Can you believe the Fast and Furious franchise has had eight installments since the first movie came out way back in '01? From the original flick to the most recent effort, Fast 8, imagine how many people saw their future car for the first time in one of those action-packed films. Butch Dumsri, from Thailand, has always had an affinity for Nissans and fell in love with Tokyo Drift's "Mona Lisa," the C-West-kitted S15 Silvia on Volk Racing GT-7 wheels driven by lead character, Han. This mechanical engineer isn't just a fanboy product of a movie, though. He became a genuine car guy who's owned a variety of cars since then, which includes a Suzuki Swift, Mini Cooper, and even an R30 Skyline GTS sedan. Butch shares his automotive passion with his car club, "Soom Laem Taen," which was established in '14 and currently has around 60 loyal members who consider each other family. The squad has an appreciation for all types of cars that include the likes of Japanese models, American muscle, as well as Porsches and Lambos.
Several years ago, Butch bid on and won a '98 Spec-S Silvia from a local auction. Combining inspiration from the "Mona Lisa" and his own vision for the S15, he set out to build something that was aggressive yet streetable, starting with the Vertex kit. The front bumper and diffuser, side rockers, and rear bumper are mated to Origin Lab fenders that help "buff up" the exterior. Originally blue, the car received a pearl-white color change to give it a whole new look. Timeless Volk Racing CE28 wheels wrapped in Achilles ATR Sport tires sit in front of Project Mu stoppers. The TEIN Flex EDFC suspension kit completes the battle stance that says it's ready for action.
This S15 doesn't just look pretty; it's got plenty of go-fast bits under the hood as well, all of which are from the Japanese domestic market. The turbocharged SR20 powerplant puts out 510 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque thanks to upgrades like the GReddy turbo and titanium exhaust. Add to that a list of parts from industry standards like HKS, Blitz, and NISMO—all of which are brands Butch entrusted to complete his overall performance package.
Highly motivated, Butch was able to complete this current version of the build in just a year. Like many car enthusiasts, bankrolling the project was the biggest hurdle to overcome, and he admits he was quite fortunate that the car itself never gave him any major issues during the build. He treats himself to seat time in his S15 at least a few times a month when he takes the car to a show or meets up with his Soon Lam Taen family. He plans to see some track time with his squad in the near future to find out what he and his car can do in a safe and controlled environment.
Although most would be satisfied with a build of this caliber, there's still more to come for this S15, including a proper tune, six-speed to five-speed conversion to handle additional power, and possibly even wider fenders.
If the S15 was ever allowed to be legally imported here in the U.S., I'm sure we would see many builds that would resemble the same track-inspired look Butch has been able to accomplish. The chassis that never made it to the States still has at least seven years to be eligible for the 25-year import rule, so we'll just have to see what happens in 2024. Of course, you can always try and import one into the United States, but you'd be risking up to 20 years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine. Is the juice worth the squeeze? If it were your "Mona Lisa," maybe.