NICOclub’s 240sx Convertible Project Car: “The Droptop From Hell”…
“I’m only gonna put wheels on it.”
Yep. That’s how it starts. After owning over 20 vehicles, I’ve come to find that this means trouble.
In fact, if you find yourself saying these words, you can bet you’ll be neck-deep in the car in question within a year.
Interestingly, no one else really took a liking to the ‘vert. After a few rides in it, the kids thought it was “OK”. The wife said it was “nice”, and the local 240 guys came up with every “convertible-related” myth and tall-tale they’d ever heard. Well, damn.
The first order of business was to give the car a good, thorough cleaning – Now, when I clean a car, it KNOWS it’s been cleaned. We’re talking undercarriage detailing, removing parts, and scrubbing areas most folks don’t ever see. But this is the only way to thoroughly assess the condition of a car and determine what needs replacing.
Ditched the cookie monster seat covers, tossed the floor mats, chucked the dashmat, and spent a whole weekend detailing it, inside and out. A good sign: I found more golf tees and golf balls hidden in the quarter panels than I could count – This car had hauled a golf bag or two in its day.
Next step – Restore the car to its original “as-new” running condition. Again, this is something I believe very strongly in. Too many people start throwing mods and performance parts at a car before they know how it originally performed, then wonder why they don’t get the results they were hoping for.
Fortunately, NICOclub has several OEM parts suppliers to choose from, so I bought new everything: Belts, hoses, oil, filters, plugs, wires, cap, rotor, fluids, bushings, thermostat, vacuum lines and a factory service manual. Nothing gets you acquainted with a “new” car like performing all necessary maintenance, and it’s so much easier without 120K miles worth of road grime.
Not a bad performer thereafter! 140 crank HP isn’t too terrible, and I was finding that, even with the slushbox, this car was designed RIGHT. Having never driven a 240sx prepped for track use, I could tell it wouldn’t take much to make this platform perform beyond expectations – Nissan knew what they were doing.
Some further reading on our very own forums encouraged me to perform the first mod on the ‘vert: Removal of the upper chain guide. That sound had bugged me since the beginning, and of course, it was an easy task. Also gave me a chance to assess the condition of the engine, and few engines with 120K miles looked as good (Pictures to the right).
View other segments:Part I: Finding the Perfect 240sx Part II: What, Just Wheels? Part III: Modifications just keep coming Part IV: More Power Part V: It’s what’s INSIDE that matters Part VI: Project Vert Gets POWER! Part VII: A New Beginning Part VIII: Unleashed! Part IX: 12/10/2007 Update Part X: 03/07/2009 Update – Bagged Suspension