JDM Movie Star: An S15 In The USA
Hollywood cars

If you are anything like me, movies and other forms of entertainment have probably played a big role influencing your automotive tastes. Just last week I wrote about how Initial D completely changed my own perception of cars from Japan and how it led me to where I am today. But of course, that’s just one small example of the entertainment industry’s influence on car culture.


Whether it was John Milner’s Deuce Coupe from American Graffiti, Kowalski’s Challenger in Vanishing Point or even K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider, the automobile stars of the screen often left a bigger impact on people than the actors themselves.


It’s really amazing what being featured in a movie can do for a car’s image and value. I still think the original Fast and the Furious is a big reason why fourth generation Toyota Supra values have stayed so high, and while some of its one-time rivals can be had for next to nothing.


And as video games have risen to become one of the world’s most popular forms of entertainment, they too have been responsible for introducing millions of people to cars they might not have noticed otherwise. Cars like the Skyline GT-R, Lancer Evolution and Impreza WRX all owe much of their popularity to computer-generated pixels.


One of the people watching those movies and playing those video games was Travis Bishop – the proud owner of this S15 Nissan Silvia. From the age of 12, Travis had developed an infatuation with the S15 after driving it virtually in the many games it was featured in. Unfortunately though, he soon learned that the S15 was never imported to the United States.


For whatever reason, Nissan decided North America shouldn’t get the final (and arguably greatest) iteration of the Silvia and like many people in the USA, the S15 would have to remain a fantasy for Travis. After getting his drivers license, he ended up buying a WRX STI and eventually built it into a 550 horsepower street and show machine.


But the dream of owning an S15 was always something in the back of his mind, and he said he’d make it come true even if it meant waiting for the 25-year old import rule. It turns out he wouldn’t have to wait that long.

A dream realized

Much sooner than he expected, the opportunity to own an S15 presented itself when he came across this particular car for sale. This wasn’t just any S15 either, but one that had originally been brought to the United States by Universal Studios for use in 2006’s Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift. In the movie the car had an gaudy blue and orange paint job and was wrecked in one of the film’s early scenes. In the years following the movie, the Silvia passed through a couple different owners and today is not at all recognizable as being the same car.


Needless to say, Travis was ecstatic when he found out the car was available. The only problem was, being a working college student who’d just finished up building his STI, he had no money. Not wanting the chance to slip away, he made a deal to send a small deposit for the S15 and started to part out the Subaru to raise the money he needed.


It wasn’t an easy choice to say goodbye to his first car, especially considering he had poured an enormous amount of time and money into, but it was necessary to make his S15 dream a reality. With the Subaru and its parts gone and the balance of the S15 able to be paid off,  Travis’s car was soon on the way to its new home in Oklahoma.


While it may no longer look like the Tokyo Drift S15, I don’t think there’s anyone who wouldn’t call the car’s current look an upgrade from how it was presented in the movie. Aside from the fact that S15s are extremely rare in the US, it was the car’s badass look that caught our eye during the recent Slammed Society event at Formula Drift Texas.


Once Universal Studios was done with the car, it was sold to a place called Flawless Rides in California, who outfitted it with a full C-West GT widebody conversion and then applied a very unique shade of army green paint, which helps give the S15 an all business look. Also lending to the race-ready vibe is an Origin GT wing and an APR front diffuser.


Under the hood of the Silvia sits the proven SR20DET, and as you’d expect its also sporting its fair share of upgrades. There are Tomei cams, a GReddy intake manifold, Nismo valve springs and rocker arm stoppers, with everything be controlled by an A’PEXi Power FC engine management system.


Boost comes from a Garrett GT3076R twin-scroll turbo on a Powerlab manifold. Wastegates and blow-off valve are from TiAL, while a big PBM intercooler is visible through the C-West bumper.


The engine bay has also been treated to a full a shave and wire tuck to help keep things looking tidy. This sort of attention to detail is definitley something you won’t see on many movie cars.


As for footwork, the car is running a set of KSport’s Airtech coilovers which allow the S15 to be dropped into the weeds for shows, yet till cruise down the road in comfort.


