Yes, I Finally Bought an S15!

We’ve been teasing this for a little while like it’d be some sort of surprise but let’s be honest; what else would I have bought?

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There are of course many vehicles on my automotive wish list (what enthusiast doesn’t have one of those?) but there was only ever one at the top: an S15 Silvia. It was no secret that I’d always wanted one; friends have heard me go on about them for years and you’ve all seen me constantly post S15 photos while referencing my desire for one. It is not an exaggeration when I say I’d wanted one for 15 years – it really has been a long time coming.

After my plans to purchase one were initially postponed by buying the Focus (S15s would start becoming legal in Canada in late 2013 and I knew that tying up funds in the Focus in late 2011 would mean having to wait longer) I started preparing to – hopefully – buy one in the spring of 2016. You all know of course what happened in the spring of 2016 though, and the buyback of Ketchup meant that the S15 fund was vaporized. Following the chaos that year – even with the resale of the leftovers from the Ketchup/Mustard mashup – I didn’t put much back into the fund to be honest. Those plans were put on the back burner a bit while I concentrated on getting the Focus wrapped up, attending events, and then basically just life in general.

While there was never a set deadline for buying a Silvia I knew however that there was definitely a closing window of opportunity with them getting ever-closer to being USA legal, and having their values rise because of it. Fast-forwarding to the start of this year I decided that it was time I got serious once again about getting one for myself, fearing that it wouldn’t be too long before buying an S15 would be a much more expensive proposition.

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For months I was regularly browsing auction sites, checking local listings, and talking back and forth a bit with Brian at B-Pro, hoping to find the right example for myself. I knew that my ideal S15 would be a manual Spec S with the Aero package, and beyond that I wasn’t too concerned about the other details. Colour didn’t really matter (though I didn’t want a black car, some things never change), high or low mileage wasn’t really much of a factor, and honestly even the overall condition wouldn’t concern me too much as long as the bones were solid.

A handful came up over the months that caught my eye but unfortunately it was the same story with each and every one; I’d message as soon as I saw them but I’d still be too late and the car would have been spoken for. During the time Driven Calgary was taking place I was waiting to hear back on one final car that had caught my eye, but sure enough it too had been claimed already. Feeling a bit defeated after missing out on yet another Silvia – not to mention being a bit burnt out on all things cars after all of the Driven/season prep this year – I planned to take a bit of a break from my hunt and figured I’d just pick it up again later in the year.

The following weekend however, Makemeasandwich (Dustin) sent me a Kijiji link. A white, manual, Spec S with the Aero package had just popped up locally for a good price, and it seemed like an attractive option. I figured what the heck, I’ll go check it out.

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Appropriately, on S15 day (5/15) I saw the car. May 18th, I bought it.

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I wouldn’t use the word letdown because that’s a bit (okay, very) extreme, but to be completely honest my first reaction when I saw the car was a slight disappointment because while it was not a secret that the paint wasn’t in great shape, it did look a fair bit worse in person than the photos had let on. I didn’t let that deter me however as I’d already come this far and it was worth looking the rest of the car over of course, so I did. And I was pleased. The more I looked through the car the more I realized that it was potentially a really solid example and could actually be a very good starting point. The interior was in great shape (and was the rare blue interior at that), it had some good parts on it already, and it ran well. Given it was also my desired (and a desirable) combination of a manual car with the rear wing, some worn paint wasn’t the end of the world. Not to mention it was a nearly 20-year old car that had been shipped across the ocean, of course.

I went home that day having made an agreement with the seller that I’d get back in touch soon with an answer, after having at least a few hours to mull it over and the chance to discuss the car with others (AKA Giuseppe and Dustin). I realized that despite its cosmetic issues this could very well be the Silvia I’d been waiting for and so I messaged the seller with the deal that I’d like to get the car on a hoist to be able to look over it in more detail, and provided that there were no major issues or surprises I’d take it. After all, 240s have rough lives and while no red flags had been raised on my first visit I didn’t want to take the chance of buying a Silvia that had once been around a tree or one that was actually 2 S15s stitched together.

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Given the timing of this (short notice, with a long weekend coming up) it was a bit of a challenge finding a shop at which to have it inspected but Jackie came to the rescue and said that we could look over it at Balance. The car wasn’t registered so I arranged for a flatbed, had it picked up, and then followed it as it was carted over to the shop. The night prior to this I barely slept a wink because I was a mix of excited – for the chance that I’d possibly be buying a Silvia the next day – and stressed because of the worry of finding something majorly wrong during the inspection. Obviously we all know the results now but at that time, the exact state of the car was still an unknown.

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Anyway, once at Balance we promptly got it on the hoist and found….nothing. Nothing aside from an oil leak that we already knew about, that is. The undercarriage was tidy, everything was straight, and there were no rust surprises either. I called the seller back and after he kindly took another $100 off the price for the leak being a bit worse than we’d expected, the deal was done.

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A second tow truck was then called and the little Silvia was loaded up again. It felt amazing to follow it through traffic, knowing that it was being hauled off to my house this time. No more talking about it, no more putting it off, no more waiting. 15 years after I had first promised myself I’d own one some day, I now did. I had finally bought an S15; I had finally bought my dream car.

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But dream car or not, we all knew that it wasn’t going to be left alone. While we were busy sharing the Foci updates and other events on the site the little strawberry was seeing a lot of work behind the scenes as I started on tidying it up and making it my S15. There were a few urgent “fixes” to attend to, some parts that weren’t to my taste, and some shiny new pieces that I’d had my eye on for a while, so there’s more to share on the little Nissan as we fill you in on the period between its purchase and today; although you’ve actually already seen it following the first handful of tweaks…

From the Custom Decals x KMR post:

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“If you’re going to look for the Focus in the photos, you won’t find it as it was back at home in the garage; I took the 240 instead for a change and so I wouldn’t have the only domestic at the event. Haha. As you can see, it fit right in with its sibling.”

You’ll note I never specified which 240 I’d taken…

-Bill

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