Anyone at all that has an interest in performance orientated, driver centred vehicles must surely look back at Japan in the 1990’s and smile. As greatest hit’s catalogues go, the sheer variety of automotive content created, most almost exclusively for, such a small island nation is just mind-blowing. I come from a generation that idolises these exotic beasts from the east thanks to Gran Turismo bringing never-before-seen knowledge straight to our living rooms, but now that I have matured, it’s almost crazier than I had ever thought. Manufactures were unleashing into the world everything from Turbocharged micro-Kei cars, through to V12 Executive Saloons. Car classes that would never have seemed even remotely cool or sporty were graced with behemoth’s like the 2JZ fed JZX’s in the large saloon class. We had Ford Scorpio’s in comparison, although there was a 24V Cosworth option, which highlights how performance mad Japan went in the 90’s. The world looked on as they offered domestic Supercar’s like the GT-R and the NSX, but one class in particular became a defining trademark.
If you were in a position to buy a reasonably priced, fun and reliable 2-Door Coupe in the 90’s, your choice was pretty varied. Ford would sell you a Cougar, Fiat it’s rather originally named Coupe, VW had the Corrado and Porsche had the ever present 911. There were plenty more aswell, but then you had an onslaught of Japanese competition for the European regulars. Taking a 10 year window, we saw an influx of MR2’s, Celica’s, Supra’s, Levin’s, Prelude’s, Integra’s, Starion’s, Colt’s, RX-7’s, Cosmo’s, Supra’s, Skyline’s and even Subaru got in on the act with the 2-Door Impreza. These were all great cars, some utterly brilliant, yet one particular coupe range was to unwittingly become the poster child of a whole new wave of interest in JDM metal. Its easy to argue, at least in the early days, that Drifting was the Nissan Silvia!
Across four generations, S12-S15, Nissan’s affordable sportscar platform became a global success. Originally designed as a JDM only goodie, much of the early cars gained a cult following having filtered down into the hands of young drivers, shaking off perhaps the air of a GT car that Nissan intended in the design stage. Soon, S13’s in particular became the weapon of choice alongside the AE86 Corolla for drivers exploring the limits of grip on mountain roads. When this thing became a sport, naturally the people there kept using their Silvia’s as normal, and thus Drifting and the Silvia became a match.
Later, Nissan began to feed cars out into the rest of the world, with us in Ireland getting the later S14 in the shape of the 200SX, but the link between sport and car grew. It seems rather fitting then, that the two Silvia’s here are soo intrinsically linked to drifting, and it was a drift event that I shot both rather quickly. The first of the pair, in complete Darth Vader-esq style, is a car built as a reflection of a man. Peden Nielsen is one of Irelands most prominent drift personalities, a pioneer of the sport and the absolute King of Branding. Having come to drifting late in the 00’s with his Nissan Skyline, competing in things like the Prodrift Super Series, I became more aware of Peden through his Evicted Clothing brand. After taking to the judging tower for a number of years though, it was through an iPhone and a selfie stick that Peden Nielsen became a star.
Keep Drifting Serious became pretty much the first behind-the-scenes look ever done in 10-odd years of Irish Pro Drifting. Naturally, these are a lot more entertaining in the delivery than a regular ‘this is what you’ve not seen before’ style of video, and this sense of wacky out there style and flair had to be translated into a car somehow. That’s where the KDS15 was born. Straight away, the most obvious additions are both the matt-black exterior, and the aggressive Rocket Bunny body kit giving this Silvia an incredible amount of presence. Up close though, the wrap work is at a level almost un-imaginable from a distance, with sponsor logo’s embedded and visible up-close. This is a testament to Moose Design, the same company behind the Akai Livery on Ronan’s MK1 Golf.
Under those massive arch extensions, a matching set of black XXR alloy’s in 18-Inch size resides, wrapped in Westlake RS tyres. Added to this is a combo of Mintex brakes and HKS coilover’s, making this surely a handling dream should the daily commute develop into a backroad blast, although the height the car is sitting at and the large swathes of lower aero and diffusers may encourage against that type of carry on.
While Peden has aimed to create the ultimate Street Silvia, another of the breed present may rightly claim to actually be the Ultimate Track Silvia, and it’s a car that need very little introduction. The man behind the wheel is a certain James Deane. You might have heard of him. He drifts cars, and is rather good at it. He wins quite often, and must surely have a room of his house rammed at this stage with trophies and memento’s. I could list off the achievements, but that deserves a proper article soon enough! Sat here in the gravel of Watergrasshill, this Silvia has defeated all comers both here in Ireland and across Europe, but today is here to put on a show and have a good time.
