Written: January 2022
There's one thing I appreciate more than anything when it comes to cars and that is a car with character.
The other day I shared a photo on Instagram stories of two basic, stock body Nissan Silvias and minutes later received a reply from a good friend saying, "Isn’t it wild that very, very few are able to build cars like these." It's true, it seems as though in the last 5 years the modified car world has become obsessed with trying to make cars as wild looking as possible for the engagement it brings.
For me, when modifying a car, there is a fine line between preserving soul, character, whatever you want to call it. Good style doesn't come easy and this latest trend just leaves me a bit numb. SEMA is a good example. Million dollar builds with absolutely zero character, nothing more than poster cars that trend for 24hrs and then fade away, discarded and forgotten about.
Now you're probably wondering why I'm making these rambling claims under images of a beaten up Nissan, that's been driven hard all its life. You see, what sets this particular car apart is it absolutely oozes the character I'm banging on about. It's a car that William has built with nothing other than pure enjoyment in mind and it shows.
To any sane person, Williams 180sx is hideous with a capitol H. Most won't understand the point of its livery or why the rear tyres live perilously close to the arch. But behind all of this lies a whole library of tales and stories, memories only a car like this car give someone.
It's a simple car, nothing more than a well used 180sx shell, a heavily tinkered SR20DET and a stripped out interior. But for me, this car gives me a feeling that no 1,500HP piece of unobtainium ever will. It's basic, raw, loud and a pig to drive but that's what makes it great.
I really hope we as car nerds can come full circle and begin to appreciate why we do it again. We don't need to make these lumps of metal extremely controversial and hideously wild. We don't need to push for pointlessly high power figures. And, honestly, does anybody really think "TikTok Made Me" written on a tyre sidewall looks good?
About three years ago a switch flipped somewhere in my head and it's led me to appreciate cars like this more. But more importantly, it's made me appreciate the people and experiences behind these cars too. Through mutual friends, William and I knew each other but had never met until last summer.
And it was all thanks to this 180sx.
Owner: William Hennessy (@prodrifter86)
Location: Mt Leinster, Carlow