Sitting in Japan, waiting for the boat

I've had this car a while and there's a fair bit to cover so I thought I'd start at the beginning and work my way through in a few posts.

Back in 2017 I was looking for something to replace my much loved NA Smurf. I wanted a Nissan again, they're what I started with, my first two cars were a Sunny Coupe then a ZX Coupe, I had an S13 at one point too. I really needed something I could throw a bike in the back of and I've always missed my old DC2 ITR, particularly its engine as turbos never did it for me.

I recalled an article in Evo magazine in 2001 about the then new 20V Primera so dug it out and had a read. After a bit more research it turned out they did a wagon too, they were rare but not very expensive. The SR20VE has Nissan's Neo VVL Vtec equivalent and is the last and best iteration of the SR so looked like a promising base to start with.

I got in touch with Torque GT about finding and importing one, specifically with the factory aero kit as otherwise they're identical to every other bland P12. Funnily enough they'd never heard of the car, let alone imported one! As far as I could find there was possibly only one other W20V wagon in the UK.

After around a year of searching, a low mileage example came up in auction with the aero kit, it had some damage to a wing and skirt but looked extremely clean otherwise. We won the auction and it slowly made its way across the ocean.

Prince dealer sticker!
Cracked skirt :(
Rust free

After a road trip with my mate Chris @spanner224 to Torque GT near Torquey, it turned out to be a very clean car, if a little tatty on the exterior. It had clearly lived out in the sun for a while too and the headlights were very cloudy.

The next step was getting hold of a new wing and rear bumper from Bristol Street Nissan in Ilkeston, a pair of skirts I was lucky enough to find on eBay from a breaker in Hong Kong, and some replica Impul nostrils from a guy in Russia, and then spending a not insignificant sum getting it stripped down, cleaned up, and repainted where needed by Painter Dave at Deepcar Autobodies. After that it looked like a new car!

With the bodywork sorted I started gathering parts to get it driving like I wanted. Just two weeks later, doing the nursery run (luckily on my way home after dropping off our daughter), a Wickes lorry wasn't paying attention in slow moving traffic and this happened;

My first issue was persuading the insurance company the car was worth more than a 2001 UK P12 Estate, at least ten times more...

Luckily, after talking to Torque GT, taking into account the purchase cost, and the work at Deepcar they agreed it should be repaired not written off. So, it was back to see Dave to get a quote!

It may look like the UK built cars but being built in Japan it's actually quite different under the skin, no Renault electrics here! What that means though is that the tailgate, which is identical on the outer skin, is actually totally different underneath as all the fittings for lights, locks and wipers are for Japanese parts, even the catch on the boot floor is in a different place. It would be a lot of work to get a UK tailgate to fit so I started looking for them overseas. Nissan UK can actually order JDM parts but it was no longer available and trying to find a used one in Japan wasn't happening. Weirdly it's a very popular car in Russia though and I found a tailgate in Vladivostok in great condition and the right colour for $61. The catch was they only shipped within Russia. I know a guy from work that lives in Moscow and he agreed to receive it and forward it on so I started looking at shipping costs. Bearing in mind Vladivostok is around 9000km from Moscow this was not going to be cheap even before international shipping!

As it was clearly going to take some time to gather the parts, the insurance decided they would pay me a lump sum to cover the quoted repair costs instead of paying the bodyshop. This turned out to be a very good thing!

So, what should I do? That's for the next post I think.


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