Seeing a drift car from a distance, it’s easy to spot the modifications that have been done to what was once a rather clean S14A. The iconic Falken teal & green livery covers the bolt-on overfenders, each housing a Japan Racing wheel within it’s arch. The suspension is Wisefab, evident by the obscene angles being thrown on track, while inside is pure race-car. Under the bonnet, a 2JZ engine does the necessary mechanical grunting, while an Owen Developments turbo adds the necessary boost. It’s in the flesh that you notice the differences.
The rear arches, in particular, fascinate me. In action, the design seems to sit flush with the car’s flanks, but up close you see a variety of different length screw providing a handy gap to allow the plumes of tyre smoke to be ejected. Battle scars pepper the surfaces, each a reminder of a battle or a run where limits were pushed to the maximum. It was interesting, when talking to another driver, to think just how much driving and competing this car has done. Each event entered, the expectation and often the reality is that it will see the podium or finals, and over time this accumulates to the point that James and the S14 may easily have twice or three times the driving done of a competitor in a year.
So that is a quick feature on two incredibly built examples of Nissan’s Silvia, a success story not even those in Japanese boardrooms may ever have imagined. These are very quick features, so apologies if we don’t have all the details or spec lists. We’ll leave that for when we eventually track more car’s down for in depth features in 2018!
The car life is a weird phenomenon. As a hobby, it becomes all consuming, drawing every last drop of spare time and money that it can until your left tired and broke and very confused. On the flip side, cars have brought countless people together, creating lifelong bonds and friendships that add enjoyment to the whole thing, as well as feeding creativity through like minded ideas of style and car design.
As the madness ensued all around Letterkenny over the rally weekend, a closed garage on the edge of town played host to one of the most impressive line-up’s of road cars I’d seen in a long time. Like something straight out of Osaka or the like, a string of well built JDM machines will always catch the eye, but among the swarm of IS200’s about the town it really was a special treat. The gathering though, was more a crew meet-up than random car people.
The crew in question here is the Zero7Four brigade, a group of serial JDM car fans from north Donegal. We previously featured this Nissan S14 built in the wilds of the North West, and while that car screams presence, seeing a multi-car line highlights the aggressive styling cues that seems a trademark touch, with plenty of big wheels, spoilers and aero attachments.
The most impressive and eye catching car was a Midnight Purple, wide body Nissan S13. Sitting on a set of Rays TE37 below the bolt-on over fenders, the plethora of JDM stickers and body kit hark back to the street drifting world of the Far East.
Elsewhere, a pair of R34 4-Door’s, each a very rare sight in their own right, served as a reminder that I have a deep love for a well executed saloon, especially those built in such an aggressive nature. I am sorry now that I didn’t take the time to rightly investigate the spec list on any of these cars, but surely its an excuse to follow up with some more in-depth features. Nearby, another Nissan Skyline, this time an R32 lurked with intent, and from talk online I do know that the trusty RB power has been sacrificed for some V8 grunt.
The Honda S2000 has long been revered as an incredible driving car, but we don’t see many modified examples. Here, a stunningly clean example has been subtly enhanced with nice touches, but out back a pretty tasty rear wing makes things a lot more interesting!!
Out by the roadside, the Pro Fit Kits demo S14 was stunning, and a car I’d wanted to see in the flesh for quite some time. A plethora of aero bits and large dished wheels seem to work so well with S-Body’s, yet its a design we see very little of on this Island.
Its just shy of 9500KM from Tokyo to Letterkenny, yet the lads and lassies of the Zero7Four are keeping that Japanese style alive while at the same time they are building some of the most impressive cars on the island right now.
It’s a cold Sunday afternoon in December, I’m three hours from home, incredibly hungover and standing in the middle of an abandoned Industrial Estate. I say estate, but this is nothing more than a road to nowhere – All in all a fairly a fairly depressing scenario! But then I hear a familiar rumble in the distance. The unmistakable sound of an SR20DET which would warm any petrolheads heart – All of a sudden the mood lifts as the Nissan S14 comes towards us!
