If you take action, it will become.
This is something that Cole said to me the first time we had met. As I’ve gotten to know Cole over the last few years this simple statement has proved to be an obvious mantra that he lives by. Driven by variables such as style, quality and uniqueness, I’m happy to have been able to watch Cole push forwards in building his Silvia.
The car in this article is a S15 Silvia Spec-S. For those that aren’t very familiar with these cars, the Spec-S signifies that this model has the naturally aspirated version of Nissan’s famed SR20 motor (in this case the SR20DE).
This is actually Cole’s second S15, the first car he had was a beautiful white Spec-R (turbocharged model) that was relatively stock. This car inspired excitement and encouragement in Cole, as he felt that he had found the car he had always been looking for; the perfect car for him. Sadly this car’s story ended abruptly when an uncaring driver made a dangerous move on the highway and struck Cole’s S15. The Silvia was pushed into a barrier at high speeds and was obliterated. Thankfully Cole walked away from the accident without being injured too seriously. After a challenging process, he purchased the car back from the insurance company and sold what he didn’t need while keeping the parts that he would put into his next Silvia build. And that’s correct, it was never a question if Cole was going to purchase another Silvia, only when.
After a short search Cole was able to locate the car that’s featured in this article. By purchasing his old Spec-R back after the accident, it allowed Cole to purchase this Spec-S for a reasonable price. And he also had every component that he needs to convert it entirely to Spec-R specifications and beyond.
Cole is a well researched, knowledgeable enthusiast that holds strong opinions towards the inner workings of the automotive culture. With this in mind I decided to break the norm of a typical feature article and ask him some questions with the intention of putting his unedited, raw answers here.
Q) Why the Silvia?
When you look at what’s available in regards to the variety you have with what’s viewed as a “sports car”, there’s a lot to pick and choose from and it’s can be a bit overwhelming for some folks. Some people like the modern and youthful vibe that the FRS/BRZ chassis gives off. Some like the feeling of status when they’re in a big leather laden luxury sedan with some kind of V8 and DSG transmission. There’s all kinds of things that lure us to the cars we choose, or the cars that choose us. The S15 though, really is an outstanding car for it’s time. The Nissan Silvia; a sleek, lightweight, well balanced, very aesthetically pleasing car. The Nissan S-chassis family is widely known for being oversteered into the curb a few blocks from your house. It’s also a well known candidate for literally more engine swaps than you can count on both hands. The S-chassis platform cars really allow people to do whatever they want with them, and I think that’s why the market for the average, rusty, and dented up 240SX is so over inflated these days. They’ll always be sought after. The S15 though, really is the most improved upon chassis of the family. Many were outfitted with numerous chassis braces in place, some were equipped with Z32 4 piston brakes in the front, and the turbocharged models were the most powerful of the S-chassis group. 250hp from a very easy to modify SR20DET with a ball bearing turbo. Ballpark area of 2700-2800 lbs, and you’ve got a very fun factory power to weight ratio. Nissan really did nail it when they made the S15 I think, and probably made what’s one of the most seductive looking cars they ever rolled through production. The S15 Silvia is an icon, just like the Skyline GTR, Supra, Impreza STI, Lancer Evolution, NSX, RX7, just to name a few. When you have a very good looking car, that performs just as well as it looks, what’s to lose?
Q) Why the style?
I think I’ve had quite an adventure over the years finding out what my sense of taste in cars really is like. I think ever since I owned my first RHD car in 2013, a JZA80 Supra, my taste in modifications and parts has improved exponentially. I started really looking into and researching different tuning styles from the early 2000’s and 90’s. I don’t think I’ll ever “look back”, or look ahead for lack of better words. You really can’t beat the roots of car culture and where it all began. Everything from back then had so much soul and passion sewn deep throughout it. Nowadays, we copy and paste a rivet-on fiberglass widebody kit onto a car we probably never should have bought in the first place, all in hopes that it will somehow, make people like us more, and we’ll become popular through e-fame and instagram likes. Go back to the hot rodding era when the most high tech thing around was a fruit blender, and everyone was into this sort of thing to express themselves, instead of seeking a personal gain from it. The style that has stolen my heart and inspired my entire build is an example of how these cars were assembled throughout the 2000’s in Japan, their homeland. A very D1SL sort of look, but I don’t plan to drastically change the exterior of my car in any way. Personally, I think there’s no better looking aero package than the OEM Nissan optional “aerospec” bumper (the sole reason I grabbed this Spec-S), skirts, valances and spoiler. They complement the S15’s design so well, and the flow characteristics of the whole thing when it’s all together is beautiful. It’s aggressive, yet simple. I’ve got tunnel vision for simplicity, and I don’t think you can really say anything negative about something that is as simple as the word itself. I think an OEM body with metal wheel arches, 17″ wheels, a low yet still functional ride height, and very enjoyably noisy driving experience with a side of G-forces, is perfection. Something that stimulates your senses, and makes you one with your machine, is bliss, to me. I think my taste and desire for such a driving experience stems from previously owning 2 AE86’s, with no electronic assists or anything getting in the way of you and your potential, and the mistakes you make while you drive. The feeling itself is electric. To conclude my perspective on style, I think this is the best way to describe it; When you see a car that makes your blood hot, and it speaks to you, there’s something special between you and it. Your car represents you. The way we represent ourselves is personal, and well, we like to be presentable (most of the time). People change things on their cars, like they change the way they dress, do their hair, their make up, what have you. As soon as your feet leave the ground and you’re behind the wheel, you essentially become your car. An expression of who you are, representing you, your style. Some people express themselves through music and other forms of art. This is how car enthusiasts expresses themselves.
