Nissan Skyline GT-R
Words & Photos: Marcus
Model: Lisa Volk
People often ask me what is my favorite car? Like many true car guys, I can't narrow it down to just one. But I can list my favorite five. Ever since I first heard of the Nissan Skyline GT-R, it has been ranked right up there with Ferraris, Cobras and Porsches in my personal must have list. (Someday soon I hope.) In fact, while many car guys have never heard of the Nissan Skyline as long as they're open-minded (some people hate all Japanese cars) they tend to be extremely impressed with the car.
This is how it is on paper with the stock car: 3400 pound two-door sedan with a 2.6 liter inline six being forced fed by twin parallel turbochargers. This engine produces a claimed 276 horsepower (a low claim thanks to Japanese laws) which drives all four wheels through a highly computerized set of clutches. The interesting thing about having the computer control the four-wheel-drive is it can be programmed to allow the rear wheels to slip a bit before engaging the front wheels which allows the engine to get into its power band more quickly. The Skyline is normally just a rear driver but when the rear tires begin to slip, power is sent to the front wheels (up to 50 percent) there's a cool little gauge in the center console telling you how much of the torque split is being sent upfront. The car also comes from the factory with four wheel steering which will turn the rear wheels in the same direction as the front wheels although not as much. This is called same phase steering and its benefit compared to its added weight is questionable. Because this Skyline was the V-spec version it came from the factory with Brembo brakes at all four corners, and an aluminum hood.
Continuing with the stock analysis of the Skyline I must mention that the bodywork that you see in the photos is completely stock (including the adjustable rear wing.) the only thing aftermarket is the H. K. S. paint job and the wheels.
Okay, that's the stock Skyline. Now the one you see here has been extensively modified by H. K. S. Starting off with the no-brainers that absolutely everybody does when modifying a car: an H. K. S. intake and exhaust system, and then progressing to the internals of the engine. Camshaft, cam gears, larger fuel rail, larger injectors, twin power ignition system, ball bearing turbos, larger intercooler (which you can see in the photos), they also upgraded the fuel pump and finished off the modifications with an H. K. S. exhaust temperature gauge and of course a boost gauge. All these modifications will set you back about $20,000.
Suspension wise, H. K. S. has put in the hyper damper suspension system which has 12 positions for adjustment. They also lowered the car a bit.
I know you'll find this hard to believe, but James from H.K.S. says that it is possible to rev the Skyline to 9000 RPM (when using race gas.) During the dyno run which I witnessed the Skyline was using pump gas only so they limited the RPM to 7000. The dyno run was quite an experience. It was cool to hear the Skyline under load with the turbos howling and fire shooting out of the exhaust on overrun (now you know why the paint is so dirty by the exaust) all the time standing only inches away from the snarling beast. Those red boxes were the wheels are supposed to be are the dynos (the wheels are removed and universal hub adapters attach the car to the dynos.) Running at about 18 pounds of boost the Skyline produced 444 horsepower at the driven wheels. Multiply that by at least 20 percent in order to get the actual engine horsepower at the flywheel (which works out to 533 hp.) James said that he has actually run the car at 31 pounds of boost which would probably give the car an extra 150 horsepower. Once again though, you would need racing gas for that much boost or else it would detonate. Now you know why this car needs four-wheel-drive.
Sitting in the left hand seat of the car gave me the impression that the car can actually drive itself. This was because being from Japan, the Skyline is right hand drive and with James as a chauffeur it still seemed like I was driving. Acceleration was extremely fast and sounded incredible much like a jet plane on takeoff. Both turbos are on the left side of the engine bay as are there waste gates so the passenger really gets an earful when the car is driven hard. You can't feel the torque being sent to the front wheels as a passenger but you can watch the torque gauge on the console indicating it. Considering the car is lowered and the suspension has been stiffened, the ride is not too terrible. When driven responsibly you can constantly hear the upgraded fuel pump in the trunk of the car even though it has added sound deadening placed around it. (Kind of annoying but that must be one powerful fuel pump.)
If you're interested in buying a Skyline head on over to Motorex in Torrance, California and you can buy both new and used versions. A 1989 R-32 Skyline will cost about $30,000, the prices steadily rise to about $90,000 for brand-new R-34. A lot of money, but then again this is a lot of car. Once you buy the car, don't forget to take it to H. K. S.