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July 2012 - Tom-P10 (P10)

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    Posted: 27 Jun 2012 at 2:54am

Congratulations on winning July 2012 COTM Tom! An awesome Nissan Primera P10 eGT Saloon and in mighty fine condition too! How does it feel bagging this exclusive award and the awesome COTM trophy as well?

It feels great! The fact that the car is recognised by NPOC makes all the trials, tribulations and adventures I’ve had worthwhile. Thanks for deciding that the car is worth this award - I’m honoured!

Another two times winner of COTM as well (you rock)!! Your 1st win was in February 2007 with your previous Nissan Primera P10 1.6 LX - Does it feel any different second time around?

It does feel quite different but with the same familiar feeling of massive gratitude!  I think it’s because the two cars - although both P10’s - were two very different animals. With the 1.6, the engine was smaller but the car was more heavily modified and become even more so I suppose after it got the COTM award as it changed a lot through until late 2009 before its demise in 2010.  With this car I’ve generally kept it much more subtle as I think that’s more suited to it. So receiving the award feels similar but the journey to getting the car to this stage has been very different.

Before we talk cars, modifications and mechanics, we’d love to find out about you the owner. Any big life changes or anything since we read your original feature in 2007? Please tell us about yourself and what you get up to, away from the NPOC.

I am 28 now and still working as a civil engineer for the same company and I have finally completed all my studying (due to doing it as day release it’s taken many years!). I’m now the proud owner of a first class BEng degree in Civil Engineering. Other than work, a lot has definitely changed in the five and a bit years since early 2007! 

Very shortly after the last COTM I split up with my long term girlfriend which was hard at first but I quickly realised it was the best thing that ever happened to me! I have now been with Fliss for over four years and we are currently renting a big bungalow in Littleport, Cambridgeshire but we are looking for a house to buy in the same town. I’ve also started learning to play the drums at the end of last year. Other than that I still get up to the same sort of things really, attending gigs, festivals, car shows and taking on more projects than I can reasonably achieve in my spare time!

Sticking with the personal side of your life (cos we’re all clearly stalkers LOL!), you recently announced your engagement to the lovely Fliss. A mahoosive congratulations from myself! Fliss has been a regular at our club meets for a few years now and always a welcome sight too. Asking her the question must have been a scary moment, how did it go from the planning to the proposing stage?

You’re going to wish you hadn’t asked as it’s a very long story! 

I’m not going to lie, the planning was much more stressful than the actual event!  As most of you know, I’m not one for doing things the normal way and like to think out of the box, so the top of Eiffel Tower was well out of the question! 

It was a three-fold plan really. Firstly, I had thought about recording some drums from one of the songs we both like but in the end thought that would sound a bit odd. So I decided to record a modified version of the first couple of minutes of Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters"!! (I like to give myself a challenge as I’m in no way proficient in any instruments yet!). I changed the words, recorded some drum, bass, guitar intro and keyboard chord parts. I also done a couple of harmonica bits for background effect and then added some pretty lame singing over the top. I had to do this in small chunks whenever Fliss was out with mates but enjoyed the whole thing and layering it up on the computer was cool. The end result isn’t too shabby I suppose, all considering.

Secondly, I knew she wanted to choose her own ring but also I didn’t want to do it empty handed so decided to get her a silver heart necklace with a diamond in.  That was the easy bit!

Thirdly, I needed a location! I deliberated this for a while (the song took me a few months to complete!). Fate intervened though and we were due to go to a wedding reception in Sheffield, so figuring that it was tight but possible to finish the song by then, I arranged to go up to the Peak District the day before. I didn’t tell her where we were headed as I know she loves surprises (unlike me!). The perfect place I had in mind was the Ladybower Dam / Reservoir as I knew she loved it there when we went in 2009. Also, the scenery is amazing and there’s a great sense of perspective looking along the top of the Dam (which you can walk along).  Another bonus was it’s in my home county of Derbyshire!

So I booked a four poster room very nearby and we headed up there. We called in at the location on route and I set up the camera on the tripod and told Fliss I was going to take a picture of us on the dam but instead set it to video, started the song playing from my phone and then got on one knee. She cried lots but luckily they were happy tears and she said “Yes”!

You’re an Elite Member here (our highest level of paying membership), are you getting value for money with that? And please sell us the reason, why everyone should become Elite.

It’s definitely a no brainer for me and extremely good value for money! The savings made at JAE, Japfest and other events coupled with the free breakfast at Ace Café and the discounts on clothing and group buys make it at least equal to the standard £15 membership and if anything it works out cheaper! It also helps the club out and gives access to all the areas of the forum, which is invaluable. 

