Two sentences. That's exactly the amount of reading that it took for me to figure out that Matt Ashby is about as true a car enthusiast as anyone will ever be. When you ask someone to help tell the story of their car, you get wildly varied responses. Most people will tell you the specs of their build, maybe tossing in a little excerpt on how they got the car. Sometimes, you'll just get a cold listing of all the parts they've used. Other times, it's a story about the inspiration for their build with very little specifics. Usually they won't dive headfirst into their entire automotive history, though Matt certainly did, and I'm very glad to have listened to his full story firsthand.
The context into the start of his automotive obsession very much reminds me of myself, my circle of friends and so many of our peers. Just like us, he grew up on magazines like Super Street, anxiously awaiting a new issue, only to flip through it and start all over again. He was immediately hooked on the Fast and the Furious franchise and chose an EK Honda Civic hatchback as his first build. From the one picture I saw, I wouldn't be surprised to pick up an old magazine and see his Civic published in all of its early 2000s glory.
Matt moved on from the Honda scene and got into Euros, some hot rods and even trucks. His resume is quite impressive in the truck world, including a 2017 Ford Super Duty that was featured in the RBP (Rolling Big Power) SEMA booth. If you're picturing a typical SEMA "BroDozer" in your head, you're almost correct; the big difference being that his is the kind that's built right. He's a stickler for the details and it shows. When the time came to switch gears back into Japanese cars, he dug deep into his past and drew inspiration from '90s and '00s tuner magazines. It's no surprise that he landed on an S-chassis Nissan, and what better platform than a real JDM S13 Silvia.
This '93 Nissan Silvia Club K's was sourced from importing specialist Driver Motorsports and Matt got to work immediately. It's not an easy task to make an S13 unique these days, so he spent countless hours searching the internet for ideas, finally landing on Hikaru Taguchi's Moontech Silvia as his main inspiration. Showcased at the Tokyo Auto Salon earlier this year, the S13 was one of only a few to sport the Pandem V3 kit at the time. Once Matt decided that this was the look he wanted, he started the monumental task of sourcing the kit. Turns out eBay ended up being the place to find one. The seller assured him that it was authentic and even ended up driving halfway across the country to deliver it. Once he met the seller, Tatsuro Watanabe of HPI Racing, there was no question it was in fact, legit.
The commanding exterior feature of Matt's S13 is the Pandem kit. The matching ducktail and rear wing fit right in with the Origin Lab carbon roof spoiler, carrying that signature aggressive style to the back of the car. Keeping with the carbon accents, he reached out to Bomex and got a set of side mirrors and a front grille made in carbon to match. All of the bodywork is bolted together with burnt titanium hardware from Dress Up Bolts and draped in a two-tone white and purple paint scheme. There's also that livery, made up of a few different layers and inspired by the '90s graphics from Advan and HKS.
If the Pandem kit wasn't enough to set this S-chassis apart, the wheels should seal the deal. When Matt picked up the kit, he knew the matching Pandem 6666 wheels were something he just had to get his hands on, but he couldn't figure out who actually sold or manufactured them. After searching around and coming up short, he reached out to Tatsuro. Turns out, he had a set available, spec'd in 18x9.5" front, 18x11" -rear, that would fit the S13 perfectly. Not only that, those massive fenders allow room for a set of 265- and 285-series Federal tires that give the Silvia just enough meat to look functional but not so much that it takes away from the hunkered down stance.
Matt went with a set of Fortune Auto coilovers to tighten up the handling and dial in the ride height. Fortune's air piston lift system was added to help alleviate the stress that comes with an expensive front lip and a lowered car. The S13 has a host of adjustable suspension components from GKTECH and ISR to keep the car planted when driven to the limit, and controllable when sliding around for fun. For a bit more stopping force, 300ZX brakes were retrofitted up front along with StopTech rotors and pads.
The engine is the original 205hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged Red Top SR20DET that features some choice JDM bolt-ons like the GReddy front mount intercooler, Blitz downpipe and HKS blow-off valve, intake and exhaust. Like any good project car, Matt certainly isn't finished with this one. He's looking to pull the motor, clean it up, re-wire, and put just enough upgrades to bring him up to the 300whp mark.
Inside is relatively stock compared to the rest of the car. Matt cites this as an area that will see a bit more attention as the build progresses. For now, it has some S14 seats, a DND Interiors steering wheel, as well as Cusco e-brake and shift boots in matching purple stitching. In addition, there's is a GKTECH carbon fiber gauge pod housing a GReddy boost gauge, and a Likewise shift knob and drift button on the handbrake.
Matt's a tried and true car guy and his experience tells a story of someone who really cares about his hobby. The fact that he can build a SEMA show quality Ford truck, then turn around to build a JDM Silvia that looks straight out of Tokyo is a special kind of feat.
S13 ALL STARS
- More Nissan S13 features stateside and abroad for you to geek out on:
- Super clean 1993 Nissan 240SX with hardcore JDM vibes and TE37 wheels from Florida.
- Mix and match to the most! An all-time favorite is Anthony Do's 1993 Nissan 240SX with S15 front-end and Toyota 2JZ-GTE engine swap.
- Blue pearl 1993 Nissan 240SX from Chicago has a street sweeper look that'll never get old.
- Slammed to the floor with 600hp, Makeup Hiro's 1993 Nissan Silvia is one of the finest we've featured in the last four years.