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Tale of too many Silvia's

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    Tale of too many Silvia's

    Hi guys

    Long-time lurker. Love the variety of cars and discussion on PF and am keen to add to it with my saga of the past 10 years or thereabouts.

    I grew up with a love of cars via my Dad. Growing up in country NSW it was Ford and Holden V8's with some Valiant 6's thrown in. I knew nothing of Japanese cars and it would have stayed that way if the drought hadn't hit. Without work on the farm I got kicked off to Melbourne for Uni and towards the end I'd shacked up with this girl who had a black 180SX with a catback exhaust. It was otherwise standard so it was pretty slow but it handled like a champ and made cool noises.

    I don't have a photo from way back then but it looked like this. I would drive it at any chance possible.

    We went our separate ways unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how I look at it, and I could no longer borrow her 180SX. At the time I was close to graduating and was previously searching for a Mustang or a Camaro for getting through four years of engineering (instead of using my savings to buy property like I should have), however this all changed after driving the 180SX and I eventually found the modern equivalent, a white S15.

    Being a demo car for a local shop it had all of 23,000 km and came with a bunch of APexi and Tien parts and a genuine Nismo R-tune kit. I can still remember test-driving it and the feeling of when the car came on boost. It felt like the car was trying to outrun itself :D

    I joined up with the local S15 club MelbS15 and started going on cruises, gymkhana's and track days. The track bug bit which led to more upgrades and the car becoming less and less streetable. I think at this stage I'd installed a Velo seat so I could actually fit in it properly and some Brembo calipers off an Evo 8.

    Mount Donna Buang in the wintertime. The snow took us by surprise.

    I met a lot of great blokes through the club and the guys are are still my closest friends years on.

    At this stage I wanted to go faster on the track. If I've one regret it's at this point I didn't just leave the car as is and enjoy it as a semi-street, weekend track car...

    Instead it came off the road and would remain in the garage in various stages of disrepair for the next 2-3 years. During this time and without a Silvia to drive on the road I did the most logical thing and instead of buying a house again, I picked up a red S15.

    The red S15 was another ex-demo car for a workshop in QLD and it came with some lovely auto-salon styling. But it also had a fully built, blueprinted SR20 and went hard. After changing the gold wheels and gold mesh and gold anodising on the trims and locks I took it home to show the old man and almost converted him lol.

    The red S15 had a full HKS head with solid lifters. After checking the lash realised it was out of spec and rather than giving the job to a workshop I stupidly decided to do it myself. At this stage I was moving up the ladder at work and the red S15 would remain apart for another year of so. Nothing like having two broken cars .

    Back then MelbS15 had an annual track day which I desperately wanted to attend. I took 2 weeks off work and spent every minute of it in the garage finishing all the jobs that were half done on the white car. I've lost most of the photos but at this stage it had front tubs for wider wheels, solid bushes and adjustable everything, no interior, a diy fully sik candy red engine bay job (one of my poorer choices :s) and full re-wire which I'd attempted 3 times before paying a mate to do it the night before it was booked for a tune, with the tune being a day before the track day. Just in time delivery.

    The tune was booked with Rob at Sabbadin Automotive in Mulgrave on a recommendation from the club. On a very tight schedule Rob fixed the last of the wiring gremlins and got the car running and tuned. This was 5-6 years back and since then Rob has done and still does all the mechanical, tuning and fab work on the cars.

    After 3 years I was a pretty happy lad to drive her again. Excuse the head.

    I collected the car from Rob and the final touches were made by 4AM the morning before the trackday in my garage at home. I think I grabbed couple hours sleep and then did the 3 hour trip up to Winton.

    It was a grouse feeling to make the day but the joy was short lived and I managed 10 laps before smoke started billowing from the car. Because I was up it the smoke didn't come into the cabin and I had no idea the car was on fire until I pulled back into the pits. My mate Dan grabbed a fire extinguisher and put out the flames coming off the left side of the engine. In the aftermath we worked out the PCV valve had failed pushing 24 pound of boost into the rocker cover, down the front of the timing cover and out the dipstick throwing hot oil on the turbo beanie .

