When It’s OK To Rocket Bunny

It’s a road that we’ve been down many times before.

Few automotive styling trends have divided opinion in recent years quite like the current predisposition for over-fenders. As has been pointed countless times already, it’s not really a ‘trend’ in the sense that it’s only going to be a passing fad, as it’s something which has existed for decades in some shape or form.

From a personal standpoint, I initially really enjoyed a well presented over-fendered car with exposed hardware, but I grew tired of the same cookie cutter recipe being applied to cars all over the world. They always looked wild when spotted on the street amongst regular commuter cars, but seeing them at events became more and more ordinary as the novelty wore off. Ordinary is something that these cars should never be.

2018 2JZ Rocket Bunny S15 Silvia for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-2

It was around 18 months ago when I shot this custom-coloured S15 Silvia which belongs to a friend, who himself has an interesting car history. At the time, I guess we were at ‘peak’ over-fender mania, so I held the feature back and then held it back some more until far too much time had elapsed and it was forgotten. Searching through my back catalogs earlier today for an unrelated project, I was impressed by how fresh the car still looked when I happened upon it once again, and it got me thinking.

I think that this is a great example of how to do over-fenders. I’m actually not talking about the craftsmanship in fitting and painting the kit, which is excellent for what it’s worth, but rather that the genuine Rocket Bunny kit isn’t the main selling point of the car.

2018 2JZ Rocket Bunny S15 Silvia for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-17

You see, this isn’t just an S15 with a kit and wheels, this is the complete package. What makes it more enjoyable is that it wasn’t even built as a show car – at the time it was David’s daily driver. It even served as the shop car for a short period where he worked, too, along with making the occasional track day appearance.

2018 2JZ Rocket Bunny S15 Silvia for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-16

One of the (few) great things about living in Ireland is that we share the same side of the car as our friends in Japan, and as such Japanese imports are plentiful. It was Japan that this S15 Silvia was originally imported from, and it remains a badge of honour to retain as many of the small, original JDM touches it left with.

2018 2JZ Rocket Bunny S15 Silvia for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-1-2

Obviously, things have changed quite considerably since it was loaded onto the boat and shipped to Ireland. What originally arrived as a Spec S (that’s essentially a non-turbo SR20DE variant compared to the proper Spec R, if you’re not familiar with Nissan nomenclature) was fully overhauled into something far more worthy of the clothes that it now wears. Those 295/30s on the rear were always going to be a struggle to break loose with the standard engine, or even a SR20DET.

2018 2JZ Rocket Bunny S15 Silvia for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-5

For what is a visually loud car, it still has those little details that pull you in and hint that there’s something a little bit more to this build, and that it’s more than just good looks.

2018 2JZ Rocket Bunny S15 Silvia for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-13

Details that ultimately point towards a 3.0-litre non-VVTI 2JZ-GTE with a considerably sized T88 single turbo conversion in a tidied, painted engine bay. Combined with upgraded fuelling, cooling and a who’s who of Japanese parts, it’s a setup that’s good for a comfortable 500+hp on our 95RON Irish fuel (equivalent to US 91 octane). It’s none too shabby, and more power than anyone would need on Irish roads.

2018 2JZ Rocket Bunny S15 Silvia for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-27

It’s not a race car, but with 265-section fronts, and the aforementioned 295s on the rear, mounted on 18×10.5-inch -35 (front) and 18×12-inch -17 (rear) SSR Professors, it works as a solid package which can be enjoyed day to day. It’s low, but still has enough ride height and travel to be compliant on the street, although a front splitter was sacrificed during the process of trying to figure out just how low ‘too low’ was. It’s stance, but with as few drawbacks as possible.

Inside follows a theme of relative understatement. There’s little in here that would alert you to the presence of Toyota’s famed inline-six residing out front. All the original Nissan clocks are present and functional with a neat trio of gauges mounted in the centre factory air vents. There’s a fixed-back Recaro SPG for the driver, with a reclining Recaro ‘Confetti’ SR3 for the passenger.

2018 2JZ Rocket Bunny S15 Silvia for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-20

In hindsight, I do feel remorseful for sitting on this car for so long as it serves as a great example for those who intend on going down Route Over-Fender.

While I’m not one to tell anyone what to do with their car, there’s a great lesson here in that your car shouldn’t just be a body kit on wheels, but that the styling should be used to enhance what lies beneath. That a car can be both style and substance.

I doubt it’s going to change anyone’s life, but it’s a car that I hope most people can enjoy for what it is.

Paddy McGrath
Instagram: pmcgphotos
Twitter: pmcgphotos

2018 2JZ Rocket Bunny S15 Silvia for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-22
2018 2JZ Rocket Bunny S15 Silvia for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-10
2018 2JZ Rocket Bunny S15 Silvia for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-15
2018 2JZ Rocket Bunny S15 Silvia for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-18
2018 2JZ Rocket Bunny S15 Silvia for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-26
2018 2JZ Rocket Bunny S15 Silvia for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-28


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Small details like the color matched calipers are really nice. Always seems to say "I've got my shit together."


The most tried (read: boring) formula ever: S15 + Rocket Bunny + 2JZ, yet in a very lovely, neat, and appealing way keep aside that it's a road sporty car not a track missile. Plus the color is nice.
This build has refreshed my mind leading my thoughts to the point where i can see her in front of my house.


Is it really that refreshing?

