Ah the Nissan Skyline. One of the few vehicles in this world that needs no introduction. Even if you're not a dedicated car enthusiast, 9 times out of ten when you hear the word Skyline you don't think of a building first. In fact, the word Skyline will be taking on a whole new meaning once the new GT-R hates the stateside. But until then, we still have a dying love and appreciation for the former Skyline chassis, especially from the GT-R family.
There are three sibling cars in the RB26DETT Skyline GT-R family. The R32 was legendary in its time and was hailed by many as a world dominating super car. The last was the R34, considered by many as the ultimate refinement of the GT-R legacy. That leaves the middle child, the R33. It's a model that was often criticised for lacking the character and aggressive appearance of the R32 before it. It didn't do anything wrong; it was just never as popular or favoured like its brothers were. If you're a middle child or religiously watched Brady Bunch you'll know what that is like. Jan didn't like being the middle child, in fact, it pissed her off, and it takes a lot to upset a Brady (or so I've heard). So, what the hell happens when you piss off Godzilla? Wait, how did we go from Brady to Godzilla? Well, this R33 Skyline GT-R that graces Tunerzine.com has received its own nickname, one that is common with Japanese culture. In fact, Godzilla is probably one of the most well known words across the world. So let's revisit the last question. What the hell exactly happens when you piss off Godzilla?
Aaron Camilleri's GT-R is the answer. It prowls the streets but is more at home on a race track. It's subtly modified on the exterior but has the power to beat you into submission when you dare to jump on the throttle. If you don't respect the power of this car, it slaps you in the face with all 520 all-wheel horsepower. That's right, 520AWHP of pure bliss that is thrown down on all four wheels. That's just how Aaron likes it; he set out to build a high horsepower track car that would test his body's ability to pump out adrenaline. So how did it do on the test? Well, we could say it passes with flying colors, but that's a mere understatement. Besides, Godzilla isn't really something people talk about or describe, it's something we stare at in all its marvel.
I wasn't lucky enough to go for a drive but he assures me "the power is amazing and hits like a sledgehammer when it's on boost". I have to say, "hell yea" sounds like it would be an accurate description of the driving experience.
If you have a keen eye, you'll probably notice a few visual cues that point to the car's performance. You'll first see the 18x9.5-inch Volk Racing TE-37s and the fat rubber hugging them. Then you'll come to the 6-piston Alcon brakes and 385mm rotors. For those that aren't aware, Alcon brakes are the real deal. They're pretty much as hardcore as you can get when it comes to braking components. The sheer sight of the word Alcon should scream stop in your ears!
Now we mentioned before that this GT-R feels more at home on a race track. Needless to say, the stock springs and shocks wouldn't be up to the task. Aaron decided for a full set of Tein RA coilovers to satisfy his handling and adjustability needs. For those that know the Skyline well, these were handling machines straight out of the box. The Tein RA coilovers was all that was needed to quench Aaron's thirst for pure track handling.
The last thing you'll notice is the 3.5-inch exhaust poking out the rear. While the exterior gives away the hints, the interior unashamedly gives away the secret. The colour matched roll cage, Sparco race seats and Nardi steering wheel are all at home in the stripped interior. You know right away that this car only lives half of its life on public roads. The other time? It's pushing itself to the limits, testing each and every component to its crucial limit. Of course, you'll only notice these details if the car's parked; when it's on the move the only hint you'll get is a loud rumble and a silver blur as it passes by. Wasn't this Aaron's goal from the beginning? He wanted to test his body's ability to pump out adrenaline. The result is a GT-R that pumps out plenty of horsepower.
The only thing that Aaron doesn't love about owning the car is the amount of time it has spent in the workshop. It's currently running reliably now, but chasing big horsepower setup did have its side effects along the way: "No matter how well you build a fast GT-R, they will always break things. it can really drive you nuts sometimes." Sounds like many of us that has ever submersed ourselves into a serious build doesn't it? An unopened RB26DETT can approach 400whp, but when the bigger numbers start rolling up the OEM components can do with replacing. Because of this, Aaron opted for a combination of Tomei and CP internals. He had his work done at the well respected Brisbane based workshop, Gt Auto Garage - they're no strangers to fast Skylines. It seems quality parts and good workmanship really does pay off when you're trying to find a balance between power and reliability.
Going deeper into the engine setup, the RB26DETT has received its fair share of upgrades. The bottom end, as mentioned before, has received Tomei connecting rods and CP pistons. The crankshaft has been refinished and balanced to perfection. In the head, Tomei Poncams and lifters have been added for additional power gains. At the heart of this beating Godzilla is a Garrett T04Z turbo. A massive Nismo intercooler is one of the few things on the exterior that shows that this GT-R means serious business.
The fuel system is one of the most crucial components of any massive forced induction setup. This GT-R is no different, with plenty of fuel upgrades. 1000cc injectors are now housed in a SARD fuel rail. SARD also supplies adjustability with their fuel pressure regulator and a Bosch 040 fuel pump was also installed for good measure. Tuning this vehicle to its stable setup is a series of electronics. A'PEXi's Power FC De-Jetro is the piggyback for all the adjustments to the ECU. HKS came into play with their EVC boost controller and Split Torque converter. Getting all the power to the ground and ensuring minimal slippage is an Exedy Twin Plate clutch system.
We had a chance to catch up with Aaron to ask him some personal questions and to dig deeper into his car modifying heritage. At the age of 26, Aaron has already previously owned a EK SIR Civic, S14, S15, E36 M3, E46 M3 and a "few other 4WDs." It's no surprise to us that Aaron seeks pure driving pleasure in any automobile he gets into. His ultimate car would be a 997 GTR RS. I think a lot of us are the same. Why did he choose this Skyline to build as his current project? "Well, I chose this car because I thought it would be fun to use a big horsepower GT-R for track work." We think his goal's complete there...for sure.
So what is the best thing about owning a Skyline? Since very few of us can relate to Aaron, we wanted to get his feedback: "The whole package. [Like mentioned before] The power is simply amazing and hits like a sledgehammer when it's on boost. The handling is great in these cars, they have a great steering feel and are so wild to drive fast. The whole car works really well." Now we're just getting jealous that we can't experience it for ourselves.
We are pleased to hear that Aaron is finally satisfied with his current setup, and who can blame him? He's got 520AWHP in a car that us here on the Stateside would die for. Do we think he'll be pushing the envelope even further once the new GT-R hits the streets? Who knows, maybe he'll just climb into the cockpit of a R35 and start his job anew. But for us, we would keep the beauty that Aaron's already built.
Maybe someone should tell Jan that having a bad case of middle child syndrome isn't such a bad thing after all. Then again, maybe I should stop watching the Brady Bunch. Either way, one thing is certain: the destruction of Tokyo aside, a pissed off, middle-child Godzilla can be a hell of a lot of fun.