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1996 Nissan Silvia & 180SX - The Rocket Buggies

Off the beaten path with Nissan's S-Chassis

David Ishikawa
Apr 26, 2018

When you ask people what their impressions of the Nissan S-chassis is, most would say they're great platforms for just about any type of driving, whether Time Attack, drift, or just having some plain ol' rear-wheel-drive fun. One type of driving you won't hear Nissan's affordable sports car associated with is goin' off-road. There's been a handful of rally builds in the '80s and '90s; even Nissan participated in Group B back in the day. In the case of a true enthusiast-built lifted S-chassis ready to take on mountains and trails, it's pretty much nonexistent—that is, until we met Kyosuke Kubo from Osaka, Japan.

1996 nissan silvia rocket bunny boss kit Photo 2/20   |   1996 Nissan Silvia Rocket Bunny Boss Kit

We discovered Kyosuke's Silvia at the annual SR All Star Meeting held in Shizuoka last spring—basically heaven for anyone who's a fan of the S13, S14, and S15. That was where we set the date for a shoot with Kyosuke a few months later at a local beach—somewhere we could get a taste of his vehicle's all-terrain capabilities. Little did we know he had a surprise waiting for us in the shape of a similarly lifted 180SX driven by his girlfriend, Yume Tanichi.

Sometimes being a car guy can be a challenge when you have a girlfriend, so Kyosuke's plan was to turn his girlfriend into a "car gal." The plan involved building Yume her own project. That's right, Kyosuke and Yume basically one-upped all those couples out there who wear matching outfits with matching off-road Nissans! Now, wherever Kyosuke is headed, you are sure to find Yume driving her 180SX nearby with the two chatting back and forth over walkie-talkies. Relationship goals...

1996 nissan 180SX rocket bunny rear bumper bar Photo 6/20   |   1996 Nissan 180SX Rocket Bunny Rear Bumper Bar

Top Rankaz, a four-wheel-drive specialty shop located in Osaka, was responsible for giving both Nissans a one-off lift kit that surprisingly is still able to incorporate off-the-shelf coilovers. To fit wider tires, Kyosuke leveraged Rocket Bunny over-fenders on both cars. In addition, he changed up the front of his Silvia with the Rocket Bunny Boss conversion.

Next, both cars received matching finishes and graphics: push bars to protect the front-mount intercoolers and some blindingly bright LED light bars. Kyosuke wanted to do a bit extra on his own car, so he used inspiration from desert rally cars and converted the trunk to a spare tire rack. In the event either car gets a flat, he has two spares to keep 'em going.

1996 nissan silvia method wheels Photo 10/20   |   1996 Nissan Silvia Method Wheels

When we asked Kousuke about what gave him the idea for an off-road S-chassis, he stated that his mother had always been into off-roading and even owns a BMW X5 modified in a similar fashion. More importantly, it's refreshing to know Kousuke's builds aren't just for show and to shake up the Nissan community; they're 100 percent functional and used at local rally events. Whether you love them or hate them, these are two of the most unique builds we've ever seen, not just in Japan but around the world. They also match a whole lot better than what your significant other made you wear this morning.

1996 nissan silvia method wheels Photo 11/20   |   1996 Nissan Silvia Method Wheels
1996 nissan 180SX rocket bunny aerokit Photo 15/20   |   1996 Nissan 180SX Rocket Bunny Aerokit
1996 nissan silvia rocket bunny boss kit Photo 16/20   |   1996 Nissan Silvia Rocket Bunny Boss Kit
1996 nissan 180SX rocket bunny fender flare Photo 20/20   |   1996 Nissan 180SX Rocket Bunny Fender Flare
By David Ishikawa
31 Articles
1996 Nissan Silvia & 180SX - The Rocket Buggies
Tuning Menu
'96 Nissan Silvia (S14)
Owner: Kyosuke Kubo
Hometown: Osaka, Japan
Instagram: @rocketbuggy
Engine: SR20DET with upgraded HKS turbo; custom manifold, muffler; TRUST intercooler; aftermarket oil cooler
Drivetrain: reinforced clutch
Footwork & Chassis: Blitz coilovers; custom lift kit, rollcage
Wheels & Tires: 16" Method wheels; 255/65R-16 Yokohama Geolandar A/T-S tires with two spares; 40mm front, 70mm rear spacers;
Exterior: Rocket Bunny Boss kit; custom steel bumper bars; LED fog lights, light bar, taillights; Aero mirrors; hood pins
Interior: Throne off-road seats and steering wheel
'96 Nissan 180SX (S13)
Owner: Yume Tanichi
Hometown: Osaka, Japan
Engine: SR20DET with TRUST intercooler; custom exhaust
Footwork & Chassis: Blitz coilovers; custom lift kit
Wheels & Tires: 15" Method wheels; 30/9.50R-15 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO tires; 40mm front, 50mm rear spacers
Exterior: Rocket Bunny fenders, front bumper; custom steel front and rear bumper bars; LED front light, roof light bar, taillights
Interior: Throne off-road seats and steering wheel

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