Q) What about quality parts attracts you the most?
Well there’s quite a few things. I think one of the most important things to consider when buying any part(s) is if it’s up to the job and exceeds the “value” of the OEM parts you’re likely replacing. Value being what they offer you in gains, durability, or even warranty. The big brands out there take pride in what they’ve researched, engineered and produced for the eager consumers we are. They stick their names on these parts, and when you get to really see them at work, and doing a fine job while they’re at it too, is what would attract anyone who’s searching for something to improve the way their car drives, feels, looks or sounds. Some people are much more easily impressed than others, and some more easily disappointed than others (I would fit into the latter). Understandably, everyone has a budget, and not everyone can afford the parts they dream of for their perfect build. But, I think some of these people also lack the patience to make their dreams happen and are easily discouraged. The thing is, quality parts don’t have to be expensive. I think the main thing that attracts me to quality parts is their resilience. Many quality parts can be had at second hand value, in great condition. Be it wheels, turbochargers, manifolds, seats, steering wheels, etc. Anything that had some time invested into it’s production and isn’t just a cheaply bought scrapped knock-off schematic being mass produced and shipped from China, usually always lasts a long time, and contributes a few nice details to anyone’s build.
Q) If you could change one thing about the car scene or say one thing to it as a whole what would it be?
I think I would get rid of the people who only try and participate to gain popularity or feed off of attention. The idiots who do burnouts at car events, and bring a bad reputation to the car community. The people who are so high on themselves and their rep wheel, sagging coilover, clapped out, plastidipped, exhaust leak, sticker bombed, ebay bling garbage, 2″ wheel poke, glue-on Brembo caliper cover, unroadworthy pieces of trash with obnoxiously large windshield banners that think they’re the best. No one cares that you redlined 1st gear past everyone on your way to pick up your secret late night tinder date. No one cares about the one tire fire baby fart burnout you did in the parking lot. No one cares about your first gear limiter donut you did. Nor do we wish to hear your sound system deafen you while you try to look extra hard. We all think your car is wack, and your car represents you. Some of these individuals even drive very well built and clean cars, but conduct themselves in such a childish manner, I’m left scratching my head wondering how someone can still crave even more attention past what their car already earns them. We all know at LEAST one member of the community like this. I get far more enjoyment out of meeting up with the same group of humble people who drive respectfully, have clean builds that weren’t done to gain a 5 figure instagram following, and actually like to go out for the odd drive somewhere. The people who actually take pride in their work, and care for their cars like a parent, I have nothing but respect for. It would be really nice to see the nonsense that continues to divide the scene into an ‘us and them’ situation come to an end. Personally, I could care less about being associated with the car scene anymore mainly due to these individuals and their shenanigans begging to throw a rod out the side of their block. I enjoy my car life without them, and enjoy it with the good folks who know how to park, chill out, and shoot the shit for a couple hours, and catch up with each other, and most importantly, actually enjoy driving. Shoutout to all the good guys and gals who are still in it for the right reasons. You know who you are.
I had the opportunity to spiritedly drive Cole’s S15 up and down a winding back road. I was impressed with how well everything seemed to come together, from the dynamics created by the extremely powerful but not too touchy brakes, to the dialed in but never bouncy coilovers. Even from inside the car, it was clear that time was spent trying to create the perfect driving experience, the seating position was optimal and the bucket seat never failed to hold me steady even around the quickest corners. Being able to spend a full day with Cole for this photoshoot not only allowed me to take photographs and gather enough notes to write this article, it also gave me the opportunity to witness just how much joy this car brings him.
I am very excited to witness the next iteration of this build.