R34 Skyline GTR V-Spec II Nur
The Icon that Lives On
Whether you were in the Yokoyama showrooms in 2002 or at a present-day car meet in Centurion, Gauteng, the Nissan Skyline GTR is a car that commands tremendous respect. It’s a showstopper of note.
My story as a car enthusiast began with Japanese cars, more specifically the Subaru WRX STI Hawkeye. The stupidly loud rumble of the unequal length headers and the ridiculous rear wing hooked my 10-year-old self into the world of outrageous cars. However, I quickly realised that the Subaru STI was only a small part of what could arguably be the biggest community of car boffins in the world, the JDM Scene. A scene which was driven by, in my opinion, the 3 leading Japanese machines, being the Mazda RX7, the Toyota Mk4 Supra and the Nissan Skyline GTR. These cars are the subject of many passionate debates amongst arch-conservative Japanese fanboys and they continue to steal the spotlight from the exotic technological marvels being produced today.
These Japanese powerhouses remain heavily sort after due to their bulletproof engines, capable of withstanding massive amounts of boost with very little hardware modifications. This allows tuners like Smokey Nagata to smash top speed records and dominate on the racetrack. This proves that well- designed, strong and simple power units on tight, agile chassis’ create what appears to be the perfect driver’s car. The Nissan GTR led the Japanese performance car industry by dominating competition whilst posing on the front cover of magazines and video games worldwide.
The Skyline was first introduced to the world in 1969, with a racing 2-litre, in-line 6. It quickly became popular due to the little competition that it faced in production. Originally developed to compete against Porsche in the Japanese Grand Prix, the Japanese public quickly realised GTR had, what appeared to be, an unstoppable formula. Almost 2 decades past and Nissan battled to produce a Skyline that could live up to the 1969 racing titan, until the release of the R32 GTR in 1989. Pushing 280 horsepower out of the iconic RB26DETT 2.6 Litre in-line 6, the R32 grew hugely popular in tuning culture worldwide, earning its name, Godzilla. This represented the powerful persona this car presented, assisted by its aggressive styling and intoxicating noise. The R33 was later introduced, similar to the R32 in many respects but with a more refined body shape, better weight distribution, stiffer chassis and a more advanced traction control system. This set the stage for the last and possibly the best of the Japanese icons, the R34 Nissan Skyline GTR.
The R34 Skyline GTR is arguably one of the most sought-after cars in the world. Its bulletproof RB26DETT twin-turbocharged power unit was capable of being boosted to around 500 horsepower on the stock engine block. Paired with its ATTESA E-TS all-wheel drive system and its famous HICAS, or high capacity actively controlled steering, the GTR was cast into the spotlight of performance advancement. Not only was the GTR built on one of the most advanced and capable platforms but it was simple and easy to work on. This made it a popular choice for amateur racers and enthusiasts.
We Drive an Ultra-Rare Nissan Skyline R34 GTR V-spec 2 Nur Edition
Due to strict importing rules set out by the SA government to boost local sales and prevent an influx of overseas vehicle purchases, we very rarely are privileged enough to come across an authentic Nissan Skyline GTR. However, one dedicated enthusiast named Adam Saiyad pulled it off, importing a R34 GTR V-spec 2 Nur edition into South Africa.
To put this car into context, Nissan only made 718 models in total, 2 of which are currently in South Africa. The V-spec 2 Nur adds a litany of special stuff to an already sorted car: stiffer suspension, bigger rear brakes, a carbon fibre hood, gold-painted engine cover, and the 300 km/h speedometer compared to the base GTR’s 280 km/h. Adam studied the art of building engines, hand-creating this masterpiece into something even more unique, changing almost every engine component, leaving only the stock engine block, pistons, crankshaft and the 2 original turbos. Ensuring that he kept the car reliable and sensible, he only imported replacement parts stocked by HKS, Nismo Tomei and Greddy, all quality tuning brands that have solidified their position in the aftermarket parts hall of fame. The going price of this GTR today? Around R4-Million.
The GTR is a rowdy machine to drive, and you will know when it is nearby. It focuses on the essence of driving by its firm steering feel, its sharp suspension allowing it to excel in the corners, and a smooth yet overwhelming power output that pushes you deep into your seat. Driving the GTR is an experience unlike that of any modern car. It lacks basic comfort features and yes, the interior isn’t all that exciting, but that’s the point. It’s a vehicle you’re supposed to drive, it’s not your typical flashy exotic car. It is exactly what a driver’s car is supposed to be, built for people who appreciate sports cars for their fundamental purpose, that of being fast and exciting. Hearing every intricate part working in harmony while keeping you focused behind the wheel is intoxicating stuff. You can hear it gulping for air. You can hear the turbos breathing as you come off the throttle providing a pure exhaust note created by the obnoxiously loud Kakimoto titanium exhaust system.
It was an absolute treat to review this monster. I now understand the craze behind these cars even more than I did before getting behind the wheel. They are over the top cars in many ways, but so unique and so carved into their own special niche. If you’re a car enthusiast, this is the holy grail of motoring. I have driven my fair share of performance cars, but very few compare to the raw driving experience you get from an authentic Japanese legend. Is it the best Skyline GTR ever made? I think so.
Images: Donovan Marais
*Special Thanks to Adam Saiyad for according us the privilege of getting behind the wheel.