8 November 2018

More than an old car #88: Nissan Presea

If you have noticed, my posts alternate between a continental car and a Japanese/Asian one as I feel that not much love is given to the humble workhorses of the previous era. For today, I would like to introduce this increasingly rare breed--the 1992 Nissan Presea R10.

As mentioned previously, Nissan is the modern branding for the antiquated Datsun. It was decided that the name change would help the pursuit of a global strategy, which would increase people's awareness to the brand. As a result, "Nissan" wordings were gradually applied to Datsun cars in the 1980s and by 1986, the replacement was complete.

The Nissan Presea appeared in June 1990 in the form of a 4-door 'hardtop' sedan, ie a regular car without the middle pillar/bar. Its name is derived from the Spanish word for "jewel" or an "irreplaceable important thing". The rear windscreen was slightly curved, providing the driver with a more than 300-degree view just like a fighter pilot. Its aesthetic styling included the rounded edges and the grill-less front end, lending it a futuristic look that was popular with women at that time. It was powered by a 1597 cc GA16DE i4 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 187 km/h. It was 4395 mm long and weighed 1020 kg, which is quite light for a car this size!

Production of the R10 Presea ended in 1995, and was succeeded by the R11 model which featured external changes. There are at least 10 out and about in Singapore, though there seems to be more R11s compared to R10s. Based on local reviews, it apparently drives quite well and also low-maintenance to boot!

This red unit is quite unique as it was owned by Chee Soon Juan, a prominent opposition politician--he has been seen driving this around a few times. However, the number plate was recently de-registered and I do not know whether it is still around. It's not every day that you get to see a renowned person's car up close and I was glad that I had captured a snapshot. The grey unit, on the other hand, has been modified with a bodykit, making it more sporty than it actually is. It is still around but with an expired road tax. Do keep your eyes peeled for the other ones that are still here!

5 November 2018

More than an old car #87: BMW E36 M3

It is quite common for car manufacturers to crank out high-performance variants of their regular vehicles so as to attract a different class of driver--the track-loving, need-for-speed individual. It is not hard to imagine that these 1994/1995 BMW E36 M3s was catered for the owners who wanted to stand out from the crowd!

BMW M [M for 'Motorsport'] was first created in 1972 to facilitate BMW's successful racing program. It gradually moved towards production of specially modified higher-trim models, which included changes such as modified engines, exhaust systems and suspensions. It has stamped its mark on almost every BMW vehicle, except the 7-Series range, the Z1 sports car, and the X1 and X3 SUVs.

The E36 M3 was released in 1992 and was available in coupe, convertible and sedan versions. It quickly became well-loved by enthusiasts, who appreciated its raw power and the joy one could derive from it. Both the sedan and coupe were powered by a 2990 cc S50B30 i6 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 250 km/h (electronically limited), with an acceleration of 6 seconds [0-100km/h]. Both models were 4433 mm long and weighed 1460 kg.

Production ended in 1999 with around 71,000 made, out of which only 3,192 coupes (code BF92) and 415 sedans (code CB92) were in RHD. This unit (chassis number EW30350) is equipped with manual seatbelts and was made in the Regensburn plant in Germany. Per additional information I received from a follower, it is just 1 of 2 RHD export versions that was painted in Avusblau metallic and fitted with a 3rd brake light! 

In Singapore, it was unveiled in 1994 and was distributed by Performance Motors, our local BMW dealer. I believe both are the last units that exist here, though I am often thrown off by some units here that resemble the unique M3 external modifications eg the aerodynamic side mirrors. More often than not, I have to check the database and be left disappointed at being cheated again. Recently, the number plate has also changed to a newer one and it is evident that the owner plans to keep it for the long run.

If you have observed, there are quite a few newer M models on the roads, but how often do you get to see an older one? This was also a random find as I had been passing by the area. I wasn't too keen on E36s in general, but coming across an M3 was too hard to resist. It may not be eye-catching, but sometimes you need to go closer for a better look!