Magic55’s Blisteringly Quick Nissan Silvia S15 Spec-R

Published on August 29th, 2009

Many performance car enthusiasts, speed junkies, drifters and drifting fans would not at all mind owning and driving a Nissan Silvia S15 Spec-R. It is an incredible, head-turning, force-fed induction, rear-wheel drive coupe from Nissan that is sadly no longer in production, as production ended at the end of 2002.

It is the Silvia S15’s reputation and notoriety for performance that led to Magic55 selling his beloved Mivec-powered Satria Gti in favour of a Nissan Silvia S15 Spec-R about two and a half years ago. Magic55 owned the Mivec-powered Satria Gti for about six years, tinkering with it along the way before he finally got his hands on the Silvia S15, which happened to be one of his dream cars that he hoped he would be able to own and drive one day. Sure enough where the Silvia S15 is concerned, it came true and has become a reality for him.

The name Silvia is the name given to the Nissan’s long-running line of sport coupes that was based on the Nissan S-Platform. The Nissan Silvia S15 was first introduced back in 1999, exactly ten years ago, in the country of its birth and origins, Japan.

It replaced the aging and dated Nissan S14, and with the emergence of the Silvia S15, Nissan again had a winning, attractive and sellable rear-wheel drive sports coupe. In stock form, the Silvia S15 generated an impressively sufficient 250hp of power directed straight to the rear wheels from its SR20DET powerplant, made possible thanks to a ball-bearing turbocharger upgrade over the predecessor S14 model’s turbocharger, as well as improved engine management.

Initially, the Silvia was only sold in Japan, Australia and New Zealand, but later it was made available as grey imports in most other countries where there was a demand and following for such a car, including Malaysia. An interesting piece of information about the Silvia S15 is that, only in Australia and New Zealand, the car was sold as the Nissan 200SX GT.

The S15 Silvia has sharp, good, attractive looks thanks to the designers’ aggressive styling approach both inside and out. The designers realized that a bold and radical design with sharper and slightly more muscular lines were needed to increase the Silvia S15’s visual appeal and stance over the previous model, and it worked. Magic55 was not contented with the way his Silvia S15 looked, so he decided to enhance his ride’s exterior aesthetics with a set of VERTEX sideskirts and front and rear bumpers, a DMAX carbon fiber front bonnet, and clear LED taillights.

The rims and tires were not left as it is either, as Magic55 decided that his Silvia S15 looked much better rolling on 17”inch SSR Type-C rims wrapped with Goodyear RS Sport tires. In the near future, to complete the exterior enhancements, Magic55 plans to swap the stock side mirrors in favour of a pair of aerodynamic GANADOR side mirrors.

The Trafficmagonline crew were elated and excited when Magic55 decided to allow the Trafficmagonline crew to shoot and feature his beloved rear-wheel powered ride. The location of the shoot for Magic55’S Silvia S15 was around a quiet, gated housing area somewhere in the Petaling Jaya area.

On the day of the shoot, even before Magic55’s Silvia S15 came into view, Magic55 announced his arrival on scene through his car’s aftermarket TRUST exhaust system which was clearly audible from a distance, subtly rumbling no thanks to the bigger, more responsive turbine, and the TOMEI ProCams, even though Magic55 was taking a leisurely drive towards the designated shoot spot.

When he arrived, as he was maneuvering the car into position for the photoshoot, the ringing that sounded from the gearbox as he changed gears indicated that he was not using a stock clutch but an aftermarket one, and later we found out we right as Magic55 was using an ORC twin-plate clutch kit complete with lightened flywheel.

Magic55’s Silvia S15 is a Spec-R variant. The Spec-R variant differs from previous Silvia models as it is the only Silvia model that comes with a 6-speed manual transmission. The Spec-R also included extensive chassis and suspension strengthening via the use of larger anti-roll bars and strut bracing. The Silvia S15 was equipped with the same 4-piston front brake calipers that can be found on the S14, the difference being the Silvia S15 has a larger brake booster.

Magic55 decided that with the upgrades that he had carried out under the DMAX carbon fiber bonnet, he needed to make his car’s brakes have more bite and grip, so he discarded the OEM Nissan brake pads in favour of a set of Endless SSR brake pads all round. Also replaced were the stock rear brake discs and calipers, as in came in a set taken off a Nissan Skyline R33 GTS.

One of the biggest changes to the S15 model of the Silvia was the implementation of a helical limited slip differential (LSD). The Helical LSD brought about a safer, though more track suited drive which pleased many, one of them being Magic55, but it did pose some contrast though to its drifting prowess and heritage.