    On the bright side I'd taken 2.5 seconds off my PB :D

    After the effort of getting there and the fire she got pushed in the garage and I didn't lift a spanner on it again. As you can see in the pics she looked much worse for wear after sitting around for 3 years and having go-fast mods done without any consideration for aesthetics. At the time I had also just changed jobs, moved to an apartment in the city to be closer to the job site and had little spare time so I gave it to Rob to work on when he could. The red car went to a mate's place where it also sat unfinished and unloved. I think at this point I leased a VE SS for a while to get about but it wasn't the same, so after a series of good decisions I decided the best thing to do would be to not fix the two broken cars I already had but buy.... another Silvia.

    This time a jungle-green S14. This isn't my pic sorry, but the car looked just like it.

    Unfortunately I bought the S14 with a lot of undisclosed issues so I fixed what I could and it was soon moved on. But this left me once again without a running Silvia so the hunt was on again. When I bought the white S15 I had started off looking for a 180SX to replace the black one but there were no decent examples for sale at the time. As luck would have it a gunmetal grey Type X popped up for sale in Geelong so we raced down, took it for a drive and struck a deal.

    The Type X went straight to Sabbadin to fix the previous owner's work before we took it to Winton. Rob had just finished a round of upgrades to his S15 and wanted to test it out. He's since kept going with his car and holds the the S-chassis record at Winton.

    I kept the grey 180SX for a while and had blast hammering it around being a general menace. Destroyed 2nd gear attempting to drift out the back off Dandenong one night and had to replace the 5 speed, had to replace a bent LCA in another ill fated attempt, but she just kept taking it and never skipped a beat. Never forget this young bloke coming up to us, looking at me before looking at the car and saying how great it was forty y/o's are into drifting - I had just turned 29 must be the lack of fuzz on top.

    Anyhow, as much as I enjoyed the 180SX I still had a lot of guilt about the two S15s that I hadn't touched for better part of two years. Thankfully Rob and my mate were understanding, but I wasn't happy, especially about the white car being the first real car I'd owned. This ultimately lead me to sell the grey 180SX to a mate and bank the cash for the white S15. I was still living in the city 2 minutes from my job site and didn't need a car, but I dearly missed going on weekend runs up Donna Buang and Black Spur.

    As luck would have it the mate who I'd sold the 180SX too asked to buy a bunch of spare parts I had sitting around. This guy is a Honda nut from way back and after lamenting how I missed driving a car hard he offered me the keys to his EG Civic that he'd used for 2 seasons of Nugget Nationals. The EG had a stock 1.5L D15Y4 no vteks, fixed bucket seat, Shockworks coilovers and Enkei rims with Hankook RS3s. It was very slow in a straight line, but in a corner it stuck like shit to carpet.

    We made a deal and the spare 180SX parts were swapped for the EG. To the amusement and much ridicule of my mates, I had become a Honda owner. I was a bit embarrassed of how much I liked it.

    After swapping the parts and the car's plates the boys were rallied and we made for Donna Buang that same night. Donna was and is still my favourite drive. It's remote and quiet at night, it has some awesome tight, cambered sections until around half-way where it opens up and you can really give it to it. There's also a massive car park just below the summit for activities.

    Because the 1.5L is absolutely gutless she spent most of the uphill run at high revs in second gear. Shifting up to third lost all torque so needless to say I was hanging out for the downhill. 3 corners into the downhill..

    Still owe my mates JC and Llyod for driving the 1.5hr trip back to Melbourne to pickup a trailer at 2AM only to turn around to go back again to collect the EG. 2 seasons of Nugget Nationals and a hillrun had taken it's tole on the D15 and it had spat a rod. Being a non Vtec engine a replacement motor was sought for little $s and swapped over. I was still living in the city so the engine swap was done on the street outside a mate's house.

    The new motor had a few extra ponies and I thoroughly enjoyed keeping up with hipo Silvia's and GTRs on tight downhills. The car was so secure to drive at the limit of the tyres.

    One night on the way back from Lake Mountain the civic snap over-steered out of nowhere coming out of a corner. I did a 360 spin and ended up in the spoon drain. There was no damage and I could drive the car home but after that I couldn't trust it. It no longer felt secure. It also didn't have air-conditioning so coming into summer we pulled the good bits off, the coilovers, wheels, seat, etc, and replaced the white civic with a red EG5. The red EG had a D16Y8 with single cam Vteckez and we replaced the bushings throughout. It was a much nicer car to drive.

