We check out Brad Hacker’s stunning Liberty Walk Nissan GT-R…
Being a massive car fan, especially modified cars, has a funny effect on how you view the world. Checking out cool cars in magazines and on the internet on a daily, maybe hourly, basis, means you become a little immune to how amazing some cars can be. Cars you might never see on the street in your life you can see every day on the internet, so it’s easy to forget how insane these things really are, and Brad Hacker’s awesome Nissan GT-R is a perfect example of this.
It’s fair to say almost all of us has seen pictures of Liberty Walk-kitted GT-Rs before. It’s not because they’re common, totally the opposite in fact, but they’re just so wild looking that if any car is going to get publicity, it’s going to be one of them. But what about your average Joe on the street? Even a supercar being driven on the road means turned heads and photographs taken everywhere they go. So imagine what it’s like to see this bonkers looking GT-R driving through the city centre. Well let us tell you. If aliens invaded at the same time as Brad cruised by, everyone would still be pointing and taking photos of this out-of- this-world-looking car.
We might be used to pictures of Liberty Walk kitted cars, but actually seeing one on the street is a bizarre experience. In a sea of normal hatchbacks, this beast coming around the corner is a genuine WTF experience. We all imagine things like this to be either pure show queens, or something you’d only see on the streets of Tokyo, but in fact this one’s most likely to be spotted on the mean streets of Bristol or Bath.
Whether you’ve realised it or not, you’ve probably seen Brad, the owner of this car, before, especially if you’ve attended Japfest events, as he’s best known for driving the insane metallic pink Mazda RX-7 and RX-8 drift cars that have been wowing the crowds at shows for years on track. But why the switch from sideways trackmonsters to a 4WD road car? Well, it wasn’t intentional. “I got it originally with the plan to convert it to RWD and drift it,” says Brad. “But I decided it was just too nice to ruin – and it’s snowballed from there!”
The fact it’s still a 4WD road car rather than a rear-drive drift weapon isn’t the only unplanned change. Originally Brad didn’t plan to go wild on the bodywork either, but after finding someone had vandalised it, he did what any self-respecting car modifier does. Rather than cry about it, or even just repair it back to standard, he sent it to the paint and bodywork gods at Charlie’s Classic & Custom Body & Paint Shop to make it bigger and better than ever before.
After some serious graft the result is what you see here, an incredible looking Liberty Walk-kitted Nissan GT-R finished in a colour that’s almost impossible to pinpoint. Thanks to the incredible paintwork, the car can look gunmetal grey in one light, brown in the next, and champagne metallic in another. But regardless of hue, every single time it looks jaw dropping.
As standard alloy wheels go, the stock GT-R rims aren’t exactly what you’d call a legendary design. And regardless, they’d be absolutely lost in the huge Liberty Walk overfenders, so new wheels were top of the shopping list. Wheel choice can make or break a car, but it’s fair to say Brad nailed it with these satin black Forgiato Maglia wheels, measuring a huge 11×20 on the front, and even beefier 12×20 on the rear. While these are insanely wide, they’re also negative offset too, -15 front and -28 rear, which combined with the beefy Toyo R888 track tyres and seriously low ride height makes for a look that almost no production supercar can realistically compete with.
The ride height you see in the pics isn’t just the show height of a car on airbags either. This is a static drop on Ohlins track-spec coilover suspension, and Brad uses the car at this height on road and track. Although he’s the first to admit it’s far from ideal from a performance point of view. “It’s a pain in the ass to drive sometimes, mostly as it’s only about an inch from the floor, so you’ve got no chance over any kind of speedbump. Though “It looks gunmetal grey, then brown, then champagne metallic” you can still hang the back out, and that’s the most important thing for me!” He laughs.
As you might have guessed, this car isn’t all show and no go. As while a standard GT-R is far from slow, he’s got a little help smoking up the huge 315-wide semi-slick tyres in the name of an engine pushing out some 800bhp.
