1989 Nissan Cefiro RB20DET
Sports sedans were performing strongly worldwide at the beginning of the 1990's. Bavaria was pumping out E30s and Japan was more than keeping pace with a full stable of four door sports saloons including the JZX90 and Skyline. Those two particular models got tons of positive press, however, cars like this 1989 Nissan Cefiro are the real hidden gems. Providing more interior space than a Skyline, with greater appointments and upscale trim, this RB powered vehicle has an incredibly balanced, and sporty feel. Color changed to Cloud White, over textured grey cloth, the body and interior are in above average shape, sans the normal minor dings, chips, and nicks you'd expect for a twenty nine year old rig. The rear bumper does have some spyder webbing in the paint and a scuff on the rear driver side which can be noted in the pictures. The Autech style aero, made from FRP, passes muster and classes up the exterior. Though otherwise lightly modified and largely original, this platform rewards drivers with a stout driveline, great handling, and room for the family.
From the view within the cockpit, it its clear that this midsize sedan was well cared for. The grey, thatched and textured door cards and seats are in good shape, and the bolstering is still tip-top. Especially the Bride Brix driver's seat which offers abundantly more support. The clean simple lines of the interior are no nonsense, however, don't feel cheap. The manual climate control, and all power items are at hand, and easily legible on the dash. Even the power folding mirrors function, so city parking is less of a concern. The power windows, locks, and lighting are all in working order as well. The heat and A/C both easily cope with the dog days of summer and the frigid winter months. Projection headlamps were an innovation at the time, and the large panels or side glass and relatively skinny pillars make for an unobstructed view. Upgrades include a weighted metal shift knob, quick release e-brake lever, and stitched Nardi steering wheel. The heft is average, but the the power assisted steering provides good feedback, and the wheel really updates the interior aesthetic. A rare option, the dual function sunroof, is fully operational, as it vents and fully retracts. A sunshade also keeps UV rays out and in cabin temps down. The dash and headliner are also in good nick, and there isn't a bit of sag or any rips.
The crown jewel of the Cefiro's design is the drivetrain. Easy to find parts, due to the interchangeability of S13 and R32 components, make ownership easy. The silky smooth RB20DET is only two liters in displacement, but the factory turbocharger and some light modifications make for an abundance of power. Rated a 212PS in factory form, this six cylinder fires to life courtesy of a new 12V battery. The motor pulls strong, and with only 52K verified miles, it is barely broken in. The RB has a deeper bark care of a Futjistubo polished catback, and an Apexi bypass valve adds to the aural experience. A fresh oil service will keep her happy for another 3000 miles, and a new air filter provides incrementally better performance and fuel economy. On the open tarmac, the A31 eagerly accelerates to highway speeds, and the 5 speed manual transmission doesn't grind or clunk. Cornering is flat, and the addition of a Cusco front strut tower brace, and Cusco adjustable coilovers provide a firmer yet livable ride and allow this four door to hustle through the turns. The brakes are grabby, and stop this vehicle with little nose dive. Grip is fantastic as the Nissan has four brand new tires, wrapped around 17" Bridgestone Turning Mesh alloys.
The A31 is a complete package. Its has an aggressive look, a sporty drive, and the powerplant borrowed from the legendary Skyline. This turn-key Japanese Classics is recently maintained and ready to tackle the rigors of daily driving or occasional track use; its an a automotive multi tool!
*California Residents: In order to register a Grey Market vehicle in the state of California then it will have to be made CARB complaint first. CARB certifications will have to be performed within the state. Depending on the vehicle and any existing modifications will affect the pricing. Typically CARB compliance will range between 5-10K. Additional information can be found on the California Air Resources Board website.