I may come in for some flak for saying this, but I can’t stand the Nissan Pulsar in any of its shapes or forms. Known as the Sunny in the UK, it was anything but. It was dismal, grey and hateful in every possible meaning of the word.
But the one I always hated least was the imported, four-wheel drive Pulsar GTI-R. I still don’t like the shape; there’s something desperately chavvy about it, but it was famously tunable. This one we found in the classifieds can run an undeniably healthy 475bhp, which is why I’m overlooking my prejudice. Sort of.
It seems to have lived a privileged life, having been owned by people who engaged with the whole Pulsar GTI-R thing and looked after it. The 2.0-litre engine is bull-strong and has been bolstered by forged pistons, an upgraded Garrett turbo, a more potent ECU, a ported and polished manifold, an upgraded intercooler and larger injectors. There’s even a full Quaife gear-set inside the original gearbox casing.
The car is currently running 0.95bar. The advert doesn’t say what power output this equates to but should make it more usable in everyday driving. The full 475bhp hit comes at 1.65bar, but – apply a pinch of salt – the seller says the tuner has called that level of boost conservative, and that there’s more in the tank should a new owner wish to access it. The guesstimated figure is 550bhp, which, given a weight of 1250kg or so, would make this little four-wheel drive pocket rocket a massive giant-killer.
One thing I will say about the 475bhp state of tune (392bhp at the wheels) is that it doesn’t look to be the smoothest ascent to peak power, tailing off and even dropping slightly between 6100rpm and 6600rpm, before delivering another brief jolt of increased power.
The full list of mods is pretty impressive and spans changes or upgrades to the fuel pump, radiator, induction, oil breather kit, boost controller, exhaust, spark plugs, clutch and flywheel. The seller claims that it has been set up for road use and is “so easy to use,” and also says that it’s “great for daily driving… maybe a bit soft for the hard core of you.”
He has the necessary paperwork to prove the power output and tuning history at Torque of the South in Southend-on-Sea. That’s not all, as there’s said to be a huge amount of history and documentation on hand for a buyer to look through. It needs a little cosmetic work, the seller says, and despite a respray it’s showing signs of wear and tear, but if this sort of thing is your bag, it’s an increasingly rare way of achieving supercar-baiting pace for not a lot of cash.