The Stuff GT-R Dreams Are Made Of
The GT-R Bewitches

‘If you had to choose one car to own, what would it be?’ I get asked this question a lot, and despite having had the opportunity to drive some pretty amazing sports cars over the years, I can’t help but always reply in the same way: ‘I have my dream car already’. And believe it or not, despite having owned my BNR34 GT-R for 15 years now, I’m still very much content with it. That’s until I see one like Christian Hopland’s example…

Why? Well this isn’t your ordinary GT-R – it’s one of the 750 V-spec II Nürs that were built at the very end of the Skyline’s production in 2002. This, to put it in broad terms, is the san-yon GT-R to have. No question about it.

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The V-spec II Nür is already a bit of a rarity in Japan, and when pristine examples come up for sale they usually attract a lot more money than what they cost when Nissan sold them new 12 years ago. So you can understand my surprise when I saw this particular car lining up at the Gatebil registration on the Thursday afternoon before the event. Seeing this shiny and very desirable machine in between the usual used and abused sort of cars that enter these events, well, let’s just say it stuck out like a sore thumb.

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A lot of BNR34 owners like to give their cars the ‘Nür look’, so it’s often hard to pick the real thing from a pretender, but after a quick once-over and a chat to Christian, the stunning example revealed itself as the real deal. And if the rarity factor wasn’t enough alone, this car also sports a long list of very well selected upgrades. So I’m sure you understand why I quickly added it to the must-shoot list!

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It was no surprise to learn that Christian, who is a trained Toyota mechanic, owned a JZA80 Supra before the BNR34. And if you go further back in his car history, you’ll also find an orange BMW E30 M3 with Jägermeister livery. The GT-R fits in rather well – a great progression if you will – and one that Christian was having a ton of fun enjoying out on track. As it sits, the Skyline only sees track use as registering a car from outside the EU in Norway is a hard and expensive process that he really can’t be bothered to undergo right now. He has preferred to concentrate on getting the car to feel just right – something which started the moment he got his hands on it.

GlobalGTR

The BNR34 was sourced via Global Auto in Japan – a place that I’m sure you are all too familiar with by now as we’ve visited it a couple of times in the past. It was delivered as you see it above, and although it looked pretty aggressive with Nismo side and rear skirts and lowered suspension fitted, Christian had a greater vision.

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He decided to build upon the Nismo theme by fitting a Z-tune front bumper and the Z-tune vented front fenders. Being slightly wider than the original items, the additions also opened up extra room to fit a wider set of wheels.

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In Japan especially, 18×11-inch wheels shod with 295/30R18 rubber is the ‘GT-R size’ of choice for many owners, replacing the old 18×9.5-inch and 265/35R18 combo everyone used to go for back in the day. The RAYS-made Nismo LM GT4 wheels that the car came with have been taken off to be kept as spares and replaced with a set of liquid silver RAYS Volk Racing TE37 Super Laps. Christian runs 295-wide Yokohama ADVAN A048s at the rear, but by preference uses narrower 265/35 Toyo R888s at the front.

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Back in 1999-2002 Nissan wasn’t exactly in the best of financial positions – Carlos Ghosn coming in to restructure the company and slash positions in an effort to cut costs. That’s why Hiroshi Tamura – product planner for the R34 project – never got the go ahead from the bean counters to equip the car with a more modern braking system than what the R33 and R32 got. That’s why the stock Brembo set-up – albeit decent enough for road use – quickly shows signs of fatigue when pushing hard or going on track. This is one area that Christian quickly took care of by fitting Alcon callipers all around – six-pots at the front and four-pots in the rear biting down on grooved discs. The upgrade works wonders and gives the san-yon the sort of braking performance it always deserved.

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One other detail of the Z-tune front fenders is that they feature GT500-inspired venting at the point where they meet the doors. This is a functional way of channeling hot air away from the engine room, scooping it up through a series of openings along the inner part of the fender/bonnet line, and dumping it out through the above vents. Of course, they also look extremely cool!

It’s All In The Details
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The goal of the project was to enhance what was already there without meddling too much with the overall comfort and usability of the stock car. That’s why when you open the driver’s door you don’t find a stripped-out cockpit with a multitude of roll cage bars, but rather a few select additions.

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One of the first things I changed on my GT-R was the meter panel, getting rid of the almost-comical 180km/h speedometer the car came with and fitting a white-faced Nismo upgrade in its place. Christian’s Nür doesn’t even need that as these cars were equipped with a 300km/h speedo out of the box.

