During our Game Changers theme last month I found myself going back and checking out tons of old shoots trying to dig out cars that really stood out for their then innovative style, solutions or tuning. There was a particular car that, while it didn't make it into the final selection, really brought back memories and as I recalled wowed a lot of people back at the 2006 Tokyo Auto Salon.
The Top Secret VQ32 was quite an interesting idea. Hiding behind a usual sticker-bombed Top Secret exterior….
…was an exceptionally well built BNR32 Skyline GT-R, sporting a few unique solutions. Some may instantly notice the staggered Volk Racing GT-Cs, 17-inch at the front and 18-inch at the rear and if you have a remote interest in RB26 powered GT-Rs you might know that there is no way the Attesa 4WD system would handle different rolling diameter front-to-rear…so something was definitely up.
And it all started under the hood. Where you would normally expect to find the usual sight of an RB26DETT, stood an altogether different motor, finished off with a half dozen golden velocity stacks!
This car was one of many crazy creations that Nagata-san, or Smoky as everyone knows him, thought up. The car was built in 2005, right in the middle of what I call Smoky's "bored period." With this I mean the stretch of five years from the middle of 2002 when the BNR34 Skyline GT-R was discontinued, all the way to November 2007 when the R35 GT-R was launched in Japan. In these five years Nagata-san created some pretty crazy cars, from the V35-based twin-turbo V8 "GT-R" to the twin turbo V12 Supra, attempting to keep himself amused while the engineers at Nissan worked on developing the "new gen" GT-R.
While some GT-R enthusiasts may think that replacing an RB26 with a VQ35DE, dumping the AWD in the process, might be nothing short of blasphemy, you can't help but admire not only the workmanship that went into this swap, but the uniqueness of the idea.
As you would expect with Top Secret cars, the engine was seriously modified, running special Top Secret oversized 95.7 mm forged pistons and a fully balanced bottom end. The heads were ported and polished and fitted with Nismo valve springs and titanium retainers as well as Nismo step-2 camshafts. Custom 42.7 mm exhaust headers were fabricated and mated to a one-off 60-to-90 mm dual titanium exhaust system. Smoky created the mechanical 6-throttle conversion himself giving the VQ the immediate response it always deserved. With these upgrades the VQ generated 349 HP (354 PS) at 6,300 rpm with a decent 286 lb/ft available in the mid-range. Looking at the picture above it's hard to understand where those six anodized velocity stacks get their air from, seeing that the filters…
…are located on each corner of the engine bay in their own…
…carbon fiber air boxes.
One look at the underside of the carbon fiber hood reveals all. Once the air is scooped up from the bumper, filtered in the air boxes it is then channeled to the six intakes via the air-guide bonded to the hood, creating a sealed-off induction system, which actually generates positive pressure at speed giving and almost "ram-air" effect. Quite ingenious.
It also explains why the scoop on the hood is actually closed off, there to simply accommodate the height of the velocity stacks. Smoky stuck to the Z33's stock 6-speed transmission and added an ORC single plate clutch along with a Cusco 2-way LSD to make sure the BNR32 puts down power efficiently.
Aero parts like the G-Force front bumper gave that instantly recognizable Top Secret look…
…while at the rear the GT-R spoiler was removed and a simple Nismo lip fitted.
Smoky relocated the battery to the trunk in its own aluminum enclosure, next to the collector tank for the fuel system.
There is lots of stuff going at the rear, like the carbon diffuser and vortex generators and of course the twin titanium silencers that poke out at a slight angle. Due to their progressive diameter which ends at 90 mm for both pipes the NA round of the VQ is as raw as you can get!
The Volk Racing GT-Cs are joined by Bridgestone Potenza RE-01R tires, 245/40 on the 9-inch wide 17s up front and 265/35 on the 9.5-inch 18s at the rear. A full Brembo braking system from the BNR34 Skyline GT-R was swapped over and mated to larger 2-piece slotted rotors front and back.
Seeing this car was built as a Tokyo Auto Salon show car Smoky devoted a lot of work and attention to detail on the interior too.
The stock seats were replaced with comfy leather Recaro SR-3s…
…with the rest of the interior upholstered in leather thanks to the guys at Robson Leather who also wrapped the Top Secret custom roll cage and headliner.
The stock GT-R meter panel would have looked weird seeing the car in no longer a "real" GT-R…
…so Nagata-san came up with the cool idea of fitting a then brand new Defi Super Sports Cluster dash unit, one of the most sough after bits of electronics for any JDM car! With so much information able to be displayed on the multi function OLED panel there was no need to fit auxiliary gauges around the cabin.
Still, while there might not be gauges adorning the dashboard, there are plenty of other gadgets to play with from the full Alpine Navigation and A/V system to the custom instrument panel where the main control units for the Defi cluster are located.
The VQ32 was built to be a capable and fun street car and aside from a few runs on the Wangan it never participated at any track events. You can always leave it up to Nagata-san to come up with crazy cars like this, it may not be the most powerful or fastest he has buit, but it's nonetheless a legendary Top Secret creation!
-Dino Dalle Carbonare