The wheels are Motegi Tracklites that measure 18×10-inch in the front and 18×12-inch in the rear. Perhaps they aren’t the first wheel you’d expect on an S15, but in flat black they fit the car’s exterior vibe perfectly.


Inside, the car remains mostly stock and street friendly. The original seats have been replaced with Recaros and the factory steering wheel has been swapped out for a MOMO Race wheel. There’s also a Nismo shift knob, Prosport gauges and some upgraded audio equipment for good measure.


For now the car sits largely how Travis acquired it, and even though he’s achieved his dream of owning an S15, he says his journey is far from over.


In its current form the car is geared more for car shows and cruising, but Travis is working on a engine swap, new paint, and a host of other changes. Plans call for an RB30 setup with a goal of 1,000 horsepower, which would make the current car seem mild by comparison.

From the roads of Japan to the Hollywood silver screen and beyond, it’s been an interesting story for this S15 so far – and it sounds like there’s plenty more to come. We look forward to seeing what becomes of it.



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It's kind of funny to see how "big" S15s are in America, whereas here in Australia they're super common (on account of being sold here new). I have to admit though, it works the same way with cars like Corvettes here.

Then again, an S15 like this would still grab attention here in Australia. Very nicely done. The C-West kit is probably one my of favourite bodykits on an S15, along with Vertex.


That green really works


Hotcakes Yeah, it's the same everywhere else in the world. People go gaga over Skylines over here in the states, but it's common fare in Japan etc....


Love S15's! Car is sweet except the Ksport Air ride.


How did the studio legally import this car and register it?


flawless rides didn't build this? han built this badboy from the ground up?


@sean boswell It was his Mona Lisa you know! If you're not out of control, you're not in control!


Nice and clean! Good history as well!


I thought the fast and furious silvia had a RB26 in it???


AshleyHartley Naa remember it was the one that was wrecked at the start, then at the end they salvaged the SR and put it in a 'stang..


@Garagisti You can import anything and register it on a state level but that doesn't mean it's federally legal.


Why would you do an engine swap when the enginebay looks this clean already? Obviously for more power, but it's not what I would do. I'm looking forward to the new paint, the body is good as it's right now!


JoeWhaler AshleyHartley. As the story goes it was an rb26. But all of the stunt cars were SR20DE silvia's, meaning this has already had an engine swap to an SR20DET.


Very nice and supper clean


clean and Dope :D


Larry Chen Hotcakes You can throw a rock and chances are you'll hit some POS Corvette here in the states.


Jochem Yup, more poowwwweerr.


Larry Chen I gotta get the straight scoop from Bow Wow.


@Garagisti I don't think Universal ever registered for road use, but when there's a will there's a way I guess.


Hotcakes You should see how much the occasional Skyline goes for! It's insane.


Very Cool to see a car I know and spot all the time on speedhunters.  Just disappointed I had to work and couldn't make it to Texas for Formula D!


Mike Garrett You tryin' to sell that Sparco steering wheel?


Was this the S15 used in the beginning of the movie or the one that was at the end of the movie that went up against Dom?


Where is the bond release on the car? Simply possessing something, does not make it legal.   This isn't a legal car. It should have been exported or destroyed after the movie was done with it, but lots of them just slip away.  Eventually ICE might go after it. Hopefully not, but high profile shit is what they like to impound.


Mike Garrett Its not legal.  There is no will, its just an illegal car, just like hundreds of others. Simply having something, does not it legal make.  If someone has 1/2 a kilo of coke on his living room table, is that legal? He has it.....same deal. The only guys that get screwed in these deals, are the 2nd or 3rd guys down the line. Cars are traceable and traceable.  Eventually someone in ICE comes knocking.


In Canada we get these next year! As well as R34 skylines! 
sweet car though. Love the color.


Well done on rescuing the car, it looks eleventy billion times better than in the movie. I personally like the current color, but look forward to it's next incarnation.  Now take it to the track ;)
Also, I'm still getting used to the new site because it is what it is, but the chapters in particular just don't seem to improve anything.  They feel contrived & really break things up unnecessarily, making the whole experience choppy.  If it ain't broke...


