Kyoto is Japan's culture capital. Spared from damage during the second World War, it's home to many ancient shrines and temples, from the main ones located in the city's center, all the way to the smaller buildings nestled up in the surrounding green hills. As fascinating as this may sound, the reason I found myself standing in front of Ikkyu-ji has absolutely nothing to do with Zen Buddhism, and in fact, couldn't be any less related to Japanese culture, history and religion. In this case, I'm about to see Satomi Nakawatase's S14, one of the most unique Silvias in all of Japan.
Pulling up to the temple's gates early, in typical Japanese style, I could hear the SR20 burbling as it made its way to us, its revs kept low as possible as to keep from disturbing the neighborhood and groundskeepers of Ikkyu-ji. If anyone has seen the Volklinger S14 on the Internet, then we're sure you've thought "WTF?" as its theme is nothing short of wild. Next is "Why?—this is mostly because of the German war motif, but we can assure you that Satomi's intentions couldn't have been more innocent. As a diehard fan of building war models, he likes to work on scaled replicas of tanks, airplanes and other military vehicles in his spare time. He thought that combining his passion for the scaled stuff along with his love for drifting and cars could become something pretty unique, hence this S14.
It's taken the better part of the last couple years and just days prior to our meeting for him to put the finishing touches to a new hood, one that shields the headlights, as well as a tank-like armored windscreen cover. Those with a keen eye for all things JDM will notice the TRA Kyoto/Rocket Bunny 6666 Customs GT Rodeo Special aero kit, which has been radically painted in military drab, not to mention lots of custom airbrushing that recreates rust runs from the exposed bolts, like something you'd see on a tank that's seen plenty of action. Bolt-on louvered panels give the impression of air outlets around the side and rear of the S14, and there are bullets of various calibers attached on the driver's side door. The front fenders are the least military looking as they've been welded and covered by US license plates—it's strange but seems to match.
Probably the most extreme move, and something that in the process has made the car unable to be legally licensed for road use, is the glass…or rather lack of it. All four side windows have been replaced with metal; two louvered covers for the smaller rearmost sections and diamond-cut sheets for the door's glass, cut and shaped so that they can fit in the door and be raised or lowered at a flick of a switch. Add to this the windscreen armor and the S14 goes into full tank-mode!
The wheels are very American, 16x10" Mickey Thompson Classic IIs that are custom painted purple and wrapped with tightly stretched Pinso PS91 rubber. Not your typical J-spec choice at all, but they stand out like a sore thumb thanks to the -45 offset, which we're sure will piss off all the anti-stance heads to no end.
The military feel is carried on inside the car, where the whole dash and upper door trim have been covered in reproduction German wartime currency, which Satomi found on Yahoo! Auctions. There are a total of nine auxiliary gauges on the center console, four of which are boost gauges of different styles and brands, painted in clear yellow to give the impression of a tank's cockpit. This S14 sees a lot of drift duty, so Satomi has installed an older Recaro seat for more support, not to mention an ATC steering wheel that's been mounted to (count ‘em) four stacked quick-release bosses. But the insanity doesn't stop there…
Lift the custom hood and you'll find it oozing even more originality. The whole engine bay, valve cover, piping, wiring harnesses (we're talking everything) has been sprayed in flat black. It's another element of surprise, much like the camo paint behind the rear bumper or the purple and pink blotches of paint on the underside of the trunk lid. It's almost ingenious how a few rattle cans of matte black have helped connect the engine bay to the rest of the car. At the shoot, Satomi had a spare can of Holt's black he picked up at the local Autobacs, which is always ready to go if some scratches or stains need to be painted over, something he quickly demonstrated for us with a few touch-up sprays!
It's easy to overlook, but under all this mayhem sits a nicely tuned SR, boasting a Trust TD06 turbo upgrade and HKS intercooler, all managed by an A'PEXi Power FC piggy-back ECU, all good for a reliable 400hp. All of the engine work, including the custom center-exit exhaust, was done by Hayashi Auto Service.
During the couple of hours that we were shooting in front of Ikkyu-ji, people were literally shocked by what they saw, including a hoard of helmet-clad elementary school children. But that's always quickly followed by smiles and questions of what on Earth Satomi's done to his car. With nothing being absolutely unique in the aftermarket world, it's hard to come up with an original idea, and yet, Satomi has hit a home run with the Volklinger Silvia, redefining unique in every way possible.
1994 Nissan Silvia S14
Hometown: Kyoto, Japan
Engine: 2.0L SR20DET; Tomei 256º camshafts; Trust/GReddy exhaust manifold, TD06 turbo and oil filter relocation kit; HKS intercooler, 555cc injectors and Super Power Flow filter; Nissan Z32 air flow meter; Hayashi Auto Service custom piping and center-exit exhaust; custom-painted matte black engine bay
Drivetrain: ORC Super Single clutch
Engine Management: A'PEXi Power FC; HKS boost controller
Footwork &: Chassis Trust/GReddy adjustable coilovers; GP Sports springs; Cusco lower control arms
Brakes: Project Mu brake pads
Wheels &: Tires 16x10" -45 Mickey Thompson Classic II wheels; 205/45R16 Pinso PS91 tires
Exterior: TRA Kyoto/Rocket Bunny 6666 Customs GT Rodeo Special aero kit and ducktail spoiler; custom extended/vented Origin Lab hood, license plate-covered fenders, metal side glass, tank-like windscreen cover, louvered rear glass and military/matte paint; Vitaloni mirrors; Fascinating D roof scoop
Interior: Recaro seat; ATC steering wheel; stacked quick-release steering bosses; custom meter panel; GReddy oil temp gauge; SARD oil pressure gauge