Welcoming Project 33
Perfecting The San San

Another GT-R project on Speedhunters? Well, why not!?

Dino: I’ve been chasing fellow GT-R owner, Aki Itoh, for almost a decade, continuously pestering him to allow me to feature his immaculate BCNR33. And when I say immaculate, I really mean it. Until I met him I thought I had a bad case of OCD, but I quickly learned that my quest to keep Project GT-R in tip-top condition while evolving it to the ultimate specification (if there ever is, or will be one) was nothing compared to what Aki gets up to in his garage in the wee hours of the night.

After some time, it became obvious that I would never be able to feature Aki’s car; there’d always be one more thing that he needed to do. So I did the next best thing – I invited him to come on board Speedhunters and keep us updated on his latest upgrades and the shenanigans he gets up to with his pride and joy. So without further ado, I’ll let Aki introduce Project San San…


Aki: As Dino says, he has – for as long as I have known him – been asking me to let him do a Speedhunters feature on my car, a 1997 Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R. Frankly, up until now I haven’t been interested, for two reasons. First, because I have my own blog and Facebook page that I maintain which attracts enough readers who appreciate the car and my journey with it. Second, and more importantly, because I’m simply not done with modifying and improving it. My thinking is (still), if I am going to have my car featured on Speedhunters, then I’d want to show everyone a proper finished product. And because with a Skyline GT-R one is never really finished, it would have never been featured, so long as I am alive .


So why have I now decided to allow my adventures with this car to be posted on Speedhunters? To be honest, I think it’s because many of you readers have asked me to. It’s also because there appears to be a growing interest in the second generation (RB26DETT engine powered) Skyline GT-Rs, and I want to show that like its R32 and R34 brothers that get a tad more attention, the R33 cars are fantastic as well. We can argue this ad nauseum, but with all the modern upgrades now available for these Rs, it almost boils down to which look one likes the best.


Anyway, first a bit about myself. Despite my name I was born, raised and educated in the United States, and moved to Japan for work, back in late 2003. It also means that my way of thinking about cars incorporates both American and Japanese styles. For those of my friends who know me well, they will say without hesitation that my Japanese style manifests itself in that I am extremely detail oriented and obsessed with cleanliness (to the point of declaring that I have OCD), and that I like to buy the best genuine products available (no fakes!). My American style I think shows itself in my willingness to be different and creative in how I choose to modify my car. I also like to actually work on my car and get my hands dirty, instead of paying someone to do the work for me. For those who have read my blog, I think you will agree that this dual cultural nature approach is indeed me and has resulted in a unique car that hopefully everyone can appreciate.


Although my blog contains details on my car since I had a hand built Mine’s engine installed in late 2007, for the first time ever this is how my journey began.


I bought my GT-R used in June 2005 after only doing some simple research. First, I wanted to get a car I could not buy, even used, in the US. Second, I had been in Japan only three years by that point, and given the possibility of returning to the United States for work, did not want to spend lots of money buying an R34 GT-R (even back then pricing for top quality was high). While I could have bought an R32 GT-R, a friend advised that buying a good one would be tricky (the cheap ones being crashed, or excessive mileage, etc.). And for less than the price of a low mileage R32 GT-R V-Spec II, I could buy a kouki (Series 3) R33 GT-R, not only with dual airbags, lower mileage than most R33 GT-Rs, but also with those much brighter Xenon headlights. Plus, the two N1 bumper vents (made standard on the 1997-1998 models) looked cool. And then, looking at the print and video ads when the car was sold in Japan new, I decided to go with silver because it looked cool in the ads. I didn’t understand what the V-Spec model was, nor how certain colors are less common. But the past is the past.


My first modification to the car after driving around ‘full normal’ for a few months (of course I detailed it immediately once I bought it) was to have a Pioneer navigation/AV system installed. There is no way I could survive driving around here in Japan without one, even if I can read Japanese. The first mechanical mod was to change out the standard suspension to the Nismo S-Tune package. The closest ‘tuner’ to me when I lived in Tokyo was the Nissan Prince Motorsports Division in Shinagawa, and so not knowing anything, heeded their advice as I gradually made modifications, hence, the penchant for Nissan/Nismo parts, at least initially. This is why I ended up with the full Nismo Circuit Link set up on my car. I also had the Fujitsubo Super Legalis R stainless steel exhaust on my car as well, because Fujitsubo and Nissan Prince Tokyo have a long relationship going back to when Nissan Prince Tokyo fielded an N1 racing car. Other early modifications included an HKS oil cooler, carbon fiber rear wing with small Gurney flap that I sourced from Yahoo Auctions, and an HKS Kansai carbon fiber front under diffuser.

