Itasha vs Restomod (Funky Garage x 320 S15s)

When the opportunities to do so arise, it can be quite fun to photograph a series of cars that have similarities in colour scheme and/or parts; i.e. whenever Mustard and Dijon are photographed together, or even when Gage’s ST joined them and we all took photos of the trio (which we published a couple of months ago). In those cases, it’s interesting to see how the different builds can still each take on a slightly unique feel from one another thanks to little details and smaller parts scattered amongst the larger, shared elements.

That being said, the visual impact of seeing two of the same chassis which, over the years, have gone two very different directions is hard to beat. I think it was Calvin who initiated the idea for this shoot specifically but we were both eager to see our S15s side by side for this very reason. You’ll of course all recognize my Spec S which has seen a very restrained approach to modifications in comparison to many of its siblings. I used “restomod” in the title for lack of a better word because that has very much been a theme or direction kept in mind when putting together the plans for it, but it can’t be a true restomod until we run through the rest of the car and have it completed to the same level. I digress though – the point is, call it what you will but my Spec S is a very tame example of a platform more commonly associated with very “out-there” and lairy builds. Calvin’s own Spec R is one such case…

…with one element in particular surely grabbing everyone’s attention first. 

This car has appeared in posts on the site before – as recently as the Tuner Spirit coverage in fact – but we shot these photos just ahead of the show as our schedules lined up and we didn’t want to miss an opportunity to have the cars together while his still sported the full livery. 

Beyond both being manual S15s, I think the only other main “similarity” was the shared use of Advan wheels – though his runs a modern (and more aggressive) setup in the form of GTs, and mine has the vintage Super Advan V2s. I’d say “coincidentally” they both started life the same colour, but 1/3 of S15 production was Pearl White so the odds weren’t really slim. Haha

Beyond now being different colours, the choices of aero were also quite dissimilar. In the OEM+ corner, mine features a front lip as the sole piece of aftermarket aero (mixed with the factory pieces elsewhere)…

…whereas Calvin’s has of course gone the widebody route, and then some. 

Out back I have my stock tail lights and OEM Aero wing, while Calvin’s has one of the popular sets of LED lights (various companies such as D-Max and Yashio Factory sell these as well as the tinted and blackhousing versions) and a D-Max spoiler.

Engine-wise the cars are perhaps a bit alike in that they each really only feature an intake and exhaust, although different parts were used. Calvin’s of course is powered by the SR20DET while mine has the DE version, and his also utilizes a Nismo 2-way LSD out back. Inside, my Spec S has the Option B blue interior while the Spec R’s standard interior received a sole Bride bucket. 

Lowered on Stance XR1 coilovers, the fine-tuning of the Spec R’s alignment was carried out via adjustable arms from D-Max. I also have adjustable arms, but they’re actually still in boxes because we never got around to fitting them and just left them for the eventual suspension overhaul at some point in the future.    

To my knowledge the brakes are still stock on Calvin’s as they are on mine (being a Spec R his has the larger versions though), but neither of us are beating on these things on the track. That said, I am presently piecing together a shopping list as final plans come together for the next round of work on mine…

However, we should come back around to that livery because as mentioned it was the key ingredient of his which we wanted to capture on camera, next to mine. 

Use whatever other words you want to stand in for “in-your-face”; that’s what this is. Calvin did offer a while back to let me borrow the car and take it around for photos, but I knew there was no way I would be brave enough to drive it looking like this! That said, I would be curious to see my neighbours’ reactions if this suddenly pulled up in front of my house. Haha 

I have toyed with the idea of running a temporary, low-key, period-correct livery for this thing at times but always come back to just leaving it clean. I’ll let the interior – with the custom rear seat delete and display – be the wildest part of the car for some time yet. 

Plus, it then makes photoshoots like this even more fun! We weren’t at the lot for long the night we grabbed these photos so it wasn’t the largest set ever (it was after work with a quickly-setting sun) but I’m glad we were able to finally get these two together for a little bit. I believe Calvin is actually still running the livery at this point (he may be delaying its removal) but we didn’t want to miss the chance to get photos while it was still on as his car being bare as well would lessen the impact. The way he thinks up crazy graphics schemes however, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if in the future he applies a new one which in turn will make this iteration of his Spec R look a little less crazy than it does now. If and when he does, we’ll have to get them together again for more pictures!


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