So we know this is your second Nissan Primera P10 and bizarrely you went from a GA16DE hatchback, to the SR20DE saloon we see here today. This actually puts you in a firm position, to answer one of our top all time debated questions… Regardless of the engine size, which is better.. Hatch or Saloon?

Well if you’re talking specifically P10, there are massive positives for both. Obviously the hatchback is far superior for the practicality of fitting things in the back and I’d definitely say that mine handled better than my saloon does, with a more predictable stance that you could be perfectly confident in when throwing the car into corners. That said the saloon is still very confident, though there seems the feeling of maybe slight stepping out of the back end sometimes but this makes it more exciting too! As for the looks, I love the look of the saloon and it brings back memories of the old touring cars but also the flat back of the hatchback looks cool and more modern I think. I’m just going to say that it’s a draw and I personally wouldn’t choose one body shape over the other!

You were a big fan of the GA16DE engine and also one of our members who experimented a lot with it. I’ve been in plenty of club convoys with both 1.6 and 2.0 engined Primeras. In my honest opinion, I don’t think there’s that much between the 2 engines, when it comes to actual real world tarmac experience. What’s your take on it, having owned both.. Is the SR20DE a million times faster or better?

Definitely not. It is faster of course and especially performs better than the GA16 if there’s any extra load on the car (like passengers, full tank of fuel, driving uphill etc). You notice things like that when driving the 1.6 whereas the eGT just takes it in its stride. One thing I really like about the smaller engine though is that the power always felt very smooth up the rev range with no flat spots or lag. This meant that especially once breathing mods were made, you could get up the rev range well and if you keep it in the higher rev range then the performance is very good for a 1.6 in such a big car.

Some of us Old Skool members will remember exactly what happened with your 1.6 LX and personally I scored that incident a firm 9 outta 10 for epicness (it would have been a 10 had fire been involved LOL!).. Can you remind us of why that car is no longer with us please (you must have a photo stashed somewhere too?).

Haha! Glad you rated it as epic. It was nowhere near as crazy as my crash in a Toyota Corolla I had in my younger more reckless days where I spun the car, took out a telegraph pole (both ripping the pole and concrete out the ground and also snapping it off near the base!) and then hit the grass verge and flipped the car in the air before rolling a few more times into a field! Is that worth a 10/10 even though there was still no fire?! 

Anyway, the death of the Purple Dragon was much more frustrating as I was on the way to work on the back roads and wasn’t even going fast. The roads were only slightly damp and I was doing 40mph around a sweeping left hand bend which can be easily taken at a higher speed. I got nearly all of the way around the bend and was straightening up when the back end kicked out to the right. This wasn’t good as to the right hand side there was a very steep, deep ditch and to the left was a shallower ditch. I started to control the skid and brought it back the other way and was doing probably around 35 mph now (didn’t want to slam on the brakes of course!) but I was heading for the right hand side mega ditch now! So I made the decision to spin the car 180° (as nothing else was on the road) which I did and which meant that a lot of the speed was lost too and it was looking good at this point and I was then braking to stop the car. Unfortunately the rear drivers side wheel (now on the left road edge as I’m facing the way I came from!) and then the front drivers side wheel ended up on the grass bank top and the slope of the ditch caused the car to roll onto the roof and then land in the ditch at a near 45° angle on the opposite bank (only a narrow ditch). See below!

What keeps you with the Nissan Primera (and specifically the P10), you had the chance to buy whatever you wanted, after the sad demise of your previous COTM winning Nissan Primera?

Don’t get me wrong I did contemplate other cars and if truth be told, the P10 is not the most ideal car for my situation right now. My route to work is on very bumpy fen back roads and the P10 drinks petrol like it’s going out of fashion in those conditions! Also now it’s lowered and on the Kosei wheels again the arches are catching slightly so I need to get that sorted but the Primera is such an all rounder with superb handling, performance and looks that I don’t think I’m ready to get anything else yet! P10’s are kind of in my blood now and think that I will always want one in my life as long as it’s still possible! When I was struggling with finding decent insurance prices in March I contemplated even getting an S14a or something as weirdly it was cheaper to insure but fuel would have been an issue and not sure I had the heart to get rid of the Red Devil. Luckily, Sky Insurance came up trumps!   

On to the modifications, now would be a great time to tell us all about your Nissan Primera P10 eGT Saloon! So please list your full spec and all modifications, inside and out:

With the Red Devil I’ve mostly concentrated on tidying up / restoring it and making sure it’s all undersealed and protected, so there are only a few mods compared to the last car!