Hey Larry Chen where is all your great photo editing and style gone, like you had in the FD posts earlier this year, from Long Beach for example? I just see straight normal colors an nothing special lately :( hope you can put more time into that again - i love your photo-style! cheers, Jimmy


@Jimspeed I am pretty sure I have the same style, I am not really sure what you mean.


EthanGuzzi JoeWhaler AshleyHartley S15's come stock with SR20DET's in the movie F&F:Toyko Drift, Han's blue S15 did have an RB swap.


SeanMorris Mike Garrett There are some ways around it. Not arguing but theoretically you can import an S15(R32,R34, etc..) through Canada from Japan and register it there. Then you can bring it across the border and register it as a Canadian car.


Corbin  SeanMorris Mike Garrett There are ways "around" everything. Murder, taxes, drugs. Doesn't make it any less legal.  You can't just register a car as a "Canadian" car. Its not an originally certified Canadian car and does not fall under VSA-80. http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/import/VIG%20Canada10102012.pdf
I try and let people know the truths about importing, so they don't end up getting fucked. I get lots of calls and emails from people that do get fucked.


gahhhh i fucking hate moulded on body parts


I agree with Larry, @Jimspeed , The photo's are always on point...I'm not sure if you actually sit behind photoshop for hours or not but sometime it's easy to go all out and sometimes you just want to pull off a natural beauty. I can honestly say that ALL of these pictures are on point. It's not like they're just out of the camera. 
Larry Chen, your photo's are the reason I have been coming back to the site for years now lol smh


SeanMorris Mike Garrett 
Good thing the government is closed for now ^_^


@Sean --- You're right absolutely right! I'm glad you know your shit it can help us all out. Now how long do I have to wait before I can legally import an S15?


Awhile that 25yr is benz fault and drug cartels using cars as mules ;). Stack dead presidents now and buy one when it is legal.

Rob Meulenbroeks

This S15 has been an inspiration for mine ever since I got my hands on one.
Same bodykit, but with a RB25DET in it now :)


Never knew S15's didnt exist in the US, they are dime a dozzen here lol


That car is flawless! A more track oriented suspension setup would be sufficient IMO.


@Jimspeed Larry ChenOMG Larry has lost his style! LOL You can't really compare something
static like a car feature with, with the more dynamic FD events. btw
that first shot in the tunnel is jaw-dropping.


Well shit!  I'm glad that car survived--I had no idea it wasn't scrapped.  Great story behind this one.


Shane Hunter Thanks for the support. It means a lot.


scottcpynn We already have the R34s! a few GTR's have landed and I've seen and talked to a guy with a GT-T. Can't wait for the S15s though


I think its great that people like Mike build such cars in the US. I myself am a motorsport fabricator here in AU, and remember doing trips to the US in the early 2000's to have people huddle about my laptop and hard drive pics of the Silvias, Skylines, RB's, Tripple rotors and so on id be working on, cars and motors they never got.
Mike Garrett i hope you do go ahead with the RB conversion, i have little love for the SR, its good to see you thinking out of the box. My only advice would be keep it a vivid 26, dont go for sheer all out numbers as you probably wont like the way it will drive. The sheer sound of a RB26 or even 28 are incredible, and even at 700-800 its a insane chassis and a smile a second ride. Good luck mate !


My compliments on a perfect looking S15. I'd probably have exactly the same look but for different rims and colour. The kit is fantastic!


Larry Chen I think you're right, ans especially the argument from koko san, about the dynamics. Maybe it's just the new white background here at speedhunters that - photos don't look as impressive an on black background...


koko sanLarry Chen I was thinking the same thing when I saw the tunnel shot. I was like "I've got to try that!" Hope I get to say Hi to you one day at Gatebil. Wanted to this summer, but you looked so focused I didn't want to disturbe "the Magician!" lol


This one makes me wonder... Are there any other cars that usually wouldn't be eligible for registration in the USA brought there while filming the Tokyo Drift? Or other F&F movies, as a matter of fact?




You should look into Matt Predmoore's s15. It too apparently was in Tokyo drift and ran d1 for years.