Car Builder>> Nismo & The Z-tune

The Z-tune is without a doubt one of the best cars to ever come out of Japan. It's rarity and performance makes it one of the most sought after GT-Rs of modern times, and after looking at how it performs out on the street I though it would be interesting to take a look at the car in more detail.

Back in 2006 I followed one step of the build process of the last Z-tune to ever be made. While the guys at Nismo Omori Factory had completed the chassis modifications with the tons of spot welding and stiffening of the shell with carbon fiber, one technician took care of building the engine that would eventually power this very last Z-tune.

During the course of one afternoon the bottom end was carefully put together, paying extreme attention to tolerances. It was a pleasure to see how real race-bread engine builders slowly build up an engine of this caliber. When I arrived, the forged aluminum pistons and connecting rods were already pre-assembled and had been carefully balanced to each weigh exactly the same to guarantee the smoothest and vibration-free feel throughout the rev-range.

Cooling channels in the GT-block had been carefully cleaned from casting residue to guarantee efficient flow at every load. The pistons and attached connecting rods were then dropped into the block…

…and then fixed onto the crank's journals with special Nismo bearings. The conrod bolts were then carefully tightened with a torque wrench and checked over and over again.

With the bottom-end taken care of it was then time to check tolerances very carefully. Here you can see the crankshaft play being measured. Also notice how every bolt that has been torqued is marked. This way when the engine is taken apart for maintenance one can see if any bolts have lost their original tightness. 

Next up the RB26 head was ported and polished to guarantee the best flow. Intake and exhaust ports were cleaned up too as well as valve seats being cut and fitted with special seats.

The engine was eventually finished and I returned back to Nismo Omori Factory to see the final Z-tune being picked up by a transporter and taken to the port where it would be shipped abroad to its owner. This is what was waiting for me, a freshly completed Z-tune with a spotless engine bay.

This car is all about attention to detail, I mean just look at the welds on the titanium strut tower bar! And the carbon that has been bonded onto the suspension turrets to aid rigidity.

Nismo staff kindly positioned the Z-tune on the ramp behind the main factory building so I could grab some shots before the transporter arrived.

The badge really says it all!

The wheels had barely turned so the Brembo brake rotors were looking a little unused. Every Z-tune was fitted with Bridgestone Potenza RE-01R performance street tires, a model that has since been replaced by the new RE-11.

The small rear over-fenders had to be added on to comply with Japanese regulations, which state that wheels and tires cannot protrude over the dimension of the body. So by sticking on plastic strips the authorities were kept happy.

There wasn't much to see in the interior, as everything was wrapped in protective film. But you can see the red and black motif of the Connolly leather treatment.

As I was grabbing a few final shots…

…the transporter had arrived. Nismo never takes any chances when moving its precious cars, be it a limited edition street car like the Z-tune or GT race cars. Special transporters with self-leveling air suspension are used, while the car is safely strapped down from the wheels onto the flat-bed that hydraulically slides in and out of the truck.

It was a sad moment seeing such a special car being completed and whisked away to its owner. For me this was the moment that officially marked the end of an era, the last ever second-generation GT-R to be built. Since then the R35 GT-R has truly established itself as one of best supercars currently available, but as this new wave of GT-Rs take on the world I can't help but feel nostalgic about older Skyline GT-Rs, after all its because of their incredible achievements the GT-R name has become such a legend. 

-Dino Dalle Carbonare



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Amazing craftmanship


Rain's car? :D REally awesome feature guys!


Yeah thats Rains car!


What's up with the gap between the upper corner of the front quarter panels and the doors? I know it must serve a purpose.


I know what you feel, those 'older' GT-Rs just have a sort of special feeling to them. But I'm sure in time the R35 GT-R will get that same feeling, possibly even more.


Gap is to allow heat to escape engine bay as you can see in Pic 8, along the top of the wing this then vents near the front door on the rear of the wing.


UH man! Excuse me. I'll be right back.


I always loved R34 GT-R's, but when I saw this..... I was in awe. Nissan really pulled out all the stops when they built the car. I bet she'll find a good home with someone who can appreciate her. :) (Also nice to know I'm not the only one pining for the old GT-R's in light of the R35... Just not the same. Not close.)


@ myers: I'm sure it serves as some aerodynamic effect. whether its for trapped air, heat release, wind stabiliser or just to help the air pass the mirrors. All I know is that It looks cool.


Beautiful. Absolutely Beautiful.


can't wait for it to turn up. been waiting for so long!


This will be an amazing history....

I wonder how much does this car cost 30 years from now.......

10 million anyone...??


Exquisite attention to detail.And the craftmship s incredible.Shame its the last one or i would have ordered one do nismo take kidneys as payment?


Great photo's.

Good taste of how it is all done at the Nismo Omori Factory.


Wow, you are very lucky Mr. Dino. If I was there, I would have shed a tear just watching the engine being assembled. HAHA!


TOP GUN, perfect, sharp machine, damm lots of words.... its a dream


Truly legendary car... I wish I had one.

Great article Dino.


Great blog :)

Please more GT-Rs and less BMWs :D:D:D:D

I Love This Car !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Last every 'second generation' GT-R??? R32, R33, R34.....1.2.3?? or am i missing something.

beautiful car, i love the way all the mechanical subtly poke out, like the massive oil coolers for the rear diff peeking out from underneath.


Awsome car! Loved the engine build pics! Loved all the pics.....


I don't get it why so many people hate BMWs.... I find them to be great machines and some of the most mean-looking automobiles in the industry! So... would anyone care to explain???

Besides that, how much does one of these Ztune sweeties cost?? Since this is the last one to ever be made, would any of the other owners care to sell?:D Give me a number! Thank you:)


bmw models looks the same i think thats why, expensive maybe, Get that money to a jdm car and would kick his ass, but bmw engines dam have a great power, but i prefer a jdm sorry.


one can't compare the r34 and r35...

IMO, they're genetically different...

r34 is born as a sportscar, r35 as a supercar... can't compare them...


when the germans found ther cars the japanese try to find the rise!!!


Please,PLEASE a high res. deskop for me!


Chris Davy, here is a Z-Tune for sale, figure somewhere between $150k~$200k USD.


When Are you guys goin to come to NZ and do a feature on possible the best and one of the most Cost$$ friendly RB builder/ Tuner / ..He has built some of the most brutial road legal GTRs in the UK /Aus & NZ and the world fastest rb 240z

A feature on Robbie Ward from R.I.P.S is long over due ,


Rodwreck I saw the R.I.P.Z. 240z this past January...

I plan to try and make it out in May as I'll be in NZ for a few weeks then...


The final of the driftsouth series is on the first weekend of may if you can make it to Christchurch.