After having my Pulsar Plus stolen while I was at work one day, there was a N15 shaped hole in my heart.
But after a few months a British Racing Green (as I like to call it) SSS showed up on Facebook marketplace. Not knowing how to drive manual yet, I had the seller drive me around the hills. I was happy with what I saw and $1200 bucks later I had a car that my friend drove home for me.
The SR20 engine squeezed into that engine bay was an awesome thing. It had decent low-down torque, yet it could rev out to the stars. From memory it was up over 8000rpm. The aftermarket muffler had it sounding pretty neat for a 4-cylinder. A fuel economy of around 8 litres per 100 kilometres was the usual for my suburban mix.
Driving in traffic was a little annoying as first gear was locked out until you were at walking pace, but torque in 2nd gear would get you through. Travelling at 100km/h had the engine at 3000rpm, which was a bit loud for listening to podcasts, but not enough to put you off road trips. This meant you could shift 1-2-5 onto the freeway, using all of 2nd gear to get up to speed. Shifting through the five speeds added to the joy, with a longish throw that added to the fun of rowing into each notchy gear. Having driven a 2nd-Gen Mazda 3 shortly after, I much preferred shifting with my arm than just my wrist.
Me and the boys had some fun trying to find a clutch fluid reservoir on this cable clutch system. The pedal wasn't heavy, but wasn't overly communicative either.
I had bought this car with what looked like King Low springs already installed. The "metro bus seat material" trimmed sports seats held you in well, as it cornered very flat through the hills. The Pulsar did have the tendency to oversteer at the limit, and felt disinterested in any forms of lift-off fun. The steering wheel was on the smaller side, making the rack feel faster, which felt great.
Cupholders were nowhere to be seen, much like in most cars of this era. The rear seats could fold almost flat when pushed down, or could become level when folding forward the rear seat base into the rear seat footwell - perfect for drive-in cinemas. The mirrors were tiny, but visibility was still excellent when looking over your shoulders. That, coupled with an awesome turning circle, made parallel parking a joy instead of a chore. Speakers in the front doors and rear parcel shelf meant you could pump some decent sound with some cheap speakers and a deck.
If you are looking to dip your toes into some club racing, this was another area where this car shines. Once I bought this car, I had raced a few hillclimb events, as it was a car I didn't mind if I crashed. I could always replace it. It did a pretty good job in the "2000cc and under category", and was a blast to drive at eleven-tenths.
Unfortunately, immobilizers weren't standard fit on the N15 Pulsars, meaning that if you're only using a club lock at work and the shops (and not just at home), you may end up in a situation like I was, with bags packed and ready for a weekend in Marysville but with no car to put them in.
My SSS was never seen again after December 27th, 2019. It was my second N15 stolen. Only an insane person would get a third one. It doesn't stop my friends sending me listings and it hasn't stopped me from toying with the idea.