READY TO WRECK
This S15 was midway through its street- to- drift transformation when we last met. Now it’s ready to rumble …
NZPC head photographer Adam Croy hit the nail on the head when describing Graeme Smyth’s Nissan S15: “I find it amazing that someone can take a car that everyone buys, and then use a bunch of common parts that plenty of people use, yet create something of much higher quality.”
We first featured the S15 back in NZPC Issue No. 199 as it was transforming from his street S15 into a dedicated drifter. At that stage Graeme had already built a full cage, and it was putting out 240kW to the rear wheels. It was already oozing coolness, but Graeme hadn’t finished yet, and over the past two years the S15 has continued to change, between plenty of kays at the track.
Not long after the shoot all the suspension apart from the C’s Garage 555 knuckles changed to the full Parts Shop Max catalogue, with fresh coilovers, lower control arms, castor arms, subframe raisers, rear lower control arms, traction arms and rear drop knuckles.
The other big change has been to the body. While it retains the M Sport kit, D-MAX roof wing and modified factory rear wing, there is now a set of Origin 50mm widebody guards, all of which have been resprayed by Adam from C’s Garage in their signature heavy glitter red, including the engine bay, and the wider guards are filled with a set of 17x9.5-inch (+17) and 18x10-inch (+18) Work ED9s.
Under the bonnet Graeme has refined and simplified things by removing the blow-off valve and adding a new power-steering reservoir and oil catch, relocating the power steering pump and implementing a full rewire, as he explains. “We basically gave it a tidy-up and made it easier to work on. The old wiring loom still had all the plugs for the ABS and other crap you don’t need, and the big ugly fuse box. If something went wrong at the track it was a real hassle. The S15 has a three-piece loom, so it still has the orginal engine loom for the injectors etc, but everything else is new, moving away from fuses to circuit breakers.”
The SR20DET remains, but the head has spent some time at Taylor Automotive, where it received a full freshen-up including new Kelford Cams, Kelford retainers, Kelford valve springs, cam gears and a port polish.
The car has yet to go back on the dyno, but with the headwork and new 2.5inch to 3.0-inch lobster-backed stainless exhaust Graeme built, the expectation is to see around 280kW at the rear wheels. This should make life a little easier at the track, as Graeme continues, “I didn’t used to run much camber, but have had to add some in. With the new suspension it was making more grip and you would have to drive it like an AE86, with lots of clutch kicks. I basically just want enough power so that I can do ProAm and not get smoked.”
Over the coming month the car will be retuned ahead of a few track days leading up to round three of The Demon Energy D1NZ series, where all going to plan Graeme will make his Pro-Am debut at Tauranga. In the past its concrete walls had put him off competing as he feared banging up the car, but after crashing it at Meremere and getting that monkey off his back it’s time to compete. “I used to think I care about it too much to [risk a] wreck, but I surprised myself by not really caring.”
We certainly hope he doesn’t wreck it, as another quality car joining the ProAm ranks is a welcome sight.
Every year, we showcase close to 100 feature cars in NZPC. Post-shoot, some sit idle in sheds gathering dust, others get used for their intended form of racing on any given Sunday, and many go back under the knife to become even better than before. Over the coming months, we will
attempt to dig up the dirt on a few past features to see what they have got up to since their two minutes of NZPC- printed fame.