Clive Littlechild’s Nissan S14a Silvia
No, you’re not going mad – that really is a Nissan being featured on our website. But hold up, it’s not just any old piece of Jap tin – this one has a BMW heart.
Nissan’s SR20 engine is often considered a bit of a dime – after all, you only have to look at some of the BMWs we’ve seen running them to understand that they’re great for cheap, tuneable power. Clive Littlechild went against popular belief though, and chose a BMW powerplant for his hard-used drifter.
As it came the car had an undesirable SR20 non-turbo, which Clive swapped for a turbocharged one running about 250bhp. Not long after that, Clive had a Toyota 1JZ (2.5-litre turbo) ready to go in, but when an MOT-failed manual E34 540i came up for £800, an idea sprung into his head that he couldn’t ignore.
The 4.0-litre M60 V8 and six-speed manual gearbox were slotted in, mounted up and wired thanks to Team Sunset, and the advantages of using the V8 are countless. First of all, in outright performance it matches a ‘Stage 1’ SR20 engine on numbers, but the power delivery and spread of torque from the V8 are in a different league. Also, being a pretty standard engine, there’s no need for expensive service items, and it’s been super-reliable so far too, despite having 200k miles on it.
Just what are those power figures? Well, 298bhp and 275lb ft according to the last dyno run, and that was with a slightly dodgy clutch – Clive suspects now that it’s been sorted it could well put down more torque. That’s just with a cone air filter and a decatted, free-flowing de-cat exhaust too. Not bad right?
The combination of this power with the proven drift-friendly chassis of the Nissan – which itself has been modified extensively for more lock, much improved geometry and stiffened up, all using bolt-on parts (which is one of the joys of the popular Nissan S-body) – means that Clive has a car that will slide easily and reliably, all the while managing to be something that bit different. It most certainly gets our approval.
Top trumps card –
Details: 1997 Nissan S14a
Engine: BMW M60 4.0-litre V8
Gearbox: BMW Getrag 6-speed manual
How many: One-off
What is it: Road-legal drift car
Words: Ben Koflach