I genuinely enjoyed reminiscing with Eric Nazario, owner of this B13 Nissan Sentra SE-R. Because growing up, Eric & his buddies naturally gravitated to affordable & fun cars. See if you’re younger, you may not understand this, and it’s NOT a knock against you. It’s more of a quick history lesson lol.
Because back in the 90s…
A lot of cars were both… 1) Affordable AND 2) genuinely fun. It was possible to have both! Actually… it was pretty natural & effortless. And that’s because these things were light, they weren’t overcomplicated, and they weren’t expected to have huge horsepower numbers. In the 90s, a fun small car was cheaper & more exciting option than a generic more expensive sedan. So people bought ’em… and fell in love with DRIVING. It was pure, affordable fun. Back in the early 90s these cars (like the Sentra SE-R, Civic SIs, GTIs, GSTs, etc)… cost like 15 grand. Very doable.
Conversely, these days we have but a few sports cars to choose from…
Most of them have automatics. They’re overweight & overcomplicated. And most of them cost just as much, if not more, than big convenient full-size truck. When you look at it like that, you can see why the good times quit rolling. And why all the fun affordable cars are now 25 years old.
But you know what else?
In the time of this B13 Nissan Sentra SE-R, car manufacturers were just… dialed in… in a way that that those same manufacturers can’t even comprehend now. Let’s break down Nissan’s global lineup circa 1992: Sentra SE-R, NX2000, Pulsar GTI-R, 240SX/Silvia, Nissan Laurel, 300ZX/Fairlady, and Skyline GT-R. Hell even the Maxima & G20 were fun driver-focused sports sedans with manual transmissions. And the WD21 Pathfinder at that time was a body-on-frame true 4×4 SUV.
Cars just had a much more magnetic presence back then…
It’s hard to translate that into today’s automotive terms. ‘Sport-compact’ was an actual thing. These cars were exciting, and easy to modify & personalize.
FAST was much more artistic than it is today.
There was more soul behind it. The performance in these cars was more carefree, more infectious, & more pocket-sized. Racing these things around the streets was wildly fun & addictive. And there was so much more of a connection. You could feel the tires in the steering wheel. And you could feel the absence of weight in its agility. You anticipated the next shift as these cars pulled out of a corner & winded-out to redline. It was such a connective experience. Driving these cars could never be passive. Windows went down; senses went up. It was all-in… all the time.
Today, we have overkilled sports cars in a big, big way…
As a car enthusiasts, that’s hard to come to terms with & admit. Because for our entire lives, faster was always better.
But it’s not.
Eric Nazario had a B13 Sentra SE-R when he was younger.
Nostalgia is a very powerful thing. And it’s compounded by the world we’re living in today where everything is connected to wifi or bluetooth… BUT disconnected from touch, humanity, & reality.
So Eric bought this Sentra SE-R… a refreshing blast from the past.
And he brought it back to life. Eric bought parts for it here & there when he could. And he’d install those parts quietly in the garage after he tucked his kid in bed. Eventually, Eric ended up with something more than he ever intended.
And here’s the thing:
We DO live in that wifi-driven world now… can’t escape it. But that means we have access to ALL the information we could ever want (so long as they don’t censoring it). But just because you have all the info… does NOT mean that you KNOW.
You would think the younger generations would have a hard time separating their Youtube channels & video games from reality.
But in fact – it seems to be the opposite. It seems (from my vantage point) like the younger generations are actually having a harder time CONNECTING what they see online… to their own reality.
Look at your average teenage dude these days.
Surely they play car-related video games, right? And you know car culture is seeping into their YouTube videos, Instagram reels, and Tik Tok feeds. Testosterone should be at max boost by this point in their sock-humping adolescence. Yet – they’re somehow not getting activated to put the phone down… even to go get their damn driver’s license! They’re not finding the ambition to buy their own car & make it their own. And they’re not connecting the dots between car ownership, and a sense of independence and/or freedom. They have all the digital exposure at their soft little fingertips, yet most are seemingly content to keep riding shotgun in mom’s minivan.
I don’t get it…
With car culture… just the same as with any outdoor activity: You can watch it online, you can get inspired by it online, but you can’t DO it online.
Automotive YouTubers go to insane extremes with car builds…
But more often than not – it’s for the love of the viewership… more than the love of the culture. Big difference. And what it’s doing big picture – is making kids/fans think that everything has to be swapped, chopped, and 1000+ horsepower to be ‘worth it’. And it’s widening that gap & DISconnecting the dots between what the youth sees online… and their subsequent motivation to get involved in real life.