The engine features forged HKS internals, hybrid turbos, massive 1000cc injectors, and much more, and has been designed so it’s still responsive, with the turbos spooling up almost as quickly as standard, not only making the car supercar crushing fast, but fun to drive too. Even when the car is just cruising, it’s clear it means business before you even see it, thanks to the 4-inch bore GTC Titanium drag exhaust. This ends in twin carbon fibre tailpipes on the passenger side of the rear bumper, rather than both sides like the standard car, which is one of many nice touches that make it stand out from other tuned GT-Rs out there.
It’s not only the engine that’s been performance tuned either, as the GT-Rs ultra-trick 4WD system and transaxle gearbox (yes, that means the ’box is at the back where the rear diff normally is) has been remapped for harder, faster, gearchanges, an ATS plated rear diff has been fitted which hints at Brad’s drifting background, as well as uprated internals that include a stronger first gear that can handle the insanely hard launches a tuned GT-R can achieve.
One very noticeable and cool part of the uprated transmission is the HKS oil cooler setup, with the pump, cooler, and braided lines all visible in the rear bumper. There’s no hiding the fact this car has as much go as show. Despite all the performance this car has, and Brad’s infamous antics on track in other cars, one thing this car certainly is not is a track car. While tracks may be smooth, when you’re going at the speeds a car like this is capable of on track, it’s amazing how much suspension travel and ground clearance you need – far more than in fast road use.
Despite this, it certainly didn’t stop Brad giving it a go and taking the car to a track day. Although the result was somewhat predictable. “It was rubbish” he laughs. “The bodywork just hit the ground everywhere, and I was surprised the kit was still on the car by the end of it”. It may not be a track car, but it doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. What it is, is a jaw dropping, neck snapping, ridiculously fast and fun road car. And it does this really, really well.
In fact, considering he’s a hardcore track drifter at heart, the fact Brad admits his favourite things about the car is its incredible paint and looks speaks volumes. As does the fact it’s unlike anything you see on the road, the fact people regularly trip over, walk into lampposts and nearly crash their own car while attempting to take a look at this beast – and that’s something not even most million-pound supercars can manage. And not only can it out-pose almost any supercar, it has the performance to out-accelerate them too, but on a far smaller budget. And that my friends, is why we tune and modify our cars.
It’s possible to create something that, not only money can’t normally buy, but something far better than money can normally buy. Building special cars means late nights, lots of effort, frustration, and money. But do it right and the final result is well worth it…
TECH SPEC: NISSAN GT-R
VR38DETT 3.8ltr Twin Turbo V6 built by DY Engine Services; HKS Step 2 engine kit with HKS forged pistons and H-section conrods; Dragon Performance uprated turbos; 1000cc injectors; GTC 4in titanium drag exhaust; Dragon Performance big bore downpipes; 2011 spec turbo inlet pipes; titanium intercooler pipework; uprated intercoolers; uprated fuel pumps; Cobb GT-R Accessport V3 custom mapped by Dragon Performance, approx 800bhp.
6-speed twin-clutch transaxle gearbox and 4WD; HKS gearbox cooler with electric oil pump and braided lines; HKS uprated transmission sump; Albins C-clips, Albins uprated 1st gear; Cobb remapped gearbox; ATS uprated LSD rear diff; custom gearbox brace.
Ohlins coilovers; Whiteline Performance uprated front and rear anti-roll bars.
Brembo 6-pot (front) and 4-pot (rear) callipers and 2-piece drilled discs, with 2011-spec 390mm big brake conversion.
WHEELS AND TYRES
11×20 ET – 15 (front) and 12×20 ET – 28 (rear) Forgiato Maglia alloys wheels in satin black, with 285/35×20 Toyo R888 (front) and 315/30×20 Toyo R888 (rear) semi-slick tyres.
Liberty Walk (LB ★ Works) wide body kit comprising of front bumper with carbon splitter; front and rear bolt-on overfenders; rear bumper with diffuser;
and rear hatch with moulded ducktail spoiler; APR Formula GT3 mirrors; Top Racing GTC GT1 vented hood, smoked tail lights and side markers.
Standard GT-R interior with leather and Alcantara sports seats.