Even though the Internet and social media have provided us with what seems is limitless amounts of connectivity, we don't always take advantage of it. Many of us are self-involved with what goes on around us that we never look "outside," so to speak. And talking about automotive enthusiasts specifically, we spend so much of our time concentrating on our own builds and friends' project cars that we often don't bother to see what else is out there. Sure, many of us try to follow what's going on in Japan, but if you asked your average American car guy about what they know in regards to tuning culture in any other country, they probably wouldn't have much to say—if anything at all. The reality of the situation is that our tuning culture has become a worldwide phenomenon, and it has been this way for quite some time. Countries like the United Kingdom, for example, are home to a thriving tuning community and offer similar events that rival the ones happening in your neck of the woods. Drifting also has a huge presence overseas, and its growth has lead to the creation of some very impressive vehicles. So when photos of this Nissan Silvia landed in our inboxes, we thought it would be a good time to shed some light on what the U.K. had to offer.
As far as drift cars go, this is perhaps one of the most unique ones we've encountered. Not so much because of its overall appearance, per se, but more so because of the sum of all its parts. The custom-mounted Rocket Bunny 86/FR-S over-fenders are a notable aesthetic touch, but the amalgamation of so many other components makes this a one-of-a-kind build. Shaan Shareef, the creator of this almost-bizarre S14, is no stranger to the U.K. drifting scene. He's been sliding around all over the country for a good amount of time, and two years ago, he decided to open up a tuning shop appropriately named Drift Street Imports, or simply DSI to locals.
"I always wanted my own shop," Shareef explains. "I was working in sales and marketing, but one day, I came upon the opportunity to open up my own spot. It was a chance to be my own boss and do what I loved, so I went for it. To be able to have everything in one spot was my dream. Alignment racks, ramps, tools, and a lift...it was perfect. I had done 'driveway builds' with previous cars and worked in the rain getting cars ready for a drift day, so to have a fully functional workshop was amazing!"
In addition to building competitive vehicles, Shareef also imported cars from Japan to resell in the U.K. This S14 started out as a very clean, unmolested chassis that was imported without an engine and transmission. Shareef didn't bring in this one personally, but he did purchase it from a friend who did. The shell was stored in a dry and secure location, so it was the perfect candidate for an all-out build.
Teardown of the car began in September '14. The entire shell was stitch-welded throughout for chassis rigidity. Nickson Motorsport jumped on board and fabricated a full rollcage for the Nissan, which later included the addition of some extra bars done in-house at DSI. Most S-chassis owners would have gone a traditional route by dropping in an SR20DET motor, possibly even an RB from the Skyline lineage; however, Shareef wanted to go a li'l crazy and go down the road less travelled. A popular swap here would have been an American LS, but in the U.K., they stay true to the Japanese. The powerplant that lives and breathes in this Silvia is a 2JZ-GTE that was plucked from a JZS161 Toyota Aristo.
Mated to the motor via a Collins adapter plate is a CD009 six-speed manual gearbox originally from a Nissan 350Z. Internally, the Toyota inline-six remains completely untouched. JZs are known for their reliability, so it should hold up just fine with the addition of a larger BorgWarner turbo and 6boost turbo manifold. Ignition power is beefed up with coil packs from an Audi TT, strangely enough, and the inclusion of parts from other vehicles and manufacturers doesn't end there... A drive-by-wire electronic throttle body from a 6.1L Dodge Hemi engine has been retrofitted to the 2J S14, while steering operation is now assisted with an OEM 350Z pump and bracket. The front mount intercooler is a modified Skyline GT-R core, as is the cross member, which is also from a R32 Skyline. The only known issue with the 2JZ-GTE is that they are known to run hot, so Shareef and the DSI crew created a one-off cooling system that mounts the radiator in the "boot" (we normal people call it "trunk") with piping routed back toward the front where the engine resides.
Steering angle is an essential part of any drift car, so Shareef spent many late nights tinkering with the suspension. The subframe and lower control arms were refreshed, reinforced, and powdercoated to a brand-new finish. Driftworks CS2 dampers set the S14 on the ground while all adjoining rods and arms have been upgraded with Japspeed parts (it's OK to say "Jap" in the U.K. apparently). Laying down plenty of Achilles rubber is a set of staggered 18-inch SSR Professor SP3 wheels. This particular set is a bit rare in his country due to its unique offset and sizing, but Shareef has no qualms with beating on them as he is an admitted "wheel whore" who is constantly on the hunt for new rolling stock.
"The most talked about part of the car is the body kit," he says. "I fell in love with the way the [86/FR-S] Rocket Bunny aero kit looked, so I took the risk and made it fit. It was a tough job, but we went for it and the end result is better than I ever expected. The lines and aggressiveness of the over-fenders on an S-chassis are amazing, I feel, and look menacing covered in black!"
Drift Street Imports is just one of many flourishing tuning shops in its region, so it is important that Shareef and his team create a competitive vehicle to set a standard. In less than a year's time, Shareef's 2JZ-powered Silvia has made some serious waves in the U.K. drifting scene. "I've competed in this car three times since its completion and qualified in two of them," he says. "The reliability has been great, but there are still minor kinks to work out. It's on low boost currently due to a map sensor issue, and we are able to squeeze 400 bhp out of the motor. Once we fix the issue, I'm aiming toward an upward of 600 hp. In the end, my hope is that we have created something memorable to not only help out our shop, but also to help bring more attention to drifting culture here in the United Kingdom."
Shareef's £2 on the U.K. Scene
"We are still years behind Formula Drift; however, I find we are more like D1NZ [drifting series in New Zealand that started in '03]. Our cars and specs are similar—maybe this is because it's much easier to import JDM cars into the U.K. and New Zealand than the U.S."
"Support in the drift scene is very good, particularly at practice days. You will always find people to help out when you are in trouble—I'm always happy to help anyone when possible."
"For '15, it's the first year the British Drift Championship will have live streaming—in my opinion, two years behind!"
"The European series I would love to drive in is the Irish Drift Championship. It's fantastic to watch with great drivers and track layouts. They've nailed it! Of course, Formula D is still massive in comparison!"