Weekly Treasure: 1991 Nissan Pulsar GTI-R

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Meet the "Baby Godzilla."

There's a long list of awesome Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) cars one can legally import to the US, granted they're at least 25 years old. There's literally something for every enthusiast. Sedans, SUVs, MPVs, sports cars, and even hot hatches are readily available, though some are far more special than others. There are also some history is quickly forgetting. The Nissan Pulsar GTI-R is one of them.

Many are quite familiar with the EK9 Honda Civic Type R but the Pulsar GTI-R deserves almost more respect. This three-door hatch, known in Europe as the Sunny, was a homologation variant built from 1990 until 1994 so that Nissan could enter the World Rally Championship (WRC) under Group A rules.

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Power came from the automaker's SR20DET 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that produced 227 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual sent power to all four wheels. Weighing just 2,400 pounds, this three-door wonder achieved a power-to-weight ratio of 0.083 (8.66 pounds-per-horse), thus helping it achieve a 0-62 mph time of 5.4 seconds. That's about the same time as the 1991 964 Porsche 911 and Chevy C4 Corvette. The standing quarter-mile happens in 13.5 seconds and top speed is 144 mph.

Compared to the standard Pulsar hatchback, the GTI-R came with a large rear wing and hood scoop. It's no wonder the Pulsar GTI-R is referred to as the "Baby Godzilla." Unfortunately, Nissan abandoned its WRC efforts in 1992 because the racing-spec Pulsar GTI-R never finished better than third place in any event.

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By the time road car production ended, a total of just 13,842 examples had been made, and this one currently for sale at JDM Sport Classics is a standout for several reasons.

It's only one of around 2,000 sold in Japan in the TJ1 (Gray Graphite Pearl) color code and is mostly stock with 121,000 verified miles. It looks to be in excellent shape despite its age and many miles driven. Other notable features include a carbon fiber dash cover, Nardi steering wheel, and Summit Racing bucket seats. The asking price is $18,450, and some JDM hot hatch fan will have no problem forking over that amount. They know exactly what they're getting: a supercar killer from the rad era.

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