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For easy consultation the HKS EVC4 electronic boost controller has been placed in front of the main instrumentation, giving a more accurate reading than the stock digital readout on the Multi Function Display, and also allowing Christian to quickly change the pre-set boost settings.

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From 2001 onwards – when the V-spec II model was released, the BNR34 was given a few factory upgrades – just trivial things that only nerds would know. Things like the A/C display backlight being green rather than white, and different door mirror adjusters. Most of the changes were made to cut costs, like the black fabric for the interior trim which actually looked far better than the gray one the zenki model came with. Onto the stock seats Christian has fitted must-have Takata harnesses – a worthwhile purchase too, as from what I felt from the passenger seat when he took me out for a few fast laps, this car generates a ton of lateral G-forces.

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However, most of the upgrades to turn the car into a powerful and capable street and track car are hidden away under the Bayside Blue body – or Wangan Blue as Tamura-san wanted to call it before the Nissan lawyers had their say!

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To find out more one must lift up the lightweight Nismo R-tune bonnet – a prohibitively expensive part, but one that is beautifully constructed and fits like a stock panel.

N1 Says It All
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The central vents on the bonnet aren’t only there for looks, they are there to rid the bay of yet more hot air generated by the modified motor. Of course, apart from a few minor additions, it’s actually that gold-topped engine itself that made the Nür models so special. In an effort to clear stock, Nissan decided to equip all 750 V-spec II Nürs and 250 M-spec Nürs with N1 RB26DETT engines. That meant a thicker-walled N1 cast iron block, N1 pistons, rods and crankshaft (finely balanced for the Nür cars), N1 turbochargers as well as N1 water and oil pumps. In other words, the sort of base you can build a serious high-power set-up on.

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When Global Auto came into possession of the car it had already been further upgraded with a full HKS 2.8L stroker kit, getting rid of the N1 internals for a lighter and more high quality bottom end. Oh yeah, and a 200cc bump in capacity too. This was then joined by some hotter Tomei cams and a pair of HKS GT2530 turbos – the most popular of the tried and tested blowers for the RB26 and capable of pushing enough boost on a 2.8L engine to generate over 600hp. Building upon this Christian has added a few more parts – a Nismo turbo inlet pipe, ARC intercooler and an ARC aluminium airbox. On the exhaust side he went with Nismo outlets and Midori front pipes, before finishing things off with an Amuse titanium system. Since the car is only used for track jaunts at the moment he also fabricated his own cat-replacement pipe, just to make sure the car spits nice big flames!

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I quite like the oil catch tank set up – especially the way it’s piped onto both cam cover breathers with Earl’s fittings. It’s a nice touch.

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The modification list is long, but everything is in place to guarantee not only a superbly responsive and powerful set up with slightly over 600 horses on tap, but also plenty of reliability. That’s also why the sump has been upgraded with a Trust extender pan to ensure there is always sufficient oil to be picked up. The Sard side-flow radiator and air separator tank is a great upgrade too, because after a few hard laps on the track, the RB26 loves to boil coolant. An OS Giken triple-plate clutch is the last aftermarket touch in what is a rather potent driveline.

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Here’s a look at the big bore tail pipe of the Amuse exhaust, fitted with a cross insert that Christian made to help lower the noise output. With this in place it just managed to pass the 100dB limit at Rudskogen.

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If you are a keen-eyed GT-R otaku, you will also spot that the rear V-spec/V-spec II carbon diffuser has been mated to Nismo extended carbon fins. Whether they actually do anything when it comes to aerodynamics is debatable, but they sure look damn good back there!

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Underneath the Nismo GT LED lights, that V-spec II Nür badge says it all really – one of 1000 san-yon Nür editions (that’s the V-spec II Nürs and M-spec Nürs combined) – making them the most sought after cars from the BNR34’s total ~12,000 production run.

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I also spotted that the rear asymmetrical red foglight was replaced with an ER34 clear lens and running a white/red LED set-up. A nice upgrade that adds a touch of modernity to the old ’34.

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Christian has put a lot of effort in getting the most out of the handling of his GT-R. You may have spotted the Fujimura Auto front strut tower bar, but that’s just the cherry on the cake of what is a pretty impressive series of upgrades. Elsewhere you’ll find HKS Hipermax coilovers, Ikeya Formula uniball lower front and rear arms, Cusco tension rods and a Nismo rear upper arm link set. He also got rid of the HICAS rear steering via an Essential cancel rod kit.

