For many, it’s the king of all JDM import cars. Here’s a selection of the best modified Nissan GT-R and Skyline builds from our archives.
There’s something special about the Nissan GT-R; whether that’s in Skyline form or the newest R35 generation. It’s success on track, in Hollywood and on the streets has meant its become an icon, and one that will live down in motoring history. And with their hunger for more power, modifying them over the years has become obsessive for tuning fans the world-over, as the first to break 1000bhp from the legendary RB26DETT made headlines. Then it was 1500bhp. Then 2000bhp. You get the picture.
We’ve been featuring modified cars and covering all aspects of car culture for a good few decades now. In that time, we’ve seen some incredible, unique builds that highlight the best of the modified Nissan GT-R and Skyline scene. Below, we’ve picked out some of our favorites over those years.
Mine’s Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 demo car
If you’re a fan of Japanese car culture, Mine’s is a name that should ring a bell. One of the key ’90s tuning houses, the Yokosuka-based firm is well known for its range of aftermarket parts, presence in Gran Turismo, and modified Nissan Skyline GT-R demo cars… like this one.
Mine’s only ever built three R34 demo cars, and just one is street legal. That unicorn now lives in Australia with a company called V-Spec Performance, which is where we were lucky enough to set our eyes upon it.
Simon Ong is the manager there, meaning that he’s driven a fair few JDM classics in his time – particularly of the Skyline variety. So, when he claims that he “hasn’t driven anything (street-legal) that’s better than the Mine’s Skyline GT-R R34,” you know that this car is a serious bit of kit.
What is it that makes the Mine’s R34 such a desirable vehicle, then? Well, true to the Mine’s philosophy, the sum of this Skyline’s parts is far greater than what its restrained exterior may lead you to believe.
The trick here isn’t so much about bolting on as many new upgrades as possible, but instead working with what Nissan blessed the R34 with at birth. Mine’s has overhauled every element of the RB26DETT that sits in the car’s engine bay: everything from cylinder boring, to block, head & cam lobe shaving, and whatever else their engineers could think of. There’s not an inch of this power unit that Mine’s left untouched, and as a result, it now outputs 600PS and 433lb ft of torque!
Pandem-kitted Nissan Skyline GT-R R32
All-wheel drive is something that’s synonymous with the Skyline GT-R. After all, it’s that party trick which allowed the car to dominate as it did in world motorsport, sparking its mythical ‘Godzilla’ status.
However, Finnish car modifier Tony Hakku decided that the R32’s drivetrain still had room for improvement. “How?”, you may ask. Well, as the smoky burnout shot above suggests, this R32 can switch between rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. So, when you want to tackle backroads at pace you can still depend on the GT-R’s four wheels to grip their way around the bends. But, when things are a bit less serious, and when grip is the enemy rather than an ally, that switchable rear-wheel drive opens up a whole new world of fun.
As you can see through the smoke, Tony has made plenty of modifications to the outside of this car, as well as the inside. In fact, the first thing on his to-do-list when he bought the car was the exterior.
Rust in the arches served as the best possible justification for a widebody, but at the time, there was little choice when it came to affordable off-the-shelf R32 kits. Instead, Tony wrestled Pandem S13 arches into place. As you can imagine, that was a rather nerve-wracking process, but we think it paid off well in the end!
For the full run-down of the work Tony has put into his modified Nissan Skyline GT-R R32, give the full feature a read here. Or, if an R32 happens to be on your shopping list, be sure to read our dedicated buying and tuning guides.
Father & Son’s Nissan Skyline GT-R R33
Leon Chan’s love for Japanese performance cars is something which has stood the test of decades. Back in 2004, he left the comfort of working for his family’s restaurant to set up EP Racing – an independent aftermarket parts supplier, designed to cater to all the cars that Leon aspired to own himself.
Happily, the car-loving genes passed down to Leon’s son, Cody. Whether that was nature, nurture, or something in between, we’ll let you decide for yourself. Either way, fast-forward 20-odd years, and Cody is now at an age where he can get stuck into project cars too, much to his dad’s delight.
The initial plan was for the pair of them to build an S13 together – Cody is an S-Chassis fan at heart. However, when that didn’t pan out, they ended up with an R34 GT-T. Long story short, they traded that R34 for a friend’s R33 GT-R – which is the car you see here.
When they picked it up, the poor thing was in need of a bit of TLC. It had spent the past nine years off the road, but after a full service, it wasn’t long before the Chan family began to work their magic on it.
Carbon body styling is obviously a big new feature of the car. Its current look includes a set of custom-fabricated front wings, inspired by the Nismo R34 Z-Tune. The Chans have also added 18-inch Work alloys, TEIN Flex Z coilovers, and a load of goodies under the hood. However, if you want to read more about that, you’ll have to check out the full feature…
Tuned R34 GT-R by ATTKD
Albeit still road legal, this Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 is one of the fastest GT-Rs to have ever competed at Japan’s Tsukuba circuit.
Hardcore JDM tuning shop, Autech Tsukada (or ‘ATTKD’), built the car originally. Now though, it resides in the UK with Harlow Jap Autos.
ATTKD is well known throughout Japanese racing circles as a firm focused on setting super-quick lap times with every car they build. However, whereas previous outlandish projects targeted pace at the high-speed Fuji Raceway, ATTKD built this Skyline to tackle shorter, twistier tracks – like Tsukuba.