Existing Silvia S15 car owners rarely leave their beloved rides in stock form and Magic55’s Silvia S15 is a far cry from being stock. He is one of many Silvia S15 owners who were well-motivated to modify their cars. Apart from the exterior aesthetic enhancements, Magic55 carried out modifications and upgrades to his car’s engine, transmission, suspension set-up and cabin to his taste, liking and requirements for a faster, more responsive ride that is now both exhilarating and exciting.

Where the engine was concerned, Magic55 left it in stock form for about almost a year before he started upgrading and modifying the powerplant to squeeze out more horsepower. Among the first things to be swapped was the turbocharger, as the stock turbocharger, turbo manifold and downpipe made way for a GTRS GT2871R turbocharger complete with custom turbo manifold, Tomei downpipe, and a screaming TIAL 42mm wastegate to generate more power and extra horses.

Also scuttled were the rubber turbo hoses, stock air-filter box, and stock side mount intercooler which were replaced with a complete set of stainless turbo piping, a huge 6”inch K&N open pod cone air-filter, and a huge Trust intercooler that would readily serve the huge amounts of cool air needed for the more potent turbocharger.

Next, Magic55 began to upgrade the engine itself, with the engine head being on the receiving end of a set of Tomei 260 degree ProCams with accompanying adjustable aluminum cam pulleys, Tomei type-A valve springs, Tomei rocker arm stopper, and a Tomei metal headgasket. For now, Magic55 intends on leaving the bottom end of the engine block as it is, in stock form until he decides that it too needs aftermarket performance parts and upgrades, which will most likely be from Tomei as well, judging from what has been done to the engine head.

Fueling system was another part of the powerplant that needed an upgrade in parts and components inline with the rest of the modifications and upgrades that had already been done. For this part, Magic55 placed his faith in another renowned Japanese aftermarket performance brand, SARD Racing. The stock injectors were replaced with a set of four 850cc fuel injectors along with an adjustable fuel regulator with gauge for more precise adjustment and monitoring. The stock fuel pump was taken out of the fuel tank and replaced with a thirsty American-made Walbro 255L high-flow fuel pump to feed the new SARD injectors via the SARD adjustable fuel regulator.

Other performance parts that went into the engine bay were a SR20DE N/A 60mm throttle body and a GReddy oil catch tank to assist in the optimized distribution of engine oil throughout the engine’s vital moving parts and components. The stock suspension which was quite sufficient for the car in stock form, proved to be insufficient after all that had been done to the car. Magic55 decided to replace the stock suspension with a stiffer TEIN fully-adjustable suspension system which has been designed to cope with a car which has a higher engine output. For better balance and to reduce stress and pressure on the chassis, Magic55 installed Cusco strut bars and strut tower bars.

To broaden the perimeters of tuning and further enhance and optimize his car’s performance, Magic55’s choice for his car’s Engine Control Unit (ECU) was an APEX’i Power FC programmable ECU. Boost was another aspect that Magic55 wanted control of and in came a HKS EVC V boost controller for higher boost settings when needed or necessary, especially if there are equivalently powerful or more powerful rides begging for a run or challenge.

With all the upgrades and modifications that had been done, there was no way that Magic55 would leave the car’s cabin in stock trim. The boring and cushy front two seats were replaced with a race-inspired Recaro SPG full bucket seat for the driver, & a Recaro SR3 reclining bucket seat for the front passenger. With a six-speed transmission, Magic55 decided that for shifting through the gears, his left hand should rightly be holding a NISMO gearknob when doing so. Another envious NISMO accessory to be found in Magic55’s car cabin is a NISMO meter cluster containing meters with higher readouts for speed and rpm that replaced the stock meter cluster that had a restrictive speed reading of only 180km/h, when Magic55’s Silvia S15 is clearly capable of a much higher top speed.

Due to the fact that Magic55’s Silvia S15 is modified and pushing out more power, a set of aftermarket Defi gauges comprising of boost, water temperature, oil pressure, fuel pressure, and exhaust temperature, together with a Defi control unit, were installed for monitoring the engine’s running condition. Also thrown into the fray of the cabin was an Apexi auto turbo timer which Magic55 brought over from his previous ride.

After all that has been done to the car, this is the outcome; it is fast, it is really fast. We were thoroughly impressed with the quickness and speed of Magic55’s Silvia S15 and we’re sure he is too. After all, he’s spent quite a lot of money as it is on the car and if it were us in his shoes, we’d be very pleased and proud to own and drive such a car. We found out first hand how fast Magic55’s Silvia S15 really was as he graciously took us one by one for a quick ride in his car around the shoot area which had quiet and near empty, stretches of straight roads with long sweeping bends, perfect for pushing such a car to its limits and accelerating to insanely crazy speeds.

