Car’s, like people, evolve over time. Build’s grow, modifications become wilder and reputations soar. To many of us, the internet has become the go-to place to get an overload of forum Build Threads, Instagram posts detailing every nut and bolt or even dedicated online video series’ all allowing the masses to watch on as yet another PetrolHead dumps their own money into a labour of love. The likelihood is that we may only physically see the finished product out of the digital world and in the flesh at a large show or event, but on the flip side there are always the select few local car’s who’s evolution can be tracked in frequent passing glances. This Golf is definitely one of these cars.
Growing up in Cork City through the middle of the recession, the car scene was certainly there, but so too was a distinct sense that every conversation was verging on going down the route of “It used to be soo much busier” or “All the best cars are gone now”. That’s natural, that with time people hanker for what isn’t there anymore, but us new breed continued to do our thing. Toyota’s ruled our lives, with the local Topaz liable to see an influx of up to 15 of the brands finest on a Friday night with everything from my Corolla Gti through Glanza’s, Levin’s and all else. Around the City, cheap affordable JDM goodies ruled the streets, but there was always a mysterious Black Golf roaming.
The car, in it’s first guise, was hard to miss. Personally, I’ll always have my head turned by the MK1 shape as I’m an freak for all things old-skool, and so the sight of those distinctive lines was enough to lure me in. To other’s, the bright red BBS mesh wheels were certainly eye catching. Parked around the City and in other locations, I often passed feeling admiration for the mystery man doing things soo differently to the rest of us, keeping things real and doing so with style. Over time, the car changed. These changes wern’t seen on a screen, but with each passing glance subtle differences became obvious. And then I met the man behind the creation, and became aware of just how potent this machine was, and would ultimately become.
It was the Sunday of Dubshed 2016 when I was introduced to Ronan Hickey. Waking up incredibly hungover and having slept on a hotel room floor, I was asked if I had room for a stragler to take to the show. My little 106 was in full anti social form at the time with little in the way of interior, smelled strongly of fuel and was covering as a make shift van carrying all manner of ex-works Peugeot goodies. Effectively a single seater, a bearded man managed to somehow fit in the passenger seat with the flexibility of a Gymnast, head pinned about 6 inches from the windscreen thanks to a pair of bumpers for a car not much longer than it is wide. This was Ronan MK1, the man behind that Golf I’d seen for soo long and now here we were talking pure shite about cars driving around siuth Belfast headed for the show. Plans were forged to get photo’s taken, but thankfully the 14 month wait allowed the car to hit peak evolution.
Now on a set of Ronal Turbo wheels and sporting a seriously aggressive and uber-rare Foha front splitter, the car really felt more shouty then I had remember from years ago. With very little in the way of body modifications, it made it even clearer just how good a job the boys with the pencils did in Wolfsburg when drawing that now iconic shape. Finished in that sumptuous VW Schwartz black paint, the MK1 just seemed to shout ‘look at me’. After the show, I finally got to see the car I suppose ‘in the wild’, to hear the racious exhaust roar, to smell it’s dumps of un-burnt fuel and to experience the immense task of trying to keep up with it along a back road.. It seemed fitting for a guy who always wanted to stand out from the typical JDM crowd, that one of the best reactions to the car I ever saw was when it gatecrashed a local Japanese Car meet!!
Over last winter, I’d heard that the car was undergoing a change of look, but when I saw the first teaser images, my inner motorsport geek was intrigued. Emulating historic race liveries has become a thing of late among the VW show scene, with countless iconic colour schemes seeing modern twists on all manner of German metal. Here though, this is no spin on a household style, but a complete detailed reproduction of the GTI Engineering Group 2 race car campaigned by Peter Lloyd in 1979. Finished to an incredible standard by Seamus Walsh in Moose Design, this truly was the icing on what was in reality an incredibly executed cake.
A quick meet up in a local car park allowed me to see the end product first, but it just wasn’t enough. A few quick pics blew up online, so reality hit that I really needed to pull the finger out and get a proper shoot done on the VW. Initial thoughts were veering towards using a local Kart Track, but things spiraled. Suddenly, the shoot became my very first feature shoot for a massive Car Magazine in Performance VW simply by a few chancing-my-arm email’s, and before I’d fully processed things, two weeks later I stood in the paddock of Mondello Park, deserted bar our little cohort including the E34 BMW already featured here and the Golf. This was dream material, mainly as my utterly dreadful Alfa Romeo actually made it (and yes it was on an AA truck the next morning), to have all this to ourselves to create automotive art.
As I already mentioned, the car’s exterior is totally original bar the wheel’s and splitter, but step inside and it’s a world apart. Ronan was a former Kart racer, and a quick one at that, so a love of motorsport has fed through into the cabin. A pair of beefy Recaro bucket seat’s grab the headlines straight away, the driver’s one in particular being a full wrap-around piece, but are added to by a Weickers half-cage to add to incredibly chassis stiffness. Ably assisted by a complete set of Poly-bushes all round and BC Racing coil-overs, the car sit’s with purpose, and even at speed remains flat with all the required agility to justify the safety additions. Nestled in place, the other main practicalities are special aswell, with the steering controlled by a small Momo steering wheel, yet it’s between the two occupants that a bit of engineering-porn sits.
Milled from Billet Aluminium, CAE have become famous for producing some of the most eye-catching gear shifters around. Looking like a sequential, this ultra close shifting unit not only cost an eye-watering amount, but is simply beautiful to look at. Mated to a standard 5-speed box, the gears click through with immense speed and are often accompanied with loud bangs of fuel out of the hand built stainless steel exhaust. The driving gloves are a gentle reminder that while this car can strut with the best on the show floor, it is was for simple driving pleasure that it came to be.
For how cool the whole things look externally, pop the bonnet and watch jaw’s drop. Where a humble 8v engine once sat, now resides a G60 Supercharged lump. The blower itself is a G-Werks unit, while the engine has been treated to all manner of goodies including a Large Port Head, Schrick Cam’s and Covers and an all-new ECU. Add launch control into the mix and this little car certainly doesn’t hang about, ever further cementing the need for the safety gear loaded inside. Being a welder by trade, much of the piping is both home-made and exquisite, while the lashing’s of gold insulating foil just finish off the bay to a tee.
For a car that took almost 10 year’s of evolution to get to this point, there was a distinctive sense of closure. Although the old saying is that a project car is never done, to Ronan it was. He had brought the MK1 as far as he wanted, and it was time for a change of scenery. About a month after the shoot, as is the way soo often in the car world, the MK1 had been stripped of many parts and was on it’s way to a new owner. And as for the change of scenery, well that changed aswell, and who can go to OZ these days when there’s and uber-rare MK2 Golf after landing in the shed…..and a 3.2 VR6. Ya, you might want to stay tuned for that build thread!!!
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