Regardless of whichever circuit’s lap record you’re hunting down, you’re always going to need plenty of power and torque on tap. Naturally, this ATTKD GT-R has both, thanks to its HKS 2.8-litre stroker kit. Reworked forged pistons, con rods, and a lightweight counter crank help to increase engine displacement over the regular RB26 block.
Track time attacks require more than just sheer grunt though. So, on top of its 650hp, this GT-R is also 100kg lighter than a standard R34 GT-R, while traction off the line is greatly improved thanks to a carbon-formed twin-plate clutch, propshaft, and 1.5-way limited-slip diff.
Impressively, that’s not the full extent of this car’s mods list. So, if you want to read more about it, check out the full feature here. Or, if your pockets are deep enough to afford your own R34, have a glance at our buying and tuning guides.
Modified Nissan Skyline GT-R R33
There’s nothing retrospective about this modified Nissan Skyline GT-R R33. Built in period at around the turn of the century when Japanese tuning culture was at its peak, this R33 is a mash-up of old-school tuning techniques, complete with a spec-sheet that reads like a ‘who’s who’ of ’90s aftermarket tuning houses.
Truth be told, despite its somewhat unassuming exterior, this R33 is a brute to drive. That’s largely down to its triple-plate clutch, forming part of a hardcore six-speed transmission that slots into gear with a satisfying ‘clunk’.
It has a pretty menacing engine too. The RB26 under its hood is hugely modified and based upon the block found in the R33 ‘N1’ editions. Much of the HKS parts catalogue features in the mix too, ranging from aftermarket pistons and rods, to a new head gasket and crankshaft. GReddy, meanwhile, is the source of this R33’s beefy twin-turbo and revised fueling system.
If it’s numbers that you’re interested in, then we’ll gladly inform you that this handful of a car outputs around 630hp at 1.4bar of boost, though the GTR Shop reckons that the car’s pumped-up internals could potentially handle as much as 1.8bar instead. At that point though, drivability would undoubtedly be put into question.
While not intended as a daily driver, the suspension, braking, and powertrain mods make this R33 a joy to wrestle on a closed circuit – so long as you handle it with care!
Top Secret Nissan GT-R R35
Those of you well-versed in aftermarket tuning companies will have immediately clocked that iconic gold livery – paintwork which denotes this as a car built by the near-mythical Top Secret crew.
Even if you haven’t heard of Top Secret, you might have heard of their head honcho – Smokey Nagata. He’s the guy that attempted to do 200mph on the A1 in a modified Supra, earning him a visit to one of Britain’s murky jail cells. Happily, they didn’t lock Smokey up for long, meaning he could return to Japan to create more modified masterpieces such as this high-velocity GT-R.
These days, a British bloke called Lewis Petrie owns the car. However, getting his hands on Smokey’s R35 wasn’t as simple as just offering the right amount of cash. Instead, he had to prove his worth, which he did by paying multiple personal visits to Japan and building a highly modified R34 GT-R (complete with Top Secret parts).
Of course, being a Top Secret car, we aren’t privy to its full specs – even now it’s long since left home. What we can tell you though is that prior to being *detuned* to 900hp, this wild GT-R hit speeds of more than 230mph!
Naturally, that suggests some pretty major engine upgrades, and a completely overhauled transmission to go with them. Aesthetically speaking, the aero changes that Top Secret made to the car are contrastingly understated, and it’s got an unexpectedly comfortable cabin.
The World’s Fastest Nissan GT-R
The headline speaks for itself. This bright green dragster, built by Severn Valley Motorsport (SVM), is the fastest Nissan GT-R on official record.
Appropriately nicknamed ‘The Hulk’, this 2500-horsepower beast registered an astonishing top speed of 259.42mph, back in 2019. SVM increased the capacity of the VR38 up to 4.0 liters, and in the process, forged all of its internals too. There’s a billet block and crank, as well as ported race-spec cylinder heads. The turbos are massively pumped up as well, both capable of running at 60psi/4.1 bar.
The fueling and cooling demands of the engine are naturally sky high. As such, SVM has added a 6-inch thick intercooler, while gas channels through via a carbon-fiber inlet and set of 12 injectors. Even the gas itself is a specialized blend of petrol and methanol. A Syvecs S8 ECU makes sure that all of those components run smoothly, and in fact, it even has the ability to raise the Hulk’s power output up to 3000PS! Though, we’re not sure what sort of situation requires that much oomph!
The list of work done to this R35 is seriously extensive. So, if you want to get the full picture, be sure to read our full-length feature on the car, here.
800bhp Liberty Walk R35 GT-R
Next up, we’re turning the clocks back to 2017 when we met up with Brad – the owner of this epic R35. A regular drifter of Mazda RX7s and RX8s, he initially intended to convert this AWD Godzilla to RWD for some more sideways action. However, after living with it for a while, Brad decided that the R35 was simply too nice to gut and convert to a track monster.
Instead, he chose to transform into it a beast for the streets, often see prowling South-West England adorned in its authentic Liberty Walk body kit. Happily, this car can talk the talk as well as walk the walk, as Brad has kitted it out with an array of internal mods designed to extract more power from within. Prepared by DY Engine Services, this R35’s VR38 features HKS forged pistons and H-section conrods; Dragon Performance uprated turbos and big bore downpipes, on top of 1000cc injectors and a GTC 4in titanium drag exhaust.
The car’s fueling and cooling systems have also received attention, and naturally there’s an ECU remap thrown into the mix too. All in all, this thing is churning out around 800bhp as a result! To read more about how it handles all that power, make sure you check out the full feature article.
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