  • 17” Kosei GK11 wheels.
  • Skull dust caps.
  • Gmax lowering springs.
  • Red calipers.
  • Red colour coded door handles.
  • Red colour coded towing eye.
  • Black sunstrip with NPOC and David Leslie stickers.
  • 3D text number plates with red borders.
  • Chrome tail pipe finisher.
  • Red Devil on the back shelf with red LED eyes wired into the brake lights.
  • Genuine Nissan Primera stainless steel side steps.
  • Red stitching added to leather gear knob and gear gaiter.
  • Chrome tax disc holder.
  • Nissan Primera P11 144 glasses holder.
  • Sony “active black” head unit with tape adapter for MP3 player hidden and wired behind the dash.
  • Sony CD changer.
  • Aftermarket speakers (not sure on type as from previous owner).
  • Slotted speaker grilles in front door cards.
  • Fire extinguisher in the boot and multiple tools!

What’s the most enjoyable change you’ve made so far?

It’s got to be the Kosei GK11 wheels, especially in their new form with the polished up rims and dark silver spokes. I just love the wheels (and I know I’m not alone am I, Shaun?) and the shininess and darker colour goes really well with the bright red car in my opinion.

If I gave £500 right now and told you it had to be spent on the car, what would you buy?

It would be a hard decision as I would be torn between either going for an uprated engine or sorting out the minor bodywork issues and having a respray so it was almost concourse. In reality the first option would be nice but on a practicality point of view I’d probably go for the latter as I think it would do the P10 marque more justice. My approach with the Red Devil is very different from the Purple Dragon and is more of OEM+ style rather than heavy modding.

If money was no object and you could do anything you wanted to the P10 eGT, what would you do?

It would have to be a full restoration (I’m talking nut and bolt style) and doing subtle improvements on the way. Probably nothing that would dramatically change the appearance of the car but little things that would still keep it very much a P10 but with the little things that Nissan may have done if the model was able to have a bigger budget thrown at it. Though I still think that even with all the money in the world to do the restoration, I’d still want to do the majority of the work myself. Maybe the money could go towards all the tools and materials needed (or even building a workshop) and also allow me to have a year or so off work to have the time to do it! I’m going to stop now as this is such an epic dream that I’m getting carried away – might have to start doing the lottery regularly!

We’ve seen members change cars (keeping with the Nissan Primera) before, going from a modified example to a standard one and then simply transferring all the mods over to the replacement etc etc.. You had some legendary modifications on the 1.6 yet they aren’t on the eGT today, any reason behind this?

As I touched on earlier, I’m after a different style with this car. The Purple Dragon was a 1.6 and the dark colour and more basic trim level meant it was more of a blank canvas and it had a bit more to prove. The Red Devil looks good straight out of the box (in my opinion) and also the AJ4 bright red colour is pretty bold on its own. I’ve still got a lot of the parts from the last car though..

Time for the quick fire question round!

How long have you been an NPOC Member? 
Pretty much 7 happy years now! 

What makes you smile? 
Narrowing it down to five, I’d pick – Family, friends, music, cars and memories.

What makes you sad? 
People being bullied just because they are different! I’m a very placid person but this is one thing that gets me angry and if I see it, it makes me want to intervene!

Tell us something we don't know about you..
Hmmm, don’t you guys know most things about me?! Not sure if all of you know that I’m pretty good at painting and art? 

Your favourite colour? 
Red (no surprise there with my car colour choices over the years too!).

Your lucky number? 

What will it say on your gravestone?
Anywhere I roam, where I lay my head is home.
Carved upon my stone, my body lies, but still I roam.
(Metallica lyrics)

Your favourite drink (any)? 
Tough call! I love a bit of Tetley’s bitter and also I’m a big IPA fan but I think I would have to go with St Edmunds ale as its a beautiful ale which is fairly light and summery and so easily drinkable! 

If you could steal the keys to someone else’s car (on NPOC) for 1 day, which car would you steal and why? 
Tricky one that, well I’d love to own one of the really tidy foreign P10s owned by “Schwen” or “Leon_GT” but if we are talking about a car just for the day, I’d have to go for a turbo P10 for the experience of driving one, so either “Leighzx”s or K20 in its past glory maybe.

What’s been your favourite ever club meet, “of all time” so far and why?

These are getting even tougher! I’ve just had to look back through all the photo archives to try and make a decision but I’m afraid I’m still doing to have to sit on the fence with this one! The thing with NPOC meets is that they are all so different that they are good in different ways. There’s the epic car show events but also the meets like Peterborough where it’s all about chatting with NPOC friends. JAE is probably the daddy of all meets in the year though for the atmosphere and I think my favourite one was 2008 in East Mersea because of the first epic tug of war win and the community spirit at the event! Joint top spot with this is Japfest where the car show is great and the night out afterwards is such a laugh, probably 2010 was one of the best ones.

NPOC for life (regardless of what car you own and drive) or leg it when you change car?

Finally an easier question! Do I really need to answer this one? All I’m going to say is, unfortunately you’re going to have to try harder than that to get rid of me!

