It takes a lot of self-belief and guts to take one of the most iconic Japanese performance cars of the ’90s, tune it to the hilt and then paint it bright pink, but that’s precisely what makes this tuned Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R so special.
Ok, ok, a Nissan Skyline R32 isn’t exactly the most subtle of cars in factory form, but even we’ll admit we were taken aback by just how arresting Jonathan Elias’s example actually is ‘in the metal.’ Granted, the car’s selection of tweaks, bodywork additions and gargantuan engine spec are at least partly responsible for this ability to stand out amongst anything this side of a Ferrari F40 convention, but most credit should go to that shockingly lurid shade of fuchsia pink. There are those out there that will never be able to reconcile their love for this Nissan and its outlandish, deeply divisive paint scheme, but we think those individuals are both missing out and, more importantly, missing the point. Messing about in cars is supposed to be fun, a means of escaping real life, and perhaps most importantly of all, a means to express yourself.
Not that Jonathan’s Skyline came into his ownership in a particularly pleasant or indeed presentable fashion, not by a long shot.
“I purchased the car in February 2015 from an importer in Washington state. Its original black paint was starting to fade, the clear coat was peeling, the bumper and side skirts were cracked, its AWD system wasn’t working and it wouldn’t rev past 5500 RPM,” he recalls with a grimace. “Someone in Japan had stitch welded the engine bay, so I personally believe the car was drifted sometime in its life.”
The cosmetic side of the car was perfected over the months that followed, but Jonathan readily admits that he had a keen eye on the performance side of things from the moment he bought it. The RB26 now belts out a massive 700bhp thanks to (among other things) oversized Tomei pistons and tougher gaskets, ARP fixings, and a wide selection of RIPS Racing ancillaries, the most prominent being the inlet manifold, throttle body, 4in downpipe and screamer pipe and exhaust manifold, the latter essential as it allows him to run a meaty GTX4294R turbo.
“I learned about RIPS Racing through Facebook and that he has built some of the fastest Skylines in the world. Originally I only wanted his intake manifold but while waiting on it to be made I started asking questions about his turbo kits, so I ended up buying one of those, then his intercooler, custom piping and custom split 14 gallon fuel cell. One side is for 93 pump gas, the other for e85. I received a huge crate from him a week later,” Jonathan chuckles.
Ask anyone with even a passing interest in cars what makes the Skyline so special and doubtless one of the first things on their list will be its four-wheel drive layout, the key to this unassuming (in standard form) car’s ability to humiliate far more exotic rivals from traditional European stables. You might’ve thought that the Skyline’s four-wheel drive system would’ve been one of the few elements of the car that Jonathan chose to leave well alone, then, but this is actually far from the case. What you will find is more RIPS Racing hardware, specifically one of their manual-hydraulic AWD systems.
“I wanted to remove all the car’s OEM electronic AWD control systems and replace them with a more effective, quicker to engage hydraulic one instead. I knew that some of the Japanese drag Skylines ran such systems and that they were very effective, and another conversation with Rob at RIPS provided the solution,” explains Jonathan.
Rob eventually provided him with hydraulic system very similar in design to the one that’s proved so effective in his own 7-second Skyline, and seeing it in action is all that’s required for you to appreciate just why Jonathan was so keen to go down this route.
“Technically my car drives in RWD 100% of the time until I manually pressurized the transfer case to lock the front wheels. I have no electronics, no delays. After the transfer case is pressurized and the AWD is locked, the car takes of.”
The result is that this Skyline, already a potent, real world performer by anyone’s standards, can launch in a manner that simply defies belief. You’ll have to excuse our French for a moment, but it really does pick up, launch and go like shit off the proverbial shovel!
Power and traction aren’t exactly in short supply then, but this car can also call on a huge amount of handling finesse, and that’s largely down to the dedicated chassis upgrades that Jonathan’s applied. Various aftermarket braces, uprights and adjustable lower rods jostle for space, with neat Tanabe CZT Zero coilovers give Jonathan huge scope to tweak his ride height from week to week. Six pot (front) and four pot (rear) calipers bite down on equally massive discs, a setup that’s pretty much essential on a car of this power and calibre.
All of this is skirting around this car’s most obvious deviation from standard spec, that eye-scorching paint job!
“I wanted to paint the car a color that would stand out, everyone calls it a pink car and in my opinion if you have a pink car it needs to have some power behind it,” chuckles Jonathan.
There’s more to Jonathan’s love for these cars that mere paint though, much more. Like many of you reading this, Jonathan first became truly aware of the Skyline, it’s performance and battery of control systems through Gran Tourismo, and it didn’t take too long for his ownership of a pixelated version to become a reality.
This R32 is actually my 3rd GTR; my first was an R33, followed by a Red R32, then another red R33 which I never drove and ended up selling,” he laughs. I wanted to build one of the craziest and fastest Skylines in the area, one which would draw a crowd at meets like Cars and Coffee.”
Assumption is a dangerous thing, but we’re confident in assuming that Jonathan’s more than achieved his aims with this car. The paint scheme means that everything else he’s done to it will always play second fiddle (as far as the average passer by in the street is concerned), but his carefully thought out modifications mean that you could never accuse this R32 of ‘writing checks that its arse can’t cash,’ the 700bhp sent (mainly) to the rear wheels makes sure of that!
OWNER: JONATHAN ELIAS
TECH SPEC: 1989 NISSAN SKYLINE R32 GT-R
Nissan RB26 with Tomei oversized pistons and gaskets, ARP Studs, RIPS inlet manifold, throttle body, exhaust manifold, plenum, intercooler, boost pipes, 4in downpipe, screamer pipe and 14 gallon split fuel cell and lines, RIPS Racing manual hydraulic AWD system, x2 Bosch 044 pumps GTX4294R turbo, Turbosmart wastegate, BOV and FPR, ID2000 injectors, Tomei fuel rail, custom tucked radiator, Chase Bays PAS relocator kit and cooler, Greddy pulleys, cam gears and oil cap, ATI damper, ABS delete, blue titanium dress-up bolts, HKS muffler and custom 4in exhaust by Atlantic Motorsport, AEM V2, Bee*R valve cover.
10x18in Work Equips with DDC lips and brushed faces, Toyo R888 275/35/18’s, Endless big brake kit comprising six-pot (front) and four-pot (rear) callipers, Endless brake lines, Driftworks front and rear camber arms, Bee*R front tension rods, Tanabe CST Zero 1 coilovers, Driveshaft Shop carbon fiber one-piece propshaft, Nismo 1.5 front and rear differential, Greddy oversizedrear differential cover, Cusco drag rods, HKS Kansai front and rear strut braces.
Bride carbon fibre VIOS III bucket seats and Takata five-point harnesses, Cusco nine-point harnesses, SARDS stack gauge cluster, Bee*R steering wheel, R34 MFD custom retrofitted into a single din, POLK speakers, HKS boost gauge.
1989 Nissan Skyline R32 GTR in fuchsia pink, Bee*R 32.4 rear quarter panels, rear bumper, side skirts, front wings, TBO front bumper.
Words Jarkle Photos Mike Kuhn