Hella Sweet Lemons Car of the Week: Silver Bullets Nissord 580SX

We wrote about this HSLCOTW on the Official Lemons Website Blog a few years back, but that post went down the Memory Hole when the Lemons Blog was banished to the dustbin of history. That’s a shame, because this fascinating Lemons car had its best race yet last weekend in South Carolina, spending many hours in P1 and finishing a very impressive third overall. We’re going to revisit one of the more successful Lemons import cars ruined improved with the transplant of a honkin’ big Detroit pushrod V8: the “Nissord 580SX” of Team Silver Bullets.

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The Silver Bullets made their Lemons debut at the 2013 Southern Discomfort race, bringing a 1991 S13 Nissan 240SX equipped with all the latest JDM Cheatonium-239 hardware on its very nervous Nissan KA24 engine. The merciful-yet-firm justices of the Lemons Supreme Court buried the team in penalty laps.

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As 240SXs tend to do in our series, the Silver Bullets’ car broke repeatedly during subsequent races, and the Lemons Supreme Court recognized the difference between cheating and effective cheating and ceased hammering the team with penalty laps. Eventually, every KA24 within easy reach of Silver Bullets HQ had shot a couple of rods out the oil pan, and the team requested a residual value to swap in a dime-a-dozen Ford 302 (aka 5.0-liter) V8. The Ford Windsor engine is fairly explodey in Lemons and its vast weight transforms the well-balanced S13 into a garbage-truck-like handful on a road course, but so what? The “Nissord 500SX” wasn’t particularly quick at the 2013 Lemons South Fall race, but the Silver Bullets seemed to have a good time with it.

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The Silver Bullets still were blowin’ up motors, but at least they were blowin’ up cheap motors, as every U-Wrench-It yard in the country has at least a dozen F-150s and LTDs with 302s. Then they had a horrible, horrible brilliant idea: the Ford 5.8 aka 351W V8 is even cheaper and easier to find (because Mustang guys consider it a low-prestige truck engine and its increased torque grinds up T-5 transmissions like eggshells in an In-Sink-Erator), and it’s maddeningly distant from a near-bolt-in swap for the 5.0! A quick trip to a motivated Craigslist seller and 9,000 hours of fevered wrenching later and the Nissord 580SX was born.

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Yeah, this rig probably cost more than 500 bucks (though nowhere near as much as a properly built KA24), but the Lemons Supreme Court judges had watched the Silver Bullets struggle with their parts-breaking, ill-handling Nissan for year after year, and we stopped caring about the team’s aftermarket ignition system and big radiator. Yes, sufficient displays of futility will soften the heart of even the cruelest Lemons judge.

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At last weekend’s race, the Nissord 580SX hung in there with the Moldecarlo GM G-body and Team SOB BMW E30, but a tire blowout took the team out of contention late on Sunday and the Moldecarlo took the overall win. Will the 580SX ever pull off that elusive win on laps? Perhaps, though that feat may require the swap of a Ford MEL 462 engine.

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