The Nissan Silvia is probably the most popular performance car in New Zealand right now. Max Fouhy shows us what it takes to stand out from the pack.
You’re not going to modify it, are you?” Max Fouhy pauses for a second, considering his reply to the older gent handing over the keys to a mint 1991 Nissan Silvia. “No, no, don’t worry. I might refresh up the suspension, but that’s it.
Max knew he was stretching the truth that day, two years ago, but even he had no idea quite by how much.
When Palmerston North-based Max picked up his new S13, it was in perfect low-mileage original condition. He could see why the previous owner didn’t want it messed with. Despite that, the temptation to modify was simply too strong, and Max began to turn the car into a very tidy, naturally aspirated streeter.
“It was very basic, just the usual stuff,” Max explains. “I installed some BC coilovers and converted the hubs to five-stud, which was sweet until my Warrant ran out.
I didn’t want to have to pay for a low-volume cert just for some coilovers in an NA car, so I thought I’d do the Silvia properly and get a cert for everything at the end.”
Max’s definition of the word “properly” may differ from others’.
Stripping the Silvia right down, Max began building one of the coolest S-chassis in New Zealand — whether he knew that at the time, we don’t quite know. Over the next year and a half the car slowly evolved. Under the hood, for example, the Nissan ran — and destroyed — three SR20DE+T motors. The +T denotes that the motor was originally NA then converted to turbo; it’s a surprisingly strong setup, but in no way is it indestructible. In the end Max bit the bullet and started looking at some top-dog motor options.
At the time Nick Li, a well known Dorimon drifter from Christchurch, had been trying to sell his NZPC cover-featured S15 Silvia. The car used the best of the best gear throughout, and although it’d had absolute moon-beams spent on it, no one wanted to buy the Nissan for anything near what it had cost to build. After receiving no bites, Nick decided to part the car out, offering up an extensive list of drool-inducing JDM goodness.
Max caught wind of the sale and charged into the fray, with Nick’s monster SR20DET build in his sights. After some haggling, Max managed to get most of the S15’s motor setup, driveline and electronics for a very good price. His S13 was about to get a whole lot cooler, with a spec list that reads more like a JDM-ophiles ultimate wish list than anything else.
The package was near perfect but Max wanted to make it even better. Originally sporting a Japanese A’PEXi computer, Max swapped that
out for a New Zealand made and designed Link G4 Extreme.
“I wanted more reliability, easier wiring and a tune on E85 fuel,” Max says.
After a retune, that decision has paid off, with the car jumping from 287 kilowatts at the wheels to an impressive 315kW, while still using the same mid-sized HKS GT-RS turbocharger — perfectly matched to the two-litre motor. Combined with an indestructible driveline based around a S14 gearbox, the package proved a lethal combination.
Now to get the car looking the part.
“Looking the part” is an understatement; Max’s car is surely one of the best looking Silvias anywhere in the world, let alone New Zealand. After dummy fitting body parts, wide guards and various spoilers to the Silvia, Max, with help from Hayden at Kennards Collision Repair, began to rework the body. The aim: to make room for some of the coolest wheels on the planet.
“We had to modify nearly everything to get the car how I wanted,” Max says. “The original arches have been raised, welded and sealed, the front end has been tubbed, all the lips and wiring has been removed and the wide-body guards have been pulled to fit.”
If that sounds like a whole lot of work, it was required if Max’s S13 was to stand out from the thousands of others on the roads. The car now sits absolutely slammed on a set of gorgeous Weds Kranze LXZ rims, ordered new from Japan thanks to Tats from NZ Silvias. The rims are a perfect fit for the Nissan, providing just enough dish and poke to create one amazing stance. As far as Silvias go, they simply don’t come much tougher looking than this.
Max didn’t make the mistake of cheaping out inside the car, either. Instead he fitted genuine Bride seats, a full array of Blitz gauges and an MSNZ six-point rollcage, painted in tasty Ford Vixen Red, like the exterior.
New Zealand is highly regarded in the global S-chassis community, and that’s thanks to guys like Max. The S13 enthusiast and his S-chassis brethren consistently push the boundaries, and that inspires the next guy to go that little bit further.
“I’ve made some mistakes,” Max says modestly. “I’ve changed my mind a thousand times and it’s cost me a lot more than it should have, but I’m happy with it now.”
With Max’s plans to enter D1 Rookie this year, we look forward to seeing this monster battling it out on the track. Just imagine what this S13’s original owner would have to say if he saw that.
A little red lie never hurt anyone though, right?
For more photos and full specifications, check out the Performance Car website.
Words: Peter Kelly. Photos: Chinmay Patel