- Published on Monday, 22 July 2013 21:40
Back in January 2012, Garage of Awesome featured a super-rare, one-of-49-in-Australia, Nissan CSP311 Silvia for sale. Although it was the classic Japanese equivalent of gutter trash (you’d go there, but you’d feel dirty afterwards), it was definitely saveable. And reasonably priced.
Well, that article must be getting high up in the inter-Googles (or was it this one about karate goons?), because Ray, the owner of this fully-restored CSP311 Silvia contacted us to ask if we’d like to put his car on our site.
He’s thinking of selling it. It’s awesome, so the answer was definitely ‘yes’.
Some may remember Ray and his Silvia from the cover of the May 2010 issue of Australian Classic Car. We were excited from the moment it hit the newsstands, emblazoned with the headline “Asian Invasion”, but going on to read that not only had Ray restored it, but that it had been his daily driver for 15 years, absolutely blew our minds.
Unlike, well, literally every other person on the planet, Ray has had plenty of experience with Nissan’s original Silvia; a portion of his misspent youth was spent terrorising much of Papua New Guinea in his first CSP311. It must have left an impression, because years later when he bought his current car, it didn’t matter it was much more of a project; he was keen.
Keen, we’d like to point out, despite the fact that a fuck-ton of it was missing; Ray’s Silvia had been previously owned by a dragon-chasing junkie; the car had been seized as part of a drug raid and was reported to be loaded with paraphernalia. We’re assuming syringes and spoons, rather than garden hoses sealed into plastic Coke bottles with Blu-Tak.
Missing too were some chrome accessories, lenses and badges. Of course, Ray just split his dough between Repco and Rare Spares to get a full spread of parts, same as anyone restoring a similar-vintage Holden or Falcon. Oh wait, by that we mean HE CRAFTED THE MISSING PARTS HIMSELF; chrome bits, lenses, badges; you name it…. Truly, he is a God. Changing your own oil filter is one thing, but forging badges from molten metal like you’re Vulcan, the God of Fucking FIRE is something else altogether.
Ray also had to source a front bumper, which he did by procuring, cutting, shutting and re-chroming a Mazda 1500 item. We love Mazda 1500 bumpers, especially on Mazda 1500s, but to get one and make it fit a Nissan Silvia like it was meant to be there is utterly amazing.
Of course, despite Ray’s attempts to re-create an original Silvia in terms of lenses, badges and that incredible front bumper, there are some aspects he was more than content in upgrading. Australia’s most driven CSP311 includes a H20, 1982cc 4-cylinder motor, most commonly found in… well nothing actually common… the early 1980s Nissan Urvan might be construed as the most familiar vehicle the motor was found in here, but they’re not exactly thick in the ground these days. The H20 is set to run on unleaded, runs a hot cam, twin 1.75” SU carburettors and electronic ignition.
The 5-speed too was not an original fixture; the Silvia ran a sporty-for-1965-but-not-so-cool-now 4-speed manual, much like contemporaries such as the Isuzu Bellett GT or Mazda L10A Cosmo, but Ray’s fitment of a Skyline-sourced gearbox has ensured the Nissan/Datsun DNA remains pure, while giving the CSP311 some much-needed highway legs.
The result is a well-sorted, original-style classic that has won the “Best Original” trophy at the DSOA Nationals in 2006 then, in the same guise no less, followed it up with two years later with the “Best Modified” trophy! And has been featured on the cover of Australian Classic Car!
After 17 years and 90,000 miles, Ray is considering selling the Silvia. Obviously the new owner would have to be sympathetic to the car; you can be assured than his eBay advert will not read: “1965 Nissan Silvia NOT Datsun 1200 1600 Hilux”, nor will it say “Will trade ute, suit drift car”.
Sure, it’s not the most original CSP311 Silvia in the world, but it must be the most sorted. If we had the dough, we’d probably try to source some of those amazing dog-dish wheelcovers and fit them to the supplied Silvia stockies, or failing that, we’d throw on a set of JDM Watanabes; Ray himself has said that the wires currently fitted feel pretty heavy on the road.
Ray has not advised us of a price, but we'd expect it to pull around AUD$25,000; for that the buyer gets the original R16 motor & 4-speed manual, a spare windscreen (that should be worth its weight in gold), windscreen rubbers, spare water pumps, a starter motor and the moulds for all the badges and lenses Ray made, should the worst occur.
If you were hoping to get into it for $6k you'd be sorely mistaken, but to let this go for cheap would belie the insane amount of work Ray put into getting it back on the road.
Or you can wait for the next one. Good luck with that.
A Garage of Awesome exclusive!