When the global phenomena that is Drifting hit Ireland in the early noughties, the initial thought was that the ideal weapon of choice would be the E30 BMW or the Ford Sierra, and that’s exactly what ruled Rosegreen. But then, as if through a grand awakening, the Irish discovered Japanese goodies like a caveman finding Fire. With the Celtic Tiger in full swing, JDM metal became ten a penny on our roads. But in hindsight, now that we’ve come through a veritable famine of nice cars, it’s right now that we’re really starting to see the cream of the crop when it comes to Irish builds. In this case, it’s Andy Harkin of Zero7Four who masterminded this build originally before passing it onto its current owner.
Finished in Gloss Black, this Kouki S14 Silvia just screams for attention but in a very stealthy fashion. Quickly walking around the car, there’s soo many touches here and there that require a second or third inspection before you notice them. The widened hips, here a set of 50mm overfenders, seem almost natural, only given away by the recessed petrol cap.
The bodywork is polished to the last and the distinct shimmer comes through the paintwork all over including the aggressive Vertex body kit, encompassing the front and rear bumpers mated with a pair of Bomex skirts to give an incredibly sharp look. Vented wings upfront add to the widened style, while rolled arches help to accommodate the wheels. A DMax roof spoiler and Kouki spoiler really add to the overall look
The wheels are 18 Inch 5Zeigen RS1’s, 10J all round, and they really fill the arches with ease. Hidden behind the bronze alloys lie a set of golden Brembo brakes, the fronts coming from a 350Z, while the rears remain Silvia standard issue.
Step inside and it’s a feast of JDM goodies, although the hydraulic handbrake immediately grabs your attention. Elsewhere, a Blitz turbo timer sits neatly on the side of the centre console, while Apexi dials adorn both the dash and pillar. As a bit of a Jap nerd, I’m utterly fascinated by the wonderful checkerboard mats. The driver is well looked after with a deep dish OMP steering wheel and the pair of Recaro Confetti SR2’s make this quite a nice place for a drive.
Under the bonnet is where the fun and games really start. Although visibly underwhelming, it’s almost used as a distraction to steer you away from the list of mods that runs nearly the length of my arm. Sitting at the heart is the venerable Black-Top SR20. Forced induction is taken care of through a Garrett T28 turbocharger, mated to a menacing front mount Intercooler poking through the front bumper. Power is sent to the rear wheels through an Exedy clutch and lightened ACT flywheel, while a Horeshams Stage 2 Tune keeps everything happy and suitable for day to day driving.
That distinctive rumble, the almost quintessential sound of the emergence in the early 00’s of Drifting and JDM culture, is broadcast for all to hear through a stainless 4 branch manifold running into a stainless HKS HI Power exhaust system.
On the move, the Apexi Coilovers, which help give the Silvia its distinctive aggressive stance, really come into their own. Riding almost flat, the Koukimonster glides effortlessly around our location, although the smooth ride is definitely noted buy its relaxed owner, something generally at odds with the perceived backbreaking nature of something running this low.
All in all, this car just screams ‘Look At Me’, but exudes a sense of ‘I’d take you mate’. Its that threatening beauty that makes this such a special Silvia. As the turbo spools up and it heads for home, all I can do is smile. That was one hell of a cool Nissan S14!
Full Spec List
- Front mount Intercooler
- Alloy rad
- K&N Cone filter
- GTR Fuel Pump
- S15 T28 Ball Bearing Turbo
- 4 branch tubular manifold
- Horshams dev stage 2
- Exedy 3 puk clutch
- Lightweight ACT Flywheel
- Stainless turbo elbow and downpipe & decat
- HKS HI Power silent exhaust
- Kazz 2way Diff
- Front and Rear Strut Braces
- 350z front Brembo brakes
- Adjustable arms
- Apexi Gen 2 coilovers
- Tinted S14a Headlights
- Kouki rear lights
- Full vertex kit
- Bomex side skirts
- Genuine Kouki spoiler with custom lip
- Custom front splitter (not installed for pictures)
- Front Bumper quick release
- 50mm Rear quarters 30mm Vented wings
- Dmax roof spoiler
- Jap pressed plates
- 5Zigen RS1 wheels 18×10 et 25.
- 20mm and 25mm spacers
- Dewipered rear
- Manual Boost Controller
- K-Sport Hydro
- Recaro Confettis SR2
- OMP Suede Wheel
- Trust gearknob
- Blitz turbo timer
- Blitz boost gauge in Greddy mount
- JDM Checkered Mats