The Jaded One || Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R

By 26 January, 2015 Featured Comments

Yes we’re once again coming at you straight from Japan, continuing our Okinawa series we’re bringing you another Nissan Skyline, but this time it’s a little bit different. The previous two cars from Okinawa we shot, wrote about and presented to you were built and owned by US natives who have settled in Japan after a career in the armed forces. Not to take away anything from those guys, their cars are certainly both awesome, be sure to check those builds out on the site too, but this time we’re featuring a car from a Japanese native. The jdm scene after all is not just the cars but the influence and style from Japan that goes along with it, so this build is perhaps the most indicative of all as to what jdm really is.


LCSpKEs5yEbyTvA1m45dnI’ll keep the history brief, I’m sure anyone who’s interested enough in Skylines’ knows most of this already and those who aren’t probably don’t care enough for me to write it, but that’s none of my business. The Nissan skyline has a long lineage from the mid-Datsun days, back to the 60′s and 70′s and so on, but the 4wd Skyline and subsequent GT-R as we know them today perhaps owe themselves to a rather unlikely machine; the Porsche 959. The Awd mega-tuneable monsters we see these days may never have been so without the Porsche; I sense your cynicism but the 959 was a six-cylinder, turbocharged, Awd supercar and Nissan decided to take that formula and compete with Porsche. Nissan decided to go racing, and they won. The R32 won pretty much everything. The R33 came out around the time the competition began to catch up, the recipe hadn’t changed much but if it ain’t broke, you know. Further difficulties surrounding the Japanese Gentleman Agreement for power were also a roadblock for performance evolution. Perhaps then, because the Skyline was no longer the poster child for mind-bending performance many forgot about the R33.KqMiFBwc3b6EkwOwner David Usagi has been into cars as I’m sure most of us have since before taking his first steps; citing initial interest in old muscle cars, David later began to take an interest in Skylines after seeing the DR30 and DR31 Skylines up close and subsequently soon began lusting after an R32 GT-R when launched in 1989. Sadly lust and bank accounts rarely coincide and so time went by until David later purchased an R33 V-spec. This was the first step to the car you see here but the V-spec was later given to his son and a baseline series 1 “kouki” BCNR33 was later purchased and a new build was in the works. After a complete engine rebuild and 7 years off the road, it’s back and running around 2 bar (28 psi) of boost and producing around 650-700bhp; absence makes the heart grow fonder, and the car faster I guess, “The Jaded One” as David calls it. Now as is the way with these things the spec list, particularly for the engine work, is extensive so I’ll try and cover all of the main parts in detail, but as usual full specs are at the bottom.mpMHX96Now the heart of the Skyline GT-R is the RB26DETT, perhaps one of the most iconic jdm engines along with the 2JZ, it is an excellent base for producing high power outputs reliably and has, in my opinion, the most musical character of any engine; nothing short of a tuned 1jz sounds as good. Why Nissan didn’t continue to use the RB engine in the R35 is beyond me, the VR38, while perhaps a more efficient power plant, has a distinctly dull drone, comparatively the RB26 has a sharp, mechanical, straight six howl that is simply better; argue the point if you like but you’re wrong.sDTj5xUNow to make this simple I’ll start from the bottom end, work up to the top end and then focus on ancillaries, just for continuity. Starting from the bottom the crankshaft in the RB26 is perhaps not an obvious thing to be upgraded initially, however the pumps and cranks are not entirely suitable for high power outputs and have been known to fail due to stress. As a result a Tomei Full-counter balanced crankshaft has been fitted along with Ross Performance Metal Jacket harmonic balancers (rated to 1500bhp) in order to stop harmful vibrations damaging the crank itself and to deal with the stress of the higher engine output. Moving further up, Tomei ProCams (270/10.25) and Type C valve springs have been fitted along with a Naprec High response head kit and custom work on the head by the guys at PSRacing in Okinawa. Head work is expensive business but is vital in allowing the engine to work under higher stresses while also improving response and torque. Furthermore higher boost can be run safely without risk of damaging the internals; you can’t really run 2 bar on stock internals without damaging the engine. To provide the higher boost a HKS T51R KAI BB turbo has been fitted along with a HKS wastegate; the T51R is rated to around 800bhp and originally based on a Garret ball-bearing turbo but with re-engineered compressor and turbine wheels.XRckJe9SbCGtjmFurther extensive flow upgrades have also been installed with an ARC Intercooler fitted along with an aftermarket exhaust manifold by HKS, necessary to withstand the higher boost pressure from the upgraded turbo, meanwhile a Medori Seibi Full Titanium Exhaust improves flow and response while sharpening the guttural howl of the RB26. Further upgrades include a HPI 3 core Radiator to improve cooling while a host of fuel upgrades have also been installed. Twin Bosch 044 Fuel Pumps, an Aeromotive Platinum Series fuel pressure regulator and fuel filters have been fitted in order to keep the fuel clean and flowing as it should, meanwhile enormous Sard 1000cc Injectors have been fitted to ensure enough fuel is going into the engine and to improve spray pattern. In order to manage the vast power output the engine has been mated to an OS Giken Cross Mission gearbox with HKS internal gears, meanwhile an ORC Triple plate clutch has been fitted to handle the power and to improve engine response. Putting the technical aspects aside for one moment and focusing on the aesthetics behind the power, I have to say the engine bay is a work of art; every piece and detail is immaculate with the rocker cover beautifully finished in gold and the bay itself finished in carbon and Jade with gold flake, it’s simply stunning.nlEXRABlaTKrl7Now it’s all well and good harnessing massive power from an engine, the real challenge is nailing that power down on the tarmac. The Skyline GT-R has famously used the ATTESA 4wd system; predominantly Rwd, when the system senses slip it provides drive through a transfer case from the rear of the transmission to the front wheels. The R33 introduced a more advanced torque-split with the system also utilising an active lsd, being able to shift power between individual wheels instead of simply shifting between front and rear. Further enhancing the handling capabilities is the HICAS 4 wheel steering system; essentially the rear wheels can effectively either shorten or lengthen the wheelbase of the car to improve responsiveness or stability depending on the situation. On the upgrade front David really splashed out on the suspension with Öhlins PCV fully adjustable coilovers installed all round; forget Bilstein or Eibach, Öhlins provide suspension systems for race teams and hypercars, think Huayra or GT3-RS. The PCV coilovers are fully adjustable and provide a great balance of grip and suppleness and can be tweaked on the fly.uIX8fyNFinally for the performance side of the Skyline, Hankook Ventus v12 Evo tyres have been wrapped around 18″ Buddy Club P1 QF Racing alloys; the tyres provide a good mix of wet and dry grip and are more durable than semi-slicks. As for the stopping force, standard GT-R brembos’ remain all around; yes I’m sure some of you are wondering why a 700bhp car has standard brakes but the 4 pot brembos’ are fairly good, certainly enough for road use, and David is planning to upgrade them to bigger units in the Summer.SLBAEZgEmKQmihNow the R33 is the somewhat unloved middle child in the Skyline GT-R family, the R32 has a compact and slim coupe shape while the R34 has more muscular lines and square stance; the R33 is not ugly by any means but from factory it lacks a certain impact compared to its’ Skyline peers. David seems to have gone his own way though, the car certainly isn’t what you’d call OEM looking by any means nor is it subtle, but it has a very distinct character that is undeniably jdm; personally I think it looks pretty damn good. David hasn’t gone widebody or even with a full aftermarket kit though, instead deciding to cherry pick from various aftermarket parts to make something that is truly unique.gMZKs1jn5EuUxHThe rear bumper is from Abflug and is perhaps a bit unusual as to what is the norm on Skylines these days; it’s vented and angular yet curved and has a distinct le mans feel. The skirts are by Veilside and are a fairly standard affair meanwhile the front bumper is by Border; not a company I’m familiar with, but it definitely looks good retaining a distinct factory feel and it blends well with skirts while also allowing enough air to flow through the enormous intercooler. The wing meanwhile is a prototype carbon fibre piece, essentially a standard wing but with the underside grooved to channel more air to the rear; it also adds a subtle aggressiveness and is somewhat reminiscent of the Nismo 400r. The whole car is finished in a custom white with blue pearl and is seriously clean; the pearl blue is definitely keeping the paint looking fresh and is perfectly offset by the carbon fibre bonnet and Granada side mirrors which is somewhat a homage to the R34 N1.19dMHlIVt3klVFTo conclude then, if you’ve read this far then well done, it’s a long read I know but it’s not every day we get to feature a fully worked Skyline direct from Japan; overall the build has been long and arduous but in the end fully worth it. This Skyline is certainly not the craziest, most powerful or even most extensively modified there is, but what it is more than anything is an example of a machine that has taken years to complete by someone who fell in love with a car years ago; dedication to completion I guess I’ll call it. The car has been extensively worked on by some of the best in the business in Japan and their work along with Davids’ dedication to the project has resulted in a very special Skyline and definitely one of the best R33′s out there.
Words by: Callum MacHugh – @callummcq