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Christian is over the moon at how well his car performed out on track – all that power keeping him entertained and that feeling of owning one of the rarest BNR34s giving him as much satisfaction as one car guy would ever want! So I guess I must end this with a question: if you had to choose one car to own, what would it be?

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino
dino@speedhunters.com

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65 comments

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1

Mine would be a Nissan GT-R R35, regardless the year in which was made. And then starting to modify it as I would want it! It's on the way! :)

Great article, as always!

2

Nice post!
R34s for me. Just love them

3

I'll take a Porsche 964 Tubo S Leichtbau in silver please for my dreamgarage please.

4
Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

Maybe a McLaren P1,,or a 1964 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt, or a 1970 Ford Falcon XY GTHO Phase 3, or Mad Mikes FD3S 20b, or a 917 Le mans racer, or that F132 concept fron a few posts ago.........oh so many possibilities. I think I might go lie down now.

5

Why do you guys never state the weight of the engine? And other things like compression. You should allways add that if possible.

6

That is the most beautiful engine bay I have ever seen.

7

Worth mentioning that Historical cars is possible to ge road legal in Norway.

8
theomaralvarado

Well, I would love to own an AE86... Not because of Initial D(well, it used to be...), but because you can't easily find a car like that nowadays. I love it because of its simplicity and because it's cute, at least that's what I'm thinking.

9

Oh God Dino, man!
B E A U T I F U L !!

Damn you made that Godzilla look even more Sexy! And silly me form the opening picture i though reading your name, that it was your BNR34 and you got rid of your red Rays... :)

You really know how to shoot this monster Machines! And as always im really really envious of you for beeing able to drive your dream car for 15 years!

10
inspector_exacto

I would be very content with choosing a 1987 Buick Grand National as my one car.

11

I'd be happy with a bone stock last gen Supra. Beautiful, lasts forever, and fun to drive. You CAN modify it, but you dont NEED to do it in order to have fun.

12

Onecton Godzilla is the r32, if I'm lucky my next car

13

JorgeMoreira1 Onecton Indeed my bad BNR32 is Godzilla, was to exstatic to sort my own brain out over that Pictures! Dino knows how to shoot em! 
Hope you get your car Jorge...
on that note.. Skylines for everyone! (Dino shot that BNR too ^^)

14

A Nissan GT-R R35. My dream car, and one day I will own one, I will not allow myself to die without having an R35 !

15

so he's clearly a drug lord then? how else does a "toyota technician" pay for all those mods and the original purchase of the car? I work for Audi and all I can afford Is a gc8 type R coupe.....

16

Fantastic car. Extremely rare too!
It makes it my second favorite GT-R, the first one being the BNR32 GT-R since I've always had a soft spot for the Group A Calsonic GT-R since I was a child. One day...

17

Philmanktelow Agreed!  Probably has rich parents or works in the criminal world. Then again maybe he has been saving money since middle school or something. You never know.  Amazing car though. :)

18

Philmanktelow well, depending on what exactly he is doing as a toyota technican ;)

19

quite a hard choice but hell yeah, there indeed are hypercars, muscles, high end racing shit and stuff, but just gimme a stock Evo X and I'll be happy forever. If I'm allowed to modify it ofc :P

20

If I was done with school, I'd say S13. But for now R32 Skyline.

21

Damn it, Dino!
I thought I saw it all about Nissan Skyline but seeing through your lens is just so refreshing. Fantastic. Damn it Dino, I'm almost ready to dust my dslr and go out for a photo shoot.

22

Novac Darius Well, now I must now allow you to have one before dying... Challenge accepted!

23

nice!

24

I love this car so much.

25
FredrikDavidsen

Philmanktelow I have a sneaking suspicion that technicians here in Norway make a little more than other places. That said, theres probably some hard work and saving behind this purchase.

26

makes me want a R34 even more!

27

The owner of this car is no drug lord, only a hard working norwegian with a burning interest for cars and everything that has an engine.

28

his build the dream R34 with all the dream parts, double thumbs up from me
** just needs the Mines GTR carbon side mirrors :P

29

Great article as always, when are we going to see some updates on your own GTR??

Also I am always surprised with the production numbers, 12,000 is pretty impressive.

30

Amazing Skylines are my favorites, my dream car would probably be a 1971 Skyline, those are Sexy.

