Canmore Run with the S15

Taking one – or some combination – of the cars to Canmore for photos used to be a somewhat semi-regular outing, but the last few years I have been a bit more absent from the town. Not only had my own lack of attendance been apparent, but it occurred to me this season that the S15 had yet to be taken out despite owning it for a few years now. As such, when fall was fast approaching I decided I might as well take advantage of a free day to take the little Nissan for an outing, put some more kilometers on it, and grab a few photos along the way.

A few phone photos are mixed in with the “proper” photography here, but regardless of the source I’m always pleased seeing the S15 set against the Alberta landscape since, as mentioned in past articles on the site, I enjoy wondering about the kind of life this car has lived on its way to our continent and ultimately to my care. From its original days in Japan, to Saskatchewan in 2015, to me here in Alberta in 2019, it very clearly saw differing levels of attention (and quality of work) along the way; from being someone’s brand new pride and joy in 2000 to the…slightly…tired in-progress project it was when Dustin sent me the sale ad.

With these photos being from the later portion of the season the car as you see it here is – aside from some decal and bulb changes – effectively as it sits now in hibernation. They’re a good illustration of how it ended another year of progress despite there still being a few more photo sets to come from 2022, so rather than just do a straight photo dump why not share some thoughts on how the S15 stood after the fourth summer in my possession?

I will say that I continue to be over the moon with how this thing has turned around so far, with many thanks to numerous friends who have lent their time and hands to help with various projects, especially those at Speedy/ProColour for taking the faded white/partially primered/partially wrapped exterior and undoing all of those past sins with a proper strip and repaint.

With several thousand kilometers added since the respray (short seasons plus other cars to drive means it sees a few thousand each year on average) it has held up perfectly as well, aside from one rock chip in the carbon portion of the front lip since it was the only area not PPF’d (as per my request since I wanted to tweak it slightly, but the chip came immediately and messed up those plans).

I will say that there has been a slight itch forming to change up the exterior a touch however (I’m not counting the Bomex kit as part of the plans for this as if/when I run it it wouldn’t become a permanent part of the exterior, rather something to switch out with when I want to go full retro) as, not surprisingly, OEM Aero with an aftermarket front lip isn’t exactly a unique combination but I was well aware of that when I decided to run this setup.

The idea of a subtle vented hood has come and gone (think of the air management possibilities; for a radiator, not an intercooler mind you) but one thing that will not happen is a widebody. Like with Mustard, these quarters stay untouched thank you very much. Haha

The OEM Aero wing remains as my favourite piece for these cars so that stays as well, but the rear bumper is set to be changed out at some point now. I’ve always felt like the back end was just not quite there, and reverting back to the OEM tail lights some time ago did help immensely but it still needs…something. I’m aware of the center lip that 326 Power makes to continue what the OEM spats started, but as you may know I’ve had a full replacement bumper here for a little while that I might get painted over winter in prep for next year; we’ll see if I do, or if I hold off to wait for a more involved body shop visit.

Mirrors are always a possibility but I do quite like my factory pieces for their power fold feature, and Ganadors are way too much money these days. What I am especially pleased with however – visible from this angle – have been the PBM front brakes. They served perfectly to help fill out the Super Advans without visually (or otherwise) overpowering the car. At some point I suspect the rear calipers will be changed out as well with the matching PBM offerings but the originals are still working just fine for now and that will necessitate changing out the master anyway so it’ll surely snowball into more than just that.

As it has been made clear before, this will never be the wildest example of an S15 and neither will it be the fastest; I make no attempt to hide my plans of keeping it naturally aspirated as well. If I had a dollar for every time someone suggested an SR20DET swap, I could buy one. Or rather, I would have just bought a Spec R in the first place instead of recreating one (side note: aside from a few minor parts like the shifter trim, side emblems, and gauge cluster fascia, Ss and Rs had no cosmetic differences. Stop calling the Aero “Spec R Aero”. Haha). Those that know what my idea for the powertrain setup in this car is all like it, but the rest of you will just have to wait and see for whenever it gets to that stage. For now, the original SR20 is still chugging along just fine and more than enough for what is an evening/weekend cruiser.

Given there won’t be an intercooler and piping making its way behind the front bumper I have some ideas for how the openings could eventually be used, to better manage the airflow and also make up for the fact that the car had long since lost its original fog light trim (which is now rather expensive like everything OEM S15) when I acquired it. It’ll all be stuff to discuss with Doug during some late night fabrication session though.

With all of that said, it may seem like I’m getting bogged down in all these “to-do” items on the car but that’s the nature of a project, isn’t it? If the other cars didn’t make it clear we’re always planning years in advance for these builds, often times shelving ideas for when opportunities present themselves down the road. In the more immediate future, I have an S15 I am immensely pleased with and one that is set to have its trunk built up for 2023, but otherwise mainly see some details addressed while the Grand Prix’s mini-restoration carries over (and perhaps finally the new suspension arms that have been waiting for some time now). An ample amount of Downstar hardware is on order to finish the interior and change out more pieces around the car, the plans for the trunk are more or less there so I can start building come spring, and a few more lighting updates will be addressed too (the lighting updates which have already happened since these photos were taken will be covered in a future post once the rest are dealt with).

Until the weather warms up so I can finally test-fit the rear bumper or bits arrive in the mail the S15 will continue to sleep though, so the remainder of 2022’s photos will likely be run through first as we begin to wrap up this year and head into the next. Incidentally, next year will also mark the tenth anniversary of officialTHREETWENTY, and there are some plans for that as well. Stay tuned!


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