Bye-Bye Engine

And then, after a few track days at Fuji Speedway and Tsukuba, it happened; I blew the engine. I remember exactly what happened, too. I foolishly downshifted from fifth into third into the first corner at Fuji, but without adequate use of the brakes (which were fading), trying to scrub off enough speed by engine braking. This caused the engine to over-rev, the oil pump to break, and the engine to lose all oil pressure, then seize. Dead.


A few months later, the engine bay of my car looked like this.


From that day back in late 2007 to the present, I’ve been, as my budget has allowed, steadily modernizing and refining the car.


This includes improvements to body rigidity (all Nismo braces offered, the Nagisa fender brace, Spoon Sports Rigid Collars, Yamaha-built Nismo performance dampers, Nismo titanium strut tower bar, S15 trunk brace), along with a proper OS Giken LSD and Ohlins DFV coilovers.


Braking was always a big one on the list, and after some time I decided to adapt R35 brake calipers and rotors even before Nismo offered them. Replacement of the analog ‘pendulum in oil’ G-sensor for Do-Luck’s digital and configurable G-sensor (DTM II) followed.


I also replaced the OEM steering wheel with some Italian flair (rewrapped by Robson), and some LED upgrades both inside and out.

The Pursuit Of Balance

I was also invited to have my car serve as the jig for all R33s when Tomei Powered developed its titanium exhaust series (Tomei Expreme), so naturally I fitted my car with one of the first ones.


Aesthetically, I’m a big believer in keeping the OEM look as much as possible. So, besides the aftermarket carbon rear spoiler wing, having the rear windows tinted, and recently the addition of Nismo 400R side skirts, most of my efforts have been to keep the car as clean as possible. I’ve also attempted to add some improvement to underbody aerodynamics with the addition of the OEM R34 GT-R V-spec rear carbon diffuser.


Last year I finally bought a second car for daily use, and so the only major modification I made to the GT-R in 2015 was the BNR34 Getrag 6-speed transmission conversion offered by Nismo.


My current modification wishlist includes modernizing the engine ECU (currently the custom VX-Rom that came with the engine), improving/modernizing the interior and the stereo, and refining certain bits and pieces. I am open to suggestions you guys have!


Anyway, I hope this serves as a good introduction and that my efforts will help popularize the R33 GT-R.

Aki Itoh
Instagram: aki_itoh



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I love the idea of keeping it stock-ish looks while modernize the whole car .


the car is beautiful man, keep up the good work.


Congratulations! What an awesome car!!


Awesome car but no Wallpaper option or high-res versions?


Anyway we could get the title picture in wallpaper format?


The R33 GTR has always been my favorite. It still is. I can't say I have a definitive "favorite car", but if I did, it would be the R33 GTR


I never understood why the R33 was the least popular, it's personally my favorite out of all of them


Yeah. Finally, Thanks Dino to allow that.
Aki : It's always a pleasure to follow your blog and a great source of inspiration for my own R33GTR (even if mine is far from being as clean as yours and I'm still not sure about its future).


The R33 is such an amazing car, and so underrated. Not that I'm complaining tho because that keeps prices low :)


Awesome. Much prefer the R33 GT-Rs to the R32's and R34's. Coming home from college earlier I saw a bone stock R33 driven by a bloke who looked as if he'd had it since new. So used to seeing highly modified Skylines, so was a bit weird seeing a completely boggo one


One of the best cars I've seen on this site, and I don't say this only bcause I love the R33 iteration of GTRs. The attention to details makes this car perfect (at least "for now" as Aki says). That engine bay is nothong shortof spectacular. That's exactly how I would build my R33 if I had one. Keep up the posts. I didn't know about your blog but I'll definetely take a look now.


Very cool build. I owned a Motorex imported/federalized R33 GT-R back around the time you bought yours. I got out of it a couple years later to make room for a different vehicle but I loved the overall package and do find myself missing it. Seeing this article reminded me of the fond memories I had with that car. Did several road trips and generally enjoyed it. Love what you've done with yours as it is similar to how I like to build my cars.


An awesome car and a fantastic build; it's a credit to you Aki. Great engineering to me is the little details you don't notice at first because they seem to be either standard or very tastefully modified and this car has so many of them. A doff of the cap is in order.