31

Definitely a Honda S2000 with a few minor upgrades or a Nissan R33 400R!!!

32

There will be plenty more like this at the upcoming R's Meeting on September 7th at Fuji Speedway. Hundreds of GTRs... Z-Tuned included.

33
ChristianHopland

Dbry Thanks mate =)

34

Må passe på lokale helter veit du;-)

35
EricSeanDelaney

Lancia Delta S4. I don't care if it's loud or uncomfortable, I'd still daily it.

36

nyrangers199 Philmanktelow
The car is not registered.
Take into consideration that a GT86 with plates cost about the same (redonkelous norwegian car taxes) it might make more sense.

37

You know you can find BNR32s in europe for around 8000 euros right? :)

38

And probably a minor morgage :)

39

"If you're a GT-R otaku..."
Correct me if I'm wrong, as you know far more Japanese than I ever will, but doesn't otaku mean someone who never leaves their home? Does that phrase really make sense? Haha.

40

Fearedisx people (and I mean people I see speaking english on the internet, I don't mean people in Japan) use it these days to indicate that one is excessively knowledgeable about a particular subject that is usually japanese (perhaps by virtue of being inside all day reading arcane wikipedia texts, which might explain why the term comes up so much) or, more incorrectly, to just suggest that someone is passionate about something in particular

I'd like to see input from a Japanese speaker on the way otaku has been taken and applied to non-verbal english on the internet

anyway, even if he did mean to use otaku in that very strict sense, why would that not make sense? I know a lot about Toyota GT-One race cars, but I have never seen one in person, and all my "research" was done in the home. Why would a GT-R "otaku" be any different?

41
Gianluca FairladyZ

This car is just perfect! It is so nice built and the modifications are all my flavour, the GT25 Turbines are a must for the RB26... Absolutley fantastic. But let me say or ask some things.. First of all i have a dream car with a "realistic" budget that would be without a doubt, a BNR34. My absolute dream car without having to look after the money clearly the Ferrrari F40!
I love how this R34 is built, but damn as it is such a rare superfine machine, is it not dangerous to run such a car on the circuit? I'd shoot myself if i'd crush one of those..
What kind or System of Db Killer unit did he use? Dino you spoke of a triangular spec insert? Does this Little mod already kill that much Db?

42
Gianluca FairladyZ

AGR  As JDM_Luca and i are from Europe we know that, but 95% of These GT-R's are absolutley ruined and not even worth the half of the money... I flew to England for one day and made my expierience with a R33 GTR for 10'000 Pounds.. they said it was absolutley stunning and all that ...... The day ended in a catastrohpe... For me it was a lesson that low budget GT-R's are just a pain in the ass..
But you know how it is, you get what you paid for! I'm glad i didn't buy it!

43
Gianluca FairladyZ

Onecton JorgeMoreira1  This one is just so perfect..!

44

Fearedisx otaku just means nerd. you're thinking of hikikomori.

45

Gianluca FairladyZ AGR That's right unfortunately. You can either pay a rather small amount of money and get a real mess of a car or pay a huge amount of money and  get an ok one. Plus models like GT-Rs and even Silvias continually increased in popularity over the years. Add this to the fact that they're extremely rare in Europe and you come to understand that the price for a fine example is sky high. Moreover i live in Italy where a car cannot run on the street unless it is kept factory specs (and I mean even the headlights, even the seats, even the steering wheel, everything. Every mod needs to be approved by the authorities and be paid for for being approved.).Plus the cost is even higher because you have to put on it Italian license plates and as you can imagine that's another waste of a of money and time, a lot of them both. If you're Italian and want a GT-R, get it and run it on track unless you don't wanna go bankrupt.

46
Gianluca FairladyZ

JDM_Luca Gianluca FairladyZ AGR  I agree totally with you!

47

Whoops, I'm in love

48

You're such a nerd Dino. Nice pictures.

49

I enjoyed your insights as much as the car. Thanks for the feature, Dino.

50

After reading that list of aftermarket parts, one wonders: what's left of the original R34? Great article!

