A Simple Static Street S14

I’ve been on a crusade of sorts lately. You might have noticed.

Specifically, I’ve become more and more fascinated with humble builds. At the risk of repeating myself, it’s not that I don’t appreciate the crazy and seemingly unlimited budget builds, it’s just that I find it hard to relate to them. On a similar level, I’ll always have that little bit more respect for the guy who does his own thing, in his own time, than the guy who just pays someone else to do everything for him. Now, before someone jumps down my throat for that, I definitely fall into the latter category. But that’s a whole other discussion for another day…

2015 Nissan Silvia S14 Neil Thompson by Paddy McGrath-12

If there’s anyone who knows the meaning of the word sacrifice when it comes to building a car on your own, it’s probably Neil Thompson. Despite numerous and significant setbacks, including the immediate death of an engine on first start up and having to break his perfect EK9 Honda Civic Type R in order to see the project through, it’s a wonder that he managed to finish the car at all. Okay, it’s probably the very definition of #firstworldproblems, but any genuine car guy or girl will know that it doesn’t make it any easier.


Considering where he started, the transformation has been quite simply remarkable. A zenki Nissan Silvia S14 with, um, questionable styling, has been reborn as something very cool indeed.

2015 Nissan Silvia S14 Neil Thompson by Paddy McGrath-8

Probably one of the more impressive sides of the build is the wheel fitment. You can laugh and dismiss this as a stance thing, but to get a car to sit and drive this low on Irish roads without fouling the bodywork or inner-arch is a monstrous task in itself. Especially considering that the S14 is static on JIC Magic coil-overs, squeezing the rear 11.5-inch-wide, -6 offset Work Termist S1Cs (aka first-gen Meister S1s) must have taken considerable effort. But that effort saw Neil learn how to weld so he could cut and modify the arches himself.

2015 Nissan Silvia S14 Neil Thompson by Paddy McGrath-10

Despite using your usual big-name parts, Neil has managed to put them together in a unique sort of way. The Rocket Bunny kit is actually quite subtle for instance with the low mounted D-Mac wing being the only really loud part of the exterior.

2015 Nissan Silvia S14 Neil Thompson by Paddy McGrath-2

The mismatched wheels, which are finished in the same shade as each other, is another nice touch. The 10-inch-wide Work XD9s are still a tight squeeze at the front however.

2015 Nissan Silvia S14 Neil Thompson by Paddy McGrath-6

It’s not all about looks either, and Neil paid attention to giving the SR20DET a little extra pep too. An S15 ball-bearing turbo, tubular manifold, Parts Shop MAX down-pipe and Tomei 256-degree camshafts are the highlights; together providing plenty of extra power for the road but retaining reliability.

2015 Nissan Silvia S14 Neil Thompson by Paddy McGrath-4

Inside, two Bride seats – a carbon/Kevlar Zeta II and an Ergo for the passenger – are the obvious changes, with a collection of GReddy gauges and a Blitz boost controller elsewhere in the cabin.

2015 Nissan Silvia S14 Neil Thompson by Paddy McGrath-14

It’s a simple build with strong results. Considering that everything except the colour and subsequent clear-coat were done by the owner, I believe it to be a car worth celebrating. When someone goes out of their way to learn skills that allow them to build their perfect car, they deserve applause.


Not every car built has to be a world-beater, sometimes it’s best just to build something for yourself.

Paddy McGrath
Instagram: pmcgphotos
Twitter: pmcgphotos

Cutting Room Floor
2015 Nissan Silvia S14 Neil Thompson by Paddy McGrath-3
2015 Nissan Silvia S14 Neil Thompson by Paddy McGrath-5
2015 Nissan Silvia S14 Neil Thompson by Paddy McGrath-7
2015 Nissan Silvia S14 Neil Thompson by Paddy McGrath-11
2015 Nissan Silvia S14 Neil Thompson by Paddy McGrath-15
2015 Nissan Silvia S14 Neil Thompson by Paddy McGrath-16


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Never understood the need to see in a negative light someone who pays to get their car built. I suppose I'm in this boat, as I have/had no knowledge or tools to do it myself. 3 years on and not only have my builder become a good mate he and other friends I met through the garage have taught me a hell of a lot, to the point I am now finishing things on my car, and I love doing so as I now have some knowledge but also the tools and help and advice to guide me. I suspect a hell of a lot of people who pay to get their car done would love to do it themselves but just don't have the knowledge/ tools/time to do so.


RussClarke same here russ. Met many mates owning far more exotic cars thru my mechanic. And all great guys (and a few girls) with stories to swap.


Looks pretty unique! A lot of the S chassis tend to look similar these days but this one sure stands out, good job :)


If your car is your passion you should learn the knowledge and get the tools. I did and all my friends did. A car that you've built yourself impresses the hell out of people, not paying someone else to do everything for you.


