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Riding 18SX


Isn’t it amazing to think that there are some pre-millennia cars that can still sit nose to nose, rear wing to rear wing, blistering wheel arch to blistering wheel arch with even the creamiest of the current crop of rides? Sure, with enough visual nourishments any rides (regardless of its period of existence) with just the tiniest of performance-inclined looks, may still pique an enthusiast’s eye, may still be considered a looker per se. But only the truly gnarly ones; those with real substance, possessing both the visual excess and the mechanical might, can obliterate and outshine everything else in its sights. And this stunning 180SX is one ride that personifies that gnarliness in its purest form.

Nissan’s 180SX is among the most popular sports car in the 90s not just domestically in Japan but also elsewhere, pretty much just about everywhere. They’ve made their reputation as a moderately affordable option for young car enthusiasts (usually with the means to do dwell on their tuning excess) to let loose their speed craving self on. And of course the seemingly endless aftermarket tuning options available in the market is but one plus points as per the 180SX’s performance horizon. Their exalted status as an evergreen ride that have stood the test of time, along with its many legendary spin-offs and siblings, is another condoning factor that have enabled the 180SX to find its place in the ‘elite sports car’ pantheon for more than two decades, interestingly pre and post millennium.

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The name 180SX was originally in reference to the 1.8 liter displacement CA18DET engine used in the chassis. In 1991, however, the engine was upgraded to a 2.0 liter model, offered in two forms: the naturally aspirated SR20DE engine and the turbocharged SR20DETvariant. Although the new engine was of larger displacement, the 180SX nomenclature remained. 180SX was also a trim level of the S110 Silvia in Europe. The badges for this model read “Silvia 180SX”, so this car is not quite a 180SX by model, but a spin-off of the Silvia instead. Other derivatives from this standard were distributed to Micronesia and South Pacific islands, including LHD cars with 180SX badges and non-retractable headlamps.

Like the Japanese 180SX SR20DET discrepancy, European, as well as South African models of the S13 chassis were called 200SX though equipped with the CA18DET engine. In North America, It was sold as the Nissan 240SX Fastback with the KA24DE engine and various other trim differences. In Europe the car was sold as a 200SX and only featured the CA18DET engine producing 169 PS (124 kW; 167 hp) through the rear wheels, taking it to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.5 seconds and onto 220 km/h. The car had a facelift in 1991 with new smoother bumpers, limited slip differential and larger brakes. This model was sold between 1989 and 1994 until the change to the 200SX S14 version.

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Well that’s about enough of the 180SX’s cover story yeah? I’m merely building up the anticipation and the impending acknowledgment of this extraordinary derivative of the fabled Nissan. I’m sure that with just one quick glance of the images in all its high resolution glory, you’d get that buzz going inside your inquisitive mind, as well as that tiny little nudge in your heart that would eventually evolve into a proper longing – a longing to want more, more of the ride, more of the juicy parts, more of the power that lies within. Or simply put more of everything. Well, short of hijacking the ride altogether and driving off into the sunset. Yeah, I know a lame old cliché that one is. Well, if I’m getting you well and truly stoked by now, if you’re not already, then let us commence our mechanized ‘autopsy’ of this Rocket Bunny 180SX.

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Cool name that Rocket Bunny; sorta like a Playboy bunny (or more famously known as Playmate) getting all wired on speed. But if you know about Rocket Bunny than you’d know their proclivities towards unconstrained aerodynamic excess; with their slam down on the ground (hey it rhymes) stance, their almost Gran Turismo like guise – that purposeful low stance; and the natural tendency to cause gyrating attention from people. That warranted attention is further validated with quite a bit more exterior add-ons – custom Porsche Cayenne Hamann-styled bonnet, Craft square side mirrors, Tonnka bonnet pin, Raybrig multi reflector head lights, Dmax’s crystal clear bits of tail lamps and front turn signals. Then of course there are all those decals and stickers with that screen-placed ‘Zee King’ moniker seemingly advertising the owner’s ‘oneness’ with his ride, and the circular ‘drift’ decals conspicuously placed so as to flaunt its drifting tendencies. Profound coolness with a ‘capped’ C.

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Now this Rocket Bunny-attired 180SX comfortably nestled within a pretty exclusive segment amongst the local tuning hierarchy, and it being all dressed up with plenty of places to go is merely one valid point on its checklist. The rest of that checklist consists of having a ‘double whammy’ of perks in the power department – a pair of SR22DE-T blocks with a VH45DE head, with a Welbro fuel pump keeping the juice flowing unhindered. Now to keep the question marks as per its power figures, just think about the already impressive numbers for the one SR22DE-T, multiply it by two, then add the cold air intake, and Drifthouse fully custom exhaust – extractor, piping, muffler the entire she-bang; and I’d reckon the numbers would be insane! And that insanity remark was all complimentary, all the way.

Yeah well Zee King also had some reworking of the drivetrain, replacing the standard gearbox with one from the RB26DET, converting it to rear-wheel drive, and then he’d installed a set of semi-racing Exedy clutch, plus a 2-way LSD. For the ever critical handling department, Zee had em well and truly covered with some big league hardware – Air-cupped custom adjustable coilovers mated with Swift springs et al. A R33 Skyline had its brakes setup ‘nicked’ and found its way into Zee King’s ride to provide a new level of stopping power, ensuring the eye-pleasing SSR MS3 19-inch wheels remain unscathed (apart from the obvious yes?)

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Take a peek inside the ultra-spartan cockpit and you’d realize just how purposeful this Zee’s 180SX is. It personifies our mag’s ‘no-nonsense’ motto to the core, and truly, whence you’ve perused over the full Hyperfacts therein, you’d be achin to see this ride in action, in case you’ve haven’t already.

Hyperfacts!
Car: Nissan 180SX

Engine: (SR22DE-T) X 2 aka VH45DE (From Nissan President) Cold air intake Drifthouse custom Extractor piping Drifthouse custom exhaust system Welbro Fuel Pump 2x Electric fan

Transmission: RB26DET RWD Converted, Exedy Semi Racing Clutch Set, Custom housing to fit VH45de. 2 Way LSD

Electronics: Autogauge technometer

Brakes: Front: Nissan skyline R33 4Port calipers disc rotor Rear: Nissan skyline R33 2Port calipers disc rotor Steel braided Hoses

Suspension and Chassis: Custom Air-cupped adjustable coil over with Swift springs Custom super-angle kit Adjustable lower arms C33 Anti roll bar (front)

Wheels: Front: SSR MS3 10.5JX19 -32 (added another 12mm spacer) Rear: SSR MS3 12.5Jx19 -12 (added another 1 inch spacer 245-35-19 (front) and 285-35-19 (rear) tires

Interior: Nardi deep corn steering wheel Autogauge tachometer Nismo styled gear-knob Bride Zeta III Carbon Kevlar Bucket Seats Schort Racing Rallye 3, 3point harness Tonnka aluminium race pedal box (with Name Carving) Drift House handbrake knob Monark Cut off switch

Exterior: Rocket Bunny 180sx V2 Styled body-kit, Custom Porsche Cayenne Hamann Styled Bonnet, Custom switches and gauges for Air-cupped coil over Craft Square styled Side Mirror Tonnka Bonnet Pin Raybrig multi reflector head lamp Dmax crystal clear tail lamps Dmax crystal clear front turn signal.