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– Words: Ryan Lewis. Photos: Andrey Moisseyev.

I’ve never met a feature car owner who built their car to blend in. Each one has something a little different about it, a stand out feature or signature touch designed to separate the finished product from the crowd. Some people start off with an unusual car, or find a hard to get set of wheels, or adopt a theme that is rarely tried. Then there is Ben, who chose a motor that most overlook and went to town boring it out, boosting it up and turning it into a tyre-shredding weapon.

Ben has had his Sil80 for four years, and he’s been building it for the last three. It’s an ’89 model, one of the earliest made, and came from Nissan with a CA18DET under the bonnet. “It used to be owned by a friend who used it as a drag car. It used to do flat 11s,” starts Ben. “Obviously I have taken a different path with it and I’ll see it finished the right way.”

What started out as a fast road car with a penchant for time slips took on a much more purpose-built persona. “It sort of escalated when I decided to cage it,” says Ben. “A bolt in cage then turned into a full WRC style cage through the firewall, etc.”

Ben’s reasons for choosing an S13 are logical. “Light, cheap to mod, plenty of off the shelf parts.” Given his objectives most people would turf the CA18 and dump in an SR20, but Ben has gone down the path less travelled and made something of the often dismissed CA. How many have you seen done this well? I can count them on one hand, and none are this wild.

That’s a T67 turbo hanging off the side of what should now be called a CA20. Chris Milton Engine Development took hold of proceedings and bored out the cast iron block to 1995cc. The forged bottom end supports a freshly assembled head, ported, polished and rigged with the best components money can buy. There’s a custom intake manifold holding eight HKS injectors in there, not to mention titanium piping. The whole engine bay could be framed and hung in a gallery. It was built quite simply to, “go fast.”

“If it wasn’t right I redid it and never rushed anything,” Ben tells us. “There was no compromising on what I wanted.” Ben started the project with standard bodywork. It had damaged quarter panels and faded paint on the roof. An Origin Streamline kit was fitted and the whole car resprayed. Carbon fibre doors, bonnet and hatch came later. “The best thing about the car is the way it looks,” says Ben.

Drifting was what Ben always had in mind for the Sil80 – one of the most demanding motorsports there is. So just like the engine, nothing under the car was done by half measures. Suspension is Ohlins with Cusco swaybars to boot. Gearbox is from HKS with an Ogura Race clutch and an R33 GT-R diff’ in the back.

SSR Type Fs measure 18×9.5 and 18×10.5 with sticky Yokohama rubber. Resting behind them are Brembo brakes from an R33 GT-R, with Project Mu pads all ’round and Project Mu rotors up front.

Inside, it’s straight down to business. Ben gutted it out leaving only the critical elements. The cromoly rollcage dominates, but there are lots of other trick pieces like the flocked dash and hydraulic handbrake.

At the time of writing Ben hasn’t had the final configuration tuned, but that day is approaching. “This car is yet to be driven in anger since the rebuild started,” he says. “But everything is done the way I envisioned. There’s nothing I would do differently next time.” As for the car’s future? Just one word. “Thrashing.”

“Thanks to Sam Milton at Chris Milton Engines, Andrew at AM Performance, Nigel at Bitsus Customs, mum & Ian for continued support, Andew Stabolidis at Urban Commercial and Katie from Savanna Motorsport for the Origin bodykit.”


– 1989 Nissan RPS13 180SX

– 2.0L CA18DET four-cylinder turbo

– Block bored to 1995cc
– Carrillo rods
– CP Pistons and rings
– Tomei 282 camshafts
– 2mm oversized valves
– Tomei valve springs
– Head ported, polished and de-burred
– Rocker covers modified
– Oversized sump
– 3x Bosch 044 fuel pumps
– 8x HKS 770cc injectors
– Custom intake manifold
– T67 turbocharger
– Trust intercooler
– Koyo radiator
– Earls oil and power steering coolers
– Titanium exhaust and piping
– LS3 ignition coils
– Haltech ECU

– HKS five-speed gearbox
– Ogura Race clutch
– R33 GT-R differential
– 4.3 final drive
– R33 GT-R axles
– S15 rear cradle

– Ohlins coilovers
– Cusco swaybars
– AM Performance braces
– Solid rear cradle bushes

– R33 GT-R Brembos
– Project Mu pads
– Project Mu front rotors

– SSR Type F, F: 18×9.5″, R: 18×10.5″

– Velo driver’s seat
– Flocked dashboard
– Bengineering shifter
– Haltech Racepak display
– Alex Bennet cromoly rollcage
– Nardi Classic steering wheel

– Silvia front end
– Origin Streamline bodykit
– Carbon fibre doors, bonnet and hatch