I probably am missing the point for this article but in all honesty, there isn't a whole lot going for the car that seems different. Okay, it's driveable, fair enough; but I fail to understand how it's any more appealing than every other show car with the same combo.


Yup, as Shane said. It's an "affordable" (can't tell how much was spent but it doesn't seem silly numbers) daily driven car that can fit in any car show yet full functional. This is the best way in my eyes: well executed, reliable, no crazy money but no shortcuts, simple touches to accentuate your style,... And judging by looking to these photos (i can't what's going on there and i/m not an expert judge) this car is a winner for me.


Its not a show car thats the point.


Rocket bunny always looks shit.
It's like the 2018 equivalent spent to what veilside used to be.


Except Veilside went 200MPH+ and was building 1000hp cars when the world thought a black hole might form.

John Krzeminski

You can go 200mph in a car covered in bird shit, it doesn't mean it looks good.


I'm with you. I never thought the Rocket Bunny kit looked bad, it's just the "too much of a good thing" that ruined its cool factor.


Lol I see pics on the interwebs but where I live you never see anything like this on the street. Then again this isn’t alll show Cali. When I lived in Orlando you saw a couple bunny kits but were usuallly unfinished, unpainted, and thrown on. I’ve yet to see a nicely put together rocket bunny car on the street


Loving the screamer pipe exit just before the drivers door, would sound great with the T88 at full noise!

The poor French Carguy

I started writing something about "It's nice but it's just another S15 + 2JZ + Rocket Bunny Kit combo" (and why it is boring but there nothing wrong about it), but I started to enjoy it just because it's that combo, but done "right". Because for once, the function has been respected with the form. The 2JZ swap is now just as boring to me as a LS swap, but these are always done for a good reason : good power achieved with good reliability, and that is function (and the fact that it's not a crazy HP number is a good plus). The wheels aren't "too big", the tires aren't "too stretched", and more important : the car is not "too low". And the full interior with just the few little things that make it better. What started to me as " just another one of these combo" is now "the best execution I've seen of it". Thanks Paddy for sharing this, it is indeed very refreshing to see something like this, done "just right".


I get you but please don't compare 2JZ to a LS swap :x


And an LS isn’t some god engine, shit is some stale ass Chevy 350. Get a coyote if you wanna be a real badass

The poor French Carguy

Why wouldn't I ? They are both great, masse produced engines that offer a reliable base for powerful builds... And both are more than often used for similar applications... Nothing wrong with that, the choice is always between the hands of the person who builds the machine they are put in :)
(and yes, those emoticons are quite irritating)


damn emoticons....


exactly what time is never, because that's what the clock reads

Александр Трофименков

in the beginning of overfender craze rocket bunny cars looked incredible and out of this world, but now i look at this one and see yet another 2jz swapped, tiffani painted (or whatever this color is called) S15. Dont get me wrong, seeing theese cars in real life is still kinda cool but i suppose that in a few years we will look at these cars just as we look at 2005 builds that seemed amazing back in their day. And the fact that internet if now oversaturated with high quality pics of overfendered cars doesnt exactly help. At least this one has something going for its performance, and this something is plentifull for a daily street car. The problem is that many people who build rocket bunny cars dont do anything in terms of actual modifications and focus on having a cool look over performance, which im ok with, as long as this logic isnt applied to a perfomance cars.


I can dig this one.


I generally agree with what everyone has said about the played out combo in place here. HOWEVER, this works... Perfectly in fact.
Amazing looking wheels, without ridiculous camber and stretch, check
Amazing engine, without ridiculous power that is still usable and reliable, check
An interior.... I mean, you need one of those for a usable car right? check
Colour, okay so not the rarest of colours but still, it works, check

I would happily drive this to work everyday, pick my mum up in it to go shopping or pick my mates up to go for a blast in the mountains.


I completely agree with you. This car is aggressive and subtle at the same time. The performance can back up the looks and the style. When Rocket Bunny tends to fade out, I think this will be one of the prime examples to look up 10 years down the road as one of the best examples of form and function.
The owner knew exactly what level to take the car to without going completely over the top.


I've always enjoyed the width and aggression gains of these kits, and this car exudes those properties well, especially with the quality mechanical work done.
I wish more people would integrate the fenders without fasteners for a far cleaner look, but to each his own, and in this case the car looks great regardless.


2JZ engine no shit


I too *love ass*


Does any know what the window sticker is in the 4th picture? I also have it on my scooby


From what I hear about Japan, you have to prove that you have a legal parking space in order to own a car. That sticker is proof. I assume it works like keeping your license plate registration stickers up to date, at least in the US.


Amazing someone thats not Kei Miura builds a Rocket Bunny car and actually gets it right


How do T88 2JZ's run these days? I remember back in the day they would be a total dyno queens


this is the perfect s15


Someone in Indonesia had awfully similar 'build.' Silvia S15, 2JZ, Rocket Bunny, but there's something special about the wheels.



If you're too jaded to appreciate this car, go find another hobby. The owner did not attempt to set the world on fire for the benefit of other people and their approval, and there's nothing wrong with that.
There may be other cars like it, but it's well considered and well executed.


I agree that over fenders look good in this application. Just don't like them on "high end" cars. This is cool!

Matthew M. Applin III

Car looks and probably drives amazing. I just wish people would cover those damnable exposed fasteners. It's the only thing that drives me nuts about the overfender craze.


This guy gets it.


The bonus pictures are beautiful!