Nis­san S15

If there’s one good thing to come out of Covid-19, it’s this home built Sil­via.

Fast Car - - CONTENTS -

Location, location, location. It’s not just a handy tele­vi­sion sound­bite for mid­dle-class prop­erty vex­a­tion, it’s the first con­sid­er­a­tion we have when we want to set up a Fast Car pho­to­shoot. Some cars suit a mean and moody ur­ban vibe, oth­ers need to be snapped on the track; a graf­fiti-heavy night shoot works for cer­tain builds, while some re­quire an airy coun­try lane set­ting… but we couldn’t do any of that this time. With the coun­try on lock­down, it’s hard to ar­gue that pop­ping out to meet a pho­tog­ra­pher at an aban­doned multi-storey car park or a quiet B-road is an ‘es­sen­tial’ jour­ney – so we had to think lat­er­ally. Thank­fully, the owner of this par­tic­u­larly mind-warp­ing Nis­san Sil­via is a supremely lat­eral thinker. Even a quick glance over the car’s spec list will serve as proof – from the wide wings to the stro­ker kit, the eye-sear­ing paint to the air­craft-like spread of gauges, this is a man whose thoughts op­er­ate well out­side the tra­di­tional sphere. So when he sug­gested shoot­ing the S15 him­self on his drive­way, who were we to refuse?

AHEAD OF THE CURVE

This re­ally is the ul­ti­mate lock­down ac­tiv­ity. Well, top-three at least, along­side watch­ing Tiger King and try­ing to fig­ure out new and ex­cit­ing recipes with Su­per Noo­dles. While it’s plenty en­ter­tain­ing to get out there and de­tail your car, pho­tograph­ing it for a mag­a­zine fea­ture is pretty next-level. And since we’ve been want­ing to fea­ture Mark Loony’s awe­some 551bhp S15 for a while, we weren’t go­ing to let some­thing like a ter­ri­fy­ing global pan­demic stop us from bring­ing it to your sweaty palms.

“I al­ways liked the styling of the S-chas­sis,” Mark muses. “The huge va­ri­ety of kits and parts avail­able means you can style and tune your car to suit your needs. Hav­ing owned a few nat-asp cars I wanted some­thing boosted, and when a good friend of mine, Vince Knight, bought an S15 – which was re­cently fea­tured in Fast Car – and took me out in it, I was in­stantly con­vinced about get­ting one.”

This wasn’t quite the step into the un­known that it may have been for a lot of peo­ple, as Mark al­ready has se­ri­ous form in the area of har­ness­ing al­lur­ing rides and trans­form­ing them into showand-go stun­ners. Reg­u­lars on the show cir­cuit may well be fa­mil­iar with his smooth EK4 Civic, run­ning hy­draulics and an end­less con­veyor belt of high-end rims. In­deed, the jour­ney all be­gan with a Civic, a ’99 EJ9 which served as his first rodeo: “I got the car com­pletely stan­dard, and just wanted to up­grade the au­dio and get some wheels,” he re­calls. “It didn’t stop there though, and soon turned into a ful­lon project; back then the fo­rums were around and ev­ery­one had their build thread, so I used to post

it took over a year of hunt­ing to pin­point the right car

ev­ery­thing I did to my Civic. As it was my first car a lot of the things were trial-and-er­ror, and many er­rors were made…” Mark re­mem­bers with par­tic­u­lar fond­ness the episode in which he bought a set of new Wol­frace wheels, painted his calipers with some yel­low Hal­fords paint, and came out the next day to find his new rolling stock splat­tered in ba­nana drips like a Jack­son Pol­lock freak­out.

“The whole thing was a dis­as­ter,” he laughs. “But I soon turned things around, re­versed some of my bad choices, and got it fea­tured in Fast Car – so not bad for a first car! I then owned a BMW E36 328i Sport which was low­ered on BBS wheels and had a few other small mods; I sold that and got an­other 328i Sport with a welded diff, which I cut up to fit an over­fender kit, spray-paint­ing it yel­low and turn­ing it into a drift mis­sile.”

The scene was pretty com­pre­hen­sively set then, and with his sights set on an S15, Mark launched into the search with gusto. Given that they’re still pretty ob­scure in the UK (while a de­cent num­ber have been im­ported, it was never a UKDM model), it took over a year of hunt­ing to pin­point the right car. Even­tu­ally, he hap­pened upon this one at Mod­i­fied Na­tion­als with a ‘for sale’ sign in the win­dow. Mark made con­tact with the owner and, af­ter a fair amount of re­search into its back­ground, he even­tu­ally agreed the sale. You see, this isn’t just any old Spec R S15. This one has a pretty unusual his­tory in its na­tive Ja­pan…

Hav­ing tracked down the car’s previous Ja­panese owner, Mark was able to piece to­gether the back­story. The S15 had been built by Ba­cana’s Garage

Words: Dan Be­vis Pho­tog­ra­phy: Mark Loony

The URAS front bumper ads ag­gres­sion

Mark’s also got a set of SSR MS1 rims for when he’s bored of the Ro­tas

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