An increasing sight in the drift scene now is swapping out turbo engines and slipping in a big block V8. With oodles of torque on tap it has logic, but there’s always something that doesn’t seem quite right with a Japanese drift car singing the American automotive anthem. I myself, as much as I love V8′s, hadn’t really come around to the idea before I took the long awaiting trip to JDM Garage in North Devon to see their freshly rebuilt Silvia S15. I had caught a glimpse of the car at Japfest, which gathered a fair bit of a crowd on their stand! Shoulder rubbing with public trying to photograph and having the car all to yourself to peruse is like chalk and cheese though.
The car was originally built in America by Drift Emporium, where in fact fellow JDM Garage driver Mark Needs got his supercharged V8 Infiniti G35 from. When it touched down on Devonshire soil the S15 underwent a big makeover.
The car wasn’t up to owner Paul Howard’s high standard with some of it’s issues and damage from the import. It wasn’t long before the engine was out, RK Engineering and the JDM Garage team were waving their magic Snap-on wands and the team colours were going on at AGM Bodyworks!
AGM set out to make the S15 look even more aggressive by adding the Vertex Ridge kit and a D-max boot lip spoiler. The spoiler suits the car perfectly, a better choice to the classic BGW! To help shed the pounds, fibreglass doors, bonnet, rear quarters and perspex windows were all fitted.
The rear bumper has been neatly modified to let the Benen tow hook peek out the back!
The engine is a VK56DE from a Nissan Titan, a 5.6 litre V8. It’s not long had a freshen up (rude not to while the cars undoing work right?) to prepare it for some sideways limiter abuse, and the best excuse to slip in a custom oil pan and custom cams! The Stillen supercharger is strapped on for good measure, it gives the S15 that unmistakeable wail of a top class pornstar.
Inside where the boot used to be, you won’t find an awful lot anymore; all the unwanted chassis has been cut away and all the important bits re-inforced – like the 8 gallon fuel cell. The fuel system has had a lot of custom work, with an Aeromotive 1000 fuel pump and 44lb injectors doing the hard work under the Haltech ECU’s every command.
As much time as drift cars spend sideways they probably spend just as much time up in the air having their rear tyres changed or undergoing some quick repairs. The guys seized the opportunity to fit the car with air jacks – BTCC style! The pistons are neatly fabricated into the S15′s chassis with the coupling and release valve installed behind the numberplate recess. All you need is a bottle of air, plug it in and it gets airborne! And because it doesn’t use an onboard compressor or bottle the overall weight isn’t greatly affected. They’re so pleased with it they can now supply them! Check out the video below!
The cockpit is in true track car style. The gutted interior is painted in their trademark baby blue – along with the rollcage. A big rev gauge stares at the driver through the Nardi wheel, which is accompanied by the Apexi water temperature, oil pressure + temperature gauges in the dash’s vents. No dedicated drift car is often seen without a hydro and a custom switch panel – this is no different!
The integrated fire extinguisher sits behind the Brides.
Lets hope this never has to get used…
Tucked behind the Rota GTR-D’s are more upgrades. The Endless front brakes and R33 rear brakes are spaced off with Superforma spacers for clearance and to keep the arches nicely filled. As with any competition car, the suspension and drivetrain are all upgraded to help get a better geometry for drifting. Driftworks control arms, front and rear geomasters, tension rods, with the Tein steering rods make sure the cars pointing in the right direction!
After countless hours and late nights the car is now all up to spec and ready for mapping before hitting the tarmac. This car has sold me on the whole V8 in a Japanese car, it’s built for purpose and then some. I’ve waited a long time to get up close and personal with the finished car, and it really didn’t disappoint. The dirty noises the V8 makes are just amazing, it WILL make any petrol head wet in special places! It’s certainly a worthy car to replace Paul’s last competition car – the RB26 S13.5 dubbed “The Angry Pirate”. What do you think of it though? Has it justified not using a Japanese turbo engine, or would you still turn your nose up to it? I’ve made my choice… even before more juicy parts are fitted!
1999 Silvia S15 with a 2004 Nissan Titan V8 (VK56DE) and Stillen Supercharger.
Rebuilt 6 months ago
New piston rings
New head gaskets
New valve job on the heads
Custom made oil pan
Custom Jim Wolf camshafts with valve springs and retainers
Custom fuel system
Aeromotive 1000 fuel pump
Haltech Sport 2000 ecu
Flex A Lite dual slim line fan
Custom Griffin radiator
Custom tube headers
Custom motor mounts
8 gallon racing fuel cell
Custom front radiator bar
Custom wiring loom with with plug on bulkhead for easy removal
Fuel pressure regulator
Custom transmission adapter plate
Exedy twin plate carbon Kevlar clutch
Custom one piece drive shaft
6 speed transmission
Suspension, brakes & wheels
Jic suspension arms
Driftworks front lower control arms
Rota GTR-D staggered 10j and 12j wheels
Driftworks Geomasters front and rear
Tein steering rods with Driftworks offset rack spacers
Driftworks GTR style tension rods
Custom rear subframe with welded in solid mounts
R33 gtst rear brake set up
Endless front brakes (project mu)
Superforma wheel spacers
Vertex Ridge kit
Custom tube rear end
Fibreglass rear 1/4 panels
Front & rear tow hooks
New perspex windows
New front heated window
D-Max boot lip spoiler
Removable boot with Aerocatches
Led rear tail lights
Custom roll cage with lots of chassis work
Takata racing belts
Fire extinguisher with pull cables
Nardi steering wheel with quick release boss
Full weld in roll cage
Seam welded throughout
Custom aluminium foot well plates
Custom pedal box
Electric kill switches
Superforma door handles
Push buton start
Custom made switch panel
Photography & words: Paul Cook