Over the years I have owned four different k11 micras. Below you can see an overview of each car and follow the links through to details and images of them.
You can also see the reasoning behind a lot of my inspiration.
The Blue Monster
The blue monster is my ongoing micra project car. I've designed the car as an all round street monster. Important to me is keeping the car very low key - it can't attract attention.
The car has big handling, big brakes, stupendous power - all with everyday drivability and refinement.
Straight-line victims on the street have included 285kw HSV clubsports, modified R33 GTS-T Skylines and BA GT Falcons just to name a couple - and that's just in a straight line. When some corners are involved, the micra only gains more.
In the late 1990's the car was featured in Fast Fours magazine because the first owner had made approx 70kw with a set of extractors. Then the car became the first turbocharged micra in Australia running approx 11psi and producing 98kw at the wheels. But the workmanship was pretty ordinary. From here, I purchased the car and took it to the next level. Virtually all mechanicals were replaced and improved. The car currently produces approx 150kw at the wheels and is a lot different to drive than when I first bought it. Its now an all round awesome street car to get around in - its fully engineered and street legal with no corners being cut.
I picked this immaculate 1995 super s up for my girlfriend as a low km zippy city runaround.
This car originally reminded me a lot of my first micra, but since then has taken a slightly different path of modifications. The focus is on bang-for-your-buck zippy NA performance, combined with some girly aesthetics and every important comfort features.
Even after being used to the blue monster, this white Super S is still an absolute bag of fun to drive around in - good old burbly "naturally aspirated" zip.
My second micra
This car was originally set to become my turbo micra project before I stumbled across the blue monster. So I'd began reasonably serious with this car modifying a lot of the base systems on the car before any power made an appearance.
In the end, site editor white knight purchased the car from me and turned it into a supercharged torque warrior. However, I'd just started to do some cool things to this car before I sold it.
This car was also used as Whiteline Suspension's project car to develop their entire k11 micra suspension package.
My first micra
I purchased my first micra in 1999 - still a couple of years after Nissan Australia ceased importing them to Australia. But I'd had my eye on micras in general for sometime as a desirable small car.
My first exposure to the Nissan Micra was in 1995 while watching an episode of "Hey Hey its Saturday". They featured a secretly modified Nissan Micra with a hidden driver under the driver's seat performing reverse burnouts in the studio on National Television! That episode really made me notice what a nippy little car the Nissan Micra was.
This car was an exciting learning experience for me. I had so much fun hotting this little thing up and surprising countless cars at the traffic lights. With just enough basic flow mods combined with tiny tyres, heaps of weight removed and a snappy clutch - this little car had a successful formula for surprising 0-100km/h times.
Well.. Finally I'm back. After selling my first nissan micra about a year ago and owning a 1998 Nissan 200sx I have made the decision to sell up the 200 and get started on my new project - my second nissan micra.
"Are you crazy ?" I can hear it already.
Well the answer - definately not.
The Nissan 200sx is a wonderfully exciting car to own, if only it was that simple. You see when you're 22 and want someone to insure you to drive a powerful rear wheel drive turbo coupe, the only word that comes to mind is "money". Never mind the real facts - you've never scraped your wheels on a single gutter, you have a full 60% no claim bonus, never been in a crash let alone caused one - and avoided a countless number of accidents by stopping before crazy middle aged women or careless old men pull out in front of you, or cut in front of you when exiting a roundabout from the inside lane. My insurance premium for the 200sx was expensive to begin with at just under 2 grand per year - it was expensive, but I was prepared to pay that for the priviledge of driving such a sophistocated car. However earlier this year I had my license suspended for 1 month for a speeding offence. Seemed simple, pay the fine and don't drive for a month (not that it stopped me driving) and everything's fine. However all of a sudden your insurance premium sky rockets and in addition to this most companies add a "Driver Excess" because of your "bad driving history". As a result my insurance has become ridiculously expensive (not far off 3 grand with an almost 2 grand excess!) - In my books simply unaffordable. After weighing it all up I've been forced to sell my 200sx and replace it with something that is both cheap to insure and also satisfies my need for a zippy way to get around.
One other problem with the 200sx (definately worsened by the current saturation of radars on NSW roads) is its extremely tall gear and diff ratios. I'm talking 1st gear getting you to almost 70kmh, and hit the rev limiter in second gear and you're doing around 115kmh. This is a car with considerable power, so too heavy on the throttle in 1st and your lighting up both rears through the LSD. And by the time you've got traction or are moving fast enough to floor it in 2nd, you're already breaking the speed limit. The moral is that even with such a great factory power-weight ratio, you are somewhat limited as to how you can use it on NSW roads. You are usually well and truly speeding before the performance of this car really shows. The 200sx especially excels at high speeds - its profile is extremely aero-dynamic letting it cut through the air effortlessly allowing it to continue accelerating hard until you reach the end of 5th gear and both your tacho and speedo are at the end of their scales. Park it next to say a VT commodore SS and the 200sx looks about half as high! It certainly is a pure sports car built from the ground up.
