Project Silvia: A story of a boy and his car

Love is a loyalty sworn, not a burden

– Dustin Kensrue, Thrice

The Silvia, Version 5

Through some recent trials and tribulations with the car (ie right now it refuses to start) I’ve been prompted to think about why I actually do this. Through thinking about it, I figured that it might actually make an interesting story. If you get half way though and disagree with that assessment, though, I’ll understand.

Seems like a lifetime ago...

Although this is actually my second Silvia shell, I still see it as the same car I started with about 8 years ago because it really is the same project. It was my first import, first turbo car, etc. First love? Maybe. Although I could never go into all the mistakes I’ve made along the way the investments I’ve made in the car, financial, physical and emotional, have meant that I feel an obligation to it now. An obligation to finish it and make it the car I always hoped it would be. That obligation sometimes feels like a weight around my neck, so it is important to stop and remember why I’m doing it. I think it is a feeling that is common to most of us in this scene.


Drift Nationals carshow, Calder Park, circa 2004

In a lot of ways I’ve grown up with this car. It has been a constant in my life while other things have changed around it. If I was down, or bored, or whatever it was always there to give me something to focus on. We’ve been through a lot of phases together. There was the audio and neon phase early on, then the beginnings of a JDM phase when I started to get interested in drift. There was the “I know nothing about fitment” phase (when I bought 17×7 +39 Nismo LM-GT2s). There was the track car styled phase with the big aero and the Drift Teks, which then took a left turn into the current VIP/JDM/USDM hybrid styled thing that it is now.


The engine that never was.

There’s been 4 turbos (stock, Garrett GT25, HKS GT2540, HKS GT2530) and 3 engines (stock CA, built CA and the current blacktop S14a SR, as well as a redtop SR that never got installed). There’s been 4 bodykits, plus the stock one. 2 colours. 5 different seat setups. 4 head units. 5 sets of wheels (Laurel stockies, 17×7 +40 ANZs, the LM-GT2s, 17×9 +10 Drift Teks and the current Work VS-SS). 4 suspension setups. 3 exhausts. 3 boost controllers. And a hell of a lot of stickers. In fact, the only things that have never been altered are the roof lining and the plastics on the inside of the pillars and the inside of the boot. And I actually planned to do the roof lining, I just couldn’t find the right material. Everything else has been swapped, modified, painted or stickered in some way.

Shell #2, kit #4, wheels#4

But that’s just the nuts and bolts. The thing that keeps me coming back is that I just love the car. I love the fact that it has introduced me to so many good people. I love what it says about me, and what it stands for. It is kinda punk rock, really. Built exactly how I want, with no regard for anything or anyone else. Because I’ve made the call on every single thing on the car, and I have been building it for 8+ years, it is probably more “me” than anything else in the world. And that’s pretty cool. So every time I get stuck on something after running out of talent (and that happens A LOT), I have to remind myself – I love this stupid car, and love isn’t a burden.

To be continued...

I’ll finish it up just as soon as I can. And if I can write this much before the thing’s even done, stay tuned for a novel when it is.

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