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Fairly Fast Field Find: 1991 Nissan Sentra SE-R

The seller mentions that they bought this 1991 Nissan Sentra SE-R a couple of years ago from someone who had it sitting out in a field for about five years. It’s been in this storage unit since the seller bought it and they aren’t sure if it runs or not. They have it listed here on eBay in Kingsford, Michigan, there is no reserve, and the current bid price is $1,725.

Nissan has made the Sentra since 1982 and as with most vehicles, it’s grown in size. It’s now considered a compact as opposed to a subcompact as when it first came out. The EPA ranks it as a mid-sized car because of its roominess. I had a couple of first-gen Sentras a few years ago, a 1983 Datsun-Nissan Sentra and a 1984 Sentra. They were great cars, I really liked the blocky two-door sedan look. They were small, fun to drive, and easy to hoard. I mean store.

This is a third-generation Sentra, which was made from 1990 through 1994. It was the first generation that Nissan offered the SE-R model, its hat-in-the-ring sporty car to compete with the Honda CRX Si and even BMW’s 3-Series on some accounts. Not to mention being about half of the BMW’s price and arguably more reliable and almost as much fun to drive. That’s a hard combo to beat – although it’s front-wheel-drive whereas the BMWs had rear-wheel-drive or AWD.

The seller says that this example was found sitting in a field where it had been for a handful of years and that’s pretty brave, they must have really wanted one. It has been sitting in this storage unit since they got it a couple of years ago and they aren’t going to get to the restoration. The exterior looks good other than a dent in the right front fender and some other small issues. We don’t see much of the interior but what we do see, it looks great. The underside should look worse than it does, but it clearly needs a new exhaust.

The engine is Nissan’s SR20DE, a 2.0-liter DOHC inline-four with 140 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. It sends power through a five-speed manual to the front wheels but this one is in unknown condition. The seller isn’t even sure if it runs. Either the bidders think this one is restorable or they need parts. Have any of you owned a Sentra SE-R?


  1. Chevcat

    Great car ,very quick and handles well, went to the 1994 SCCA runoffs
    in one to race in the SSB
    Alot of fun

    Like 5
  2. Strange Brew

    My missus owned a non SE-R 5 speed stick Sentra back in ’94. That liitle car was the most balanced, chuckable vehicle we ever owned. It truly defined the reality that it is more fun to drive a slow car fast than to drive a fast car slow. It didn’t have high limits but reaching them wasn’t hard either.

    Like 11
  3. GLemon

    I got an SE-R in the mid 90s, after British sports cars and then a first generation RX7 it felt like a rocket ship, and had a 7500 RPM redline as well, when most cars, even foreign sporty ones were 6500 at best. Reliable and fun to drive. I looked at a Civic SI a few years newer as my next car, but it felt pretty gutless after the Nissan, which made good power down low, unlike many early 4 valve per cylinder small imports.

    Like 4
  4. Nelson C

    Nissan was into building fun cars back then. Simple is often better. Kind of like a 90s BMW 2002. Looks pretty nice inside and under hood. Great Radwood vehicle. Hope someone gives it a good home. This could easily become a ricer or whatever those are called.

    Like 6
  5. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    These comments made my otherwise grueling and horrible day! I wasn’t sure how this one would go over.

    Like 8
    • Rw

      Cool car but,is that the CV shaft I’m see through the battery box?

      Like 0
      • Dave W

        No, it’s the end of a spark plug wire. They’ve all been pulled out.

        Like 1
      • Rw

        Thanks Dave W ,I didn’t know if I was stoned or stupid,you answered that .

        Like 1
    • GLemon

      Diamond in the rough of a truly great early 90s enthusiast car, what could go wrong?

      Like 2
    • 370zpp 370zpp Member

      Scotty, I am also surprised at the positive comments.
      I was expecting more like “Really? a #@$% Sentra?”
      And I was even ready to say that, myself.

      Like 3
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Scotty, good call to feature this.People who know these cars don’t see them as a Sentra. Reminds me of the same treatment as my ’86 GLH-T – some people can’t see the hot rod behind the skin.

      I did go looking for one of these back then. The dealerships near me did not have one, but I ended up in a Maxima just the same. That was also a very fun car, but in a different way.

      Like 1
  6. RMac

    When we met my wife had a 87 2 door Sentra se with 5 speed not a bad little car but very tinnie had kind of a cheap feel to it but it was reliable as heck

    Like 2
  7. Todd Zuercher

    My first car that I bought myself! Mine was a red ’91 – a really fun car. I got my job offer from Motorola one day and bought my car the next!

    These cars were on Car and Driver’s Top Ten List from ’91-’94 and are really hard to find these days. This one will likely be snatched up by an enthusiast and fixed up. They are well loved by many.

    It’s main competitor at its introduction was the ’91 BMW 318is. I ended up owning 3 of those between 2007-2019.

    Like 5
  8. SirRaoulDuke

    This car is absolutely worth restoring. These SE-R’s rarely come up for sale, and have a rabid following to this day. Early 90’s Nissan was on fire, with this car, the 240SX, the 300Z, and the Maxima SE, all great enthusiast cars.

