If you’ve always dreamed of owning a particular car, and then one day unexpectedly find you’ve achieved that goal, what do you do – sit there and admire it? Hell, no. You make it faster, and louder, and angrier…
There’s an inherent problem with owning an unusual car. It tends to get compared with every other example of that particular car. Let’s say you’re strolling through Mayfair, and a Rolls-Royce Wraith glides past. ‘Nice,’ you think to yourself. And then a Mansory Wraith passes in the other direction, resplendent in aftermarket gold details and glued-on bling, and you think ‘Hmm… that other Wraith was nicer.’ You see, there’s the issue – if you’d only seen the second car, in isolation, it would have spoken for itself. Owning an obscure car comes with all sorts of baggage; it’s not enough to be a good thing by its own merit, it has to be constantly justifying itself.
Such is the day-to-day life of the UK-based tuned Nissan S15 owner. Despite the current scene hysteria over anything powered by an SR20, along with the growing number of imported S15s on our roads, this generation of Silvia was never officially sold here. As such, a lot of people don’t know what it is. And those who do? They’ll be mentally comparing it to other S15s they’ve seen, it’s just a basic human reflex.
All of this is even more of a personal challenge for Rich Starkey, as this banana-yellow Nissan isn’t just another S15 on the scene – it’s the fulfilment of a long-held personal dream. And dream cars have some pretty big shoes to fill.
“It’s always been an ambition of mine to own one of these,” he confirms, still somewhat starry-eyed at how the dreamworld can occasionally beat the odds and infiltrate reality. “Before I worked at Driftworks, I was a huge fan of Phil and the original Driftworks S15 – it was my dream car, although I never imagined I would actually own a car like this.” Funny how things work out, isn’t it? The car he’s referring to there is Phil Morrison’s iconic 2JZ-powered drift machine which, while many youths would have posters of Ferrari F40s and the like on their walls, was the car that ticked the boxes for Rich.
You need to walk before you can run, however, and Rich’s modifying history began in the usual humble style; a 2.2-litre Astra G, a cavalcade of Saxos, before levelling up to the likes of Subarus and E36 BMWs. This custard dream machine is the first one he’s gone all-out to modify, though – but all of that research has evidently paid off. It helps, of course, to be surrounded by people who live and breathe this stuff. Having been welcomed into the Driftworks family, Rich has fully assimilated. He’s one of them. A sideways addict. And you’ve got to have the right car to live that sort of lifestyle.
“This car was imported about three and a half years ago by Driftworks, as we were planning to build a new drift car for Phil,” Rich explains, impressively shifting from the humdrum day-to-day into a new life of living out one’s dreams with….