If Nissan had released a successor to the S15, chances are we probably wouldn’t be seeing Silvias like this on the streets of Japan. Let’s face it: an affordable, turbocharged sports coupe is no longer an option for Japanese enthusiasts—some have held onto their cars much longer than expected, and in the process, find it increasingly difficult to upgrade some parts while others have done every imaginable modification available. As the Miyagawa brothers of Garage Mak tell us, “there isn’t much left that you can do [to the Silvia]”, that all the boxes have been checked and on so many varying levels. Out of the many S15s we’ve seen over the years, this one represents perfection to the highest degree, and yet it’s also one of the most complete demos you’ll ever find.
The idea behind this impressive project was simple, or at least that’s how it appears on paper. The owner wanted a car that would look its best on display at meets/shows, perform well on track and at the end of the day, be able to get its passengers home with reasonable comfort. The Miyagawa brothers knew that to create the ultimate all ‘rounder they would really have to think bigger and better. They started on looks first.
Seeing as how the Silvia would serve as a calling card for their innovative thinking, it was decided that a wild transformation was on deck. The front end oozes aggression thanks to heavy use of carbon-fiber in making the under-spoiler, canards and hood. The large openings on the Garage Mak bumper are necessary to draw as much air as possible towards the engine, especially the main central intake, which feeds the HKS Type-R intercooler. The carbon treatment continues along the profile of the car with two strips fixed onto the Garage Mak side skirts, smoothing out airflow around the car. Adding a unique look to the S15 is the Garage Mak scissor door conversion, something the owner really wanted in order to make the car stand out. The special hinges allow the doors to be opened conventionally before being pushed upward. Further demonstrating their creative minds, the Garage Mak rear bumper and carbon trunk lid are matched to a RE Amemiya diffuser that is originally meant for a FD3S RX-7 but was custom modified to fit. Their adjustable Type 2 carbon wing is not for show, despite what some of you might think, since the power produced from the SR20 has created traction issues necessitating a wing like this.
To avoid rubbing from the Enkei RPF1 wheels, the front fenders were widened 80mm and the rear blistered with 55mm over fenders, fixed to the body with exposed rivets. The car sits on custom-prepped HKS Hiper Max D coilovers, set to offer the best compromise for daily driving, grip racing and even drifting. More suspension enhancements come in the form of Cusco rear upper arms, tension rods and toe control rods; a TRUST roll center adjuster, Ikeya Formula traction rods and Garage Mak pillow ball tie rod ends. The stock brakes have been replaced in favor of a complete GReddy system, make up of 6-pot front caliper and 4-pot rears; disc size is same for each corner at 355 mm.
You’d expect 650ps to come from the RBs and 2JZs of the world, but what if a SR20DET does it? Got your attention now? The Miyagawa brothers took Nissan’s most beloved 4-cylinder and gave it the Greg Plitt treatment, stroking the bottom end to 2.2L from a Tomei stroker kit. And to help the motor sing to 9K rpm, the entire cylinder head was built with all the HKS goods. Hanging off a Garage Mak stainless manifold is an externally-gated HKS GT3240 turbo, and a custom exhaust, also from Garage Mak, starts with the front pipe and exits with a titanium outlet; for days when it needs to be entirely street legal, a HKS catalytic converter is bolted in. HKS 1000cc injectors supply plenty of petrol needed to feed this engine, and an A’PEXi Power FC D-jetro manages the entire operation. You want driveline upgrades? How does a 6-speed HKS sequential gearbox and NISMO Copper Mix twin-clutch sound? Not enough? Garage Mak has you covered with a 1.5-way ATS carbon LSD, sending equal parts traction to both rear wheels.
Remember those crazy doors? Lift them up and take a good look: nothing like a Bride Zeig III and XAXII to brighten your days of driving. But wait, there’s more—the carbon dash cover accentuates the modern look of the S15’s interior. Some of its air vents were used to house a Blitz oil pressure gauge and a Billion fan controller; the center console hosts the Power FC Commander and custom mounted HKS EVC boost controller. For easy access to the driver’s seat, a Nardi steering wheel can be detached from the Works Bell hub.
Garage Mak have far exceeded the expectations of the owner, creating a potent and highly successful mix of power, functionality and looks. There really isn’t much else that can be done to this S15—except for the owner to get out and enjoy it!