The unique charm of the iconic Nissan S13 Silvia
Embark on a thrilling journey into the world of a Western New York car enthusiast, from childhood model collections to drifting dreams. Discover the passion, challenges, and the unique charm of the iconic S13 Silvia.
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1993 Nissan Silvia S13
Photographer: Pablo Colon
Living the Car Enthusiast Dream in Western New York
Just a 30-year-old dude living in Western New York. I was a Mechanic/Body Tech Professionally for 10 years but currently, I work a job in the aerospace industry to fund my projects. Been into cars as long as I can remember. Drifting is my biggest passion project at the moment, but all forms of Motorsport have my heart, I enjoy the build process as much as the driving, I do as much as I can on the cars myself as well as building/fixing/modifying rigs for others in my home shop.
From Models to Drifting
My grandpa is the one who started this car addiction. I spent the summers at their house in my school-age years. We’d go to the hobby shops and garage sales to get any and all the 1:24 scale models possible. I probably have 100 or so in boxes. I was 14 when he passed and he left me his 1982 Corvette. I drove it for a couple of years and decided it wasn’t fast enough for me. So I turned my attention to newer things. My dad and my uncles are all into the cars because of my grandpa too. Dad has always encouraged me to chase what I want and buy whatever car as long as it doesn’t make me broke. He even helped a huge amount in building the shop at the house.
The S13 Silvia: A Perfect Fit
What made me choose this Car? Simple answer: The S13 Silvia is obviously an iconic car. I’ve had many cars over the years and non quite fit my style like this one. Friends of mine have had s-chassis “since they were cool for the first time” in the early 2000’s and I have wanted one since. When this car came on the market I knew I had to have it, being 93 is the year I was born it felt like it was meant to be. It wasn’t exactly in a price range I could afford at the time, even as just a roller. I didn’t follow Dad's advice about being broke, so I borrowed some money, pulled some favors and made it happen. Took a road trip with the trailer down to Delaware and it was mine. The kit and the wheels are what sold me, the rest was a bonus, but it was a really good starting point for something I could make into my own.
From Roller to Reality
It took me a couple of years to get this car together between learning, building, waiting for shipping on JDM parts and just affording it in general. It’s still surreal to finally have it out and driving. I took my time and did it right though. It makes all the right turbo and exhaust noises, doesn’t overheat, doesn’t leak a drop, every light and switch/button works. It’s reliable as my daily, been on 2-3 hour rides with no issues. It pulls hard and takes anything I’ve dealt it so far. Such a visceral experience with the stiff suspension, the drift spec alignment and all the good sounds. Not to mention looking over all the gauges, the quick-release wheel, and the fixed back seat just make it feel like more of a race car than it is.
If you was to ask me what I think makes it unique I would have to say. It’s low, wide, and aggressive. To me, it’s unique because it’s a good mix of a show car and a drift car. As popular as the rocket bunny style is, I’m probably the only one within a few hour's ride to have a well-fit setup like this. There are a lot of nice pieces on the car to make look good as well as underneath to make it perform. Because of my professional background, I felt making parts I couldn’t source was the best option, so there’s a lot of “me” in the build too. I feel cars were meant to be driven regardless of how valuable they might be and I try to do that.
The engine is an unopened low-mile red top SR20DET. Not the original one though. Lots of HKS, Greddy, and Tomei goodies under the hood. The bloody guts on the inside are a mixed part of Bride seats, reclining for the passenger and fixed back for the driver, a Vertex steering wheel, Defi gauges to keep an eye on the vitals and a Cusco bolt-in cage. Outside is the V1 Rocket Bunny Kit, Seibon Carbon Fiber Hood and the epic fully brushed 18’’ Work VS-KF’s over the Brembo brakes.
I bought the car as a pretty complete roller. The previous owner had pulled and sold the engine in favour of doing an LS swap. Being a JDM legend here in the States I felt it needed a SR back in it. It’s been a drift car for a lot of its life, I have pictures and videos of it sliding a track in Japan. So while I can’t take credit for the full build, there are many things I had to go through to clean up and correct from years of track day fixes. There isn’t much of the that hasn’t been apart to be fixed up at this point.
I’m not sure what the future holds for this car. It drives so well and makes good power I’ve been thinking of doing auto-cross with it, but it will need a different set of wheels and tires for that. In the off-season here I plan to refinish the carbon hood because it shows a few blemishes, as well as fixing the front bumper. The drift stitches are cool, but it won’t win shows like that. Overall I will continue to detail it and clean things up but I do plan to put many many miles on it as well. I can say I have zero plans to ever get rid of it.
The only tip I have is don’t be afraid. Cars can be intimidating, there’s a lot to go wrong. But if you educate yourself and just jump in, you’ll be rewarded. Take the information you get on the internet with a grain of salt, consider the source and read 3 more articles after that. Don’t be in a hurry and don’t get down on yourself for how long things might take. Progress is progress even if you only get a little done with you go out to turn a wrench. Your projects won’t work unless you do. At the end of the day its all just nuts and bolts!
I feel like any outsider on this one. I don’t have any sponsors and im not part of any clubs or teams. Really since I did a lot of the work myself there are a few close friends I have to thank and they know who they are.
The car scene
The car scene has brought me lifelong friends. We all share this passion even if we have different cars. It’s brought me good conversations, sleepless nights, and some of the best experiences I think anyone could ask for. I’ve been all over the country for events and seen things I wouldn’t have otherwise. I’m not doing it to be famous, I appreciate the nice builds and good driving and I hope the same can be said for me someday.
Ultimate dream car: 997.1 GT3
Obtainable dream car: Spec R S15(currently working on importing one)
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