Nissan Silvia S15
One gloomy Saturday afternoon, we were venturing forth towards the small coastal town of Salt Rock, located just north of the slightly larger town Ballito. With a population count of around 1,800 people, Salt Rock isn’t exactly a bustling metropolis, and is generally only frequented by holidaymakers and occasional visitors. This kind of small town scenario made what we were about to see feel just that bit more special, as there was some rare JDM metal lurking inside a nondescript garage (and no, I don’t mean Babymetal when I say JDM metal).
Destination achieved and introductions made, the garage doors were rolled open to reveal the secrets hidden within. And there they were. Standing side-by-side was a Nissan Silvia s15 and a drift-spec Nissan S13 200SX. We had seen the 200sx a few times before in various drift events, so that wasn’t much of a surprise. But the S15… now that is something special.
This particular model is shroud in the Spec-S trim, and features an automatic 4 speed gearbox. However, shortly after I took these photos, the owner swapped the gearbox out for a proper 6 speed manual. Other than that, the car is mostly standard (performance wise), and the only further visual mod can be found in the form of the enormous aftermarket wheels.
A bit of history about the S15: it was only produced for 3 years between 1999 and 2002, and was the final model in the Nissan “S” platform. Cars were only sold in Japan, New Zealand, and Australia. However, a few have made their way across the oceans to new corners of the world, such as this example, which has ended up in South Africa. Rumor has it that there are only 5 of these cars prowling our local roads, which makes it rarer than any Italian exotic car.
A bit stuck on finding a location to shoot the car, the owner suggested a new business park development not far outside of Ballito. The road led to a dead end, and being a weekend, activity in the offices would be little to none. As we later discovered by the large amounts of tyre tracks on the road, this particular area is used as the track for the Ballito Street Heroes event.
But enough talk, it was time to work. My two flashes were whipped out, and the first photos of the day began to take shape. Positioning the flashes in various locations around the S15, I took a range of photos, from standard full size shots, to some lower diagonal photos. Even though the shoot had just started, I was already pushing to work as fast as possible, due to the ominous stormclouds on the horizon (luckily, no rain ended up falling that day).
Rolling shots. The bane of my photographic existence. For one reason, my long hair used to whip around and hit me in the face whenever I stuck my head out the window, and would occasionally appear in front of the lens. Since I refused to tie my hair up, I rectified this problem in a rather simple way by getting a haircut. One problem solved, one to go. The issue of capturing the perfect moment that the chase car and subject car are in exact motion, with the camera being dead in focus. Out of 100 photos, I will sometimes end up with about 5 useable ones. But when it does work, you get some amazing photos.
As mentioned above, the owner decided to swop the auto box out for a proper
If the thought to try and harass the owner to sell you this car has crossed your mind, then that’s just too bad. It has already sold, and is now lurking the roads in an undisclosed location. But if you do cross paths with one, know that what you’re looking at is the automotive equivalent of a unicorn.
Have a look at some of his drift videos here.