Chasing S15 Perfection In The Philippines

When you think of the Philippines, your first few thoughts probably don’t contain a fully-built Garage Mak-style S15.

But that is part of what makes this particular Nissan Silvia so good. If it had Japanese number plates you would probably never second guess it – which is why I wanted to shoot it.


Last week, Alec and I brought you a shop visit story on Autoplus in Manila, and this car belongs to the owner’s son, Luis. While it might not be an official Autoplus demo machine, it certainly shows what the shop is capable of.


If not glaringly obvious, Luis has drawn inspiration from modified cars in Japan, having spent some time there.


He even competed in the 2018 FIA Intercontinental Drifting Cup held in Odaiba, with another S-chassis.

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At first glance, the Silvia has a time attack style, but spend a bit longer looking and you start to pick up all the drift influences. I’ll get to the mechanical hardware in a moment, but first, the exterior, which is quite spectacular.

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The S15 features a host of Garage Mak aero parts, including their full Type 5 body kit, plus a Blister carbon fiber boot lid, carbon hood and GT wing. If that wasn’t enough, Luis also added an RE Amemiya rear diffuser – presumably designed for an RX-7 – along with a pair of Type 2 Magical Racing mirrors.

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When we shot the car, it was rolling on RAYS Gram Lights 57DR wheels.

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Combined with brand-new Nissan OEM weatherstrips, mouldings, headlights and taillights, the Silvia’s exterior is faultless.

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This trend continues throughout the entire build, including in the engine bay.

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Under the hood is a fully-built Nissan SR20DET VCT with CP forged pistons, Carrillo forged connecting rods, a Mazworx stud kit, Tomei head gasket, and Tomei 258-degree camshafts.

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The turbo setup is no joke. A new Garrett G25-660 pushes over 20psi of boost through the SR20 via an upgraded GReddy intake manifold and Naprec 80mm throttle body.

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Wired with a custom loom and tuned through a Link engine management system, this is about as good as an SR20 gets without changing the bore or switching to a NEO VVL (SR20VE) cylinder head.

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Making power is one thing, but effectively getting that power to the ground is another. There are no issues here though, as Luis has specced the driveline and suspension with some of the best aftermarket gear available. In the mix is an ORC single-plate clutch and a OS Giken mechanical limited-slip differential, along with KW V3 coilovers, Cusco sway bars, and D-Max adjustable arms and links to dial in the alignment for street and track duty.

For brakes, the Silvia benefits from a full set of Project Mu calipers in a custom colour, which provide plenty of stopping power.

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Out on the streets of Manila, the S15 looked nothing short of sensational, and it had the sound to match.

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As you would expect, the cabin has been thoroughly updated too. Essentially, every new OEM interior part from Nissan was installed alongside some select aftermarket goodies.

Engine data is relayed to a Stack ST8100 display mounted in place of the factory S15 cluster, while Recaro (Japan) RS-G bucket seats, a Max Orido edition Nardi Classic steering wheel, and a Top Secret shift knob add just the right amount of JDM flair to what feels like a practically brand-new S15.

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Those of you with a keen eye would have noticed the steering wheel on the left side of the car. The S15 Silvia was never produced in LHD, so this was an entirely custom endevour to satisfy the Philippines authorities. Honestly, the dash looks like a factory item.

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When I capture rolling shots, it usually involves hanging a camera out the side of a van or maybe through the window of a regular car. This time, Alec and I found ourselves in the back of a pickup truck.

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If this had been Japan, we would have not gotten far before being pulled over by police and given a stern talking-to. But the local security did us a solid by helping control traffic to create somewhat of an ‘escort’, making this method safe and manageable.

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That said, it still caused quite the scene, and as a result, this was probably the most memorable moment from my trip to the Philippines.

Alec and I spent over a week in Manila documenting all types of cars and automotive culture, so stay tuned for more.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: dino_dalle_carbonare

Additional Photography by Alec Pender
Instagram: noplansco



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Nice article and beautiful car. Love an S15. I wouldn’t say this is any kind of circuit aero or drift aero. This is basic street aerodynamics. Seems to be very standard issue to slap these kinds of mods on in the last 10 years. In reality a rear wing and a front splitter make little to no difference in medium to low speed corners until wildly exaggerated. Might have some implication as speeds get over 100 or whatever mph where the air flow starts to matter but I would guess in most ways this cars are used it isn’t doing anything but looking like a race car.