Friday, September 19, 2014

2k: Inconspicuous Acceleration: 1988 Nissan Pulsar, SHO V6 swap

The worst part about custom cars is that those with the means aren't the ones who become the owners. Not that this 220-horsepower Pulsar (that is, without the 55-horsepower dry shot of nitrous) necessitates a blank check to Nissan or Pininfarina or some obscure coach-building machine shop. Any red-blooded Joe with a blue-collar paycheck could acquire, complete, and maintain this project with no problem. But a bottle-fed, Yamaha-engined, front-drive, open-bed compact with t-tops only has the formula for sheer absurdity. An open budget and an unchecked imagination would completely furnish it with the ostentation it deserves. Find this 1988 Nissan Pulsar with SHO V6 swap in Fort Wayne, IN for $2,300 ($2,000 sans nitrous) via craigslist.

Does it come with a hood? Does it matter? Pretend you're a sultan. You'll commission someone to craft a one-off carbon fiber hood with a glass window showcasing the SHO's Medusa-esque intake manifold, which deserves nothing less than inlaid sapphire on the Ford logo. Blue oval indeed. A cowl-mounted tachometer is handy, but a head-up display in the cabin running off of a Mercedes' thermal imaging system and Corvette gauges is a better match for an owner of this, uh, distinction.

Four pictures show it on a trailer. One shows a singular Incandescent Smurf Blue wheel. Another shows that wheel in a different location. None show carbon ceramic brakes sourced from a Porsche Cayman R, which is a travesty for such a fine piece of automotive craftsmanship. An interior partially accented in yellow would be best complemented by a gold flake paint job - with real gold of course. No sense in being shown up by your neighbor's Aston Martin Zagato.

An unspecified manual transmission moves ample power to the front wheels. A 6-speed from an Audi A3 as a gated manual seems more appropriate, although so does a double-clutch Lamborghini Huracan transmission powering all the wheels, irrespective of their color. After all, braking power from the active air-braking wing (sourced from the McLaren P1, naturally) is only fun if you've built speed in the first place. And if the proletariat in their humble Bentley Flying Spurs catch up to you, simply open your downward-retracting doors (à la BMW Z1) and politely show them what bespoke really means.

See a junked econobox worthy of financial adoration? Email us at

PhiLOL actually likes the tuna here, but abhors structural rust. Save the manuals.


  1. Hey DT, I like your spec 'way better than what is actually on offer here. Maybe you could commission a limited run of DT-Omologato Speciales...

  2. Fish and bicycles come to mind here.

    You've just added 200lb to the nose of a Pulsar, it's not going to turn corners.

    With the standard SHO open diff that nitrous shot is all going into one-wheel peel and maybe into doing what SHO diffs do when abused - they spit the spider-gear pin out of the diff and tear up the transaxle housing.

    And the guy down the block with the 350 in the rusty '83 Camaro is still going to be quicker.

  3. Fleetwood T. BroughamSeptember 19, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    This makes the top 10 list of "engine swaps and recipient cars I never, ever would have imagined"

  4. Hats off to you sir, for building a chick car that no woman will ever want a ride in.


  5. All that space behind the seats and he sticks it in the front?

    OTOH... there's still room for another SHO unit in back!

  6. This same swap into an AW11 MR2 would be a bit more sane.

    1. AW11? 4AGE 20V or 3S-GE BEAMS.

      SHO engine is a great period piece but it's big and heavy


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