Want to know the current hottest tuning modifications for you Nissan Skyline? Then look no further! These are the latest Skyline tuning trends.

Just like styles of clothes or genres of music, modifying trends can come and go, meaning you need to keep your finger on the pulse if you want to keep up with the latest tuning and styling upgrades for your car. And this doesn’t just apply to owners of your typical four wheeled followers of automotive fashion such as hot hatches, as even performance legends like the iconic Nissan Skyline GT-R models have their own must-do mods that keep your car looking and performing on point. To give you the lowdown on the current crop of what’s hot and what’s not in the realm of Skyline tuning, we’ve compiled a list of the top trends currently doing the rounds within the UK’s leading Nissan tuning houses.

Latest Skyline Tuning Trends

R34 skyline gt-r in blue

Returning to stock

As life-long tuning fans, as much as it pains us to admit it, one of the biggest trends in Skyline tuning at the moment is not throwing 1000bhp under the hood, or neons under the sills as Paul Walker and Vin Diesel did back in the early 2000s. Instead, it’s actually returning it back to exactly how it left factory. That’s right. In terms of desirability and future values, the very best modifications you can make to your GT-R are to replace any non-standard parts with OEM originals. This is due to the stratospheric price rise that Skylines have enjoyed over the last decade, with the most original, unmolested examples demanding the very highest values.

This is the same scenario that has dominated the classic car scene for years, and with Nissan’s Skyline GT-R models finally being regarded, not just as incredible performance cars, but as bonefide future classics, it means a good licking with the OEM stick. That, as well as sympathetic restorations, can add thousands to any future selling prices. It might not be sexy, but it’s certainly where the smart money is spent.

HKS RB28 engine

Bonkers big BHP builds

Although many of those with an eye on their investment are returning their cars to stock, there is still a group of hardcore Skyline enthusiasts that want to extract as much performance potential out of their cars as possible and are willing to pay handsomely for the privilege.

Increasing the displacement of the RB26 engine to 2.8 or even 3.0-litres with the likes of HKS or Tomei stroker kits is still very popular, as is swapping out the stock sequential twin turbos for a monster single turbo from the likes of Garrett. Using the latest twin-scroll technology, these big blowers have little of the lag of the old school units, spooling quickly and producing prodigious levels of boost for maximum power and an unparalleled soundtrack to boot.

Aftermarket ECUs

Whether you’re after the wildest ride on the street or just a sensible performance and protection uplift for your otherwise bone stock machine, the fitment of one of the latest range of aftermarket ECUs can cover all the bases. For that reason, it’s an essential upgrade for your Skyline GT-R.

Available for R32, R33 and R34 generations, the advanced engine control units from MaxxECU offer a vast array of control options that allow you to extract the maximum performance from your stock engine and components, as well as any hardware upgrades you may have made. It also features a suite of sensors that can precisely monitor engine parameters to prevent any issues that may lead to permanent engine failure, protecting your car’s vital powerplant from undue damage. Add in plug ‘n’ play installation and the ability to be mapped and controlled via a smartphone application, and it’s easy to see why it’s such a popular and universally practical tuning upgrade.

Skyline ER34

This is what a standard GTT looks like.

GT-R replicas

With the price of genuine GT-R models, especially good condition R34 generations, now commonly sitting in the six-figure realm, it’s understandable that they have soared out of reach for many Skyline fanatics. This has led to many seeking the look of the halo model with a lesser price tag by carrying out a body conversion from a less expensive variant. In the case of the R34, this is usually a GTT, which features a narrower body and a 2.5-litre single turbo RB25 engine instead of the GT-R’s burly 2.6 twin turbo RB26.

The looks part of the equation is relatively cheap to achieve, using fiberglass replica panels. However, those with an eye on increasing value or wanting a finish closer to the real thing will need to use genuine OEM parts for the conversion. These obviously cost a lot more than fiberglass replicas, but the end result will likely be well worth it, both in terms of fit and finish and re-sale value.

RB26-powered Hakosuka

RB26 engine installs

But it’s not just body swaps, as some people are going that extra step with their GT-R clone by ditching the original engine for a genuine GT-R RB26. These are also an expensive engine to buy and install, but as most owners will simply retain the GTT’s rear wheel drive rather than transplant the GT-R’s complex four-wheel-drive system, it is still often far cheaper than buying a genuine GT-R.

The sound and performance benefit from the tunable twin turbo lump is a big part of the attraction, as well as making the car a much more faithful replica of the original.

R33 Skyline GT-R 400R

Halo model looks

Rather than a host of brash aftermarket bodykits, most Skyline owners these days are keen to follow the styling cues of the most desirable and valuable OEM models. For R34 owners, this is often the super-rare Z-Tune models, or for R33 owners, the unicorn 400R.

Various body panels, bumpers, arches, spoilers, badging and graphics are available to give your GT-R a touch of halo-model magic, while still retaining that OEM aesthetic that is so popular with the purists.

the interior.

Digital instruments

The improvement in digital technology has meant it’s no longer necessary, or cool, to have countless analogue gauges cluttering up your cockpit, as all of these functions and countless more can be monitored and controlled by an advanced digital dashboard. This can often be installed in the instrument binnacle, replacing the car’s standard speedometer and tacho clocks.

However, R34 owners have the choice to retain the stock instruments and fit a screen into the cowling that houses the stock multi-function display. This retains a more OEM look, but adds much greater functionality and monitoring options.

Crank Motorsport R34 replica seats

R34 GT-R replica seats

As even the very latest R34 models to roll off the production line are now over 20 years old, it’s understandable that many examples have seats that are well past their best, both in terms of their look and the support they offer. Unfortunately, genuine R34 seats are now commanding big money, often into five figures for the two front seats alone. In the past, this would’ve often pushed people to look at aftermarket options from the likes of Corbeau, Cobra or Recaro, however, these stray away from that coveted factory look.

A popular option at present seems to be to fit good quality GT-R replica seats, which are available from Australian tuning company Crank Motorsport. Costing around one-tenth of the price of OEM originals, and coming in the same material as stock, it’s no wonder so many owners are jumping on the Aussie posterior perch bandwagon

RB26DETT - Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 tuning

Stealthy under-bonnet bling

Gone are the days where you’d be blinded by the sea of highly polished chrome and alloy under a Skyline owner’s hood, as today’s owners are seeking a shift to a more subtle and stealthy look for their potent RB motors. This often involves simple color schemes of crinkle black heat-resistant coating from companies such as Zircotec, combined with subtle black Samco Sport hoses and nylon pipework instead of shiny braided lines.

Carbon is still a popular choice, along with lightweight exotic metal such as titanium, however, it’s the matt finished dry carbon for superior lightness and a less showy finish that is winning out. But don’t go thinking that it’s all a sea of black under there, as a bright, eye-popping color for the iconic rocker cover, to contrast against the subtle surroundings, is still key to a show stopping bay.

Mine's Skyline GT-R R34

Genuine Japanese tuning brands

Although it’s obvious that OEM is king, if you are going to add aftermarket modifications to your Skyline, you should try and stick with the genuine Japanese  tuning brands such as HKS, Nismo and Mine’s. These powerhouses of Far East tuning firms produce all manner of parts for Skylines, including everything from engine tuning components to wheels as well as various interior parts such as steering wheels, gearknobs, roof linings and seat covers.

So although they’re more expensive than some other brands, there should be something to suit most budgets to allow you to benefit from those most iconic of badges.

Words by Dan Sherwood.