If ever I find myself talking to other people about your goodself and even when I’m trawling through the extensive Club Meets Photo Archives, pretty much every photo you feature in, we have that legendary Tom-P10 smile! In fact I don’t think I’ve ever seen you get angry or pissed off and when you bust out that smile, everything is good. Do you have a philosophy on being happy or something?

Well believe me there have been plenty of times when I have been angry but I suppose there have been many, many more when I’ve been happy too! I just think that being negative doesn’t usually get you very far and life is too short. I probably should be more sensible or serious and I’m sure that maybe that time will come but I think that you should never take yourself too seriously or forget how to have a laugh. A smile can go a long way to brightening up someone else’s day sometimes too. I’m also a big believer in moving on quickly and always try to have the attitude of “OK, so that was bad but I can’t change it now it’s happened so I’m gonna put it aside and improve things for the now and for the future as best I can and do all I can to turn it around!”. 

Music has always been a big part of your life (for as long as I have ever known you anyways) and you’re a regular at any field which has mud and a live band on LOL.. But your music taste can be quite varied, so I’m going to propose the following – Quadrophenia is being remade and you get the chance to take a role in the film, are you a Mod or a Rocka?

Back to the tough questions again then (I feel you have done this on purpose as you know I’m a big fan of both genres!). As you say my music taste is quite eclectic but those two types of music are pretty much in the top spot! I think as the music can’t decide it then instead I’m gonna say Rocka but based purely on the fact that the leather coats and big motorbikes are cooler than the parkers and mopeds in my opinion!

Tell Carlos Ghosn why he needs to bring back the Nissan Primera brand:

I don’t think he does because I think he would make an absolute mess of it! But if someone were to bring it back I’d like to see a car that was designed as a traditional family saloon / hatchback size but with modernised looks and most importantly made to be driven with the great handling we all know and love. I’d want to see decent size, turbo engines with good power figures but decent MPG which I think is more achievable with today’s technology too. And there would be have to be a decent and quick common rail diesel version so I could run one and get massive MPG on my work run!

And just in case the members reading this hadn’t noticed… We have now featured 3 “back to back” red Nissan Primera P10’s in a row! As another highly respected and senior P10 member, tell us all why the Nissan Primera P10 is the greatest model of Primera out there.

I think in a (slightly drunken!) chat I had with Martin (prim-n-proper) at JAE 2010 he made a good point about the way the P10 feels to drive and that they are all very different and have their own, almost handmade, feel to them more so than the P11’s do I think. I also think that they are more raw, more solid and made to be driven hard. That means they are less refined but that’s what I like about them. It’s the fact that you know it will effortlessly cruise along a motorway and eat the miles but if you exit the slip road and come across some country roads in the same car, seeing a warning triangle containing a sharp bend, doesn’t mean you start braking, you probably drop a gear and prepare for some fun! After you park up at the end with a smile on your face and look at the car, the feeling inside makes you think “That’s why I don’t just sell up and buy an economical, sensible little runaround!”

Many thanks for telling us all about yourself and the Nissan Primera P10 eGT Loon - 2 times winner now and with 2 fantastic cars!! Congratulations once again for winning Car Of The Month for July 2012 Tom! Please end this feature, in your own words and feel free to thank anyone who’s made this one possible.

Firstly, specific extra thanks (in no priority order!).

To all the staff team for keeping things ticking over behind the scenes and always pulling it out of the bag with the organising of the major meets.

The East Anglia NPOCers, particularly Gaz (Sluffer), Neil (Neilistic) and Dave (P12 DMR) who I consider to be great, great friends. Although I feel bad we have not met up as much lately, I hope they know that I’m always at the end of a phone or would be there if and when they needed me or my advice about anything!

Big thanks to Tim (Friedgold) who I also consider to be one of my close friends and I owe it to him for holding a party back in April 2008 and inviting me so I could meet Fliss for the first time!

While I’m on the subject, thanks to my little darlin’ Fliss for putting up with me and allowing me to mess about with the P10 or get up at stupid o’clock to go to a meet but never getting angry!

Massive thanks to Nik (NikC) for being a great mate over the years and helping me with the epic photoshoots and showing me some basics on Photoshop! I’m so happy with how all the pictures for this article turned out and thanks for listening to all my crazy ideas too!

Finally, I have met so many great friends over the years and seen some fantastic cars, all very different and that’s what keeps it all fresh and exciting for me too.  Things in life change and sometimes I’ve been unable to get on NPOC as much as I’ve wanted but I know that it will always be here waiting and I try to always be here and support the club at meets and any other way can. So mostly I want to thank everyone in NPOC as it’s a joint effort and that’s what makes the community great!

Congratulations once again to Tom!

July 2012 COTM - Tom-P10
Written by essNchill

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