Caffeine&Machine cultofmachine Yard Visitor Silvia linings: Helen’s Nissan S14

Silvia linings: Helen’s Nissan S14

Clean, purposeful and built to be used: Helen’s S14 Nissan Silvia is the stuff that drifting dreams are made of.

Thirteen out of 22 titles in D1GP, the world’s premier drifting competition. Eleven Pro Class titles in the British Drift Championship. Four championships in the US-based Formula D series. A vast grassroots following. Depending on when and where they were sold, you might know them as the 180SX, 200SX, 240SX or Silvia, but the fundamental facts don’t change with the name. The S-chassis Nissan has dominated drifting, and this example is a perfect demonstration of why.

Any of the S-chassis cars of the final three generations – S13, S14, S15 – are strong bases for drifting. Front-engined, rear-wheel drive, lightweight, balanced, and fitted with robust, tuneable four-cylinder engines – they tick all the basic boxes.

This is an S14 Silvia, that name denoting a Japanese import. If we want to get deep into the lingo, it’s a ‘Kouki’, a Japanese term meaning ‘late period’ and signifying the facelifted model, as opposed to the older ‘Zenki’ (‘early period’) S14.

It found its way to the UK with very few modifications in 2015, and was bought by Helen, then a motorsport engineering student, in 2017 to use as a drift car. Since then, she’s set about transforming it into the wide-arched, big-bumpered beast you see here, describing the build as “the only thing that kept me sane” during her studies.

The Silvia is most associated with Nissan’s much-celebrated SR20DET engine, the ‘T’ on the end of that string of numbers and letters denoting a turbocharger. This car originally had the non-turbo SR20DE version, but now features the Garrett T28 blower as fitted to the DET. This is one of a series of power-boosting modifications, along with a tubular turbo manifold, an exhaust from aftermarket legends HKS and performance engine bearings from ACL. Together, these enhancements add up to roughly 270bhp.

Power alone does not a drift car make, however, which is why Helen’s car is also running Hardrace suspension arms all round, a full set of HSD coilovers, and a fully stripped interior with Bride bucket seats, harnesses and a fire extinguisher – just in case. The SSR three-piece rims are wrapped in semi-slick tyres – de rigueur for a road legal drift car.

The bodykit, complete with gently flared arches, is from Japanese outfit Origin Labo, as is the rear spoiler, while the unpainted carbon fibre bonnet comes from Seibon.

One thing that Helen’s keen to emphasise is that none of this is just for show. While some cars like this spend most of their lives being paraded around the show circuit, she says she can’t wait to get it back where it belongs: on track, tail out wide, smoke billowing, perfecting the art of the drift.

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