Surviving Sebring

David S.
Update by David S. Wallens to the Nissan 240SX project car
Jun 13, 2013

Look at us--we're lapping Sebring in our latest acquisition, just a week after picking it up. Yes, there's some body roll. Photo by Larry Van Scoy.
The drive to the track was uneventful. The shorter 205/50R15 tires elevated our revs on the highway, but fortunately the car is still quiet.
The car easily passed tech.
It's no GT3 Porsche, but the 240SX looked respectable in the paddock. Okay, maybe it sits a little tall in the saddle.
Art Trier runs the Central Florida PDX program. Where most driver meetings are all about berating the participants, Art uses his to discuss the program's future.
On the way home, we stopped to take the obligatory Sebring shot.

Okay, we’ll get cut to the chase: Our 212,000-mile, nearly stock, one-owner 1991 Nissan 240SX was a blast at Sebring—no drama, no issues. We had a great time at the SCCA PDX track event, a one-day affair on the circuit’s Club Course.

Despite the 65,000-mile-old dampers, handling was actually quite predictable. Our Nitto NT01 track tires felt composed. The Hawk HP Plus brake pads did just fine.

Going in, we were a little concerned about the seats—our car has factory leather, and then there’s awful motorized mice belts, a relic of the early ‘90s. Hey, we slid around much less than expected.

Finally, the coolant temperatures never rose above normal, and the gearbox felt awesome. This car might have some serious mileage on it, but much of that is negated by the care received.

Plus the 3-hour drive down and back to the track was uneventful. The a/c blew cold. There was not hardly any wind noise. And while we haven’t dug out our old cassettes, radio reception was pretty darn good.

Issues? Let’s call it more of a to-do list.

Yes, we’re going to need to replace the clutch. It’s the original piece, and after all those miles it started to feel soft on the downshifts. Since we drove the car to the event, we skipped the last session. We had fun and learned what we needed to know, so we decided to not tempt fate.

We also need to figure out a real wheel and tire setup. The stock rims measure just 6 inches across. We’re talking to our friends at Tire Rack about a future setup, ideally one set of wheels and tires for both street and track.

And while the suspension wasn’t totally sloppy, we’re looking at some upgraded hardware. A little less body roll would be nice for all involved.

Now that we know what we have, what mods do you recommend?

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