Road car, show car or hardcore drifter? What about all of them? This R32 Skyline shows us it’s possible…
Production sports cars are designed to be good all- rounders, which is the reason why most of us modify them – because they’re just not good enough at certain things. We’re happy to sacrifice the parts we don’t care so much about, to get far more of what we love.
The thing is though, once you go hardcore in your modifying (and let’s face it, many of us at least plan to) our cars may become awesome at one thing, but
often pretty crap at everything else. This can apply to anything – a track car, a drag car, a show car or a drift car. Take your pick. When you go wild with your ride, most would agree it’s only going to do one of those things well.
One person who doesn’t agree with this, though, is Sam Moody, the owner of this awesome R32 Skyline. He’s managed to bridge the pretty massive gap between the show and drift car world, with the beast you see here.
There’s no doubt you’ve seen plenty of drift-style show cars over the years. In fact probably half the cars people call ‘drift’ cars are never drifted, as they don’t want to risk wrecking them. But this R32, while looking awesome and even sporting a wire-tucked engine bay (which would make you think it’s more show than go), is equally at home being driven at 110-percent on track. And it’s no stranger to shredding rubber, or even ending up in the tyre wall!
The issue with having a showy-looking but hard-used drift car is, frankly, it’s almost impossible to keep looking nice. You can use a car pretty damn hard on the road and keep it in great shape, and even a track car can be kept pretty tidy. But drifting?
No matter how good you are, your car takes a hell of a beating. Even without any offs, if you’re driving as hard as you should, you’re bound to get scrapes and marks on the bodywork, either from getting close to the scenery or simply from bits of your tortured rear tyres flying off the rim.
Trying to keep a drift car’s bodywork in great condition is a full time job in its own right, but Sam is doing it well with this one. Although he’s no stranger to modified cars (having built a show- quality S14a Nissan 200SX before this), Sam says this has been the biggest task he’s ever taken on. Not only did this Skyline start as a bare shell, but apart from the roll cage, he’s built the whole thing himself – he even mapped the Link ECU.
With all this building, fabrication, tuning, mapping, bodywork and so much more, you’d think Sam runs, or at least works at, a tuning company, right? Wrong! While Sam does work for Nissan, it’s not for Nismo. He’s a maintenance engineer at the factory that brings you the Note, the Leaf and the Juke.
The term gets used a lot, but this is a genuine built-not-bought home-build. And an incredibly impressive one at that. “I’ve basically funnelled my entire wage for the last three years into this car,” Sam laughs. “But I’ve still done almost all the work myself, to afford to make it how I wanted it!”
Sam has owned the R32 for around four years, having bought it as a bare shell. He spent the first 1.5-years of the project turning it into a GT-R-arched, RB25-powered, basic but fun drift car. And as soon as it was ready, he wasted no time hitting the track. “It wasn’t bad back then, and the track action was great for finding the teething problems that always happen with new builds. But it gave me loads of ideas about what the car could be like with a little work. So after a while it was locked away in the garage for another year, and when it came out it was like this,” says Sam.
Things were looking pretty good. Sam had himself an RB25- powered, widebody, R32 Skyline drift car, but done to a level that blurred the lines between drift and show – and even…