Machine Check: Silvia

Have you ever accidentally bought a car?

I wasn’t actually looking for another Silvia when this one came along, but it seemed like it’d be a shame to let all the work that Rob had put into it get outside the ‘family’, to be wasted on someone who would probably just crash it. It also came at a time when I was kind of confused about what was happening with my other Silvia and just wanted something I could drive, and something that brought back the feeling from when I was first getting into Silvias.

So long story short this is my Silvia! Well, it’s more my “other Silvia”. My other Silvia is “my Silvia”. Make sense?

Truth be told this one has been a long journey. It has been (and continues to be) a process of fixing and modifying in equal measures. But I think it has taught me how to stay motivated when building a car, keeping the boring “have tos” balanced with the “want tos”.

The main guiding light for this car has been something quite different from the usual Silvia inspiration – Group A racing. Silvias never competed in Group A owing to the use of first the R31 and then the R32 Skylines. But this is a sports car that is from the Group A era, and had Nissan not entertained wild (and ultimately successful) dreams of world domination with twin turbos and 4WD we might have seen Silvias instead of Skylines battling Sierras and M3s. Group A is my automotive touchstone, as the last couple of years of the formula were my first years understanding motorsport as a kid. Much of what I think is cool about cars was shaped by those years, so it’s only natural that some of that style finds its way into one of my own cars.

The exterior style of this one, then, is all Group A inspired. The factory option style aero teamed with the big Bomex GTR-esque spoiler and GTR grille are unashamedly Group-A styled. The 17×9” Rays Day-TEs were almost certainly made for an R32 GTR in 1993, and the 255/40 tyres on them evoke the big tyre style of those old race cars. My favourite part of the car – the Kakimoto-R – might not be strictly Group A inspired but the big oval muffler with the Kakimoto branding certainly fits with the era.

Inside, I like to imagine I have something an enthusiastic Nissan racing fan might have put together back in early 90s Japan. There’s a Recaro seat, Razo pedals and shift knob, Blitz boost meter and Spats steering wheel, with a stereo featuring period Carrozzeria and Addzest components to make those trips between Tokyo and Fuji Speedway a bit more enjoyable.

Suspension is by Tein, with some ZSS arms up front to be joined by a few more adjustable ones in the back as I refine the package and make it drive properly.

Engine is a work in progress, but basically it’s an SR20DE+t with a Trust turbo hooked up to a Trust intercooler and some parts from SuperMade & Nismo & Tomei & A’PEXi, all trying their best to hold together while I organise to get it tuned properly. A spare engine is on its way just in case. The goal is in the 220kw ballpark.

All in all this has been an incredibly frustrating but ultimately pretty rewarding and interesting project. I’ve gone from having a like/hate relationship with the car to actually growing to love it over the last few months. There’s so much cleaning up still to do, but hopefully I can stick with it and you can stick around to see how it turns out in the end.

And you know what? I just wrote an article on a Silvia in 2019 and didn’t mention drifting once.  

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