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Old Schooling

You have to admit there’s something special when it comes to modding up a car when most would think dumping them in a river somewhere because it’s simply not worth the trouble anymore.

The trouble with people is that they believe that new is always better, and would bring up in conversations of how certain a few million bucks worth of vehicle is better than their parent’s paid-cash cars, failing to realise how shallow their pockets are.

Then they start talking about them cult cars they see on cartoons and Holywood movies, stopping short of burning up their own cars because they couldn’t bear the sight of seeing them without neon lights lighting up the streets.

If there’s a difference between older and newer generations of vehicle enthusiasts, it’s shift of balance between mechanical perfection and great paintjobs. Being friends with mostly old school veterans surely has its own perks, like focusing on the things that work instead of deciding on the latest trend.

Old school means more mechanical works with less electronics. Whatever you plug in is what runs the engine. No adaptive gearbox or learning ECUs to help shave seconds off the timesheet.

On the opposite side, modern vehicles have much more electronics because it helps to make the machines to run more efficiently, and faster too, but that doesn’t mean purely mechanical vehicles are inadequate to put up a fight. I’ve seen many newer vehicles get owned by older machines, simply because the driver knew what he was doing. Most of the time, it’s not the car’s fault.

Cars like the Skylines and Impreza STIs, along with Evos, are all great drivers cars with enough satisfaction packed inside both the engine bay and the handling department to give more than a smile to just about anyone, but you have to understand how to handle them to appreciate what they have to offer.

This is where old school wins over new school, where skills actually matter in driving, and it’s not just about pressing the pedal and clicking a few buttons to go faster.

One perfect example would be this delicious Nissan Sentra B13.

The B13 was produced between 1991 and 1994 and came in 1.4-liter, 1.6-liter, and the more powerful SR20DE powered 2.0-liter variant.

Seen here in black, this B13 has received some amount of blessings to make the car roar a little harder than your grandfather’s pickup truck.

Going straight into the engine bay, the engine is replaced with an SR20VE, generally found in the JDM Nissan Primera or the Infiniti G20. Stock power is rated between 190hp to 205hp, and came with Neo Variable Valve Timing with Lift Control.

N1 cams replace the stock to provide longer stride and higher revving. Fueling is improved by using an N1 oil pump and regulated using Sard’s fuel regulator, and mixing business is helped by using N1 intake manifold and N1 70mm throttle body. Ferrea valves and BC retainers are used to get quicker and more powerful response from the engine.

The five-speed gearbox is mated with the engine, complete with Nismo’s limited slip differential for better maneuverability. Adding up to the acceleration power would be the ACT Racing clutch, and Tomei short shifter. This is a fun car to drive.

Smoke signals are created through FGK extractor, complete with a Fujitsubo Legalis R exhaust system. A Full Race ECU is used to govern the electronics, which allows superior tunings than the standard management.

Chassis and handling tuning has been done with some extensive help from Tein Flex for the front and Racing Gear Circuit for the rear. The car’s not too stiff to make it jump on every small bump, but enough to put some serious fun into driving. Add a few more plus points when the owner installed Nismo anti-roll bar and Nismo sway bar into the fray.

And it keeps adding up when the owner decided he needs more stopping power in his black B13 by installing a pair of Wilwood four-pot calipers, complete with ventilated rotors, but retained the stock B13 JDM calipers with solid rotors for the rear.

Keeping on the small side, AME Forged 15-inch wheels are used, along with serious Kumho Ecsta and Bridgestone Potenza RE11 205/50 rubbers for the front and rear. Small, but packs quite a punch, as the wheels are quite light compared to most, reducing unsprung weight.

You see, this B13 is not built for autoshows and things like that. This B13 is made for schooling you on the art of mechanical perfection, and looking good doing it.

The exterior is filled with JDM original body parts, with an addition of INGS+1 front lip and custom ducktail spoiler. Nothing radical, but keen eyes will definitely notice the rare JDM parts present on this car.

Stepping inside, a B13 JDM dashboard is kept to maintain originality and having it easier on the eyes. Sparco Imola steering wheel is used for better grip and makes it less slippery when wet.

A Takata safety harness has also been installed for precautions, right on the beautiful Bride Zeta II carbon Kevlar full bucket seat. There’s also a huge rev-light on the center of the speedometer that’ll scream bright divine light to your face, ‘change the gear dude!’

Looking at this Sentra reminds me of how great machines came to be forgotten simply due to their outphased shapes and so called old technology. Some of the great machines of the good old days utilised some of the most awesome technology that phased the way for today’s tech, and these old techs used mainly mechanical setups to make them work the way they do.

It’s a pity how some of these old techs are disregard, including their true potentials hidden from plain view.

This B13 should be one of the benchmarks for old school modifications; not too much, but enough for you to stop a moment and reminisce on the good old times when car manufacturers made real driving machines.


Car: Nissan Sentra B13

Engine Mods: SR20VE, N1 cams, N1 oil pump, N1 intake manifold, N1 70mm throttle body, Ferrear valves, BC retainers, Sard fuel pressure regulator, FGK extractor, Fujitsubo Legalis R exhaust system

Electronics: Full Race ECU, Defi gauges

Transmission: Five-speed manual, Nismo LSD, ACT racing clutch, Tomei short shifter

Chassis & Handling: Tein flex (front), Racign Gear Circuit (rear), Nismo anti-roll bar, Nismo sway bar

Brakes: Wilwood four-piston calipers with ventilated rotors (front), B13 JDM calipers with solid rotors (rear)

Wheels & Tyres: AME Forged 15×7”, Kumho Ecsta / Bridgestone Potenza RE11 205/50/R15

Interior: B13 JDM dashboard, Bride Zeta II carbon Kevlar bucket seat, Sparco Imola steering wheels, Takata safety harness

Exterior: JDM body parts, INGS+1 front lip, custom ducktail spoiler

Text: Syawal Ahmad
Photos: Kenny Yeoh

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