Nissan Silvia S15 Spec-S 1999

There are cars that are firmly associated with a particular style, subculture, or phenomenon. Hummer H1 is associated with the US Army. Subaru Impreza is associated with rallying. Land Rover Defender is associated with African safaris and places where there simply can’t be roads. Nissan Silvia S15 is not just associated with drifting, it won’t let you build any project other than a drift one! Today we’re talking about it on MAJI97.

It’s very difficult to be passionate about cars and not hear about, see, or dream for at least a couple of seconds about this legendary Nissan. The seventh generation sports coupe appeared in Japan in 1999, replacing the no less legendary S14.

Recall that the Silvia S15 was produced with two engines: the SR20DET with 250 hp in the Spec R versions and the more modest SR20DE with 165 hp in the Spec S versions.

This particular specimen was initially a modest Spec S with an atmospheric engine and a five-speed manual gearbox, and even with a welded differential. Finding a car with a good body was not an easy task, and finding one for a small amount of money and immediately with a turbo engine was simply impossible. The new owner reviewed many ads and even started looking at Honda Civics and Integras, but then a suitable option appeared in Moscow. From Moscow to Krasnodar, the Silvia drove overnight, with one headlight and some electrical problems, but the dream came true – the car was parked outside the window.

The problems that S15 face on the secondary market are common to all fast used cars. The paintwork is not in the best condition, the technical part was not taken care of too thoroughly, and the car was squeezed dry. Initially, there were no thoughts of preparing the car for drifting, nor was there any money to fuel such thoughts. Stance was gaining popularity on the internet, and it was decided to turn the car into a low stance project in the future. But this is the Nissan Silvia S15, it didn’t want to be just low! Therefore, it (otherwise this cannot be explained) led its owner to the time attack stage. After experiencing the race, the final decision was made – to prepare the car for drifting.

There was no talk of super-serious preparation or super-serious competition, rather the goal was to build a good car for street driving. By that time, the SR20DET had become iconic and was quite expensive, so the VQ30DET was chosen as the power unit. This is a three-liter six-cylinder V-engine, to which a turbocharger was added for extra power. This was quite justified, since this engine was installed in heavy business sedans like the Nissan Cedric and Gloria. In addition, this was the first S15 in Russia with this engine – the sum of the advantages outweighed the possible disadvantages, and the implementation was successful.

A 6-speed manual gearbox from the Spec R was purchased for the new engine – its reliability should be sufficient to handle the 270 hp output by the engine. The clutch was provided by Nismo, and the gearbox ratio was set to 3.7, which became a versatile solution for driving in the city with the ability to go on the track.

By appearance, a car created for love and adoration should turn heads of passers-by. This is actively promoted by the set of aero overlays on the rear bumper – Spec R option, front bumper from C-West, and Final Konexion side skirts. The result is moderately aggressive and retains the overall appearance of the car. According to popular belief, 70% of the external appearance is attributed to the precise Buddy Club P1 wheels with a size of R17, width of 9J, and an offset of et17. Of course, the suspension was not just lowered – DGR adjustable coilovers were installed. In order to adjust the suspension for drift, the front control arms had to be welded 2cm forward, then taken down to be modified, and the rear camber arms were replaced with Forward Auto.

The Silvia’s interior is simple, concise, and quite beautiful in the case of S15. Now it may seem too simple for a sports coupe, as it was the late 90s, and many useless buttons could have been added, but the Japanese have always strived to make everything as simple as possible, and maybe that’s why they were known for their reliability. If you look at the door cards separately from the car, you can mistake them for almost any other Japanese car cards of the time. There are 4 heater air ducts in the upper part of the dashboard, and the controls are on the central console. Plus, the valuable “Silvia” inscription is located around the glove box.

But the gear lever and handbrake are already within reach of the driver. In this particular model, a bolt-in roll cage from Cusco Safety 21 and the Charge Speed sport seat are also installed – everything is in accordance with the drift fathers’ precepts, and there is no need to come up with anything else.

The resulting street weapon is capable of easily spinning Bridgestone Potenza RE003 tires in size 215/45/17 without tearing up the car and at the same time not destroying the set of tires after a couple of drift runs. This is an ideal street setup for those who haven’t yet become millionaires and don’t carry a trailer full of tires. By the way, the relatively low tire wear allows for the use of fairly expensive rubber, which has a positive effect on the car’s handling!

Looking at these body lines, at this still relevant and aggressive front end of the car, I don’t understand why its family has gone extinct. There is simply no replacement in Nissan’s model lineup, as the 350/370Z was a continuation of another dynasty, and they are no longer in production. Perhaps Nissan will prepare a rival for the new Supra? Let’s wait, hope, and believe, and in the meantime, enjoy the sight of this beautiful S15. Until next time!