close enough for this car complete to match what it could net being parted out. The bank isn’t going to give you a loan for North of $25k for a 1989 Nissan with a KBB value of $1200. There might be people out there willing to pay it that have the actual money for it, but finding them is going to be a hassle. Not to mention dealing with any complaints or questions that arrive after the sale.
With the S13 market red hot right now, part values are at a premium. Many people don’t really realize it or understand the concept, but if you were to sit down and total up the value of every single part on your car (and I mean every single thing) the total value would likely blow you away. It was true of my S13 hatch when I parted it out even back in 2012, so just imagine what it’s like with today’s prices. I think I sold my complete OEM kouki 180SX aero kit for around $1400 back then. The same aero kit fetched over $6,000 today. A rolling chassis with a fresh paint job used to be worth $1500 on the high side, but went for north of $7,000 today. It’s much easier to find buyers for a lot of individual parts than it is for an entire car, and the total at the end (even after shipping things across the country) will probably be higher than any price you’d be able to collect from someone buying the whole car. It’s going to take you some work, but the reward is definitely there.
I understand that it’s frustrating and a bummer to see a nice S13 get parted out, but sometimes it just makes the most sense from a financial angle- and when someone is getting out of the game or moving on to a new chassis, that’s the angle that matters most. If you think about things on the bright side, the parts went to helping a ton of other nice S13s get even nicer – and I am confident that Dave is going to do an amazing job giving this S13 another chance at life.
At the end of the day, the owner of the car is the only person that can decide what to do with their car. Tim’s wish was to part it out and move on, so that’s what we did! I remember getting a ton of backlash for parting my car out back in 2012, but I think it’s just something you can’t really understand unless you’re the one going through it. I almost feel like sometimes we are all a little crazy for chasing this goal of building a perfect car (which will never exist) and seeing people bail out on that chase makes us question what we are doing for a second or two. It makes us start to doubt ourselves too, and that’s why we hate to see it. I don’t know – whatever the case, it is what it is I suppose. If it makes someone happy and improves their life, I will always be in support of the decision to move on. Heck, sometimes I am downright envious of it.
Anyway, I guess I am rambling again. I just think it’s an interesting topic that I have been thinking about a lot lately. Parting out a car doesn’t have to be viewed as something sad or a tragedy- it’s just right for some people and can benefit a lot of other people and cars as well.
I’m just about finished with the part out – I have the Apexi Power FC and boost control kit left as well as the Wiring Specialties engine harness. I’m hoping those items will sell in the next week and I can put this one behind me. I’ll probably try to take things easy a bit through the holidays as life usually gets pretty hectic (and expensive,) but I am hoping to get my thoughts clear on what I want to achieve with my S13s this winter and come up with a plan of attack. I hope to tackle things in quick bursts this year so that I don’t end up with a bunch of things torn apart, waiting for the needed parts and motivation to finish them. I really want both cars to be ready to go as soon as the weather breaks in April. I say that every year, but hopefully I can stick to it this time!
Thanks as always for stopping by to check out the blog. If you know of anyone with some 17×9 +22 NISMO LMGT4, let me know! Have a great weekend.