While sitting shotgun in the front passenger seat as Magic55 showcased for us his car’s true form, each of us felt an adrenaline rush which led to an exciting feeling that brought about a silly smile on our faces, an expression and reaction sped up no thanks to the music to every performance car enthusiasts’ ears, the screamingly loud wastegate, the blow-off valve sounding off every once in a while, and the Trust exhaust system blaring loudly at the rear end of the car, occasionally spitting fire. In the end it was worth all the effort taken to shoot Magic55’s fine example of a well and properly modified and upgraded Nissan Silvia S15 Spec-R.

Nissan’s reputable build quality is not in question where the Silvia S15 is concerned, though now these sports coupes are only available used or reconditioned, and most of these cars are between seven to ten years old already depending on the year of make. So for those out there who are planning on buying a Silvia S15, a suggestion for such prospective buyers would be to inspect the car thoroughly together with a trusted, trained, and experienced mechanic before deciding on a purchase. The mass air flow sensor has been known for getting spoilt due to exposure to any debris, or if the car has been lying idle for quite a while. It’s an irony of sorts as powerful force-fed induction engines, those from Nissan included, have been known to get crippled by the smallest of faulty components.

Verdict

This is probably one of the best drivers’ cars around in terms of rear-wheel driver rubber burners. It takes a rather simple formula actually to turn this car into an enjoyable beast, and Magic55 has done it and proven so. Install a mighty and potent turbocharger with related upgrades and modification that will enable the SR20DET engine to kick out a whopping 300hp or more at the wheels, with power that is transmitted to the rear wheels, and no annoying modern driving aids and safety features that will rob the driver of his fun.

The Silvia S15’s 6-speed manual gearbox is quite engaging thanks to the ratios, so much so that women may be jealous with envy because of how much fun and excitement the men have and enjoy at the wheel of such a car with so much promise and potential for mind bending performance and ride experience. The Nissan Silvia S15 was, and has been built to withstand tremendous torture and punishment as it is a car that was designed for speed, fun and daring driving feats and maneuvers. For an adrenaline rush and pure performance driving satisfaction, it just does not get any better that the Nissan Silvia S15 Spec-R, just ask Magic55, he will gleefully agrees.

words: Azdee Amir  pix: Dinesh Appavu


Magic55’s Silvia S15 Technical Specifications:

Engine:

SR20DET, APEX’i Power FC & HKS EVC V Boost Controller, TOMEI Type A valve springs, TOMEI rocker arm stopper, TOMEI ProCams (260 degrees), TOMEI metal headgasket, GTRS GT2871R Turbocharger with custom Turbo Manifold & TOMEI Downpipe, SR20DE N/A 60mm throttle body, GReddy oil catch tank, K&N air filter, SARD 850cc injectors, WALBRO 255L High-Flow Fuel Pump, SARD Adjustable Fuel Regulator with Gauge, Complete Aftermarket TRUST Performance Exhaust System, and TIAL 42mm Wastegate

Transmission:

Standard 6-Speed Manual Transmission with ORC twin-plate clutch kit

Brakes:

ENDLESS SSR brakepads all round, rear R33 GTS braking system conversion

Suspension:

TEIN Fully-Adjustable Suspension kit, CUSCO Strut bars & Strut Tower Bars

Rolling Stocks:

SSR Type C 17″x8.5 (front) 17″ x 9.5 (rear) wrapped with Goodyear RS Sports tires

Bodywork:

LED rear lights, DMax bonnet, VERTEX front & rear bumper, side skirting, White paintjob

Interior:

RECARO SPG full bucket seat (Driver) & RECARO SR3 reclining bucket seat (front passenger), NISMO gearknob, Defi boost, water temperature, oil pressure, fuel pressure, exhaust temperature Gauges with Controller, APEXi auto turbo timer

Comments

  1. Posted by ZaidGSR on September 1st, 2009, 07:12

    Nice…. more modified cars pls….

  2. Posted by Bunker on September 3rd, 2009, 23:27

    Мегареспектос! Прочитал с интересом от начала и до конца.

  3. Posted by Kouba on September 6th, 2009, 17:18

    Можно и довольно серьезно поспорить по этому поводу… А вообще интересно!

  4. Posted by Margaret on September 16th, 2009, 18:15

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Margaret

  5. Posted by Crunchy Ahcock on September 27th, 2009, 05:35

    owh… my dear silvia…

Reply

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