51

Sorry to hear about your trip to look at a car was a waste of time. Although, you can't really say that 95% of the gtr's in Europe are crap when you've only seen a few. I myself live in Sweden and own a pretty respectable BCNR33. These cars are not extremely rare here. We have them by the hundreds, maybe even thousands by now. Sure the condition varies but I think most of them are pretty ok considering they are getting old.
Regarding the price, they are underpriced in Sweden according to me. The market is quite small so it's not easy to sell these cars. That and because it's fairly simple to import cars from the uk and even japan (Done it myself several times) drives prices down to a new all time low. I have considered selling mine to look for a BNR34 but see no point in even putting in an ad since my asking price would be 2,5 times of the average gtr. (It's heavily modified)
I did not know it was such a pain to register a gtr in Italy. In Sweden we follow EU regulations so the authorities here are forced to approve a car that is already registered in the EU. I thought it was the same in all of EU.
Hope you find a way someday, because these cars are really worth the hassle :)

52

Yes, yes and more yes. Taking the ultimate production GTR and making it even better. Everything is so well done and comprehensive as well, using all high quality parts. It's the standard that all GTR builds should be held to.

53
LukeEVOLUTIONVIII

Love your posts dino, im not really a skyline lover (only hakosuka) but this is really something!

54
LukeEVOLUTIONVIII

Y

55
deleted_14612099_henriquepine

Awesome

56

Wow! This is one dope GTR, Dino. But it does look a lot like your ride.

57

LukeEVOLUTIONVIII because V-spec II Nür

58

well, as much as I would love to own an R34 but I think I already have my heart clearly set on a Mazda RX-7. My dream is to own an FD3S (one or two, maybe even more!) but the most I'd want is definitely a Spirit R Type-A. Trust me, as good as any other piston engines out there nothing will come close to what a rotary does.

59

Muzaffar Musa I really love rotary but as I commute to work everyday I don't think rotary would be a reliable engine for the amount of driving I do :( I really want to get an RX8 but everybody tells me not to!

60

AlexHarvey Muzaffar Musa I have owned both RX-7 and RX-8s. Really nice cars, but reliability is a major issue. Finding someone reliable who can fix them is another major issue. My 7 was lightly modified and it had a ton of issues. My 8 was only modified cosmetically and it had a ton of issues. If it's a second or third car for you and you don't mind spending a lot of time on them, they're a lot of fun.

61

nice write up on yet another fine R34. a bit different setup than mine I can see this owner wanted more of a performance car than a power car ....

62

We bought a car from Global as well...and also a Vspec 2 NUR, that was tuned by Kansai Service, and running on Fcon Vpro, 

Then car was shipped to our customer in east coast of the U.S. along with 2 other BNR34's for other customers,  and this was in 2004,

This car had 6000kms back then in 2004 when it was shipped....now 2015, the car only accumulated 3600kms, so the total mileage is 9,700kms, just a bit over 6000miles.  Try finding that in Japan.

It's in mint condition, one of the lowest mileage Vspec2 NURS you will find anywhere...and the engine is totally stock.

Unfortunately the owner wants to sell this car, and yes it is alot of money, due to the fact it is already in the U.S.

There are still people out there who owned both models of GTR's and some of them still prefer the BNR34, the vehicle is my book has a lot of character than the new GTR.

It will always live to be the true GTR

63
Online Garage Tokyo

I currently have an Mspec Nur with 5,700kms and I' in Japan

64
Brendan Fitzgerald

Hi, Dino.  I, too, own the one car that I would choose to own - and it is a BNR34 VSpecII in Bayside Blue.  It is the one that featured on the cover of Issue #194 of Performance Imports in Australia.  It also won "Best in Era" at the Perth Speedfest 2015.  I bought it stock from Japan in 2007 and it is still my daily driver, plus occasional track days - when family and work allows.

It runs around 600hp atw on E85, with an RB30 block and N1 head, fitted with an HKS V-Cam with Step 1 Type B upgrade.  That combination gives it so much torque that the power is almost linear.  It is happy pottering around town at 60 km/hr, but if you push the loud pedal all sorts of things happen - and very quickly!

With running E85, I am always happy to tell the holier-than-thou Prius drivers that my GTR is more eco-friendly then their plastic roller-skates!

The car is a great street car and an awesome track car, but, like any GTR owner, there is always still a shopping list.  Mine is mainly a further brake upgrade and a few suspension bits.  If I can ever afford an R-Tune bonnet and carbon fibre Z-tune fenders, then they will definitely be additions.

For now, I just enjoy my daily drive and I am always happy to give people a peek under the bonnet, if they are interested.

Keep up the great work!

Cheers, Brendan.  :-)

65
Brendan Fitzgerald

P.S. My car runs a Haltech Sport 2000, which also manages the V-Cam.

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