New Gold Standard: This S15 Silvia Is The Complete Package

As time goes on, the restomod specialist shops like Singer, Alfaholics, Eagle E-Types and Redux continue to raise the bar when it comes to reimagining classics, and that is a very good thing.

As you’d expect though, these bespoke builds come with huge price tags, which mean only a very few get to enjoy them from the driver’s seat. It also means that many owners will ultimately treat their restomods like investments, and not use them. I don’t know about you, but I can’t see the fun the in that. What I can see the fun in, is ‘Bob’ Tanabe‘s Nissan Silvia S15, which I’m calling a restotune.


Built out of D Language Racing Service in Saitama, Tanabe-san’s Silvia is angry enough to be thrashed on the track yet refined enough to be driven to a fancy restaurant on Friday night. It’s the full spa treatment, head to toe tailoring – the complete package. It’s a tuner car elevated just enough to make people stand back and say ‘ooh, that’s a bit special’.  


The S15 has real presence on the street thanks to its Vertex Edge body kit paired with a G Corporation rear wing. But it’s the custom gold paint which makes the car appear much bigger than it actually is, and undoubtably gives it an air of elegance.


With 19×10-inch ESR LP2-Duo wheels shod in 275/30R19 tyres at all four corners, the Silvia’s proportions can seem a little caricature-like from some angles, but nevertheless, this is one of the best-looking S15s I have ever seen.


But it’s not just about the looks. As a Spec S, the S15 came from the factory with a naturally aspirated SR20DE. That was never going to cut it for Tanabe-san, but instead of taking the easy route and swapping in a turbo SR20DET, he’s retrofitted a 1JZ-GTE VVTi from a JZX100 Toyota Mark ll. Internally the Toyota engine is stock, as is the turbo, but Tanabe-san has fitted a modified GP Sports exhaust system with a Sard Racing sports cat, an HPI intercooler and oil cooler, Ignition Projects (IP) Power Coils, and a Link engine management system. Backing it up is Toyota’s venerable R154 5-speed manual gearbox.


I didn’t go for a ride along this time around, but I can imagine the car feels firm yet compliant thanks to a full suite of Nismo bushings and A/M/S Type-PD coilover suspension. GP Sports 380mm brakes (8-pot front, 6-pot rear) provide plenty of stopping power.


The exterior has new aggression, the engine bay has new a level of performance, but it’s the interior where I think the biggest improvement has been made.


Japanese enthusiast cars from the ’90s and 2000s were never renowned for their interiors, with the exception perhaps being the Honda NSX. Most cars from the era were clad in cheap plastic, and even if they were designed well, they fell short in the manufacturing process. You paid for performance, not plush.


To give his S15’s cabin a more luxurious feel, Tanabe-san had Replus Upholstery complete a full custom-trim makeover, which has elevated it to a new level. Importantly though, it still maintains a ‘tuner’ feel with Bride seats and Defi gauges.


Is this the new gold standard for Japanese tuner cars? Because by comparison, stock Japanese performance cars of a certain vintage just feel ‘cheap’, regardless of how much cash has been fed under the hood or thrown at the bodywork. Purists may say keep it original, but if given the choice I think we’d all like a little Alcantara under our fingertips.


I hope the way Tanabe-san has approached this build serves as some sort of inspiration for those of you with project cars. It certainly has for me.

Toby Thyer
Instagram _tobinsta_

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Vincent Conker Auger

Great find, Toby. How did you stumble upon Tanabe-San and his car ? The 3/4 static shots above are amazing with their urban backgrounds.


This is the best build I have seen in a long time when it comes to Silvias and the like. Wow this is beautiful.

Car people out there. We need MORE of this. Not slammed bendy drifto wheels poking out with no tires. This is just classy and naughty at the same time. Solid build. I love it.


Wow, what an extraordinary beutiful S15. I see this as a standard to modern tuners and enthusiasts :)
Some of your shots also look movie-like (the one of the seat reminds me of some hollywood peaks)
I sure hope that's dirt under the right door between the skirt, haha!


This build may be a gold standard, but those ESRs ain't. Maybe go with another brand of wheels that aren't known for simply disintegrating.


The ESRs you purchased and these are very different. Judging a whole company product based of your experience with their cheap entry level wheel is funny. What did you expect


Dude grow up. Just bashing a Company, and technically also bashing Tanabe-San's taste, build, and knowledge of aftermarket products because why? exactly, no reason. And if you go "no, no, because ---" just stop dude. why? for what? who are you helping? Just hating so hard for zero reason. And oh wow man, you posted a picture of a car with its entire front end taken off in an accident talking about "LoOk! ThEsE wHeEls ArE bAd! WheElS sHoUlD bE iNdEsTrUcTiBlE!" when the wheels on Tanabe-san's car are 6061-T6 Forged with titanium hardware and hand polished with acrylic clear coat. You couldn't afford the wheels on his car let alone know enough to talk down about them. lol I can't believe you posted a picture of car that got in an accident with the whole front end of it gone and seriously talking trash about the wheels being damaged badly.


In the event that anyone wants to know why.


Yeah nah, those wheels just don't look good on it tbh.


Yeah nah, build your own s15 then like the last 10,000 you've seen then.


the vertex ridge kit is valid but this would look soooooo much better on more aggressive coils and off of those nasty US formula drift youtuber spec wheels. this close to greatness but like 3 decisions ruined the entire car


Riiight riiight slam it beyond reasonable drivability and put the same wheels everyone else puts on every s chassis. Sounds way better than an extremely tasteful, unique build like this one. Open your mind dude, it's not gonna be 2008 forever. This is a 2024 build. Go buy your 30 year old 5 times rebuilt, 3 times refinished casted face two piece welded wheels from the 90s and enjoy them elsewhere.


I’m feelin this vibe. Some real interesting choices like 19x10 w/ 275 all around, but I’m feelin the vibe!


Quite literally one of the most perfect if not the most perfect S15 build out there
This is indeed the gold standard sad that S15s aren't cheap anymore tho


some of the best shots I've seen of the s15 with the background and environment really pulls this together.