    Like 7
    • Dan N

      Took the words out of my mouth. This is an underrated car that I would bid on if I had the time to rebuild the drivetrain and clean up the car. But what the heck was it doing just sitting in a field?

      Like 1
  9. Sean

    A B-13 SE-R was the car driven to a 2023 SCCA RallyCross “Prepared Front” class national championship win…. again. Great cars still geting it done 30 years later. I RallyCross two myself.

    Like 2
  10. MattC

    My brother bought an identical SE-R . He added a cold air intake and Stillen exhaust ( as you did back then) and it was a killer chuckable car. This is peak Nissan and these were excellent sporty cars. Smooth and reliable. This is tempting but I’m curious about the history of this car

    Like 1
  11. BLURU

    Great little car. These comments mirror my experience. Had a 67 MGB, Dodge Rampage and then a 92 SER. Sold SER to my daughter when I bought a new 2001 2.5RS coupe (still have it).SER came with limited slip front axle and 4 wheel disc brakes.
    The SER seemed a little pepper than the RS but love the all wheel drive. Both cars can seat 5 adults.
    Don’t have room but potentially a fun car for someone.

    Like 2
  12. Mountainwoodie

    Different strokes fer different folks

    Like 1
  13. Tahir

    too bad it sat in a field, I had one of those cars in the northeast and the bottom of the car completely rusted away. I can imagine the condition from sitting in a field for 5 years

    Like 2
  14. Oddimotive Cason Oddimotive Cason Member

    I love how these bring out so many stories! I had a ’93, which was the first car I chose for myself, and I still miss it! They’re largely bulletproof, aside from developing 5th gear popout. Mine did that, but I was lucky that it was right at the end of the powertrain warranty and was covered. I had the dealer install a Jim Wolf pressure plate while they were “in there.”

    My SE-R was replaced by a ’98 SVT Contour in 2000. I miss that car, too…

    Like 3
  15. Justin

    I bought one new in 1991,very basic no a/c sunroof ect. If I remember it had an MSRP of just under 11k. A great handling car for it’s time and the thing would pull like crazy with the bigger 4 cyl that they came with. Ended up trading it in for an eagle talon AWD turbo which had more power but fun factor was about equal.

    Like 2
  16. Aoife

    These cars are a riot, my friend loaned me his for a bit while my Volvo was out of commission and I found reasons to take the long way home every time.

    Like 0
  17. Mike

    I currently have an Infiniti G20t same SR20DE engine but a more advanced suspension.
    The 90’s were peak Nissan

    Like 2
  18. Todd Fitch Staff

    One of a few new cars my wife and I ever bought, a black ’91 SE-R that was her “Graduated and got a job” car. There weren’t many options you could put on an SE-R as I recall. The sunroof was $800 which seemed like highway robbery. Great car! The 140 HP from 2.0L was one of the highest specific output motors in the day. Only sold it because we had a child and wrestling with the car seat in the back was driving us mad. I remember if we were charging up a hill white fog would emerge from the vents until you upshifted. It was over $15,000 as I recall, and we never spent that much on a car the ensuing 20 years. Someone might have a real gem on their hands with this one. Years later it appeared on one car magazine’s “Top Ten Unsung Heros” along with another car I owned the 84 Dodge Colt GTS Turbo. Thanks for giving this one some attention, Scotty!

    Like 4
  19. Steve Douglas

    I took a salesman for a spin in one of these after I read about them in the very, very early 90s, when I think it was a Car of the Year in its category in one magazine or another. I’m a big bastidge, but I squeezed into it with the salesman, and gave him quite a ride. As I recall, it’s pefromance numbers rated favorably over an Aston Martin that year. I’d love to find a pristine early model today. It is a VERY nimble and speedy car. I’d jump at it.

    Like 1
  20. HoA Howard A Member

    Oh, 370, THIS Sentra. Not sure how I missed it, I try and comment on all Scottys posts. He did fail to mention, the Sentra took the place of the B210. While the 210 was an improvement over the 510, the 210 was a bit out there, these were more like a normal car. Always lived in the shadow of Toyota, the Sentra was one of Nissans best selling cars worldwide. Sales figures show a decline in the Sentra, with SUVs the hot button,, but still made today. The motor has a chain drive cams, unusual for an Asian car of that time, a big plus , but unless these are a lot nicer, like turn key, I don’t see much interest here.

    Like 1
  21. Todd Fitch Staff

    I almost forgot the commercial with Bob.

    Like 0
  22. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Surprising Auction update: this one sold for an incredible $7,900!

    Like 3
  23. Mike Pesotski Member

    Love all of the comments. I had a ’92 SER, sat on the lot for months and got for way below sticker in 1993. Nobody knew what this was.Had my first kid in ’94 and traded in. Probably should have made it work but I was young with new family. Such an awesome car. I liked it more than my current 2016 Chevy SS that sits in the garage most the time.

    Like 1

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