For all the pleasure and excitement that a finished and running car brings, I can’t help but be far more inspired by a car at the very beginning of the process.
On a recent visit to Stone Motorsport with Project GTI, John Stone introduced me to their latest project: An S15 Nissan Silvia being built for the 2018 Irish Hillclimb Championship. Typically, I hear S-body and almost immediately switch off, although not quite as quick as when someone tells me they’re building a drift car. It just feels like every combination and permutation has been done before, so it’s hard to get excited any more. This, however, is a little bit different.
It is very early days in this project, but with fabrication almost completed, it’s going to come together quickly in the coming months. I guess that’s the beauty of it still being an S15; the aftermarket support for the car and the ability to just bolt proven parts on cannot be underestimated.
In saying that, it’s hardly recognisable as being an S15 as it currently sits. Recently, Stone Motorsport posted an image of the bare chassis (after it had gone on a considerable diet) on their Facebook page and invited their fans to guess what it was. Some did get it right, but a few of the guesses were so far off that they elicit a chuckle or two. It’s definitely not a Ford Mustang.
With the relevant safety devices being installed at the moment, it gives a good opportunity to pore over the S15 in its most basic form. John was kind enough to share Stone Motorsport’s plans and what will eventually end up in each part of the car. They’ve put a lot of thought into this. The target weight for the car is 900kg (1,984lb) wet, without driver.
What will undoubtedly make a huge difference to the weight of the Silvia is their decision to stay away from the typical inline-six and V8 engine options. Despite a lofty power goal of 700hp at the wheels, the Stone team aim to extract the power from a four-cylinder Honda K24 engine. It’s a feat which has already been completed around the world, but curiously has never made it into an S-body on this scale before. Recently, we featured Will Au-Yeung’s Vibrant Performance /PZtuning Honda Civic, which itself runs in excess of 770whp, so the power figure is perfectly attainable.
John estimates that running the K24 in place of a 2JZ-GTE, for example, will save them 100kg (220lb) right away. The compact Honda motor also saves weight by requiring smaller components and two less of certain parts. All the small things add up to significant savings.
It’s still early days, but with progress expected to develop at a rapid rate in the coming months, I figure it’s best to start early and we can pick up with the car as it gets closer to its finished state.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the 1:1 Starlet project hasn’t been scrapped, although it has literally been shelved. Progress on that will resume over the winter, once its owner has his other two projects finished as soon as this week. There’s even talk that the KP61 might get a little bit of VTEC in its life, too…