That is one excellent S14 Paddy.
I personally don't give a shit if someone builds his or her own car or pays someone to do it. Every person that puts that much money into a car like an S14 should be respected if you ask me.
If you pay someone to build your car, the money is easily as much as you would spent on some used Porsche or whatever, with the side effect that you will never get your money back when you dump it in an S-Chassis.
These days a lot of "car guys" care more about how valuable a car will be when they want to sell it than just have fun with it and don't care about money.


RussClarke I'm in the same boat as you and I'm not trying to take a crap on people who don't have the skills or time. Or else I would be crapping myself, or something along those lines...


More cars like this.


Paddy McGrath, your articles are my favourite on SH these days.  you have a particular ability to capture not just images, but the raison d'etre for the build.  your articles embody what speedhunting is really all about.


I just want to say, I love the fact that this guy went with a set of mismatched wheels. I don't know why, but it just adds a bit of mystery to the car that keeps you staring.

Makes me want to get a set of single-spoke rims for the front of my car, with a set of double-spoke rims out back.

Nice build!


no offence to the owner of the car because it IS nice and it looks to be well executed, but is this really article worthy?


@JackAM Read the article...


Paddy McGrath I did, and I still don't really get it. I understand that you're trying to represent the every-day builder who has to invest time into learning new things to get the job done, but this is just a clean and tidily built S-body at the end of the day. 

Your Corolla V8 article on the other hand is great; the build is a bit unique, has some cool touches and isn't a big budget shop build.


@JackAM Paddy McGrath Articles like these are great. They give a sense of hope for the "common man" to build something beautiful. Not only that, but to be able to obtain the knowledge to pretty much build it alone. Very refreshing article.


@JackAM Paddy McGrath I think Charles has nailed it for me. To a certain extent, I think we're spoiled with the quality of the über builds these days, but it's important to remember the guy doing his thing on his own dime too. 

Speedhunters, for me, will always be about cool cars. Regardless of budget.


I don't have a big baller budget, so I always appreciate seeing other cars being built and operated at the same level as me. A nicely-built, relatively mild S14, or the mildly-modified RX-8 you featured previously, are actually more interesting to me then some of the big-budget SEMA builds.

I think it's necessary to include cars that bring us back down to Earth. Not everyone needs, or wants, to put 100k into their car to create their vision. A 300whp S14 with nice paint, body and simple interior mods does it for me just as much as Mad Mike's FD Miata.



Paddy McGrath RussClarke

I think the 'built not bought' mentality is different in the States. We have the space to build cars because most car enthusiasts aren't living in the inner city with limited garage or workshop space. Most houses have garages, and a lot of apartments/townhomes do too. Having a shop build your car is not really a necessity, it's more of a luxury.

It largely comes down to a blue-collar vs white-collar disagreement. Those that choose to have a car built for them are seen as wealthy elites that aren't "real" enthusiasts, just assholes with too much money and too lazy to learn. There's a real resentment from those that have to scrimp and save, and spend late nights in the garage on cold floors under jack stands to build their dream car, versus the gent that writes a check and his dream car simply materializes.

I'm not saying it's the correct view or the wrong view, but between bustin' your own knuckles and paying someone to bust theirs, there's a chip on people's shoulder that choose to do the work themselves.


The colour and wheels are on point. I'm not sold on the wing though - it's like a halfway house between a GT wing and low mount and I'm not sure it suits the styling. Kudos to the owner for getting his hands dirty too.


FunctionFirst Amen


FunctionFirst Paddy McGrath RussClarke For the sake of balance, it's worth pointing out that the guys paying to have their cars built, are keeping an industry alive. They're helping to put someone's kid through college or put food on a families table. Two sides to every coin and all that.


Really diggin the look. Got that raw grass roots feel to it. And I agree with you Paddy, i've got a lot of respect for the diy guys/ girls. Everybody has the opportunity to learn the skills and find the tools if they want, it just takes time and sacrifice.


RussClarke i think that's about the commitment and not quite how you do it. it's the difference between just giving your car to someone saying "do something nice to it" and planning your dream car, following its evolution.

it's like the high rollers: not that we dislike them, we're just at this point identifying ourselves more with the budget dailys.




please tell us how slow do you have to drive this car, to avoid damages


Speedhunters one of the nicest zenkis I've ever seen


Need to fix the rear end. Something is wrong with the wheels...


@open your eyes Not very.


Mook Genius It's sad that you only see the bad in things, looking at your comment history...


Mook Genius You sir, are a very negative asshole.


Woohoo! A non-drifter S chassis!


