Rotary Powered // Artem Valitov‘s Nissan Silvia S13.

Someone once told me that our lives are merely a series of choices.  Our destinies, then, exist in a constant state of flux and our conclusive futures wait anxiously for our next decision.  I don’t find it quite as romantic of an idea as the notion of a pre-determined destiny that we are bound to achieve, though I suppose it is certainly more realistic.  We probably won’t discover the meaning of life while discussing a nearly 30-year old Nissan, but you never know.

When Artem Valitov stumbled across this PS13 Silvia in Bashkiria, Russia the owner did not originally want to sell the car.  Like so many enthusiasts across the globe Artem was drawn to the Silvia’s lines and aesthetic simplicity.  Luckily, he was able to persuade the owner into selling him the car by explaining his goals for the project.  Knowing what I now know about how this car turned out, I don’t blame him for giving it up just to see it happen.

The car’s fate had been decided.  Artem embarked on a 4-year journey that began with a restoration of the body.  Many hours were spent smoothing the body and even changing the wheel arches to achieve the perfectly-low look Artem had envisioned.  Growing up, Artem was enamored by the aggressive stance of circuit racing cars.  Though the bodywork was extensive, those lines Artem fell in love with were left un-molested by aftermarket aerodynamics. OEM Nissan Aero bumpers and side skirts accentuate the natural beauty of the Silvia.  Beautiful red candy paint was laid over a black base to produce a finish that is marvelously deep.  Artem tells us that this was the most time-consuming and labor-extensive stage of the project.  During the project he obsessed over the minor details, such as re-shaping of the rear bumper and engine bay, and the final finish consists of 18-layers of Japanese imported paint.

Just as many others have done, the wheels had been purchased before the car itself.  Departing from more traditional choices from Japanese wheel manufacturers, Artem secured a set of OZ Racing Futuras and rebuilt them to exacting specifications.  The archetypal European wheels, sized 17×11/11.5”, now fit the modified fenders of the Silvia perfectly.  It is as if they were meant for the car… probably because they were.

The devastatingly low stance of Artem’s Silvia is not the result of coincidence or the blind purchase of random aftermarket parts.  Beginning with Kei Office coilovers a custom air-suspension was carefully fabricated using Air Lift valves, custom air cylinders, and a Wabco compressor.  The front suspension and subframe was lifted to allow proper clearance and improved geometry.  Cusco arms provide alignment adjustment.  Gold R34 GTR Brembo calipers accompany Silvia S15 5-lug hubs and compliant soft rubber bushings have been replaced with polyurethane pieces where applicable.

Inside the cabin it is obvious that Artem was inspired by race cars.  The exposed metal is cleanly smoothed to just the right degree and was painted in the same finish as the exterior.  Occupants are safely seated in Sparco furniture and protected by a Cusco rollbar.

Beneath the Silvia’s hood rests a power plant that even the greatest fortune tellers on Earth could not have predicted would have found its way there.  No, it isn’t an SR20DET, or a 2JZGTE, or even a GM V8.  It isn’t an RB25 or RB26 or even a Honda K-series.  It’s exactly 0 cylinders of high-revving, naturally-aspirated, spinning-triangle Wankel propulsion.  After discovering a rotary-powered Toyota Aristo/Lexus GS on the cover of a New Zealand-based publication, Artem’s interest was thoroughly piqued.  Hearing the audio assault weapon that is rotary-powered Lexus scream through a race track established Artem’s love for the rotary engine and set this project in motion.

As if by fate, Artem’s rotary research eventually led him to NiconRotary of Ufa.  He would ultimately join the NiconRotary team and be entirely involved with the evolution of his car.  The experts at NiconRotary enhanced the Mazda 13BPP mill with a variety of components from across the Mazda rotary platform along with many custom bits.  The eccentric shaft and rotors are from a modern Renesis and the peripherally-ported rotor housings are pulled from a 13B-REW.  The beautifully-crafted intake manifold and throttles were engineered and built by NiconRotary along with the custom stainless exhaust system.  A QuarterMaster clutch grabs a NiconRotary flywheel to feed power through the 6-speed RX8 transmission and custom carbon fiber driveshaft.  The masterful execution of the swap is evident in the immaculate engine bay devoid of aesthetic distractions.  The engine looks as if it were destined to be there though I feel compelled to remind us all that is most certainly was not.

Perhaps the universe led Artem to this car.  Maybe the planets aligned at just the right time to convince him that he needed to select this paint color.  Is it possible that regardless of Artem’s decisions those gorgeous Futuras would have found their way onto this classic Japanese coupe?  Is it conceivable that he was born to put a rotary in a Nissan?  I have no answers.  I can’t explain destiny or fate.  I am certain, however, that Artem is a guy that fell in love with a vision.  That vision led him to create this beautiful, unique example of an S13 Nissan Silvia for he and all of us to enjoy.