When I was 17 the first 3000gt I ever owned was a 1993 Red SL. It was the FWD non-turbo car. Now I wouldn't be too excited about an SL, but at the time I was. 15 years ago a vr4 was out of my price range. The thing I loved about it was the color. Some call it "Firestorm" red, others refer to it as "passion" red. The paint code is R71. I love sitting in the drivers seat and seeing the color on the hood and in the reflection of my side mirrors. Anyways a 1993 Red vr4 popped up on Craigslist about an hour from my house. It was also in the direction of my favorite snack bar (Cajun's in Lowell, VT) so I had to check it out. It had high mileage (150k), but I ended up buying it because the paint was really nice and it was really clean underneath. It had been repainted in 2008 and they did a really nice job.
The car came with a boost controller, K&N filter, 3sx short shifter, and Greddy bov. Aside from that it was completely stock. I'm in the process of going right through the car to make it a clean weekend car that I don't mind driving as it already had high mileage. I'm going to make it really nice cosmetically. Maybe someday when the motor gets tired I'll pull it out and do a minor build (15g turbos, upgraded sidemounts, and forged pistons). For now I'm keeping it simple and just making it enjoyable. Below is is my TODO list. I've already been going right through it.
Here is how my foglights turned out. I documented how I restored them in one of my blog posts. You can see it HERE.
Here is a shot of my front calipers all cleaned up and painted. These are 2g VR4 calipers so the mounting ears are slightly longer than 1g calipers so that they can accommodate a larger rotor. I lucked out because I had a set of 2G fronts that I sold to a friend to use on his DSM. There is a company that makes adapter brackets for them. They make two different styles of brackets depending on if you have 1g vr4 calipers or 2g vr4 calipers. He hadn't ordered the brackets yet and agreed to swap front calipers with me. Now I get the 2g calipers that work with my car and he'll just order the 1g adapter brackets.
Next up was removing my dash to install some new defroster vents and non-turbo center gauges. The stock vents crack and the dash starts to peal up around the edges on these cars. I like to run non-turbo gauges too as I will replace the worthless OEM boost gauge with a more useful volt gauge. I use my blitz turbo timer to monitor boost as it has a built in boost gauge as well. I made a YouTube video of the dash removal to help others. It took me about an hour taking my time and explaining everything. I bet I could do it in half the time if I rushed.
Now I ran into a problem with the new defroster vents. They are the same size as the oem vents, but this picture shows you how much the vinyl on the dash has shrunk over time. There was a good size gap along the back edge of my vents. Initially I was going to try and find a lower mileage dash, but then I figured I'd try something as I had nothing to lose.
I was able to cut the underside of the vinyl free on the back side of the dash. I used a razor blade and took my time.
Then once it is no longer glued down I was able to move it forward to make the defroster vent hole more narrow. I put it where it needed to be and hot glued the vinyl back down. I used some special high heat hot glue that I bought a long time ago. If you look close at the back edge of the dash you'll see where some of the under skeleton is exposed now. This helps show how much I moved it over. This under skeleton is not visible once the dash is installed as it tucks in way under the window. You can't see it from the outside or inside of the car.
I finally got the underside all cleaned up and the car back together. I'm not a fan of the 1g center garnish so I installed the 99 garnish. I also bought some new snake eye lenses as mine had seen better days. When I had the rear apart to install the garnish I took a look at the fuel pump assembly to see if it was rusty at all. Fortunately mine was very clean. I sprayed it with some fluid film to hopefully keep it that way.
I spent some time cleaning up the engine bay as well. I polished the valve covers and plenum, installed 99 lifers, new bcp7es ngk plugs and 8.5mm MSD wires. The Y pipe is from chromeintakes.com but I swapped it out for one from 3sx because some of the welds leaked. They seem to have the best fitting one for the price. The part near the TB has a tight bend to it. Other ones like the CXRacing one have a bigger bend and it interferes with the battery.
The chrome wheels it came with looked alright, but they had some peeling. I replaced them with some OEM Evo X wheels. They are 18x8.5 with a 38mm offset. They clear the calipers fine and don't require any spacers. When I got the wheels I scrubbed them inside and out, then gave them a coat of wax to help protect them.
I already swapped out the door panels and rear panels with a spare set I had. Mine were bubbled which is a common problem. Often times I'll buy up some of the wrecked/rusted 3000gt/stealth parts cars near me just to scrap. I make sure to save the interior panels when they are in good shape. I replaced all the speakers too with some from Rockford Fosgate. I blogged about it here. Basically all that is left to do is to find a nice set of floor mats and maybe redo the leather seats.
Browsing Facebook Marketplace I came across a used DNP hardpipe kit that also included DNP intake pipes. The guy was asking $350 which is a steal for something so rare nowadays. He had some other people interested and a few offers on the table. I sent him the link to this page so he could see the car they would be going on. He was impressed with how clean it looked and he decided on the spot they were meant for me:) So it pays to document your builds. I paid for shipping and them in a week later. I polished everything up and got new T-bolt clamps and couplers for them from siliconeintake.com. For the hard pipe kit you need 5x 1.75 to 1.625 reducer couplers, 4x 2" couplers, and 1x 3" to 2.5" reducer to mate to the stock sidemounts. If you have the intakes you'll need 2 extra couplers for where they meet the turbos. I bought 2 extra 2" couplers and I had to re-use the rubber donut out of the stock intake pipes to make them work. The intake pipes had 2 nipples on them that I wouldn't be using so I cut them off and had my friend weld the holes shut. Everything fit fine. The AC line on the drivers side does interfere with one of the pipes. I had to ditch the mounting bracket for it, and I slid the rubber grommet over to the right so that the metal colar on the AC line wouldn't rub the intercooler pipe.
I took the car for a test drive. You can definitely hear the BOV more. It sounds great. You'll also notice I removed the hood heat shield. It was deteriorating and a real eye sore. I thought about replacing it with a new one, but after some research I found a lot of people run without one just fine.
I would say I have this car exactly how I envisioned it. I'm very happy with it considering how little I have invested. Some day when the turbos/motor get tired I may do a mild build on it. It will be nothing crazy though and probably be a bang for the buck budget build. I'd like to keep it reliable and looking stock from the outside.
And just for kicks, here is a picture of my old SL.