    Whilst I was off playing with Honda's the red S15 had sat idle and we'd done a few jobs here and there on the white S15. I was about 8 years in and both S15s were still not running. I felt like I'd ruined two perfectly good cars and had spent a lot without much to show for it. I was also frustrated with the direction management were pushing my project at work and had a few personal issues at the time. One day I decided everything had to go and rage/Emo quit. I gave the red S15 and all my tools to the mate who'd been storing it and sold the white S15 much to Rob's protest. The civic was also sold.

    This was about 2 years ago. In hindsight I wish I'd kept the white S15. But it lead me to ultimately change jobs, invest some money finally and start a relationship. Everything happens for a reason and life is better for it.

    2 years on and my illness wasn't cured however lol.

    I found a neat Type X in Brisbane which satisfied the itch, but deep down I wanted another S15 to replace the white one.

    I looked at just about every S15 for sale in Melbourne but nothing was right. They were either drift missles, had repair damage or were half complete track cars (the irony). Then my mate Luke decided it was time to sell his. Luke had had his for ages and Rob Sabbadin had done all the work on it. And it was red :D. Just before Christmas I went for a test-drive with Luke and was lucky enough to buy a very well looked after S15. Took naccas for a spin and he rates it. Nopics thinks it's too ricey lol.

    Even found an old pic of the white S15 parked next to it years ago.

    There are a few jobs to do which Luke was upfront about. The 5-speed gearbox that's in there was one we pulled out of an S14 about 5 years ago and whilst it drives the syncros are cooked. One of the JDM coilovers is knocking at the front and the diff is loose.

    The car's making 260kw at the wheels and we've plans for more so Rob's already ordered a RB25 Skyline gearbox for it to go with a Nismo 1.5way LSD. We're dicing up between MCA or Shockworks coilovers before getting into the engine for more power. I prefer a plainer look and will be removing the carbon fibre dress-up bits and canards, paint the wing mirrors to match the red and spray the TE37's silver or get some Advan GT or LMGT4 wheels for her.

    All in all am stoked with the car. Have spent the last 5 weeks travelling through the States with the missus and am looking forward to putting her through the hills when we get back.

    I also have this boat and will start a thread in the race-car section. One mistake I want to learn from is to not compromise between a street and track car and whilst I'd like to have a Silvia track car the R33 is more affordable, it has a stronger drivetrain from factory and parts are easier to find. Can't wait to get back to the track.

    Anyways thanks for reading my ramblings. Cheers


    Great story bloke. You have a sickness but in a good way.
    Originally posted by Gussy
    It's the PF way. "Put a twin turbo LS in it brah, you'll have it converted and running in 2.5 hours and make an eazy 1000rwkw, lulz" All while the same people who suggest this stuff drive around in a corolla and have a fucked VN sitting in the garage for the past 3 years as a "project car."


      The best threads have awesome stories to accompany them, this one is no exception. That final S15 is sooo nice. Also interested to see the r33 project.


        very romantic story, please don't break this one


          solid opening post
          1988 AW11 9A-GTE - Turbo Missile | 2004 Elise K20A - N/A Screamer | 1984 MA61 1JZ-GTE - 80s Cruiser


            Lots of cars and dog pics - this you Paolo?
            Originally posted by brasher
            TJ is 99% African American.


              solid post

              welcome bloke


                Originally posted by TJ View Post
                Lots of cars and dog pics - this you Paolo?
                Lunch spat...thanks


                  You can never have too many Silvia's.

                  Great read so far.

                  Sent from my XT1635-02 using Tapatalk


                    An excellent tale, own the sickness mate

                    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


                      Agreed with all great story so hope it works out for you from here on out!
                      1971 Mazda 1300 Estate Deluxe 1500cc Twin SU - 1979 Mazda RX7 12APP - 1994 Mazda Familia GTR - 1973 Mazda 1300 Wagon


                        Thanks gents cheers.

                        Will be sure to keep it updated as it goes

                        Originally posted by TJ View Post
                        Lots of cars and dog pics - this you Paolo?
                        Being a poodle thankfully he doesn't shed, he does shit like a bandit though which could be worse were he Paolo's lol.

                        Originally posted by albo View Post
                        very romantic story, please don't break this one
                        You've deadset permission to shoot me.


                          "Beware the lollipop of mediocrity: lick it once and you'll suck forever" Brian Wilson




                              I've been thinking about throwing up a "lots of silvias" thread. This has nicer pictures than what I'd offer.

                              I approve.