If there’s one good thing to come out of Covid-19, it’s this home built Silvia.
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
The URAS front bumper ads aggression
Mark’s also got a set of SSR MS1 rims for when he’s bored of the Rotas