a world that’s gone mad with AWD turbo machines and brutish rear-drives, the
humble front-wheel-drive has become a punching bag. We’ve heard the put-downs a
thousand times – “you can’t get the power down, you can’t drift and you can’t
pull a decent donut,” people say...
keep telling yourself that when one of these front-drive machines blows your
out this relatively stock looking Nissan N13 EXA - chances are you’d never pick
it punches out around 190kW...
Heuschele of Queensland
previously owned an older Nissan N12 EXA fitted a high-flow exhaust,
intercooler and upgrade turbo. It was nothing sophisticated by today’s
standards but the sub-1000kg weight of the EXA contributed to its speedy
growing tired of the N12, Nick updated to a 1991 N13 EXA. The car he purchased was a bit of a roughie, but a bargain nonetheless. Oh, and we
should point out that Nick already had an interchangeable 1.8 litre DOHC turbo
(CA18DET) half-cut on its way from Japan!
engine that arrived on the wharf turned out to be from a Japanese-market Nissan
U12 Bluebird SSS 4WD. This worked out well because the Bluebird’s CA18DET is
mounted transversely like the engine in the EXA – a longitudinally mounted
engine from a S13 Silvia/180SX would’ve made the conversion much more difficult.
As it turns out, the conversion was a relatively straightforward exercise that
Nick completed with the help of a friend. The biggest problem was splicing the
Bluebird SSS wiring and computer into the EXA.
to Nick’s EXA, the twin-cam turbo engine breathes through a 3 inch exhaust,
K&N pod air filter and Hybrid-type 600 x 300 x 75mm air-to-air intercooler.
The custom mandrel-bent intercooler plumbing is wrapped in insulation to keep
under-bonnet heat pick-up to a minimum. A high-flowed Garrett T25G (ala SR20DET) was an
easy bolt-on upgrade that provides considerable mid to top-end grunt. Boost
pressure is set to around 15 psi using a simple bleed and the standard Bluebird
SSS computer remains in service.
transverse CA18DET was mated to the original EXA 5-speed gearbox without hassle
and Nick used the Bluebird SSS clutch. Reaching out from the EXA gearbox are
stock N13 driveshafts, which have so far proven problem-free. Nick says they’re
pretty beefy shafts.
nearly fifteen years of age, the original EXA suspension felt pretty tired so
Nick upgraded to set of lowered King springs teamed with
dampers. With the exception of EBC pads, the brakes are standard ‘91 EXA fare. Nick points out that 1991 Nissan EXAs were upgraded to disc brakes at the rear –
earlier models used drums.
Nicks EXA is neat and useable rather than over the top.
I bought the car it was completely stock - a bit rough and covered in stickers,”
days you won’t find many stickers and we’re told that a re-spray is on the cards. The only visual mods are 17 inch ROH alloys wearing 205/40
tyres and a polished canon rear muffler. The front bumper has recently been
modified as well.
of the biggest attractions of the N13 EXA is its removable roof. Nick regularly
enjoys cruising with the roof stowed in the boot listening to his newly
installed DVD head unit. Ahh, life is sweet... And when he’s not driving, Nick
watches television on an Alpine 8 inch screen.
might as well enjoy the time spent waiting between battles with AWD turbos and
X owns this 1995 Mitsubishi Lancer coupe that packs Evo-like power under the
originally started as a 1.5 litre base Lancer coupe (complete with steel wheels
and hub caps!) has been transformed into a low 13 second butt-whipping machine.
hauled out the original 1.5 litre clunker at home and installed one of
Mitsubishi’s most formidable performance motors - the 2.0 litre DOHC 4G63 turbo.
He bought a second-hand Japanese-spec 4G63 ‘Cyclone’ motor and fitted it in
his coupe using custom fabricated mounts and cross-member, a hydraulic clutch
conversion and plenty of fiddling around.
avoid blowing standard Lancer gearboxes on a regular basis, Nicolai installed
the turbo engine's 5-speed ‘box. However, because the
engine came from an all-wheel-drive Galant VR4, Nicolai had the transfer case
removed and gearbox modified to deliver drive to the front wheels. An Exedy
heavy-duty clutch prevents slip and a short-shifter reduces time wasted between
the gearbox is plenty strong, the front driveshafts are another
present, Nicolai relies on a combination of Mazda, Mitsubishi and Rover
driveshaft components to take torque to the front hubs. There have been a total
of nine driveshaft failures, but Nicolai says raising the engine position slightly
has improved shaft life. There have been no failures since re-mounting the
standard guise, the J-spec VR4 4G63 uses a relatively small TD05 14G
turbocharger and generates around 147kW. But it pushes out considerably more in
Nicolai’s Lancer. This extra power comes thanks to a MicroTech LTX8 programmable
computer, high-flowed turbocharger, full-length 3 inch exhaust (with a heat
wrapped dump pipe), K&N pod filter, HKS adjustable cam gears and a
TurboSmart Type 2 blow-off valve. With the standard J-spec VR4 intercooler
chilling 18 psi worth of boosted induction air, the car outputs 172kW (230hp) at
far cry from the original carby engine with just 65kW at the
the mechanical makeover are slotted DBA front discs and a front suspension tower
brace. Despite using standard springs and dampers, the car rides
slightly lower than standard – this is due to the extra weight of the 2.0 litre
engine and associated turbo system. The battery is relocated to the boot to aid
weight distribution and create more useable under-bonnet space.
already attractive coupe body is spiced up using a Lancer Evo 3 kit, which
required custom modification to the side skirts. The towering Evo 3 rear wing
has also been left out of the picture. Those factory steel wheels and hub caps
are a thing of the past with gold-painted BSA 17s and 205/40 tyres now filling
the wheel arches.
there are red/black OBX seats with a matching custom gear boot, AutoTecnica
steering wheel and red painted trim pieces. You’ll also find a Blitz turbo
timer, Hybrid electronic boost controller, drilled pedal covers, an aluminium
gear knob, fire extinguisher and Speco gauges for boost pressure, rpm, oil
pressure, oil and water temperature. A Kenwood CD/tuner head unit sends signals
to Clarion 6 inch speakers at the front and Kenwood 7 x 10 rears.
a decked-out interior, Evo body kit and heavier engine, it’s no surprise
Nicolai’s Lancer coupe weighs around 1130kg – about 100kg more than stock. But
these few extra kilos are no problem when you’re talking 350 percent more power than standard –
it’s no wonder Nicolai has scooted down the quarter mile in 13.3 seconds.
That’s not hanging around!
this point we should probably avoid scaring AWD turbo and hi-po RWD owners and
leave out that Nicolai is considering set of forged pistons and even more boost.
– too late!