Party in the rear, business up front and easy to throw about. Front engine, rear-wheel drive is a formula which lends itself to innumerable variations of customisation, and you can go as wild or subtle as you like.
You can also choose where to go wild, and where to keep it clean. Or, if you’re like the owner of this Rocket Bunny Pandem-kitted Nissan Silvia S14, Tomonori Idekawa (Tomo-san), then you can throw modesty out the window. Guns out, gold chains and a lifetime membership at World Gym.
This car is proper mash-up material, with the wrong front end, the wrong engine, and most of the drivetrain swapped, replaced or toughened. The result is something both confusing and cohesive, depending on how many coffees you’ve had.
Built by Total Create E.Prime in Hiroshima and painted by Tomo-san himself, this S14 is as much an expression of its owner as it is a statement of what the tuning world is today. Nuts.
You’ve likely seen this Rocket Bunny Pandem ‘Boss’ conversion before, and also the one Kei Muira designed for the Mazda FD3S, which looks like an RX-7 has embedded itself into the back of an RX-3.
Apparently the inspiration for the S14 Boss kit design came from the Plymouth Barracuda – it’s easy to see the resemblance – and I personally think it transforms the Silvia handsomely. It’s not just two-minute make-up, but some serious plastic surgery. Gone is the S14’s ’90s-era pointed nose, replaced by a stub-like brick wall of a front end, shorter by quite a few inches.
The paintwork is bold to say the least, but credit where credit is due because the finish is pretty impressive considering Tomo-san is only a hobby gun-slinger. What’s even more impressive is that all those parts supplier and sponsor names down the side of the car are not vinyl stickers, but were hand painted.
Pandem 6666 wheels (by Enkei) in a 17×9.5-inch fitment are wrapped up in 255/40R17 Zestino Gredge 07R semi-slicks at all four corners. Tomo-san is running Silk Road coilovers with 12K front and 10K rear spring rates, as well as an arsenal of chassis-hardening components to keep things straight when the S14 is sideways.
There’s also custom gusseting around the strut towers, with the rear tying into the full Saito roll cage.
Up at the business end, the Silvia’s original SR20DET has been swapped for a more potent RB25DET. According to Tomo-san, the 2.5L Nissan turbocharged six is making a very modest 370hp, but I’m sure there’s scope for more power given the hardware, which includes an HKS GT-RS turbo and Tomei cams.
This car lives its life burning through stacks of rubber, but in the safest way possible – on track. As part of Hiroshima’s Review drift team, it’s not just eye candy; the S14 car gets thrown around like a rag doll at every opportunity. Partying this hard takes its toll though, and Tomo-san told me that it’s had its nose reconstructed a couple of times.
Each time it has a scuffle with a side wall, it dusts itself off and gets back to drinking litres of high-octane petrol and picking fights on every corner. It’s awesome.