Every cloud has a Silvia lining

Having taken a break from rally driving for the sake of our bank balance, we hatched a plan to build something interesting and a bit different that we could also enter in some cheaper forms of motorsport.

Candidates for our project included; VW caddy pickup, 4wd Lupo turbo, Mk2 Golf, BMW E30, Nissan 260Z, Toyota MR2, Toyota Supra, Subaru Brat and a Skyline. After weeks of scrolling through car adverts and viewing various vehicles we arrived just north of Liverpool. After squeezing a car transporter between two houses, spending hours searching for phone signal and drooling over the seller’s 2JZ Landcruiser, we picked up our chosen project car. And it ticked all items on the shopping list, well sort of.


A white (well, most of the panels) 1987 Nissan Silvia S12 awaited us. A suspiciously similar looking car to a Toyota AE86, any Gran Turismo Playstation game or Initial D film fans will know the iconic old Toyota hatchback. This particular UK spec Silvia originally came with a 1.8 litre, non-intercooled, Turbo charged, single overhead cam, 4 cylinder engine. The CA18ET, which paved the way for the more legendary CA18DET found in later S13 Silvias. The old single cam engine pushes out a rather measly, by modern standards, 133HP, but this era of car, unburdened by safety equipment and luxuries, weighed in under 1200kg.


Our particular car had been sitting waiting for death for 13 years; the last tax disk in the window was 2005. On first sight it looked reasonable, a little rough but certainly better than expected. It wasn’t without issues though; the engine was in a barn, the gearbox was in the boot, the brakes were in the footwell, the interior was a little flooded from the rust holes in the roof and the rust mites had made a meal out of a few other areas. Like I said not perfect. But the good stuff; a OS Giken Limited slip rear differential for bigger skids, R32 GTR brakes for massive stopping power, coilover front suspension for some crazy cornering and bigger skids, both sub-frames powder coated red, all mounts polybushed, plus most of the car reasonably well undersealed.

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Next, we need an engine…


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