Updated: Mar 18, 2019
Certain breeds of cars hold an undeniable status in the vehicle food chain, whether you’re a Honda hooner, Mustang man or a Ford fan, you simply cannot deny the feeling of being able to own or even ride in that breed of automobile you want so desperately.
The Nissan Silvia series is, for many, one of these rare breeds of cars, a car so modifiable that it can (and probably already has) been adapted to just about any discipline you can imagine.
For many, owning a Silvia will never be more than a pipedream, the rising import costs and the suffocating safety regulations means getting one of these from japan is becoming increasingly tougher, and thanks to drifting many of them end their lives as drift missiles.
Zak Brown was the lucky winner of a free photoshoot from 50th Degree’s June charity show with photographer Yasmin Little, his mean looking S14 catching the eyes of many, the car practically begging for a feature!
Zak’s love for the s-chassis stems back 4 years ago when a friend allowed him to give his R33 skyline a spin, “I hadn’t been driving that long,” recalls Zak, admitting that he made his mate sit next to him for fear of hurting it!
The feeling of driving that car left a strong impression on Zak, setting his sights on owning his own rear wheel drive turbo JDM unicorn. It took 4 years, 2 Audi A3’s, a Seat Ibiza, an MX5 and a ford KA for Zak to finally find the car gracing these pages today, a 1996 Nissan S14 Silvia!
On the outside, the car is rocking a full Supermade Instant Gentleman kit (held on by mostly woodscrews), complemented by widened and vented wings front and rear, a mean looking vented hood and a Kouki front end, topped off by this deliciously deep purple paint.
The body work is backed up by the all-important ‘lows and wheels’ that has become somewhat mandatory on cars today. Zak has thankfully kept it tasteful, aiming for both good handling and weight balance while still sitting pretty.
For wheels, a set of 18x9.5 Rota Grids make for the perfect set of shoes to go with the cars function and form approach, while the lows are provided by KYB coilovers all-round.
The setup makes for a good balance between function and form, sitting nice and low while still being able to handle a corner. Though that’s not to say the car isn’t low, the photoshoot with our own Yasmin Little having to be moved from exciter locks to the harbour, as Zak got beached on the bridge entering the locks! Worth it.
There is no denying the car looks evil, the whole package giving the thing incredible presence on and off the road, but Zak isn’t just looking for looks, he wants his car to have the grunt to match the aesthetic, the boost bug being a main influence in choosing this S-body.
At the heart lays the legendary Nissan 4 banger, an SR20 DET blacktop, featuring variable valve timing, 370cc injectors and a Garrett t28 turbo.
This particular motor has a slightly larger Garrett GT2871r sat proudly on top of a T2 Forged Performance top-mount manifold. Boost control is handled by a Blitz boost controller and HKS actuators.
Exhausts are spat out of a 3-inch custom turbo-back exhaust with a HKS flexi downpipe and a Blitz decat, which unfortunately fell off after snagging a rock on the way back from this very photoshoot! The low life strikes again!
The whole combination makes for a mean looking s14 that roars down the road, the SR giving off that distinctive deep rumble, in Zak’s opinion the “nicest sound 4-cylinder engine”, while still being able to leave most normie-car drivers at the lights. When Zak does want to get a bit loose the Kaaz 2waay LSD allows for some nice skids as well.
S-body sightings on British roads are few and far nowadays, there are few examples that are still in roadworthy condition, the wrest turned into ‘race cars’ or spun sideways into a tire wall on a wet track. Zak’s s14 however gives me a glimmer of hope, knowing that there are still clean, road-worthy Silvia’s around.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a murdered-out S-body track monster as much as the next, but the point of owning one of these isn’t simply because they make good race cars, but the feeling they provoke when you get to drive on. Zak took his 2-week-old daughter to her first car show in the S, and she would smile every time he revved the engine.
That’s what makes these dream cars so special, not how rapid they are, not how good they look, but the memories they create.