Takahito Hasegawa's day-to-day grind is at his shop 55Motors in Yokohama. About an hour out of Tokyo, he doesn't just work nine-to-five and take the train home every day like most of the city. He lives and breathes every duty required of him as a mechanic and shop owner, whether building a complete car or performing simple maintenance. In fact, he sleeps at his shop at least three days a week to get shit done! With that said, his high quality of work has built quite a long list of loyal customers to keep him busy. And when the hours of the night free up, he burns the midnight oil devoting his time to his stable of company demo cars. This has included everything from Lancers, Altezzas, Civics, Kei cars and this '91 Nissan Silvia.
Building a Silvia isn't anything revolutionary. They've been done time and time again, but Hasegawa-san has always wanted to take a stab at it himself and build a car that wouldn't be your typical time attack or drift car. He wanted to theme his S13 as a fun, amateur track car—something that represents his small shop and could relate to his customers more. After all, how many of us can drop tens of thousands of dollars into a competitive race car?
So with a blank canvas in front of him, Hasegawa-san started with what he knew best, which was simple bolt-on performance. The chassis received the whole nine yards including Zeal coilovers, larger sway bars and a six-point rollcage, plus updated control arms and cross members. The entire chassis was spot welded by Hasegawa-san himself for greater strength and rigidity.
Next, the owner upgraded the pads and lines with Endless parts while also swapping in a GT-R master cylinder, brake booker and Skyline calipers for improved stopping performance. Wheel and tire selection didn't disappoint us either with lightweight TE37Vs along with sticky Yokohama rubbers.
Walking around to the front of the S13 and popping open the carbon-fiber hood, we spotted Hasegawa-san's handy work even better. The factory SR20DET wasn't taken apart or rebuilt for crazy power, but upgraded enough to net about 350hp using all parts his customers could afford. The motor received an HKS header, Trust/GReddy turbo, a larger intake plenum and a Core's exhaust to help maximize the most out of the 2.0 liter. Other bolt-ons included a larger intercooler, fuel pump, injectors, stiffer motor mounts and an additional oil cooler to ensure this car could be abused yet remain reliable on weekend track events.
The transmission remained stock except for the addition of a Cusco diff to transfer power to the rear wheels better and a carbon clutch to cope with the added torque.
Beefing up the performance of the Silvia was a breeze. But the bigger challenge came with the body. Hasegawa-san admitted to us that he wasn't a body and paint guy at all. He lacked experience but that didn't stop him from doing it anyways. After seeking some advice from a local body shop, he tackled the TRA Kyoto widebody Rocket Bunny kit head on. Cutting the body and installing the fenders proved to be the most difficult task for him but nothing a versed mechanic couldn't handle. The kit was installed to perfection giving the Silvia its wide and aggressive look. Hasegawa-san also wanted to get more turnt up with his overall aero package so a custom front spoiler and massive rear wing were added.
Finishing up the project, the interior was stripped and given the necessary equipment for racing with Recaro seats, Sabelt harnesses and Nardi steering wheel.
In person, this car looks like an absolute beast on the outside, but Hasegawa-san stresses that this machine is reliable and street-driven. It's got the best of both worlds and truly is the perfect demo car for this small shop we'll now always remember as 55Motors.
Engine SR20DET with 1.2mm HKS header, head gasket and spark plugs; NISMO motor mounts and injectors; Trust/GReddy T517Z turbo, intake manifold, Airinx intake, oil pan and oil cooler; larger throttle body; Tomei fuel pump; SARD fuel pressure regulator; Core's titanium straight pipe exhaust; Blitz R-Type intercooler; custom lightweight radiator with Earl's hoses; Carbing radiator cooling plate; painted valve cover
Drivetrain Cusco RS differential; ATS single carbon clutch; NISMO flywheel and R32 GT-R shift lever
Engine Management HKS F-Con IS and EVC4 boost controller; tuned by Tatsuya Kobayashi
Footwork & Chassis Zeal coilovers and camber plates; Cusco sway bars, strut bars and six-point rollcage; NISMO control arms and bushings; S15 front and rear cross member and rack and pinion; spot welded
Brakes OE Nissan ECR33 calipers; Endless pads and stainless lines; R32 GT-R master cylinder and brake booster
Wheels & Tires 17x9" -10 front and 17x10" -20 rear Volk Racing TE37V wheels; 235/40R17 front and 255/40R17 rear Yokohama Advan A050 tires
Exterior TRA Kyoto Rocket Bunny widebody kit with custom front lip and rear spoiler; carbon-fiber hood; OE Toyota silver paint; headlight and turn signal housings painted black
Interior Recaro SP-G3 seats; Bride seat rails and brackets; Sabelt harnesses; Nardi Rally 33 steering wheel; Works Bell steering hub; carbon-fiber panels shift knob; Alcantara center console and dash; DEFI gauges