Saturday, December 20, 2014

2k: Smitten and Frostbitten: 1991 Nissan Sentra SE-R B13

Surviving 23 years in the North for 218,000 miles isn't supposed to look this good. You have to look closely at this squeaky clean B13 SE-R to see its age. It's all in the interior wear points: worn pedal surfaces, thin driver's side floor mat, and squished seat bolsters - and that's nitpicking. Otherwise, the aftermarket steering wheel and head unit are the only two deviations from a circa-1990 catalog. This will not last long. Find this 1991 Nissan Sentra SE-R in Olympia, WA for $2,000 via craigslist. 

This was the first SE-R variant of the Sentra to be received by the American market. Its 2.0-liter SR20DE DOHC four-banger made 140 horsepower and 132 ft-lbs of torque through a 5-speed manual transmission and limited-slip differential, both unique to the SE-R trim. With a curb weight in the low 2,300-pound range (62% of which is carried over the front wheels), it was an instant hit for cone-dodgers and road warriors alike.

Today, most B13s are covered a potpourri of rust, Plasti Dip, and bondo, so seeing one in the buff (in white paint, no less) reveals its styling restraint. A large, open green-house towering above a squat rear deck and relatively short hood creates proportions unheard of in 2014. The whole package screams "economy car," which makes its performance credibility even more appealing to those in the know.

A minor heater fan issue and leaky window seal are listed as the only problems with the whole package. It also has new brakes and tires in the front, plus an alternator and battery. At this mileage in its northern climate, you'll want to check the rocker panels, and run through the gears for pop-out issues. Although with the condition on the rest of the car, it's likely in perfect shape. 

See another catalog-fresh classic sport-compact? Email us at

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


  1. Great choice of posts today! A '70 Mustang Grande hardtop was my first car and a (three year old, used) '93 SE-R was the first car I ever picked out and bought for myself - i.e. not a hand-me-down of any sort. These are wonderful cars all-around. I loved the high-tech (at the time), high-revving engine juxtaposed against the crank windows.

    Good call on fifth gear popout. I was lucky to have it happen with about 2K miles and 6 months left on the drivetrain warranty. Of course, I had the dealer put in a Jim Wolf clutch at the time...


    I can't justify it myself, but surely SOMOENE's got to want to grab this thing ASAP?

    Sure, a current Civic Si has more power but you have to deal with that double-deck dash and horrid outward visibility.

    This is a real car, and deserves a good home.

    1. Hey I like the split dash! But that outward visibility thing is a real issue on any new car. I miss being able to run stop signs with confidence.

  3. They don't use salt on the roads in Washington State so rust is fairly rare here.

    1. Unfortunately they have started since the snowpocalypse took down mayor Nickels in Seattle. Seattle uses it and I saw some in Bellevue last month when we had that cold snap. The DOT also uses it in eastern WA.

      This car looks like a steal. Just repaint the bumpers and you have a really nice survivor. Wish I had room...


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