Paddy McGrath Amen. If it means anything. You've brought that back in some way Paddy, because I honesty was missing this stuff on SH.
I've been following Speedhunters since 2009 and I love the fact that you guys cover major league drift and racing but also pay attention the common guy who created a car with his own hands. Trust me, these are the guys who skip meals and avoid buying expensive clothing for their projects. It's these people who build their cars for the love of car culture and I believe that that alone is worth an article if you come across these people and their stories. Even if it means 2 seconds of fame between the 50000000000hits on this website for those people, it was worth it. 

I could start a discussion on this matter but I just wanted to give my thoughts on it.


ABSOLUTELY approve of the head-on shot of the S14! One of the prettiest faces in the entire Nissan universe... Next to the Skylines-- of course


That rear side shot is just a beautiful angle on this. Wing and those fenders just work together so well.


Nice! He should be proud!




loves the way how he fix the radiator fan cover. cable tie for the win!


Word. This is a nice ride. I like how far back the wing sits


nice car nice captures :) thanks


Paddy McGrath FunctionFirst RussClarke danielbelvino i think Daniel has hit the nail on the head for me...i'd actually say i'm probably somewhere in this category. I've always loved cars but just not mechanically confident, that said since owning my Z32 i've been on more Z forums and bought more tools than i ever had to in my life before and i'm slowly learning to wrench. I'm by no means a wealthy man, i'll scrimp and save for parts but when i know somethings out of my league i'll (un)happily pay someone to do it, but only after i've researched the crap out of it. I know how i want my car to evolve what parts i want and if i can do it myself, no matter how small it may seem i'll at least try first before asking my club mates/mechanic to help.

Yes there is an extreme i think, of the guy who buys a late model car, sends it to a shop and says make this awesome here's a blank cheque...i can imagine how frustrating that would be for someone who has to learn, as friends/family for help and literally bleed for the car they dream of. Varying shades of grey in this topic but i get where Paddy was going. It's more relatable to see a human being go through the same experiences you did, the same type of trials and all to get something that maybe the world won't crown as the best of the best but you know the effort that went into it.

The experiential value of building a car(as does eating ramen noodles for months on end to buy parts and save for a shop to do the work) equals or even exceeds its monetary value.


I love the car, and I love the fact that it's a Zenki. :D


Seriously? Well it depends on where live, i guess. But still, seems way too low. Very cool, but too low.


Being the owner of a clean 2 owner zenki s14 myself, I love seeing these cars being taken care of. It seems like one day there will be almost zero schassis that havent been smashed up or parted out. Great article Paddy!


It's funny how nowadays a car like this is considered "simple". I know that the title is somehow ironic, and at the same time the car is somehow simple... But personally, I love to see cars like this in detail, and read about their story, their specs, acomppanied by gorgeous pictures. That's what this site is about for me at least...


Ricer does not mean what you think it means.


@Chris Paddy McGrath What he said. Your articles are the ones I look forward to the most.


love this car, its not a drifting s14 i love that. He is going to be part of the reason there is gonna be some left in 5 years.


Really really enjoying the cars that you're briging to my screen Paddy, keep it up! Builds that I can relate to are exactly what I love seeing!


At it again Paddy. Both the approach of your hunting, and the hunted itself. Beautiful machine, the detail is incredibly appealing, and the work put into it from the original state is a labor of love for sure.


rv_zenki EXACTLY the same here. I'm also an owner of an S14 that was saved from being parted out and crushed. People constantly tell me I should scrap this build and find a cleaner chassis. If people keep scrapping them there will soon be NONE left. These S-Chassis are getting more and more rare with every passing day that some driftkyd idiot piles one into a wall.



Paddy McGrath RussClarke you think people who work on their own cars were born with the skills? go buy a socket set and some screwdrivers and have a go!!!! is really not that hard.....plus youll save a small fortune in labor bills!!!


IRONWOLF RD Thank you!


Brentonmartian That's great to hear, I'll keep them coming.


Great article Paddy I totally agree with your thoughts on "humble" builds. Whilst i enjoy seeing all out race cars the generic nature of them can get a bit boring, where as the finer details and the story behind some of the street builds i have seen can be much more interesting. Nice work


Mismatched wheels are my fav part. Idk why. Always loved that in builds.


The Nissan S14 is one of the coolest car ever made and a design that never ages


I love this car, it does everything in a subtle and classy way. A functional stance that works oh so well with the look of the car. The only issue I have is the way this article is written is as if the car was built in a cheap way/the total build cost was low. After looking at virtually the same two sets of wheels for my car I can tell you that alone there is over $2K in just wheels let alone the suspension setup and name branded body additions. Like I said, I love the car and wish it was my own as it's been built in such a tasteful manner, my only gripe however is the improper wording of the article as it somewhat sends the wrong message towards the cost of building a car of this calibre (adult audiences already know of this cost, less so for the younger teen age groups)
Anyways, keep up the wonderful Speedhunting as always!


good old Static Street


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