as originally appeared in TPR Magazine: OCT/NOV 2005 Issue
Over the past decade, the Nissan Silvia has not only achieved cult status among Japanese tuners, but with enthusiasts worldwide. Some may wonder how this car has managed to separate itself from a sea of tuner friendly sport compacts. Perhaps it’s the four cylinder, sixteen valve, turbocharged SR20DET engine. Widely known as having almost unlimited potential, this workhorse gracefully produces 205hp right from the factory.
Maybe it’s the fact that the Silvia is a well balanced, front engine, rear wheel drive chassis, perfect for the competitive motor sports crowd. Those interested in further tuning, have a huge array of aftermarket options, where the parts bins are virtually overflowing with support in performance, suspension, and cosmetic upgrades. Offering some of the sexiest curves that Nissan has ever produced, it may just grab your attention all at once, the same way that it did for Dan Greenbank of San Diego CA.
Dan is well aware of the Silvia’s finer points, and he knew right from the beginning, he had to have her all to himself. After sourcing the actual model he wanted, a 1999 S15 Spec-R, he decided to take his newly acquired mistress on a shopping spree.
With a quick glance, one might notice the classic bronze finished Nismo GTLM4 wheels (18×8.5 front, and 18×9.5 rear), shod in Federal SS595 tires of the 235/40zr18 variety.
Moving to the cockpit, for the most part, you’ll find that it was left just as it came from the factory. Dan decided to keep the front and rear passenger seats intact, as well as the motorized, in-dash navigation monitor and sound system. However, on the A-pillar, he added an HKS DB Chrono boost gauge, to keep an eye on boost pressure. Mounted just behind the OEM steering wheel, you’ll find a Techtom MDM100 multi-engine display to monitor vitals, while the Greddy turbo timer handles the final countdown. Some hearty lateral support was certainly in order, and a Bride Zeta III race bucket keeps this driver planted firmly in place at all times.
Under the hood, Greenbank enlisted a Blitz stainless steel mesh filter to protect the precious turbo from any harmful elements. On the exhaust side, a custom tubular turbo manifold was fabricated, backed by a custom 3inch exhaust system to move gasses from the turbo, all the way back to the polished HKS canister. An HKS blow off valve was employed to relieve stress, and announce the sexy coupes presence. Power is put to the pavement via Nismo’s GT limited slip, and an Exedy Hyper single clutch and flywheel. Keeping the temperature down during drift sessions is essential to maintaining reliability. Knowing this, Dan opted for a Nismo thermostat and Koyo radiator to manage under hood activities.
Being an avid drifter, handling and rigidity were areas that had to be addressed from the beginning. This was done with a complete suspension makeover. An MFR coilover set up, complete with upper pillow ball mounts, brings the car closer to the concrete. Kazama was called upon for their solid sub frame spacers, upper and lower rear arms, and tension rods to help control chassis flex. Adding to the stiffness is a Nismo strut tower bar in the rear, as well as an OBX tower bar under the hood. To ensure the motor and transmission stand firm in their respective positions, a set of URAS motor mounts were selected.
Tuner Performance Reports Magazine: Dan, what made you choose this particular car?
Dan Greenbank: I saw the pro’s using Silvia’s and I found out what makes that platform favorable, so I went with the S15 because I respect the heritage of drifting coming from Japan and wanted a RHD car so I could experience drifting like the founders and top level drivers do.
TPR: Was it difficult to bring the Silvia into the US, through all of the dreaded red tape?
DG: It was very difficult and expensive. That’s why you don’t see S15’s in the US very often. People importing cars, usually look at Skyline’s because of the “super car” rep.
TPR: You obviously chose your modifications carefully for this build. What made you pick those particular parts?
DG: Eisuke Kawamori, who runs “Parts shop MAX” in Shizuoka, took me to his favorite touge to drift his Silvia. To make a long story short, I had the time of my life! He’s a pro drifter and Nissan performance specialist, so I take his advice seriously, and look up to him. All of the parts I have on the car were from his advice and the order they were installed is just as important.
TPR: Where do you see the drift scene in the US, as of today? How about 2 or 3 years from now?
DG: The Drift scene is in its infancy here in the US. In 2-3 years it will reach mainstream status in the US, as well as Europe.
TPR: How do you afford tires?! Seeing your car in action for just a few minutes, they don’t last very long. What’s your secret?
DG: Drifting, like most motor sports, is not cheap. Most people Just use piles of used tires they get dirt cheap. The tires I burn are under $100ea. Very cheap for 18’s.
TPR: What is the biggest misconception that people have about your Silvia?
DG: How to get one. Contact the NHTSA, DOT, and Customs. DON’T JUST READ THE FORUMS. You can read on their websites for hours about what you can and can’t do. They have all the info you could possibly need.
TPR: Do you have any future plans for this car? Any major changes?
DG: It was born to drift, so it will remain a drift car. A roll cage, maybe more power when my skills catch up to the power that the car has already.
TPR: If you could have changed one thing in the process of this build, what would it have been?
DG: I should have waited longer to get the 18in wheels. They make drifting harder with stock power. I could have used the money I saved on the 18’s to get the bucket seat which is one of the best drift mods you can get. Maybe stickier front tires up front to battle understeer.
TPR: Was this a solo project, or did you have some friends help you along the way?
DG: I busted a lot of knuckles on this bucket, but I have to thank my friends Ryan and Martin for getting dirty with me. Most of all I have to thank Eisuke San for his hard work helping me prepare for the last Drift Circuit event, and for his continued tuning advice.