“This car has its own ecosystem,” Tony Angelo remarks through a mask as he blows rat turds, dirt, sticks, and what are hopefully acorns out of the engine bay of his SR20-swapped Nissan 240SX. Sitting for 14 years, the car is now mostly rust. This is what $1,000 gets you if you’re looking for an S13, I guess.
The car in question (“Moldy Goldie”) wasn’t exactly a car that was on the market in the strictest sense. It was one of former Formula Drift pro and friend of Jalopnik (he let me drive his FD car many years ago) Tony Angelo’s buddy’s cars, and the price might not exactly reflect what you find yourself on your local Facebook Marketplace. Honestly, this is probably a good deal even as horrible as it is.
And the car is horrible. The sunroof leaked, so the roof itself has been filled with water from the inside out. Rust has crept through every little corner of the car and made some new corners altogether. The frame rails look particularly well ventilated.
It’s an interesting project. A Nissan S13 is in theory a great car. It handles great, and practically drives itself if you’re drifting it, and it’s easy to work on with a relatively simple design. Whether or not this S13 handles great, or drives itself, or is easy to work on is another question. How much S13 do you need left before it stops acting like an S13? How much rust is too much?
It’s a similar story with the engine. An SR20DET, a twin-cam 2.0-liter turbo, is a legendary engine, and it’s just as easy to find them tuned to 200-odd horsepower as 300-odd or 400-odd. With the right turbo and exhaust, they sound incredible, too. They’re angry, and sound like they’re about to tear themselves apart at high RPM. As for this SR20, it’s more of a question if it will run at all, let alone scream down a track.
Tony does get the car fired up, so it’ll be fun to keep an eye on it as it becomes a bit of a track tool, like all the years of drift tax and drift missiles never happened.