Buying online from a Japanese auction is a gamble, but sometimes you hit the jackpot like with this Bee*R Nissan R32 GT-R…
Buying a car without going to view and drive it is generally a pretty bad idea. You literally have to take the sellers word for it when it comes down to the cars spec and condition, as you’re risking buying a piece of junk and financial disaster.
But what if you want to buy a car from Japan? Well, from a dealer or a third-party specialist you should hopefully be able to get some good honest details, but what about buying something you’ve spotted literally minutes earlier for sale at a large car auction in Japan? A few small pictures, a very vague description of specification and condition, and no driving information at all barring the fact they managed to drive it to the auction block is all the help you’re going to get.
Despite this lack of info, doing what most people used to buying cars in the UK would consider to be a massive risk is quite common when buying tuned cars from Japan, and the risk is usually outweighed by the reward, and this car is a great example.
This car was brought in to the UK by Ross Juniper, MD of Dragon Performance, and while he’s imported countless highly tuned cars from Japan over the years so realises the risks involved, he also knows the amazing cars at amazing prices that can be bought and imported if you have a keen eye for modified cars, and of course a little bit of luck…
“I’m a big fan of how they tune cars in Japan, and always keep my eye on the auctions to see if anything special comes up that I want to buy, and when this car appeared, I couldn’t resist” explained Ross. “It wasn’t cheap, as GT-R prices are going through the roof these days, but from what I could see in the pics and what the auction sheet said, it looked to be a great spec car, so I went for it”.
Fast forward a few months and the car is finally in the UK at the Dragon workshops, and while it wasn’t a gleaming show car, in fact it’s clearly a car to be used hard on road and track, it soon became apparent the car was far more special than the basic auction spec list made it seem.
“I got it up on the ramps once it was here to inspect it, as I thought the spec list was too good to be true, but it really was all it seemed and more” said Ross.
What we have here is a genuine R32 GT-R, complete with heavily modified RB26DETT engine, converted to rear wheel drive, and running the Bee*R R324R body conversion, which gives the front end a R34 GT-R look, complete with genuine R34 headlamps, as well as much wider arches and an overall even more aggressive look than the standard GT-R. To be honest though, while that basic spec is impressive enough, that’s barely scratching the surface of the special parts this car is covered in.
One of the first thing Ross noticed that wasn’t on the auction sheet, was the chassis has been fully stitch welded, something only done to serious race cars to increase shell stiffness and requires the car to stripped to a bare shell to be done. It also has the HKS V-CAM setup, a rare and expensive upgrade that converts the inlet cam to variable timing, improving spoolup and torque at lower rpm without sacrificing high rpm power. Whatever this car was built for, it wasn’t for show, and money really wasn’t an issue.
“The first proper drive of the car was proof enough to me how well the car was set up, it was seriously impressive, and even at 8000rpm in 5th the car felt totally stable and planted” explained Ross. On a private road of course officer…
This car was clearly something quite special, though with so many cars tuned in Japan the history becomes forgotten about, but from what we saw and experienced on the photoshoot, and what Ross explained himself, we decided to do some investigating ourselves, and realised this car is even more special than any of us realised- It’s actually the Bee*R drift demo car from around 2004, which was featured, albeit with less modifications than it has now, in various Option and Best Motoring videos in Japan, being driven hard on track and the Touge by famous racing driver Max Orido, former D1 champion Yasuyuki Kazama, and the Drift King himself, Keiichi Tsuchiya.
At first we wasn’t 100% sure, as while the bodywork, paint, and engine was identical, rumour had always been that the Bee*R car was a HCR32, ie a GTS-T with a GT-R engine fitted, and this was, according to the VIN number, a genuine BNR32, ie a true GT-R, albeit converted to rear wheel drive. On further investigation, this turned out to be just that, a rumour, probably due to one of their even earlier demo cars being based on a GTS-T, and the final clincher was if you view the videos carefully and freeze frame it during the in-car footage, you notice the amount of interior modifications, most quite rare and unusual, which not only feature in both cars, but are mounted in exactly the same places. If Orido, Kazama, and the Drift King were all impressed while flinging the thing flat out down a Japanese Touge, no wonder Ross was impressed with how the car drove!
So, what’s next for this piece of JDM tuning history? Well, by the time you read this it will be with the new owner and be up to them to decide, as Ross has now sold the car. Does the new owner realise this cars past? Maybe not until they read this feature. Do they even care? We hope so…!
While probably most famous for their noisy and flame throwing after market rev limiters, Japanese company Bee*R are one of the original Skyline GT-R tuners, tuning and racing them since 1990, just after the first release of the R32 GT-R, and long before most of us had ever heard of these legendary cars. By 1995 they had already achieved 9second quarter mile times and over 200mph top speed from their tuned GT-Rs, and they’ve continued to modify them to this day. As well as the car in this feature, they’ve built many other wild cars over the years, including various D1 drift cars, a S15 Silvia featuring a twin charged, ie both turbo and supercharged, SR20 engine, and a R33 GT-R drag car that ran 8second quarter miles even in the late 1990s!
TECH SPEC BEE*R NISSAN R32 GT-R
RB26DETT 2.6ltr 24v inline six cylinder twin turbo, N1 engine block, steel conrods, forged pistons, HKS V-CAM variable inlet cam system, HKS camshafts, clear cam cover, HKS GT-SS twin turbos, HKS intercooler pipes, HKS front mount intercooler, Greddy fuel rail, 740cc injectors, HKS fuel pressure regulator, HPI engine damper, HKS air filters, Z32 MAF sensors, HKS downpipes, braided fuel lines, high flow fuel pump, 3.5inch exhaust system, Greddy boost controller, remote oil filter, oil cooler with braided lines, modified sump, uprated radiator, Apexi PowerFC ECU.
RWD conversion, Cusco 2way rear diff, solid diff mounts, OS Giken twin plate clutch.
Ohlins coilovers, adjustable rear camber arms, Nismo rear lower arms, HICAS delete, Nismo front upper arms, fully stitch welded chassis, Kansai front strut brace, Cusco rear strut brace.
F40 front brake calipers with 335mm 2-piece discs, R34 GT-R rear brake conversion.
Wheels and tyres
9×18 (front) 11×18 (rear) Volk Racing GTM split rims, with 225/40×18 (front) and 265/35×18 (rear) tyres.
Full Bee*R 324R body wide body R34 front conversion, Bee*R carbon rear wing, R34 GT-R headlamps, LED rear lamps, painted Midnight Purple.
Bride Zeta drivers bucket seat, Nardi steering wheel, Bee*R flip-up steering boss, Nismo 320km dials, Defi oil pressure gauge, Defi oil temp gauge, Defi water temp gauge, Apexi hand commander, Blitz I-D power meter, full roll cage, Greddy E-01 datalogger.
Words Stav Photos Davy Lewis