We've always taken it as a personal insult that Nissan killed the 240SX in the US exactly one year before the release of its swan song, the S15 Nissan Silvia. The contemporary third-gen Silvia is so gawdang sexy that it would have sold even with a pathetic 155 horses from the KA24DE. Near its own death, Nissan killed most of its lower-volume vehicles outside Japan, and so the 240SX died quietly.
That's why it's so bittersweet to see the S15 get hacked, smacked, slammed, hooked-up and pimped out on the other side of the pond. This Orange Bang!-hued Silvia was done up by Tadashi Kaneko (owner of CAM sports) as a circuit car. It gives us boners just thinking about it, but the weird part is that CAM didn't have a blank canvas to work on. Call the owner, mystery man Takuya Sasano, fickle or just a strange dude, but he went from straight-up-show to all-go. That's like going from Red Vines to Twizzlers, but CAM did it all in three months, and with about 30 large.
What you see now is essentially version 2.0 of the car. Before CAM could start dialing in the suspension, increasing the braking power and pumping up the ponies he had to remove a whole crapload of fiberglass ish. Originally, the car was designed with a ton of audio; why, we don't know. You can see some of the remnants in the form of LCDs in the door panels-GPS for the co-driver, maybe-and orange-colored interior pieces. The madness began once CAM was able to successfully remove all the audio-video equipment (presumably to sell on Yahoo Auctions), carpeting, paneling and sticky factory insulation. With all the junk in the trunk out of the way, work on the car could begin.
It's no secret that a Time Attack car needs a well-balanced chassis and matched engine power. High horsepower isn't the first priority; it's putting down that power and being able to max out the vehicle's speed throughout a course that is what counts the most. CAM's goal, although lofty, was pretty simple: achieve the fastest time possible at every raceway in a lightly tuned car. That meant that the suspension settings had to be just about perfect, and this is where CAM faced some mechanical gremlins.
After some trial-and-error, Kaneko-san was able to come up with a versatile suspension setting using Aragosta coilovers with Merwede racing springs. The puny stock front and rear anti-roll bars were removed for a matching set of SARD bars. Up front and at the top, a Cusco strut tower brace reduces some of the twist during hard turning. Ikeya Formula bushings wrap up the suspension pieces, proving that it doesn't take much to make the S15 chassis a go-getter at the track. Of course, you always need good rubber for any situation so a symmetrical set of 255/35R17 Dunlop Direzzas cover the 17x9 Work Emotion CR Kais nicely. R33 GT-R Brembo front calipers with custom two-piece rotors handle the stop, even when Sir Isaac Newton says go. Simple but refined, this combination works in Saitama, Osaka or whatever track CAM thinks the car can tackle.
Kaneko-san is a funny guy, but then again he's a Japanese tuner-he's hardcore. For example, most of us blokes think "lightly tuned" means maybe bolting on an intake, downpipe, biggie exhaust and, if you're feelin' lucky, injectors and a fuel computer. Here's how CAM defines a "lightly tuned" car: Take that SR20DET and port and polish the head. Throw in some high-lift Tomei cams, Denso plugs, Ultra spark plug wires and NISMO GT-R fuel injectors that pour (not spray) fuel into the system. Get a SARD fuel pressure regulator and swap in a Walbro fuel pump in the fuel tank. (Hold up, we're not nearly done yet.) Then, if your name is Kaneko, you'll make your own original throttle body, custom intercooler-radiator combo (with piping) and you'll bolt on an HPI exhaust manifold. Next, he wired in a GReddy e-Manage and PRofec boost controller to take care of all the goodies and give more power. Good thing the stock diff was replaced with an Across/ATS carbon LSD, and the stock clutch with a grabby HPI copper-mix dealio. Kaneko-san, this definitely sounds lightly tuned by our standards. Yeah, and Primedia pays well, offers business cell phones and company cars. Shhhyeah, right. And just in case you're a little slow, that was sarcasm.
Reader insults aside, a great amount of detail was spent turning this once-luxury Silvia into a Track Attacker; but what's probably most humorous is imagining the car's owner going from an interior with fiberglass, orange paint, alcantera leather and neon lights to a gutted cabin with only a Juran full bucket GT seat, Nardi steering wheel and Willans harness to keep him company. The CD and DVD player are gone, they weighed too much. Instead, he can entertainment himself with the cache of Defi gauges that keep track of the 1998cc engine. Oh well, at least the car looks hot with the all-ings exterior and Orange Bang! paint scheme. Officially, it's Orange Eki-Show paint, but we really prefer to compare it to the tasty beverage.
Even with its showy origins, the CAM Nissan Silvia is still legit. There's little remaining of its former self, and the car's owner probably loves tearing it up in the canyons of Saitama. Add another Japanese-tuned S15 to the list of killer cars. Thanks for nothing, Nissan.
Fast Facts '00 Nissan Silvia
Owner Takuya Sasano
Hometown Saitama, Japan
Daily Grind It's a secret-we're not supposed to tell you
Under The Hood Ported and polished head; Tomei camshafts; NISMO GT-R fuel injectors; SARD fuel pressure regulator; Walbro fuel pump; CAM original throttlebody, radiator, intercooler with piping and ducting; HPI exhaust manifold, all-alluminum with side fluid tank; Denso spark plugs; Ultra spark plug wires; Greddy SUS intake
Drivetrain Across/ATS Carbon LSD; HPI copper-mix clutch
Brains GReddy e-Manage, PRofec boost controller
Stiff Stuff Aragosta coilovers with Merwede racing springs; SARD front and rear anti-roll bars; Cusco front strut tower brace; Ikeya Formula bushings
Rollers 17x9 Work Emotion CR Kais; 255/35R17 Yokohama Advans
Stoppers Brembo GT-R (R33) front brake calipers; custom two-piece front slotted rotors
Outside ings four-piece S15 aerokit; GT carbon wing
Inside Juran GT full bucket driver's seat; Willan's driver's harness; Nardi steering wheel; Defi boost, water temp, oil pressure and D-link gauges, Defi-Link Display
ICE Stop living in the past