RE: Shed of the Week | Nissan Primera GT

RE: Shed of the Week | Nissan Primera GT

Friday 9th August

Shed of the Week | Nissan Primera GT

Remember when the Primera crushed it in the BTCC? Shed does...



Not so long ago, ‘never raced or rallied’ was a standard phrase in any classified ad for a vaguely sporting motor. It was meant to convince you that the quietly melting car you were thinking of buying still had plenty of life left in it.

So, with that in mind, would you buy a car from an owner who not only didn’t try to hide its motorsporting activities, but who actually proudly proclaimed them?

If it was a Nissan Primera GT you might. Nissans weren’t the most inspiring cars on the roads in the 1990s, but by gum they were good at taking abuse. The standard P11 Primera of 1995-2002 was slightly less exciting than a piece of chewing gum stuck to your shoe, but the GT had enough bant about it to make it worthy of consideration by the discerning Shedman. Partly because it was developed (partly) by smiley Ringmeister Dirk Schoysman who, with more than 15,000 Ring laps to his credit, knew a thing or two about setting cars up.


The BTCC version of the Primera GT mullered the opposition in 1999, taking the manufacturer’s title with 19 wins from that year’s 26 races. OK, the road GT version is a bit down on power with 150hp, but its shortish gearing (it needs nearly 3,500rpm to run at 70mph in top) allied to a feeling that you will never, ever bust the 2.0 litre twin-cam motor sounds like a marriage made in heaven for your average hard-hearted leadfoot with zero mechanical sympathy.

Even in standard trim, the multilink-suspended, 280mm vented front disc GT looks after itself well. Despite its suburbanite appearance it’s a great basis for a cheap track weapon, especially when it’s festooned with more than its fair share of well-considered chassis mods, like this one. Take a squint at the list in the ad.

By the looks and sounds of the ad, this is not just a single-purpose circuit fun car. Of course, these pics might have been taken before the vendor took to the tracks. Maybe it’s all been stripped out now. Shed hopes it hasn’t. He loves the idea of a track car with a road atlas in the front seat pocket – handy for the tedious barren wastes of Silverstone – and with all the back seats still in place.


This one isn’t in the ChromaFlair two-tone reflective green paint that the 1998 GTSE Mystic special edition came in, which is a mixed blessing: although it looks great, that flip stuff is murder to match up if you’re aiming for concours spec. Not that you would be doing that with a 1998 Primera, so perhaps that’s a moot point. Instead, our one is in Resale Silver, which given its age and value sounds like another moot point.

Because it’s not one of those 400 Mystics, no leather will meet your touchpoints. As long as you don’t mind 20thcentury velour however you’ll find good support in the seats and a surprisingly good driving position. The turning circle is a bit large, but then so is the carrying capacity of this five-door, five-seat hatchback.

Gearbox oil needs to be checked every now and then. If the level isn’t right, getting into top or reverse will gradually become more difficult. Top links and bushes wear out, but replacements won’t break the bank. ABS problems are fairly common too, and will be down to either a sensor or a broken ring. If it is the ring, you’d be well advised to chuck a new driveshaft in there at the same time as you’re mending it because they’re considered to be consumable items and again they’re not madly expensive. A bust sensor will activate the dash light too and that’s an MOT fail.


Rust in this area can add complication to the fix. It’s a Japanese car of a certain age, so rust is to be expected. If you’re buying this particular car, which we are told is totally solid bar one rear wheel arch, check both inner sills. The tailgate is a known Primera weak spot, and it’s starting to go on our Shed. At least it gives any trackdayer you’ve just overtaken something to tut at after they’ve seen those small brown stains on your passage.

The MOT on this car runs out in November. The only advisory last year was for a non-excessive oil leak, which is hardly something to wet your pants over. Shed likes a non-excessive leak actually, because it means the engine’s getting fresh oil on a regular basis. If you decide to use the car more for fast(ish) public road use than for trackdays, your everyday annoyances could include dodgy headlights, moisture coming through the sunroof, and lost LCDs on the factory ICE head unit.

All the money spent so far has been on the chassis, so the platform is there for the next owner to splurge some cash on the tough and respected SR20 engine. It’s harder to get big increases on these normally aspirated motors than it is on the turbos, but old school tricks to improve the breathing (cams, flowed head, exhaust manifold, throttle bodies) would be a good start. But as Cupid Stunt used to say, we’re giving away the plot.


Here's the full ad

Author
Discussion

Gareth9702

Original Poster:

188 posts

76 months

Friday 9th August
quotequote all
A good attempt by Shed to sell a bland box. You almost had me convinced.

Cambs_Stuart

569 posts

28 months

Friday 9th August
quotequote all
I like it. Possibly the blandest lookng shed ever, but if the rumours are true, good fun to drive.
The interior is fantastic. Why don't they make them like that any more?

