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 |   |  1999 Nissan Silvia - Refueling the Fire
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1999 Nissan Silvia - Refueling the Fire

Signal Auto is Back: Faster, Fatter, and PHATter Than Ever

Ricky Chu
Aug 1, 2002
Photographer: Wes Allison

Do you guys remember your first love? The only girl who could make you drop your tough guy attitude and use pet names in public. Your grin would widen to a huge smile when she held your hand, and you wouldn"t be able to stand up for a couple minutes when she would kiss you on the back of the neck. It doesn"t really matter when she was a part of your life, the fact of the matter is that she was. And you will never be able to forget her, no matter how hard you try. Two or even 20 years from now you could be married with kids and living in a brand new house thinking that you"ve finally overcome your love for her. But deep down inside, you know you haven"t forgotten one moment that you spent with her. (As you can tell, Rick is going through his midlife crisis-JW) Maybe you"ll see someone at the supermarket who looks like her, but you can"t quite catch up to make sure. Then one day, all the figments of your imagination come true. You"re face to face with your true love, your first love, and the whole world pauses. She looks and acts different, things with her have changed, but for the better.

This is exactly how I feel about the Signal S15 Silvia. When I saw the Signal S15 Silvia featured for the first time in Super Street (February 2001, "Streaker"), my jaw dropped. With nearly 600 hp at the wheels, I wouldn"t change a thing. I looked to this car for inspiration when converting my S14 to Silvia specs. "Nothing could make this car more perfect than it is," I said to myself. I talk to myself a lot to try to overcome the fact that the fat dude that sells hotdogs at the Staples Center makes more money than me. My mind was quickly changed when I saw the same S15 at the "02 Tokyo Auto Salon. It was the same Silvia, but much better, and much wider. You might ask if that is even possible. And I will guaran-damn-tee you that it is.

Front, back, or side-to-side there"s no way that anyone can identify that this was the same car that we featured in our mag last year. Anybody who says they can, gets a swift punch to the stomach for being a big fat liar. Courtesy of an immense Signal wide body kit, the car now takes up more room than Jonny"s Honey Sweet Hannah shrine. Instead of the original gunmetal silver paint, the S15 is covered in a custom mixed candy orange spread with a total rework of the graphics. Still in place, though, is the Target aero kit that surrounds the four corners of the Silvia with an extra splash of flavor from the Ganador carbon-fiber mirrors. The only wheels bad-ass enough to replace the Volk Racing TE37s that were previously on the car and fat enough to fill the gap of the widebody kit is a set of CE28Ns in 18x9.5 form and Skyline GT-R offset. On the circuit in Japan, Signal uses Yokohama A048 tires, but in the States Nitto NT555 rubbers are utilized for maximum streetability. As for handling, Signal traded the Tein RA coilovers for the Tein RS-Signal version shocks and springs. Stopping power is still enforced by a beefy set of Alcon brakes. And Nads has experienced first-hand how hard it is to stop one of Signal"s cars when there is "row boost, too much weight."

The interior was one of the few things still left somewhat intact. But then again, they"d have a tough time trying to top the red Bride Dino and Brix racing seats. To even think about swapping that interior out would be pure insanity. Engine vital signs are still monitored by a plethora of Trust gauges but a Do Luck rollcage now surrounds the driver and passengers. That"s just about enough room for Sharon Sotto to sit when I"m driving her around. Everyone else can walk.

Now comes the most stimulating transition of all-the motor. Originally making 597 hp on a Trust T78 turbo, this boxed inferno now makes well over 600 hp with an even larger T88 slug (originally used for the circuit only) regulated to 1.7 bar of boost via a Profec B-spec and Type R wastegate. This gargantuan snail blows its exhaust gases through a 45mm Trust manifold and 80mm Signal exhaust. A great deal of this power is derived from the Toda 2,200cc stroker kit (ha ha-I can say stroker and Jonny can"t), high-lift cams and Signal-ported head. Masterminding the 850cc injectors and twin Bosch fuel pumps is an HKS F-Con V Pro. Reinforcing the bottom end are H-type connecting rods, also from Trust. A Signal radiator, Trust oil cooler, and ARC oil pan keep the engine at adequate operating temperatures. The solitary item that I could probably afford under this hood is the Signal oil catch can, and that"s still questionable. Still holding this immense amount of power to the ground is a Trust six-speed sequential tranny working in conjunction with an Exedy twin-plate clutch, carbon-fiber propeller shaft, and Cusco Type RS limited-slip differential.

So, you may be wondering if there is some symbolic meaning behind this story. Are my words really directed to a girl, or the Signal S15? Will the presence of a certain female from my past fill the void in my empty life? Or do I just want my S14 to be a 600hp street terror as well? Maybe I"m greedy and want both. Am I going to tell you the answer? I wouldn"t count on it if I were you. For the time being, just be grateful that a car like this actually exists. And that Signal Auto was gracious enough to let us share it with you, for the second (and even better) time.

By Ricky Chu
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