RYAN’S S12 SILVIA RS-X
The first time I saw Ryan’s S12 I was gobsmacked, literally jaw on the floor. You see S12’s are not very common in New Zealand these days, sure there were plenty around in the late 80’s and early 90’s but as time has marched on many have ended up in scrap yards or under trees rusting away in the back yards of suburban homes so to see one in such great shape (great is an understatement), I was in awe. That was back in the beginning of 2015 at the 4 & R National Show n Shine. I took some pics of the S12 and posted them up on our Facebook page but surprisingly the owner never surfaced and I never saw or heard about the S12 again.
Fast forward to the beginning of 2016, S-Chassis was invited back to the Nats and I was really keen to get this S12 on show with us. I posted up that same photo on Facebook again and this time Ryan was tagged by a mate in the comments section, perfect! I got in touch with Ryan and we chatted about the S12, I hit him up about joining us but the timing wasn’t going to suit, however he was keen to come with us the weekend before to the LACNZ Meet #3.
This would be a perfect opportunity to have a close up look at the car, and a chance to chat with Ryan and find out all there was to know about his S12. This Silvia is on another level, you know when people say “the pictures don't do it justice”, well that is so true in this case! The car looks stunning in the pics but it goes to a whole new level of stunning in person.
Ryan arrived at our pre-meet, with the S12 on a trailer. It is all going, just not quite road legal yet. I got talking with Ryan and he popped the hood which drew a small crowed as he talked over the build and showed us all the goodies. The car came in to Ryan’s possession back in 2007, Ryan had been looking for a car but he wanted something different to the common Skyline or later model S-Chassis, he was keen for something old school like a mid to late 80s Mazda, Nissan or Toyota and that’s when the S12 popped up for sale through a mate.
The Silvia was sporting a faded red paint job complete with dents here and there and rust around the top of the windscreen and sunroof. The interior was messy and run down and the factory turbo engine had been replaced with a non turbo FJ20E. Many of us would run from a car in that condition but for Ryan, a panel beater and car painter by trade, it was perfect. A deal was struck and Ryan was the happy new owner.
A week into ownership the car was sanded back to get rid of the horrible faded red paint and then re-painted in matte gun metal grey. Ryan also decided to cut the springs which made the car look pretty cool sitting on 15 inch BBS Mesh mags. Everything was going good for Ryan up in the small town of Paihia in New Zealand’s far north where he was living, but it all came to a halt when Ryan moved down to Auckland, NZ’s largest city. You see one might assume the cops in Paihia are kind of laid back, especially with the locals, but in Auckland they are out in force and one of their pet hates is ‘boy racers’ and illegally modified cars. Ryan’s S12 with cut springs was a perfect target and it wasn’t long before the car had been issued with a pink sticker (ordered off the road) for being too low and for being to far away from a paddock – the car was registered as a farm vehicle.
The car had been issued with a pink sticker, that meant it would need quite a strict inspection to get back on the road, Ryan took this opportunity to put the S12 under the knife and give it a full rebuild. Everything was stripped from the shell inside and out, then Ryan set about making the body straight again and removing all the rust. The sunroof was removed and new roof panel was custom made out of sheet metal to go in its place. The guards where flared for low offset wheels. It underwent a full panel and paint.
This full repaint was not limited to the exterior either, with the under-body being re-coated in gloss black and the engine bay sporting the same shade of white as the exterior. Nothing was left untouched, even the petrol tank, diff, drive-shaft and sway bars received new silver paint. The interior also received the gloss black treatment and Ryan had another S12 in the shed with immaculate interior which was subsequently swapped out and refitted into this one.
The car is not only immaculate inside, Ryan spent a lot of time replacing and customizing all sorts of things to get the S12 to the level its at now. You will find brand new bushings, wheel bearings and brake lines front and rear, along with adjustable suspension that is more suited to an S13. To fit this required some special modifications, like the A31 Cefiro front lower control arms and brake set up. The car also uses S13 rack ends and tie rod ends fitted to the S12 steering rack unit. Down the back further customizing was necessary to run the S13 rear adjustable suspension. Ryan made up new rear strut towers utilizing 5 inch truck exhaust pipe which he reshaped and welded into the car and finished off with a strut brace for extra support.
All of these modifications to the rear caused the back wheels to run massive camber which would be frowned upon come time to get the car legal again. Ryan fixed this by welding in a custom made plate to the sub-frame that allowed the rear arm to attach at a lower point and in turn pull the rear camber back in to an acceptable angle and not be so nasty on the tires. The ride height is perfect and the work done means the 16×8 +0 wheels with 205/40 R16 Nankang tires fit nice and snug.
As previously mentioned the S12 is a factory turbo model, however the motor had been replaced with a non turbo version. Ryan managed to track down a FJ20DET out of a R30 Skyline and that was fitted between the strut towers. I’m sure that will put a smile on the purists faces. The FJ is controlled by the Famous Link G4, one of NZ’s favorite aftermarket ECU’s and is currently running a mild road tune. Ryan has got a new low mount manifold and turbo, Mitsubishi Evo injectors and an aeromotive fuel pump and fuel pressure regulator to go in which should see around 240kw (320hp) at the rear wheels once fitted and re-tuned.
I asked Ryan what his favorite part of the S12 is and his reply was;
” My favorite part or thing on the car is a hard one, really overall I can only say the whole thing and how it all came together and works so well. I love everything on the car and I’m very glad I didn’t give up on the project over the last 9 years. As a painter and panel beater it’s really rewarding to have my own project to enjoy and I don’t think I could do my job if I didn’t have my own car. It has taken a long time to do because of my job and working on other cars all the time, but it was well worth it”.
- Link G4 ECU
- Front Mount Intercooler
- Custom Intercooler Piping
- NZEFI Coil Ignitor
- Aeromotive 500hp in-tank fuel pump
- Fuel pressure regulator
- 440cc Lancer Evo fuel injectors
- Custom low mount exhaust manifold
- RB25DET S1 Turbo (High flowed, Garrett internals, bigger housings)
- Turbosmart internal Wastegate
- Turbosmart Type 1 Blow Off Valve
- 4 Wheel disc
- F: A31 Cefiro
- R: Stock S12 (new)
- STD (Superior Tuning Design) S13 Coilovers
- A31 Cefiro FLCA
- Modified Rear Sub-frame
- Modified Rear Strut Towers
- Touchdown 16×8 0 offset all round
- 205/40 R16 Nankang Tires all round
- Full panel and paint by Ryan
- RSX Bonnet
- RSX Decals
- Factory NZDM Spec interior (Immaculate condition)
Ryan would like to thank his parents Ian and Maureen Boddington for the storage over the years and also Lawrence Baker, who he works with building hot rods just out of Kumeu west of Auckland.
So there you have it, our first S12 feature, finally! If you have an S12 you would like to show us please send some pics through by clicking here.
Photography thanks to our man Shaun Constable.
Follow Shaun on Facebook – Ambition Works
or on Instagram – @ambitionworks_shaun
Words by – @schassis_