In constrast - here's something interesting that's always impressed me about the nissan micra. My first nissan micra boasted about 80kw at the flywheel from flow modifications (extractors, intake, increased fuel pressure). In standard form a nissan micra was capable of about 10.7 secs 0-100kmh. A mate owned a 3.0 quadcam V6 camry, they do 0-100 in the low 8 second bracket. Off the mark time after time it was the same result. The micra would ever so slightly outlaunch him (mainly due to its much lower weight and lower gear ratios) however once moving it was dead even until about 100kmh. At 100kmh I had to shift into 3rd gear substantially lengthening my effective gear ratio while the tall-geared auto camry was still in 2nd and continued to accelerate at the same rate - thus by this time it was all over and he would gradually become further and further away from me (the micra never had anything in terms of high speed - so tall and un-aerodynamic). However - driving much above these speeds will almost certainly leave you with with a nice fine these days (unless you pick one of the few spots left un-inhabited by radar equipped NSW police officers). Then as soon as I got the 200sx - the V6 camry benchmark test scored another run. The first thing I learnt was that my new turbocharged 200sx simply couldn't annialite semi-fast opponents unless the launch was not far from perfect :
However with a little over 3000rpm, maybe almost 3500rpm and the clutch let out at the right speed, Bang! off you go in a beautiful squatting motion slightly lighting up the rears - but not too much while leaving most factory cars for dead. This was one thing I loved about the 200sx - Its supple factory suspension. You can tell when the car is under power by the angle the car is leaning back at! It didn't take long for me to learn what made a perfect launch and then the camry was no longer a challenge. However, any time it caught you off guard at the wrong revs, you may well be lagging behind for a short moment until the top end power and tall gear ratios brought you back ahead - remember it feels like a 1.6 litre pulsar below 3000rpm until you've spooled up full boost. I did install a home-assembled bleed valve and at one stage for a couple of days I was running a dangerous 14-15psi. Its about the limit of the stock T28. They reckon if you run around 16psi or more the adhesive stuff that holds the ceramic exhaust wheel on heats up and lets go, allowing the exhaust wheel to go for a trip through your cat and out your exhaust - ouch! This is the kind of psi you should be running with a larger intercooler and an exhaust. But being as curious as I was, I still went ahead with running big boost. I was careful to only reach those boost levels when it was cold and only in short squirts, not going flat out for more than 20 seconds or so... It made such a massive difference, but it most certainly would've detonated if I was driving hard at that boost for a long period due to the small intercooler overheating and the intake temperature being way too high. I ended up backing off to about 10-11psi and running that boost consistently. The car went considerably harder than standard - it was nice to drive as well as a safe level of boost to use with the stock intercooler, however still not excessively quick. You really get used to the power of the car very quickly and soon enough it feels like a naturally aspirated family car. You start to want more and more boost and notice the suspension is much softer than it first seemed (compared to most cars). But I think that's just cars in general, you keep going and going as far as your cash allows you to! But yes I had a lot of fun with the boost while I had the 200.
I remember racing this one guy in an old boxy silver Toyota Cressida. Its a well known one around town and apparently I think he has a big T4 turbo on it and the supra 3 litre engine. His number plates are LIM.03L (limo 3L) which I find quite amusing! The funny thing about this limo 3l boxy old cressida is that he absolutely flew past me when i had my foot to the floor running 14-15psi boost. I seemed to get a bit ahead of him through the roundabouts and corners from the 200sx's sportscar nature but every time the road was straight again - holy shit, I couldn't beleive the raw acceleration he had. But the funniest thing is that he must've had stock or close to stock plush suspension! The car was squatting back on the back wheels so much that it looked very funny and illustrated how much power he did have. He also started to spin his wheels somewhere through his second gear too in the complete dry once we were already moving along!
My main point is that with the nissan micra slightly hotted up it could match the camry to 100, yet by the same token a 200sx with a pussy launch would fair about the same - anything beyond this and you risk losing your license. In addition to this, the nissan micra has much lower gear ratios meaning that you can be utilising all available power through lower ratios, thus accelerating faster and possibly entering the area of a poorly launched 200sx with ratios unsuited to zippy city go-and-whoa style driving. Several times in the 200sx I would be frustrated during short 0-60kmh drags against standard 4cylinder cars with 18 year old revheads in them because they may well be right beside me all the way to 60kmh (say I didn't want to spin the wheels too much to avoid attracting unwanted attention and didn't want to go much beyond 60kmh as I'm so used to red and blue lights appearing out of what seemed to be nowhere). It was these kind of little city races that the 200sx was not worth the money. Sure it was a clean powerful sportscar that I couldn't get enough of, but an expensive one to insure when you can't be assured of winning stupid little races like these. On a dragstrip or a racetrack with some possibly wider tyres then no worries - of course thats a different story, but NSW roads are far from that.
All in all I guess it was these above factors as well as the nissan micra's amazing potential and ease of decent power gain that brought me back to buying a second nissan micra and starting the whole thing all over again! I didn't have a single complaint about my old micra when I sold it apart from wishing that I got power steering. This time however I have one distinct advantage - "been there done that". I know exactly what I'm going to do to the car and the best way to go about it but additionally I have some more exciting performance modifications in mind..