Junkyard Find: 1993 Nissan Sentra with 320,165 miles

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

When I'm sniffing around in car graveyards and I find a discarded Toyota or Honda with between 300,000 and 400,000 miles, I won't photograph it unless there's something interesting about it beyond just the odometer reading. With Nissan machinery, however, the bar is lower; today's Junkyard Find should make both Yokohama and Smyrna proud.

Most of the crusher-bound vehicles I document were photographed in Colorado, where I have lived since 2010, or California, where I used to live and still have family. However, I do make an effort to shoot inmates of car graveyards in other states (including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Nevada, North Carolina, Arizona, North Dakota, Washington and Wyoming) and other countries ( Sweden, England). Today's Junkyard Find was found in New Orleans, Louisiana.

I was in New Orleans to judge at the Cain't Git Bayou 24 Hours of Lemons race, along with the guy who competed in every single Lemons race of the 2022 season and a guy you may remember from 14 years of writing for this very publication. In honor of a certain New Orleans hit song of a quarter-century back, the Lemons Supreme Court justices dressed in proper "Bling Bling" style for the weekend.

It was fun hanging out with Judge Sajeev at NOLA Motorsports Park, and he got some thoughtful gifts from the Gulf Region racers who love him. That coat made of stuffed animals looks dignified on a Lincoln Mark VIII driver.

*Ed. note -- We miss Sajeev.

I showed up for the event a day early, so I could hear some live music in town and hit at least one local junkyard. That turned out to be the New Orleans West Pull-a-Part.

It appears that this car was parked in a place it didn't belong.

320,165 miles on the odometer makes this the sixth-best-traveled Nissan product I've found during my junkyard travels, after a 1990 Sentra with 440k miles, a 1991 Stanza with 402k miles, a 1994 Maxima with 364k miles, a 1987 Maxima with 341k miles and a 1996 Quest with 338k miles (yes, I know, that one's actually a Ford). I feel certain that the pasted-together-from-many-taxis Nissan Tsuru I found last year belongs in this list, but I can't prove it.

Since this car was built in Smyrna, Tennessee, it's #14 in the standings for American-made vehicles in the Murilee Martin Junkyard Odometer Hall of Fame (#1 is a Kentucky-built Camry wagon and #2 is a 1990 Sentra).

This being muggy, swampy Gulf Coast Louisiana, the interior of this Sentra had a powerful eau de mildew scent.

The combination of harsh sun and damp climate has been rough on the paint.

There's no road salt in Louisiana, but leaky weatherstripping leads to rust-through from the inside in such a wet place.

This car is a base Sentra E model, so it has the 1.6-liter DOHC engine, rated at 110 horsepower and 108 pound-feet. If you got the SE-R version in 1993, you got a 2.0 with 140 horsepower and 132 pound-feet.

The base transmission was a five-on-the-floor manual, and that's what this car has.

The MSRP for this car was $8,715, or about $18,966 in 2024 dollars. That's a lot cheaper in inflation-adjusted dollars than the current Sentra, but the current car weighs 800 additional pounds and boasts 39 additional horsepower plus a long list of standard features that would have been extra-cost options in 1993.

This car does have air conditioning, a $995 option ($2,165 in today's money) and a must-have in Louisiana.

It was cheap, basic transportation in its day and it served its owners well for more than three decades.

Cheaper than a Corolla… and I've never documented a discarded Corolla with more miles than today's Junkyard Find ( Tercels, for sure, but not Corollas).

The Mexican-market commercials for this car are more fun.

Naturally, the JDM advertising is the most frantic.

1993 Nissan Sentra E Sedan in Lousiana junkyard.

[Images: The Author]

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Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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2 of 29 comments
  • El scotto El scotto on Apr 01, 2024

    Was the evil Sanjeev lurking in the shadows hoping to somehow thwart the walking embodiment of Panther Goodness (tm) Sajeev?

    Speaking for a great many I always enjoy your work.

  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Apr 02, 2024

    My sister had one of these, bought new, with the 1.6L engine and 5 speed. It was rear-ended and totaled with 86k, but the engine-transmission lived on in a newer Sentra that later rusted out in New England. It's now in it's third vehicle, an older Frontier pickup, relocated to Georgia. The 1.6L and 2.4L Altima Nissan engines were very durable, so I'm not surprised to see the mileage on this one.

  • Jeff Glad that GM still makes a car for enthusiasts. Maybe if Chris is lucky he could get his hands on one it would make a good car review.
  • Tsarcasm Someone tell soft skull (musk) about the moss magnuson warranty act
  • Ajla Nice car.
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Not at all.
  • Verbal Here's a little tale about long-term Tesla ownership.In 2017 my buddy bought a three year-old Model S for $68k, which was the going rate at the time. He kept it garaged and treated it with kid gloves. It looked and ran virtually like new. The only problem he ever had with it was some kind of recurring issue with the driver's door handle. He never had to replace the brakes.A couple months ago, at ten years of age, the original battery finally bricked. Tesla quoted him $17k to do a battery replacement. But! If he replaced the battery, they would give him $11k in trade on a new Tesla!!! You don't have to be a math genius to see that those are crooked numbers.Using aftermarket parts is a non starter. Rebuilt batteries can be sketch. And the cap that goes on the battery is a Tesla-only part.Most people don't have $17k burning a hole in their pocket for a car repair. What are you going to do? Ask your credit union for a $17k loan to put a new battery in your ten year-old car? Good luck with that.A local auto recycler quoted him $1000. The recycler said that if he replaced the battery, the car would have a resale value in the low $20k's. That wouldn't give him enough headroom to make it worth his while. He said there are 150,000 dead Teslas in the national inventory (don't know where he gets this figure). And there's no demand for used Tesla parts, since most Tesla owners seem to treat their cars well. So Teslas with dead batteries have marginal scrap value.Thus, my friend's Tesla, with 80k miles on the clock and in excellent condition, with a dead battery, was scrapped. During his ownership, the car depreciated by around $800 a month.He saved a lot of money by not paying for gas, oil changes, tune ups, and consumables. But in the end, all those saving were erased by huge depreciation.Welcome to long term Tesla ownership, folks.(Cue the wailing and rending of garments from the Tesla fanboyz.)