1987 Nissan 200sx SE – Owned by Robby Gilmore(Redrocket)
Robbie’s Camo Crusader
This is a 1987 Nissan 200sx SE, or more commonly known by its chassis code of S12. It was an interesting trip to begin with to get the car, it was purchased in Jacksonville, FL for the price of $900. We drove down, picked it up and drove it back in one day. For us in Goldsboro, NC that was about a total of 18 hours spent driving. A few days after buying the car, it was sanded down and a few cancer spots cleaned up in preparation for the painting. The car was then painted to have a three color desert camo paint job using Krylon rattle can spray paint in a combination of flat and satin..
Now that the car was painted, it was time to upgrade the wheels on the car. I received a hell of a deal on a set of Work Equips, sized 16×7 +38 up front with a 225/50 tire, and 16×8.5 +40 in the rear with a 245/45 tire. Now that the car had some good tread on it it was time to get it ready for drifting. Stock for stock with this car it wasn’t that bad of a drift car. The stock motor is a 3.0L v6 (vg30e) and it has plenty of power and torque to spin the tires and keep them smoking, but the suspension was something a little less then desirable for drifting. The suspension was changed out with a set of Canuck Motorsports springs and a set of Tokico Illuminas 5 way adjustable shocks. The shocks were the fun part to track down, this car being as old and as unpopular as it is, it doesn’t have much to choose from by ways of shocks. The front set of Tokico’s are for a Nissan 280zx and the rears are made for a z31 Nissan 300zx. Now that the suspension was in order it was time for chassis bracing and I opted to have a four point back-half roll cage welded into the car. The cage was beautifully constructed by Chris Schimmel at Competition Cages in Hendersonville, NC. Chris welded the cage and perfectly triangulated the cage for it to be added on to later down the road when a full roll cage is needed.
The car was coming along surprisingly well but there were still a few things that need to be done. The differential was an easy choice for me to make, as ye of little money, I decided to weld the differential making it a full time locker. Hopefully one day I will replace the welded diff with an actual limited-slip differential but for now, the welded diff is more than satisfactory. With this being the SE version of the S12 it comes stock with the Nissan R200 Differential, which is shared with the more common s13 so future differential options are available. Next on the list was the installation of my Corbeau Forza II racing seat. Its a fixed position bucket seat which is a decent choice for the car seeing as it has no back seat thanks to the roll cage. After long nights of pondering, welding, and lots of measuring the seat rail was finally completed. The seat rail was made from square steel tubing, for the seat to mount to, then welded to the original S12’s drivers seat rail. Now to go along with that racing seat you need a good harness, so a Sparco 3 inch cam-lock harness was added to the integral harness bar in the cage. The lap belts were then installed using eyebolts that sandwiched to the stock floor pan between two 3″ squares of 1/8″ metal plates.
The stock pop-up headlights were abandoned to give the car a more aggressive look. The original headlamp buckets were removed leaving only the outer shells, then a pair of 55 watt halogen driving lights were mounted in each headlight position. The lights had to be mounted on custom brackets which were made from small sheets of sheet metal and pop-riveted into place. The lights were then wired into the original electrical system to keep from adding more unwanted switches. Keeping the original system I had to devise a way to be able to have both dim and bright lights. I now have four headlamps instead of just the two originals. The idea was to have the two outside lamps be the dim lights and have all four lamps burn for the bright lights. The wiring was simple enough, the key was an electronic component known as a diode. A diode can be easily described as an electrical check valve, as it allows electricity to flow in only one direction. The original harness has 3 wires running to the stock headlamps; a ground, power for dim, and power for bright. The power wire for the dim lights was routed to the outside lamps, then cut and the diode was spliced into it. The power wire for the bright lights was then connected to the inside lamp and the other end of diode. The diode running from the brights to dims allowed the outside lamps to stay on when switched to brights and it also kept the inside lights from being powered when the switch is in the dim position.
The car has still many projects waiting for it. With the time and the parts permitting the motor will receive an Eaton m-62 supercharger scrounged from a Nissan Frontier or Xterra. A center console is currently in work for a starter switch, ignition switch, fan switch, and gauges. A battery relocation is also planned for the S12. Last and not least of course will be the reworking of the brakes and suspension bushings. This car has been a fun project for us and it continues to surprise us and exceed all of our expectations.
I would like to send out a special thanks out to Geoff Baker, Jesse Hooven, and Sean Rindfleisch without them this car would not be where it is today.