Honda Civic Type R? Volkswagen Golf GTI? Pshhh
One prime example of an underwhelming car from the 90s that could be made epic through the use of a talented tuner is the Nissan 200SX. Stock from the factory the top trim 1995 200SX SE-R came with 140 horsepower, hardly enough to register a change in pulse when the accelerator was teased. Underpinned by Nissan’s S platform on which the Silvia was based, the 200 SX was capable of much more, and those who fulfilled that ability were rarely disappointed.
Matt Farah decided to spend a sunny Southern California day with Martin and his SR20-swapped 200SX. With its intake kept pressurized by a small turbocharger optimized for torque and response, this 200SX starts making boost at 1,100 RPM, which is coincidentally also where it idles.
With close to 300 wheel horsepower going to the front of this lightweight coupe, it gets off the line with plenty of enthusiasm. As Farah points out, the blow-off valve makes a hissing sound as the driver lets off the throttle, adding an experience that we doubt owners of the newer Sentra Nismo will get. Truly mimicking a Nismo variant requires major suspension modifications, which is exactly what this 200SX gets. The package is rounded off by a short throw shifter, allowing this 2,200-pound machine to hit the track and do some damage. The only complaint? A steering rack that’s not as quick as Farah would like for comfort on a track day. Hopefully Nissan will remedy that if it ever makes a sequel to rival the MX-5.