This S15 was mid­way through its street- to- drift trans­for­ma­tion when we last met. Now it’s ready to rum­ble …

NZ Performance Car - - Revisited - WORDS: MAR­CUS GIBSON PHO­TOS: ADAM CROY

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.

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