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The Nissan Silvia S15

The legendary Nissan S chassis is well known as one of the cars that brought drifting to its huge popularity that it has today. The Nissan Silvia S15 being the latest and last iteration of this car is one of the most sought after JDM cars today with values increasing exponentially in the last 10 years. Also commonly known as the 240SX, they were designed for the budget conscious sports car enthusiast at the turn of the century. These cars were rear wheel drive, had a limited slip differential and stiff roll bars from the factory; a drift enthusiasts dream.

Referred to as the Mona Lisa in a certain famous drifting movie in 2006 it was clear to see that even when they were fairly new their legacy would be long lasting. Here in Australia we were lucky enough to be one of only 3 countries to see factory delivered models sold at dealerships. The ADM S15 was sold in a few variants, the most popular being the spec S and the spec R.

Luckily the Australian market Spec S featured several features from the JDM and ADM spec R from the factory. Mainly the turbo, the differential, the stronger chassis bracing and the stronger 6 speed manual gearbox.

The S15 as featured in this article is an Australian delivered 2002 Spec S that has had no stone left unturned in the modification and build process. We spent a day with owner Kristian getting familiar with his weapon of a car. Follow through as we show the true love and care that has gone into this car and its build over its lifetime.

Let’s start this car's story by talking about the engine, fair warning this is about to get technical. Namely the SR20DET, the engine has been fully rebuilt by Peter Gagliardi of Gagliardi Engine Developments in the southern suburbs of Adelaide. Commonly specialising in big block V8s, Peter brought that knowledge over to build a bullet proof 4 cylinder. Using forged components such as Scat rods, Cp pistons and ACL race bearings; this SR20 was built with big power in mind from day 1.

This corn-powered monster features a fuel system beginning with a Walbro 525 fuel pump, capable of supporting the E85 fuel that powers the car. The fuel flows freely at up to a wild 525LPH to an aeroflow fuel rail, paired with Xspurt 1550cc top mount injectors and a Radium fuel pressure regulator. Even the injector lines in this car are a work of art.

The oil system is complemented with a PWR oil cooler and a very neat Vibrant Performance catch can with braided lines and Speedflow fittings.

Mechanical timing is handled by oem valves on BC valve springs and an aggressive set of Kelford 266/270 degree 11mm lift cams. The electronic timing and control is modernised by a Link G4X ECU and accompanying Link sensors.

The true magic of this car is the turbo. Fitted with a Garrett GTX3071 turbo charger, this car on boost sounds like it belongs at an airport taking off. With the addition of a porting mod designed to mimic the sound of the legendary T51R, this turbo screams it‘s way to redline. If you have enough courage to get it there that is.

The flutter on lift thanks to the plumb-back 45mm Turbosmart external gate is enough to make anyone uncontrollably giggle. The smiles this car makes you pull are enough to make your face sore.

The turbo is accompanied by a 4 inch intake pipe with K&N filter. On the hot side the turbo sits on a 6boost manifold and is finished off with a 3 inch turbo back exhaust with a 3.5 inch straight pipe. The exhaust sound is deep, loud and hits all the right notes. You will hear this car coming!

Tuned by Garage 7 in Lonsdale SA, all of these mods come together to produce 340KW (at the wheels) and 550nm at 21 PSI. To think this car started its life with 147KW at the crank; the performance gains from the mods are unbelievable. A simply staggering amount of power for a 4 cylinder car that weighs less than 1300kg. To put that into perspective this car has a power to weight ratio almost 3 times better than a Cessna 172 aircraft; the car can’t fly but it feels bloody close.

The handling is sharp but this car is not for the faint hearted, it will snap out in the blink of an eye. Lowered on fully adjustable Racing Logic coil overs paired with KKR castor rods and GK tech camber and toe arms, the ride is firm and definitely not designed to be a daily but the grip is good; about as good as it gets for a light car with 340kw. An exciting combination to be sure!

Unsprung mass is kept down with a beautiful set of black 18” Rays wheels 57dr gram lights wrapped in Yokohama Advan Neova AD08R tyres. Fitment is tight but looks spectacular, after all a little bit of rubbing at full lock is a small price to pay for the car to handle like it's on rails and look great as a bonus.

Looking at the car from the outside you wouldn't expect it to be a big power track build. The first red flag to an unsuspecting passenger would be the fire extinguisher in the footwell. No big wings here, the looks are clean and understated; something that can’t be said for all S15s.

The wheels, the subtle Flow Designs skirts and lip all add some classy touches to the natural curved beauty of the Silvia. The hood is adorned with the striking S logo that looks like a bolt of lightning. In front of the rear wheel, the panel has a blue Spec S badge.

The interior of this car is one of it’s most surprising parts, it looks almost brand new inside the car. Every piece of stock trim looks almost untouched. Almost sitting on the road the Recaro Sr4 bucket seats are a very race inspired choice. However these seats have been retrimmed entirely in suede leather by Elite Trim Lonsdale, a touch of luxury in the cabin.

Having all that extra power makes you a bit more concerned about the operating parameters of your engine, such as oil pressure, oil temperature and water temperature. This is displayed in the cabin with a series of analogue Defi gauges taking up a DIN slot in the dash. A Defi boost gauge is mounted on the A pillar in a surprisingly sleek package, it looks almost as if Nissan intended it to be there. The steering wheel is a Nardi Deep Corn, which the owner says he picked up from a huge automotive department store on a trip to Japan; what a souvenir!

A Nismo gear knob is a cool OEM+ look, which is how I would describe most of the interior. The only thing in the cabin that isn’t early 2000s period correct is a USB head unit. Who needs apple carplay when the car is the entertainment!

This car really is something else. The level of detail and care that has gone into the build process over the years is a testament to the owner’s love of this car. Beautiful looks, a turbo that sounds like a jet and better performance than you could ever hope to use on the street. It will make you laugh out loud with delight and scare you at the same time. It will turn heads but it's also understated in its looks. To sum it up, this build is insane!

Check out the owners Instagram @s_one_five to see him absolutely chop an R33 GTR at Roll racing at the Bend motorsport park, no slump of a car in its own right.

Used as a weekend weapon and track machine this car is not particularly comfortable, it’s not designed to get milk from the shops. You can’t fit friends in the back. Traction control is a hair trigger you hope to control with your right foot. But that's not what it's for. Unleash this monster and it’ll do exactly what it’s supposed to do; go unrelentlessly fast.

We here at The Big Boost Club have a soft spot for Silvia's and the S15 is our favourite (sorry Kouki S14, we still love you!). We love how they look, one of the best looking JDM cars in our opinion. We love the potential for mods on the platform, any type of build you wanted to put together, there are a myriad of options for the platform. We’d love to get our hands on one for ourselves one day.

We were treated to a day getting to know this car and are thankful to owner Kristian for showing us his pride and joy. Safe to say we enjoyed the shoot!

Enjoy some of our shots from the day below.

Got a car you think is worth a feature? Want to do a shoot with us? Message us at @thebigboostclub on Instagram.

All opinions are our own.

Car owned by @s_one_five

Photos by @jeremy.khuu and @intent media

Article by @thebigboostclub

All photos are property of The Big Boost Club 2021 ©


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