Special thanks to Thomas Tucker for all of his help on this feature.

Spec List:

HKS Oil pump
Tomei Full-counter balanced crank
Ross Metal Jacket harmonic balancer
Head: Naprec -ナプレック(High Response) / PSRacing, Okinawa (Custom work)
HKS 1.2 Head Gasket
Tomei ProCams 270/10.25
Tomei Valve springs (Type C)
Okada Projects PlasmaDirects coilpacks
HKS T51R KAI BB Turbine
HKS Exhaust Manifold
HKS Wastegate
ARC Intercooler 3 core
Medori Seibi Full Titanium Exhaust
HPI 3 core Radiator
HKS Kansai front strut bar
Sard Fuel Rail
Sard 1000cc Injectors
Bosch Twin Bosch 044 Fuel Pumps
Aeromotive Platinum Series fuel pressure regulator
Aeromotive Platinum Series fuel filters

OS Giken Cross mission Gearbox w\centerplate
ORC Triple plate clutch
HKS Gears
ATTESA E-TS PRO 4wd System

Suspension and Tyres:
Öhlins PCV fully adjustable coilovers
Hankook Ventus v12 Evo tyres
Standard GT-R Brembo brakes
HICAS 4 wheel-steer system
HKS Kansai front strut bar

Rear bumper – abflug
Front bumper – border
skirts – veilside
Side Mirrors – Granada (carbon)
Wing – Carbon Prototype

Body paint: Custom White with Pearl Blue
Engine bay, trunk, rear cross member: Jade w/ Gold flake.

Custom Aluminum Fabrication:

Fuel swirl tank, Fuse cover: R.I.P.S – Rotorua Import Pro Shop, New Zealand.
Oil catch/water tank, Radiator reservoir, Power Steering reservoir: custom fabricator

Bride XAX II Leather Reclining Sports Seats
Rear seats and side panels: Robson Leather, Tokyo, Japan
Nismo 320KPH gauge cluster, sub gauge cluster