B'stard Child

18,054 posts

190 months

Friday 9th August
quotequote all
Gareth9702 said:
A good attempt by Shed to sell a bland box. You almost had me convinced.
I’ve seen one sticker up as a bttc rep - looked good but........

hammo19

1,997 posts

140 months

Friday 9th August
quotequote all
Brilliant car with good handling, great engine and first class motorsport heritage.

Aluxo

76 posts

15 months

Friday 9th August
quotequote all
Article says said:
Nissans weren’t the most inspiring cars on the roads in the 1990s
300ZX - Skylines R32/33/34 - Silvias. The 90s were peak Japanese cars!
I’d take that over the 20 grand Cavalier... even if the Cavalier were shed money

heisthegaffer

1,235 posts

142 months

Friday 9th August
quotequote all
I remember seeing one of these halfway on a crash barrier of a roundabout in Hertford once when they were new. The driver and copper seemed to be having a right old laugh about it.

Scrump

5,533 posts

102 months

Friday 9th August
quotequote all
When these were new I helped to organise a charity car wash event in conjunction with the local radio station. It was taking place right across the North East at many different sites.
Nissan kindly loaned cars to be used to get between the sites to collect the money, ferry supplies etc.
When I turned up with the other drivers at the Nissan factory to collect the cars I noticed that in the long row of ordinary primeras there was a single GT model.
After the briefing we were allowed to get in the cars, the keys were inside.

I did a solo recreation of the old LeMans starts and sprinted for the GT.
An embarrassing moment.

I recall that the car was a lot of fun for the weekend. My car somehow racked up a lot more miles than any of the other ones.

the_hood

403 posts

138 months

Friday 9th August
quotequote all
Had one as a weekend hire, albeit the standard model. It was a handled well and was fine drive. Looked ok back then, but now? No thanks.

Lollypops

54 posts

19 months

Friday 9th August
quotequote all
These were good cars back in the day, solid engine and good handling. As the article correctly mentions, most will have succumbed to rust now frown

waftycranker

32 posts

4 months

Friday 9th August
quotequote all
I like it!

Never driven one but the GT did have a good rep back when it was new.

Only 400 Mystics? Seems like I used to see loads of them back in the 90’s.

ElectricPics

693 posts

25 months

Friday 9th August
quotequote all
I had one - a factory demo with chromaflair paint - as a company motor for a while. The paint disguised the blandness up to a point and handling was miles better than a 3 series. Rapid progress was made by screaming the nuts off it, which it was more than happy with. Excellent seats with multiple adjustments too.

PorkInsider

3,519 posts

85 months

Friday 9th August
quotequote all
article said:
Remember when the Primera crushed it in the BTCC?
Crushed it?

Que?

Crushed what?

Andy665

2,429 posts

172 months

Friday 9th August
quotequote all
I had both a Series 1 eGT and a Series 2 GT

Both were astonishingly reliable and comfortable, did 95k in the eGT and 80k in the GT with zero issues and costs apart from consumables and servicing

The Series 2 was more comfortable but the Series 1 was sharper to drive

May have been bland to look at but a great drive

fathomfive

9,032 posts

134 months

Friday 9th August
quotequote all
PorkInsider said:
article said:
Remember when the Primera crushed it in the BTCC?
Crushed it?

Que?

Crushed what?
Quite.

It's also got 'enough bant' whatever the fk that is.

Jon_S_Rally

506 posts

32 months

Friday 9th August
quotequote all
Gareth9702 said:
A good attempt by Shed to sell a bland box. You almost had me convinced.
Ever driven one?

A friend had both the earlier eGT and one of these later cars. I drove both and they were actually very impressive cars. Look past the slightly dowdy looks and they were very capable for the time. I'd take one over most of its contemporary rivals.

alorotom

6,651 posts

131 months

Friday 9th August
quotequote all
see the grandads are out in force today <sigh/>

Back o/t ... fond memories of these, a very good friend had full access to his dads Primera GT (in the chameleon flip paint) when we were 17. It had been lowered and had the level of ICE that max power would have been proud of.

Many near misses and some very stupid things occured. Happy days smile

cerb4.5lee

12,159 posts

124 months

Friday 9th August
quotequote all
Aluxo said:
Article says said:
Nissans weren’t the most inspiring cars on the roads in the 1990s
300ZX - Skylines R32/33/34 - Silvias. The 90s were peak Japanese cars!
Add the Sunny(pulsar) GTi R to that list too. I loved all of the 90's performance Nissans! cool My old S14a 200SX has been my favourite car to date as well.

had ham

3,611 posts

127 months

Friday 9th August
quotequote all
That whole article is dreadfully written. Absolutely gash.

sgtBerbatov

1,580 posts

25 months

Friday 9th August
quotequote all
Is shed even trying? Or has he been kidnapped and this is Mrs.Shed's attempt to hide what she's done?

Thornaby

371 posts

13 months

Friday 9th August
quotequote all
Had one of these in the company car fleet in 1998(ish). I liked it.