As with every car, an Owner’s Manual comes with it. Not many even take the time to even glance through it or think much of it regardless of what make and model it is of. When first starting, I didn’t think much of them either and simply dismissed them. However, somewhere along the way I had idea to collect the Owner’s Manuals from all the places the S12 was sold. The journey in collecting the manuals from all over the world has spanned years and added up to a tidy sum spent to complete the collection.
When I first got my S12 in April of ’04, it also had an owner’s manual, which I have no clue where it is today. I ignored it for the most part as it did not hold any particular meaning to me. At the time of purchasing my S12, I had not clue it was of anything special nor had any aspirations to make it anything. I just liked the design of the car so that was it. It wasn’t until a couple years later that I realized that an owner’s manual would be cool to own. I got talking to one of my mates in Australia and he was more than willing to throw in a spare owner’s manual with the other random stuff I was buying from him. That was back in ’05, so long ago it seems now. It seemed to be a novelty to me.
The following year I collected other S12s here in the States and several of them had owner’s manuals so I began to keep them and eventually compared them to the Australian owner’s manual. I still hadn’t thought of the idea of collecting the manuals until ’06 when I began to look for random S12 stuff to collect. At that point I had been quite active on all the sister S12 sites and while talking with many across seas, items that one would collect were becoming scarce in a hurry. While talking to a mate in the UK at the tail end of ’06, I realized he had a spare owner’s manual and asked if he would be willing to trade, which he was more than happy to do. It was then I began to think about collecting the manuals. I looked at the Australian and US manual I currently owned and realized that no one had considered collecting them in any of my discussions or readings. With the UK spec owner’s manual in the post, I then decided that one of the things I would start my search in collecting a manual from every country the S12 was sold. I was in for a long haul and began the five year journey to collect the remaining manuals.
I was lucky with the Australian and UK manual as they did not cost me much and the US manual was a given. I searched for all the countries that had the S12 imported and found that I was missing Japan, France, Germany, and Sweden. For the Japanese one, I jumped onto the Japanese Auctions and did some searching for a couple of weeks. At the time I found the one I currently own, there were two available but I picked the one that seemed to be in the best of condition. Unfortunately it was not cheap and I had to spend upwards of $100 USD to purchase it and ship it. I knew that Japan was expensive but for a manual, it was more than I was expecting. During this time I was talking to a member on the French forum and my mate in Germany about obtaining a manual with much success. I had been on the Swedish site several times seeking a manual to no avail but kept up with the little contacts I knew.
In ’08 I was able to trade parts for the German manual and I purchased the French manual without too much issue. It was also in ’08 that I landed upon a great Swedish contact who was willing to search for a manual on my behalf. Apparently they are even more rare than expected in Sweden as not many S12s were sold and most manuals had gone by the wayside. My contact warned me that to find a spare owner’s manual would be an arduous journey as all the S12 owners would be unwilling to part with the one they owned. It wasn’t until ’09 when he was able to find one available but it then took time for him to obtain it as it was known to exist in a pile of car stuff but find it it was not going to be easy. With some work he was able to get it and to my delight, he sent me some pictures confirming everything I assumed. It was then down to trading parts with him. That took some time on my part as I wanted to find him parts that were in very good condition. Time passed much quicker as it always does and it was a year later in 2010 when we finalized the trade agreement. In the beginning of 2011 I had the parts he was seeking for shipped to him and upon receiving the parts he shipped the Swedish manual Stateside.
So, for a journey that began slowly without a specific purpose that spanned more than five years, it is very much rewarding. Not only is it interesting to be able to compare the manuals and look through them, to have saved a manual from every country and being able to verify the many names it was sold under (180ZX being the most debated and doubted), it gives an insight to the both the marketing approach of Nissan and the cultural expectations of written material for the chassis owners.
Japanese Owner’s Manual
This is by far the largest of all the manuals. Not only is it larger by the basic dimensions but it is thicker and for good reason. Thumbing through it I was surprised to see that much of what one would expect to see in a FSM (factory service manual) was within the owner’s manual. For the most part, the Japanese owner’s manual is in a way what many of us would prefer rather than the brief and very basic manual we are used to elsewhere.
Australian Owner’s Manual
Got this shipped by a good mate of mine when he heard what I was doing. He thought it was a good idea and was willing enough to lend me a hand by sending it to me. It is for the most part a general owner’s manual with nothing of note. It is titled as the Gazelle for in Australia it was sold under that name as well. On the back cover though was an advertisement for the S12 FSM. Apparently those in Australia are a bit more up to par when working on their cars.
British Owner’s Manual
Essentially the same as the Australian owner’s manual, the only difference was that the S12 was titled as the Silvia and uses British vernacular. This format and printing seemed to be the standard used throughout Europe with the exception of language and terminology (France and Germany).
French Owner’s Manual
German Owner’s Manual
Swedish Owner’s Manual
This manual is interesting for several reasons. Overall the manual is the same and contains much the same information but in the vernacular language. The one detail that is most striking and overly obvious is that the S12 was titled as the 180ZX. This is a very odd detail to most but specific only to that of Sweden. In Sweden, Nissan only sold the S12 in 1988. In addition, Nissan the Z31 did not sell during this time in Sweden so to replace it, Nissan sold the S12 in its place and named a “ZX”. The model S12 sold in Sweden as the CA18ET, hence the “180″ in the name.
United States Owner’s Manual
A bit different than the rest in its appearance. Each year was specifically noted as with the colour of the cover being different. In addition, the US market received an image of the car on the cover. Cannot be denied that those in the States do like their pictures. Besides that, the contents within the manual is very much the same as the other manuals save the Japanese manual.