Eric Nazario sees that for sure. But unlike me, it doesn’t bother him so much lol. Instead, it makes him immensely grateful that he got to live in such a cool & pure automotive era. It’ll forever be a part of his DNA, and it’ll always show through in the way he builds cars.
Text by Wooley Photos by Cher Pheng Lee
These B13 Sentra SE-Rs came with the SR20 DE, non-turbo motor. It’s a fun engine for the time. But – you can easily & cheaply turbocharge that engine anywhere down the road with a 1) a Pulsar GTI-R manifold, 2) a GTI-R turbo, And 3) a GTI-R MAF (or these same parts from a JDM Avenir or Bluebird will also work).
Parts may cost somewhere in the $500 range? But with prices going so crazy, it may be going up as I write this. The parts bolt right on, but the SR20DE ran a higher compression than the factory-turbocharged DET variant. So from Eric’s personal experience & from his peer’s experience… you can run 9lbs of boost. 9 is the magic number. Be happy at 9. Don’t go above 9 lol.
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Sunny GTS2 shaved front and rear bumpers
R33 bumper vents & side markers
Custom lip kit with a…
•’89 Civic front lip
•’99 Nissan P11 sideskirts
•’97 Civic rear lip
Carbon Creations front, side splitters, and spats w/ Nismo badges
TSURU headlights & grille
JDM Sunny grille emblem
Depo glass fog lights
Amber upper & lower corner lenses
Hella taillights with smoked clear lenses
WRX fog/brake light
Seibon Carbon hood with GTI-R carbon scoop and vents
Nismo stripes kit
Nissan Sport dual tone horns
Seibon Carbon trunk
R32 Nismo carbon fiber trunk spoiler
Shaved passenger door lock
New paint with shaved bodylines
Custom rear diffuser
SR20DET Bluebird motor
Garrett GTX2871r turbo
ACL race bearings
XS Power exhaust manifold
Pulsar GTI-R stainless oil & water lines, and GTI-R high flow recirculating j-pipe
Mishimoto intercooler, radiator, and oil cooler
O2 Induction polished intake manifold
Infinity Q45 90mm throttle body
Walbro 255 fuel pump
Trilogy Performance ROM tuned ECU
TOMEI fuel pressure regulator
HKS SSQV blow off valve
APEX’i air filter
200 amp alternator
VRS 3in catback exhaust
Outlaw Engineering thermal intake spacer kit
MPI oil block
Custom oil filter relocation kit w/ oversized filter
Optima redtop battery in custom carbon battery tray
C’s Performance solid subframe bushings
Energy Suspension polyurethane motor mount kit
Singh’s solid front engine mount
Custom CF air diverter panel
B15 RSFA70V 5-speed LSD transmission (cable converted)
Mikos tranny saver bracket
Competition Clutch 4-puck unsprung clutch kit
Energy Suspension complete red bushings kit
D&D 40-way adjustable coilovers
Delgado center arm
TDM adjustable rear control arms
Cusco front strut bar
Ultra Racing fender braces & rear strut bar
ST Suspension 29mm front sway bar & 19mm rear sway bar
SLS traction bars
C’s Performance subframe bushings kit
WHEELS / TIRES / BRAKES:
Rays NISMO LMGT4 wheels
Federal RSR R 215/40/17 tires
15mm rear wheel spacers
R34 Skyline GTT 4-piston front calipers
•StopTech stainless brake lines
1995 Maxima rear calipers
• ceramic pads
•StopTech stainless brake lines
Altima master cylinder
Nissan P11 rear leather seats & Nissan March super turbo steering wheel
NRG quick release
NX center console
CF doorcard inserts
Custom red carpet
Red b-pillar mounted seatbelts
Sabelt red 3″ harnesses
Nismo titanium shift knob
Speed Depot harness bar
350z OEM aluminum pedal set
Depo Japan black-tinted boost, fuel pressure, oil pressure & temp, EGT gauges
APEX’i turbo timer
HKS EVC3 electronic boost controller
NX 1600 digital cluster w/ Phoenix plug-&-play harness
Pioneer double-din radio with Pioneer 6.5″ components in front & Pioneer 6.5″ speakers in rear
Hifonics Thor 5-channel 600-watt mini amplifier
Rockford Fosgate 12″ subwoofer
What amazing machine