Silvia S15 Spec R Aero - Mild Tune
Sourced to Special Order. Perfection.
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In part, thanks to Gran Turismo making Silvias become world-renowned for their handling and tunability, the Silvia S15 Spec R 6-Speed manual is probably the most sought after and revered of all the SR20-engined Silvias.
As these handle very well, not least with a natural ability to steer from the rear, many have been tuned, modified and used as drift or track-day cars during their lives in Japan, ranging from basic enthusiast owned road driven cars, all the way to full-tune D1 and time attack cars, which further served to engrave these cars on enthusiast's hearts.
With so many of these in Japan having been owned by young enthusiasts, a majority have suffered from accidents, or their engines have become tired or damaged, or their bodies have rusted away from lack of care & deserved attention. And so as they've aged, the best examples remaining have become the most sought after. Most desirable of all, are the Aero Versions, with a much stronger and better fitting original factory body kit.
Some consider this variation to be the most beautiful of all Silvia models, if not (arguably) the most beautiful coupe design from Nissan of the '90s.
We don't normally stock these. In this case, a customer, who'd first contacted us 3 years prior - had us source to order. From the very beginning we were committed to finding his first choice of colour, with the factory Aero kit and it had to be in near perfect condition; criteria we'd have in our hearts were we sourcing the same car for ourselves. This is the car we found and purchased for him.
This is a factory Silvia Spec R Aero version, complete with Factory option deep front bumper spoiler, side skirts & rear spats. Original option rear spoiler (very rare!) is also fitted.
Specifications include Dual SRS Airbags, Climate Control A/C, PAS, ABS, Electric windows (Auto up/down on drivers side), Electrically controlled door mirrors with retract mode, remote central locking, Original dealer option fitted mats. Optional factory driving lights.
Aside from styling differences & improvements, the S15's chassis is substantially improved over its predecessor, the S14a in several discreet ways including:
1) Steering system stiffness increased, to provide improved steering feel.
2) Front strut suspension and rear multi-link suspension carried over to the S15 Silvia.
3) Strengthening of the upper member of the roof structure and adding reinforcements to rear pillars provides increased body stiffness.
The styling of the Silvia S15 is considered by most S-chassis aficionados to be the prettiest of all the coupe designs shared between the different versions, equipped with SR20 engines. This example is no exception. Pictures should speak for themselves, but this is the straightest and least molested example we've seen with its original optional Aero kit still fitted and in undamaged condition, in a very long time. It's simply beautiful to look at in the flesh. It's pearlescent paintwork perfectly shows off the aggressive curves so perfectly penned by Nissan's designers.
The Interior of this example has been beautifully cared for and it shows.
Seats are unworn, no cigarette burns, no UV fading, no warped plastics from having sat in direct sunlight all of its life. You'd be forgiven for thinking this car is only a couple of years old, not just from looking at the body and engine bay, but the interior too.
For the S15 the driving position was ergonomically designed to allow quicker execution of driving controls and to provide a seating posture for minimal fatigue during driving. Instrumentation was laid out with a large size tachometer positioned in the centre of the cluster.
Spec-R models such as this one, were equipped with titanium-look instrument finishers and a 52mm boost pressure gauge is attached to the driver's side front pillar.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
The SR20DET (247BHP in Standard form, at 0.55 bar boost) has been de-restricted to around 0.9 bar, which gives it an estimated 280bhp in current guise. These black top SR20's were stronger and less prone to bearing problems (exasperated by overly high oil temperatures during over-spirited uses!) than it's older siblings with red top engines.
The Spec-R differed from previous Silvia models by featuring a 6-speed manual gearbox (as well as a 4-speed automatic transmission). The Spec-R also included extensive chassis and suspension strengthening via the use of larger anti-roll bars and strut bracing.
One of the biggest changes to the S15 model of the Silvia fitted with the 6-speed manual transmission built by Aisin Seiki was the implementation of a helical limited-slip differential. The result was a safer, more track suited drive than its predecessors; despite its drifting heritage. Being a car of relatively light rear weight and equipped with more than ample power, it remains a car that can be steered from the rear by throttle use when desired of course, true to the reputation preceded by its older siblings that were each equipped with Torsen (Limited-Slip) Differentials as standard.
WHEELS, BRAKES & SUSPENSION
The Spec-R S15 included extensive chassis and suspension strengthening also inclusive of use of larger anti-roll bars and strut bracing through design. The S15 featured the same 4-piston front brake callipers that were found in the Z32 300ZX but introduced a larger brake booster.
In the last couple of years this example was treated to (manually height adjustable) TEIN Flex Coilovers with damping electronically controlled by the driver through a TEIN EDFC controller. These provide improved damping and reduced body roll compared to standard.
In 2014 this Silvia also received a set of Work Emotion 11R wheels of size 18 x 7.5J + 38 at each corner. Tyres are Dunlop Direzza of 225/40R18 at each corner, although these will be replaced at the choice of the new owner, once this Spec R Silvia arrives at the U.K.
When searching for this S15, as always - we looked primarily for a car that we could tell hadn't been abused, but evidently cared for to the best of the previous owner's abilities.
When this one came up, it looked promising but we still checked to see if there had been anything better from checking history (accessible to dealers in Japan only) over the preceding 3 months...
This was the best one, of around the same mileage. None of the other Aero equipped examples sold had been in as good, nor such original condition.
This was a grade 4, but we are well aware a number doesn't always speak volumes. Experience in selecting cars is far more telling.
Upon checking, we found a very straight body with no signs of previous repairs and with factory straight panels and no corrosion beneath. It had evidently never seen a track day yet alone a drift event. Interior showed signs of rarely having carried passengers and having had a previous slim owner, who didn't smoke. The engine was still in perfect health and it was clear the clutch and brakes had plenty of life in them yet too.
We knew it would attract strong attention, judging by prices the best S15's now fetch. It turned out to set the record for all the other grade 4 examples of similar mileage for the preceding 12 months but was still well within the customer's set budget.
The body and engine bay had evidently never been detailed in its life to date, but this is part of the service we provide. Not only do we select cars to the standards we'd like ourselves, but we take a lot of care to provide it in the condition we'd be proud of just as we treat our own babies.
What you see in the pictures, is the result of 3 days of careful and experienced care, before we put right the small faults we found along the way, whose repair costs were calculated as part of the total cost of the car from the day of auction when we carefully inspected it ourselves.
There are still 3 small pin dents to put right, which we'll do in the U.K as a final preparation, but we're under no illusion this will be one of the very best Silvia S15 Spec R's in the UK once it arrives this summer.
Driving this car brought back memories of Newera's own S15 around 2004.
Testing the engine's response and power on cold tyres, it began to spin its wheels as the speed picked up. Yes, the turbo is working correctly, was the message received, before letting off the throttle and driving at a more sedate pace.
As we'd expected, there's nothing to report amis, aside from worn tyres.
Clutch feels like it's been replaced not so long ago and brake pads show plenty of life remaining too. It looks as if these TEIN Flex coilovers have done very little mileage. Not having been used as a drift or circuit car, the suspension still feels tight and the car drives without dramas.
The gearbox is good too. No faults found; we're happy to report.