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1999 Nissan Silvia (S15) - The Right Place, The Right Time

Signal Auto Treats Us to an Unforgettable Time in Osaka With This Drift S15.

Sean Klingelhoefer
Apr 26, 2012
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One of the greatest perks when it comes to working for Super Street isn’t just being around cars; it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet people all over the world, a lot of whom I can now call my close friends. While we don’t talk on the phone often and sometimes let months go by without a single email, we know that when the opportunity comes about where we can meet again, it’s like time hasn’t skipped a beat. You pick up the conversation right where you left off. Back before I even took my first trip to Japan, I met the Signal Auto crew as they were beginning their US racing career, one that started with drag racing long before they were drifters. When I finally was able to go to Tokyo Auto Salon, they were quick to graciously welcome us as guests, and every passing year we were treated equally as well (or better), to which I owe their entire staff an enormous deal of gratitude. It also helps that when it comes to finding content for Super Street, they’re a great source to turn to—hence, this S15 you see now.

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I always give Yumi Mano, one of Signal’s primary staff members (and the only person who speaks English), a shout before we start any Japan trip to see if they have any project cars or customer cars that might be a good fit for SS, and when she sent me photos of this S15, owned by Hiroshi Koyama, I knew we had gold on our hands. The weather on this trip was typical of Japan during the winter season, chilling cold—but as luck would have it, we experienced a bit of downpour on the day we were to shoot at Signal. Luckily, Signal’s a big shop for a Japanese tuning company as it not only has enough space to work on cars, but there’s also plenty of room to paint (for the ShowUp department) and tune (you’ll notice the indoor, in-ground four-wheel dyno the car was stored on here); the S15 happened to be sitting inside, awaiting our arrival.

Now, the story behind the build process of this S15 is pretty cool, one that many of us can easily relate to. Koyama-san is a Nissan S-chassis lover, through and through, having owned an 180SX and a S13 previously. As a drifting enthusiast, he switched over to the S15 eight years ago and has been working on it slowly (but steadily) to get it to its current state. Right away this car stands out in a big way with its color and aero upgrades; the body not with one but a mix of different Vertex Lang and GP Sports parts to get a truly unique style. For a cleaner look, Signal molded the front canards into the bumper and used steel plating to mold the rear fenders; they even went so far as to shape the fender arches without using a premade fender kit, so the attention to detail is key. Koyama-san’s biggest concern was the color, which he first developed as a concept by using Photoshop to get a better idea of what would look best. ShowUp caters best to customers in the custom paint department, offering unique blends like the EkiShow green—it’s wild but suits this S15 perfectly. To prepare it for drift duty, the car was lowered with Swift springs matched to DG-5 dampers; Largus sway bars, stiffer NISMO bushings and IKEYA Formula suspension arms further dial the chassis in for proper slide movement.

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Lifting the carbon hood reveals a clean engine bay, but the Tomei Power sparkplug cover is all the proof you need to know that this is indeed a powerful SR20DET, built with full Tomei internals. The bottom-end was rebuilt and stroked to 2.2L with forged pistons, connecting rods and a fully balanced crankshaft; the cylinder head was ported and polished, then built with Tomei valvetrain components and topped off with Procam camshafts. A ball-bearing HKS GT2835KAI turbo was custom-mated to a HKS actuator because it wasn’t a direct fit originally; the rest of the turbo kit is a mixture of KTS intercooler piping and a GReddy intercooler core. The OEM gearbox was replaced with a NISMO 6-speed unit that is accompanied by other NISMO goods, including a Super Copper Mix clutch and GT limited-slip differential. It’s not an overly complicated engine setup by any means, but it’s more than good enough to push 452hp and 384lb-ft, plenty for the drift circuit and spirited, midnight kanjo runs.

Being that Osaka is an ideal playground for many gearheads, Signal Auto couldn’t have been a more perfect place for this car to be built at. Koyama-san’s S15 represents a classy style that has been evident since Signal has been in existence and one that we hope returns to the US soon. Signal hinted to us that the possibility may be coming up sooner than later. Our fingers are crossed!

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Tuning Menu
1999 Nissan Silvia (S15)
Owner Hiroshi Koyama
Hometown Osaka, Japan
Power 452hp; 384lb-ft
Engine Tomei 2,163cc SR20DET engine with Procam 260 camshafts, forged H-beam connecting rods, pistons, bearings, solid pivot set, crankshaft, 1mm oversized valves, SPCC valve seats, valve guides, valve spring retainers, head bolts, oil pan and adjustable pulley; A’PEXi Sports catalytic converter; Kakimoto Kai GT1.0Z Racing Series exhaust; Altrack Type S4 exhaust manifold; NISMO 740cc injectors and fuel pump; SARD fuel pressure regulator; HPI Mega Max air filter; Splitfire direct ignition system; NGK Racing sparkplugs; HKS GT2835KAI turbo and reinforced actuator; GReddy Spec-R HG intercooler; KTS intercooler piping; Koyorad radiator
Drivetrain NISMO 6-speed transmission, GT LSD, Super Coppermix single clutch, transmission mount and 3.9 final drive
Engine Management HKS F-con Vpro; Blitz Dual SBC boost controller
Footwork & Chassis Swift springs; DG-5 dampers; Largus front/rear sway bars; NISMO bushings; IKEYA Formula front/rear suspension arms
Brakes Alcon 4-pot front calipers with PAGID RS brake pads; OEM Brembo R34 Skyline GT-R rear calipers with PAGID rear brake pads; APP stainless brake lines
Wheels & Tires 18x9" +19/18x9.5" +30 SSR Professor SP1 wheels
Exterior Vertex Lang body kit; GP Sports 3D-Variable rear wing; ShowUp EkiShow Scarabeus Green paint
Interior Recaro SP-G seats; Defi gauges; Nardi Classic steering wheel; Willans Club4 harnesses; WorksBell Rapfix steering wheel hub; NISMO shift knob
Thanks You OK Racing; YMS; Auto Service Mori; Signal Auto
WWW greddy.com; koyorad.com; signalauto.co.jp; tomeiusa.com

By Sean Klingelhoefer
211 Articles

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