My Nissan Sunny GTi-R

I bought my car in December 2000 having first seen and wanted one in April 1992. At the time they were 15 thousand pounds and at that time it was over a year's wages, plus with my age insurance would have been through the roof. I did, however, have the brochure, which I looked at from time to time. You can see the brochure here if you like.

One day, in autumn 1999, whilst driving home, I saw a black GTi-R, so I followed it. The car went into the Guernsey Telecoms car park. My friend Rick works there, so I e-mailed him to ask if he knew who owned it, to be told, the guy who owned it was sitting next to him complaining about someone in a VW Golf following him back to work. This guy turned out to be Caleb Zunino. If you own a GTi-R you will have heard of or even met Caleb. A week or so later he took me for a spin, I was impressed. I had to have one even more.

Late in 2000 I saw one for sale at a local importer's. I tried the car, in fact he had two, the other one was a little rough around the edges and had stains on the passenger seat, so I bought the other one, the one I have now. I had a few problems with the car, but even more problems getting the garage to do the corrections well. The driver's door latch failed, so they replaced it with a used one that failed 6 months later. The trip jammed the odometer, so they replaced it, eventually, but did it wrong and it only turned at half speed. They fixed the jammed vent cable, but disconnected the radio. All the reworking and second repairs I did myself as they clearly didn't have a clue. I won't give their name here, but if you'd like to know who not to get your car fixed by in Guernsey then mail me.

During that year I replaced the front half of the exhaust with an HKS stainless steel front pipe and a mongoose de cat pipe. Maybe in 2003 I will replace the rest of the exhaust which is currently held together with fiberglass. I also changed the air filter for a K&N 57i which sounds nice and I can now hear the dump valve. The car came with new 17" alloy wheels and Avon ZZ1 tyres. Sadly the ZZ1s were rubbish in the wet and on many occasions I thought I would stick the car in a wall from the understeer. In early August I replaced the front tyres (that was all I could afford) with Pirelli Z7000s. Very nice. One day I'll fit them on the back too. I now only get oversteer in the wet, which I can cope with.

In August 2001 I took the car to Simon Norris at Norris Design who checked the car over, corrected the timing and suggested a visit to Interpro, which I did. They fitted a bleed valve and increased my boost to nearly 1 bar and gave the car a dyno run. The final figure was 247 bhp at 5280 at the flywheel and 174 bhp at the wheels. That week I took the car to AMS in Portsmouth to have a Clifford alarm fitted. This is a beautiful piece of kit, despite the 400 pound + VAT cost. The job was well done, despite it taking me 2 months to discover the reason I had problems was that the engineer forgot to tighten the ground strap back onto the battery. The system is great, it closes the windows when I lock the car and when I can afford it I'll get the boot release option added and then the window wind down option for hot days and maybe the auto start option to allow the air conditioning to cool the car down before I get in and the. . . . the list goes on.

Two weeks later was Trax 2001 held at Silverstone Raceway in Northampton. This was a pleasant show and our club had its annual meeting there. Over 80 cars turned up, it was a beautiful site. I took my car around the circuit, but due to the Avons on the back I lost it going into Brooklands and drifted slowly (well, about 80mph) into the gravel trap. This actually made quite a bit of damage to the car by peppering the side. Luckily I have a rubber strip running the length of the car between the wheel arches which protected it, but this has a dull haze to it now. I won't be racing the car again, well, not until I've changed those bloody Avons.

Future plans: Obviously, change the back tyres, replace the back half of the exhaust before it collapses and some extra options on the Clifford alarm.