Clump, clump, clump.
What I am doing right now is very cool, and the funny thing is that I'm not doing anything. Really, I am just sitting. Well, not exactly sitting, but riding shotgun in an S15 Silvia. You know, one of those cool contraptions that we don't get over here in the States. Clump, clump. But this isn't any ol'; S15 (if there can be such a thing). This is Signal Auto's 597hp demo car, so needless to say, the coolness factor rises big time. Clump, clump, clump.
Oh, don't mind the noise. Clump, clump. That's Signal President Kousuke Kida, shifting the Grex six-speed sequential tranny;it makes sure you hear every gear change, which isn't a bad thing in this case. As we veer onto the highway;clump, clump, clump;we pass every car on the ramp like they're standing still. And though we're among regular traffic, there's no doubt about the car's top speed pedigree.
Powering the Signal S15 is an SR22DET powerplant that's been turbocharged to the hilt. The monster GReddy T78-33D turbocharger pumps so much air into the combustion chamber that it's a wonder the thing doesn't go into orbit. Even scarier is the fact that Signal swaps in an even bigger T-88 turbo for competitions. The compression ratio has been lowered to 7.96:1 with dished Toda pistons and fuel delivery upped accordingly with Sard 850cc fuel injectors and regulator and a Bosch fuel pump. If you're a numbers kind of person, take a serious chomp on 597 hp and 457.9 lb-ft at the wheels. But if you're like me (and it takes you the better part of a day to convert kg-m to lb-ft), the real test is on the road. Clump, clump, clump.
And it's blast off. The damping on the Tein RA coilovers are tuned for the track, and the Dunlop tires don't budge from the road. Last May, Signal Auto competed the S15 in the Option-sponsored Club RH9 777 Battle, in which some of the top tuners in Japan attacked the 777 meter straight at Fuji International Speedway. From a standstill, the Signal S15 goes up to 257.2 km/h (166 mph), which is really eye-opening when you consider that the car still has a full interior. Right now, it feels like we're going at least that fast. And there are other cars around us, behind us, and most importantly, in front of us. Right in front of us. Yup, the brakes work pretty well, too.
Clump, clump, clump. Back up to pants-wetting speed, which is around 180 km/h in going-home traffic. The situation isn't exactly bumper-to-bumper, but it's close enough for me, which doesn't really matter because I'm not driving. Kousuke chooses to disregard the traffic completely. He definitely has the car for it. The car sounds like a beast on steroids. Clump, clump. With hunger pains. Or is that the sound of my heart going into severe arrest? Either way, every car gets out of our way, and drivers with feets don't fail me now looks on their faces. My mouth is agape, but for a totally different reason. I've grown weary of soiling my shorts. (Rich drives 45 mph.-JK)
A Sunday driver this car (or Kousuke) is definitely not, but you can't tell from the inside, where everything is 100-percent show. The red Bride seats have been matched with red upholstery in the rear. The three-gauge cluster above the center console sits in a perfect line. Even the Grex sequential shifter looks factory-installed. But looks are deceiving. This is far from a factory car. And I'm learning it the fun way. A bit frightening. But fun.
Clump, clump, clump.