Nissan S15 Silvia Professional racecar drivers usually get to plow around in some pretty interesting company cars from the manufacturers they're affiliated with, be it luxurious sedans or top-of-the-line sports cars. The more successful the driver, the more makes and models are his for the borrowing. But there is one well-known motorsport personality in Japan who prefers to do things his own way. Having earned wins for more OEs at one time or another than we can even name, Nobuteru "Nob" Taniguchi is regarded in Japan as one of the biggest stars of the motoring world. But unlike most of his rivals, Nob has shown that he'd just as soon rock a slammed Toyota Windom to the latest Bentley or Bimmer, a Nissan Elgrand to a USDM Hummer, or an S15 Silvia above all else-he's rumored to have owned about a dozen of them. We're thinking this one might be his best yet.
Takahiro Ueno, D1GP legend and owner of Car Make T&E is the man Taniguchi let loose on the aesthetics of his latest creation: this Silvia Spec-R. Ueno saw it as a great opportunity to create a fresher, more modern look to the somewhat aging S15, and his skills as a forward-thinking designer are evident at first glance of the one-piece front bumper that sets the tone for his new Vertex Edge kit. Large openings allow the intercooler and oil coolers to swallow as much air as possible, while smooth contours highlight the integrated lower lip spoiler and side vents. A Vertex fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) hood sports two ridges that work their way up from the small grille, a welcome change from the vented items we're used to seeing on cars of this day. The front fenders, widened by 50mm, boost the visual impact of the Silvia and are joined by a series of air outlets that meet the upward-flowing lines of the stock doors. Rear fenders boast a similar increase in girth, as the fronts gently follow the lines of the stock arches, blending seamlessly with widened, angular side skirts. The rear bumper spoiler was the final piece Ueno incorporated into the Edge kit, and gives a more menacing profile to the rear with its diffuser-like lower section. Not wishing to interfere with the somewhat drift-oriented theme of the car, only a small lip spoiler was applied to the edge of the trunk, along with a secondary winglet on the roof (hot tip: GT wings don't do much for sideways-moving cars). The T&E treatment extends to the front lights, which have been fitted with an Audi-like LED strip, complementing a full LED taillight conversion at the rear. Yokohama Japan thought their new Advan RG-D wheels would look rather good on Nob's S15 and sent him a full 19-inch set in matte black. When he didn't argue, they also threw in a few sets of Advan AD08 tires, a perfect choice for a car that will no doubt see road and track action alike.
Among his many, more "mainstream" motorsport pursuits, Nob continues to put in work for the tuning scene, serving as HKS's driver for development, D1GP drifting, and time-attack. So it's no surprise that underhood we find an SR20DET painted in a familiar shade of Alpine green. An unassuming HKS Motorsport plaque on the valve cover reveals that the same department that builds all HKS demo cars and race engines has also prepared this particular unit. It all starts with an HKS 2.2L engine kit, which increases stroke to 91 mm and bore to 87 mm, through the use of a fully counterbalanced crankshaft, tough H-beam connecting rods, and +1mm-oversized forged aluminium pistons. The head received no special work, and has only been fitted with very mild 256-degree camshafts on the intake and the exhaust sides. No upgrades to the valve train were carried out. A 1.2mm metal head gasket seals everything in place to take the 1.5 bar of boost that an HKS GT3037S turbo supplies. The dry-carbon intake pipe that connects the HKS pod filter to the GT3037S will no doubt create widespread jealousy in S15 owners the world over, since as Hayashi-san told us, this is a one-off part made just for Nob. HKS hard piping is used to connect the intake manifold to an S-type intercooler, situated between two other prototype pieces: twin HKS oil coolers, a kit of which may enter full production in the near future. An F-Con V Pro D-Jetro handles engine management without needing a mass airflow sensor (MAFS), and allows this SR20 to crank out an approximate 500hp punch and an equally impressive peak torque of 433 lb-ft of torque.
Nob's S15 is fitted with a special set of "Nob-Spec" Hipermax coilovers, originally a one-off item specially tuned and set by Taniguchi, but now something available directly from HKS to bring 1mm wheel wells and drift-car handling to the masses. Nob's affiliation with Project Mu means that inside those massive 19-inch Advan RG-Ds one can find some serious braking power thanks to six-piston calipers up front and four-piston units at the rear. Curiously enough, Nob runs the same setup on his project Nissan Elgrand van!
Much like every other area of this S15, the interior will probably get most readers profusely salivating, what with its carbon/Kevlar Bride Low Max seats, Bride-upholstered everything else, and T&E custom lower dashboard section and center console housing HKS EVC and AFK modules. An HKS boost gauge was fitted to the stock A-pillar pod, while an Eclipse double-DIN LCD unit takes care of the navigation and entertainment side of things. And like anything Nob drives, an obligatory Nardi steering wheel and T&E shift knob round out interior modification (no pun intended)-we wonder if he has these items temporarily installed on his loaners, too.
Driving around in cars like this Silvia, when so many would argue in favor of the "higher class" rides at his disposal, is why Nob continues to remain such a highly respected figure in the Japanese tuning community. There's value in the words of those who practice what they preach. And when a racecar driver known as "No One Better" shows you which cars are worthy of his days off, you can take that to the bank!
Made to order
enjoying being loaded from racing
Nissan S15 Silvia
Output: 500 hp / 433 lb-ft of torque
Engine HKS 2.2L engine kit (91mm stroke crankshaft, 87mm 8.8:1 compression forged pistons, H-beam connecting rods), 1.2mm steel head gasket, 256/256 camshafts, GT3037S turbocharger, cast exhaust manifold, GTII external wastegate, Hi-Power exhaust, S-Type front-mount intercooler, hard piping kit, SSQVIII blow-off valve, Super Power Flow Reloaded air filter, one-off dry carbon intake tubing, fuel pump, 740cc/min injectors, M45i spark plugs, twin oil coolers, oil cap, radiator cap, D-Jetro conversion, F-Con V Pro ECU; Koyo racing radiator; custom aluminum catch tank
Drivetrain HKS LA clutch kit, lightweight flywheel
Suspension HKS Hipermax-D NOB-Spec coilovers
Wheels/Tires Yokohama Advan RG-D wheels (19x9 front, 19x10 rear), Advan Neova AD08 tires (235/35-19 front, 265/30-19 rear)
Brakes Project Mu six-piston calipers, two-piece slotted rotors (front), four-piston calipers, two-piece slotted rotors (rear), pads
Exterior Vertex Edge kit (FRP front bumper, +50mm wide front fenders, hood, side skirts, +50mm rear wide fenders, rear bumper, trunk lip spoiler, roof spoiler, headlight eyebrows, LED headlight conversion, LED taillight conversion; Ganador side mirrors
Interior Bride Low Max front seats, gradient re-upholstery throughout; Nardi steering wheel; T&E custom lower dashboard, center console, shift knob, leather shift and brake boots, carpets
Electronics HKS EVC boost controller, AFK air/fuel sensor, boost gauge; Eclipse AVN778HD HDD navigation/DTV/CD/DVD double-DIN