When envisioning the ideal image of your dream car, you can't let the haters get in the way. Takashi Kusunoki has been told left and right what isn't appropriate and what can't be done in the drifting world. The critics told him his Nissan Silvia was too low and too pretty to drift and were quick to point out the amount of negative camber would never be accepted. Unsure of himself, Kusunoki actually let the haters get to him and changed the way he wanted to build his S15. During this time, he raised the height of his coupe and dialed back the camber, but he quickly learned that his ability to drift became significantly impaired; he also didn't like the way it sat anymore. So listen up, kids... Stick to what you trust and what you're comfortable with. You know your car better than anyone else and how you want it to drive or look.
To help give you a little more backstory behind the owner, Kusunoki isn't your average Joe poser who's simply trying to make a stanced show car stand out in the crowd. He's the founder and operator of a successful body shop in his hometown called D/L/K, short for Drift/Luxury/Kusunoki. His company is responsible for creating countless vehicles that are on point in his region. This particular Silvia is his second S15 project. His first, which he still owns, is a little more rough around the edges, however much faster and more competitive at drift events. He created this pink pioneer to serve multiple purposes—street, drift, and show.
Kusunoki goes on to elaborate more to us about when he modified his Silvia to what the critics were telling him to do. On one hand, the car didn't look as loud; however, on the other hand, it also helped save his aero, keeping the car unscathed from damage during drifting. But deep down inside, the car's driving style didn't have the same swagger as it did before. He explains that there is a common belief where he is from: Destroying expensive aero in the midst of a third gear slide is praised on the track. It might be strange philosophy to many people, but try to understand that along with the plume of smoke that comes from a drift, banging the aero against the tarmac gives the textbook impression of the overemphasis of the "perfect drift." We should also note that because this particular S15 still rocked its naturally aspirated SR20DE, Kusunoki had to make the necessary adjustments to alignment and camber to help him initiate drifts easier and hold them longer due to a slightly underpowered engine. So he reverted back to what worked.
He states jokingly and at the same time proudly, "Since it's an S15, it has negative 15 degrees of camber." This is possibly the hush-hush key to his drifting. The contact patch of the tire is less than a third of the entire tread. He's also overinflated the rear tires to 78 psi. What's this mean? Basically, because there is minimal contact between the tires and pavement, equaling less grip, it's easier to lose traction and initiate a drift. The downside of this setup is that it's difficult to hold high-speed slides no matter how hard one may push the throttle to regain some traction. Going through tires every more frequently is another negative that should be cautioned as well if you're thinking of following in his footsteps. But regardless, this is Kusunoki's very own recipe of getting his machine moving to his liking, which shows that every driver requires his or her very own recipe.
The fenders that cover the lips of the 18x10" Work M1Rs remain stock, but have been pulled and worked over. Like a Super GT car, the wheelwells have been hammered, cut, and gutted to accommodate the wider wheels—a step just shy of "tubbing." Suspension components consist of mostly parts from 326 Power, the popular choice for many Japanese drifters. The Chakuriki coilovers feature stiff 12kg front and 19kg rear spring rates; however, the most impressive aspect of the suspension may be the upper camber bracket holes, which have been drilled to give more wheel lean. The rear subframe has also been raised 2 cm to help achieve this look.
Feel free to hate on non-functional cars that have aggressive camber all day long, but Kusunoki is not one of them. Let us learn to praise those who modify their cars for the right reasons. Let us appreciate those who drive their pride and joys harder than the daily drivers and the trailer queens out there, yet look as clean and show worthy as Kusonoki's Silvia.