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10 Second Silvia Conversion

An innocent-in-white Nissan Silvia packed with a 10 second drag-spec driveline!

Words by Michael Knowling, Pix by Julian Edgar

Click on pics to view larger images

At a glance...

  • Engine/driveline from Japanese drag car
  • Full conversion into a street-neat white Silvia
  • Detuned to 470kW at the wheels
  • Skyline spec brakes
  • Launch control and hardware to run 10s!
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This is the third time John Di Mauro has had a car featured on AutoSpeed and, although his Silvia might look tame, we can assure you it isn’t. You’re looking at a machine capable of 10 second quarter mile attacks!

As mentioned in Sweet Sil80, John recently took delivery of a Japanese built Silvia drag car with proven mid 10 second quarter mile performance. However, when this bitumen burning beast was seen in the flesh it was obviously gonna need a lot of work to get registered for road use. It was, after all, purpose-built for drag racing. The solution was to purchase a locally complied and registered atmo Silvia and swap over all the good bits. So what you’re looking at is essentially a drag car lurking beneath a plain-white-wrapper S13!

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Details of the Japanese built engine are sketchy but is seems that swept capacity has been taken out to around 2.18 litres thanks to a Tomei 86mm stroker crank and slightly oversized Tomei forged pistons on the end of Tomei H-beam rods. The static compression ratio is guessed at around 8.5:1. The DOHC head has been extensively modified and contains Tomei solid lifters, valve springs, rocker stoppers and 270 degree camshafts. An aftermarket oil pump, remote oil filter kit, oil cooler, modified sump and high capacity Koyo aluminium radiator ensure longevity. Engine assembly and tune can be credited to Cockpit Tatebayashi.

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The external bolt-ons are easier to identify than the internal bits. On the exhaust side of the head you’ll find a GReddy T88-34D turbine kit comprising a tubular manifold, 55mm external wastegate and, of course, a huge T88 huffer. John enlisted the services of MTQ Engine Systems to freshen the turbocharger before giving it a workout. Off the back of the turbo is a Trust TR exhaust which is held together by V-band clamps to enable easy disassembly. The T88’s compressor inhales through a HKS filter and blows through a Trust 100mm thick ‘cooler. At present, a Z32 300ZX airflow meter is also incorporated in the intercooler plumbing – more on that in a moment.

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Like many highly modified cars from Japan, John’s drag-spec Silvia arrived running a reprogrammed Nissan ECU, but this has been given the flick for a Haltech E8 programmable ECU. The Haltech unit receives a MAP engine load input so the post-compressor 300ZX airflow meter is now redundant. Fuelling is via Sard 880cc injectors, a Nismo pressure regulator and a newly installed in-boot arrangement using a GT-R N1 lift pump, surge tank and twin ‘600hp’ MSD pumps. Ignition remains essentially standard but the rev limit is shifted beyond 8000 rpm - yep, this stroked SR loves to rev!

So what numbers can this bad-boy SR20 pump out? Well, with the Japanese reprogrammed computer, John saw a stunning 520kW at the wheels. But, keen on enjoying his investment into the future, the new Haltech ECU is programmed with more conservatively and output is now wound back to 470kW at the wheels. Only 470... This is achieved on 28 psi boost and a special fuel brew. Paramount Performance of Toowoomba can be thanked for tuning and other assistance.

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Given this huge Nissan SR grunt, its no surprise the driveline has received massive upgrading. An HKS triple-plate clutch grabs an HKS flywheel and channels load through a R34 Skyline GT-T ‘box which is equipped with OS Gikken gears. A locally fabricated 3½ inch tailshaft reaches back to a GT-R N1 1.5 way LSD with four-eleven gears and modified GT-R N1 axles. Alloy rear sub-frame spacers are also installed. Interestingly, the car arrived from Japan with a standard Silvia rear-end – which blew apart the first time John took the car to the track...

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The suspension is straight out of the Japanese drag car. There’s Tein HR adjustable coil-overs all ‘round (with custom rear springs to improve launch) while ARC swaybars reduce body roll. Tein adjustable castor rods, adjustable front camber tops and Cusco strut braces are added and the Nissan HICAS rear-wheel-steer system has been removed.

The drag machine arrived from Japan with standard brakes but John’s transplant recipient Silvia runs a R32 GT-R master cylinder, R33 GTS25T front discs/four-pot calipers, R32 GT-R drilled discs and associated twin-pot calipers. Skyline five-stud hubs are part of the Nissan-parts-bin-raid conversion. ADR-approved stainless steel lines are also installed.

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The drag car’s Cusco bolt-in cage has made its way onto the scene along with the top-shelf DEFI gauges for oil temperature, exhaust gas temperature, oil pressure and boost pressure. A Japanese Techtom launch control system can also be activated to help achieve 9 psi of boost before the car leaps off the line. Other in-cabin electronics include a GReddy turbo timer, Profec B boost controller and shift light. Comfort is enhanced with Recaro seats (trimmed in VT Commodore SS material), a Momo Race steering wheel and Pioneer MP3 head unit wired to 6 x 9 rears and 6 inch fronts.

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While many modified cars are styled to suggest speed and then fail to deliver, this is hardly the case here... Not many 10 second capable machines can slide through traffic without attracting a second glance! John had a local paint/panel shop revive the original white paint, tidy up a fiberglass body kit and install a twin slat grille together with non projector headlights. These latter lights are a big improvement on the all-too-common ‘googy’ projector headlights. Oh, and you might also notice the no-crap 700KW number plates! Rims are black-painted 16 inch R32 GTSt at the front and R32 GTR at the rear while rubbers are Nitto 555R Extreme Drag Street – but these are nowhere near capable of holding the grunt churned out by the stroker SR. No surprise there.

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John had a few plans in store for the car when we met him for a photo shoot but there’s now a different vehicle on his mind. (Yes, another one!) The Silvia has since been sold and John is embarking on a very interesting Holden VL Turbo build-up – the theme being 10 second quarters for 10 grand.

We’ll be keeping an eye on that one too!


Paramount Performance +61 7 4659 9711

MTQ Engine Systems +61 7 4633 1355

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