The R33 GTR is a stunner and I like it more than I like R34 GTR. Some of you might think it is strange. The R33 GTR is a lot more attainable than the R34 GTR.
Overall, great article and one of the best looking R33 GTR I've ever seen so far.


Big fan of your blog. Love your attention to detail.

I copied your wiper nozzle upgrade.


33's are awesome (as many have said!) I really like the shot of the dash... I can only dream of a dash that bright. Awesome photo.
Looking forward to the updates on this one. Good call Dino!

turbo BEAMS ae86

SkizurtImports interior


Can we have some high-res versions of the above photos... For science?


The photos aren't downloadable, is there a reason for this?


I bet this car's interior smells like unicorn farts. Amazing detail!


It looks gorgeous! I would suggest a full standalone (Haltec perhaps) on that Mine's Engine, should give you some good results :) Titanium shift knob and parking brake handle would be nice too.


Or let Mine's do a full update and custom reprogram


Are all the body parts Nissan/Nismo? Pretty sweet if so.


It would be the estate version that smells of unicorn farts:


Smiggins Yes,bonnet, bonnet lip, side skirts, and the rear bumper spats are all Nissan/NISMO. Only exception is the locally made carbon blade and side covers for the rear spoiler.


BramvandenBerg Interesting idea on the titanium shift knob/parking brake handle. Hmm.... there are so many standalone choices at the moment. Will depend on which manufacturer satisfies all my particular conditions...Thanks for the comment(s)!


Matt_Redondo Well maybe if you can hook me up with some unicorn steak...


Coryislost I'm afraid that's Dino's department, not mine... but yes agreed "For Science"!


AEROHUNTER Sorry I have no idea... I'll bug Dino to make it happen, if not this post, the next!


TarmacTerrorist Thanks! You can check out on my blog, special LEDs I found and used for that.


Simply P Lol Thanks! Appreciate it very much.


SeBaBunea Attainable, maybe. Here in Japan, seeing lots of 32s still (they made over 40,000) but 33s and 34s are getting more rare. Thanks for the kind words!


Mat J Matt, coming from you, nice words like yours really make me smile:).  Agree on the "little details matter" mantra, definitely. Stay in touch!


Isaac C Well I'm sure the attention you got, was awesome. Here in Japan no one checks out the car unless they really know about cars, or it's the loud exhaust that just woke them up from their nap. Thanks for the kind words.


JDM_Luca the engine bay needs some work, really! You'll see soon... but thanks for the kind words!


LukeEVOVIII Yes they look a bit anemic, don't they? As if the designers said, "here is the foundation... the final result is up to you!" Thanks for commenting!


Mitchellol HAHAHAHA. Nice one!


Jocky You would not believe how persuasive Italians can be... or maybe you do. I follow your blog too, and whatever your car's future, enjoy the experience!!


@turbo BEAMS ae86 SkizurtImports Agree that the interior is cheap. The 32 was no-nonsense, and the 34 has the cool MFD, and sexy-looking seats (although the base form is the same), although I would argue that, the quality of plastics in the 34 is a bit "hard"? 

I have some ideas for the interior, though...


SkizurtImports I would argue it's aged the best of all three, but then again I'm biased. LOL.


Jc_mcsr53 Thanks! Lots of great cars out there, but to each his own! That's what makes it fun!!


@Matt Thanks as always Matt!


FrankensteinConnelly Thanks! Love that word, "restomods"... but that's exactly what it is, but with some subtle new modern parts too hopefully


RDS Thanks! The car already has presence, I just like to keep it somewhat subtle, in my theme of "balanced refinement."


R33's are my favorite GT-R simply because it was the best Skyline available in the original Gran Turismo. Had a chance to see my first R33 GT R and also a purple R34 in Toronto a few months back. Hope to get one b4 prices go up.


You have built the R33 I have always imagined building when they finally become legal in the US. R35 brakes for that OEM reliability, 6 speed swap, ohlins dampers.... My 01 Integra Type R should suffice for now. Very top notch build.


Thanks everyone for the kind words, and the interest in my car! I'll try to answer/respond to every comment. For those who have the time (and want to check out a somewhat complete spec list), please check out my blog at: http://www.r33gt-r.com !


01nbpitr LOL Honda Type R cars have a soft spot for me, long time Honda fan. One day, a Type R NSX, perhaps? Thanks for the comment!


c22tch Do it! But do your research before, these cars require more love and attention than your average Nissan...


Young kids ask me if my r33 GTR is fast. My response is always, "back in the day it was...". And that's what matters to me as when I drive it, it takes me back to a time when the GTR skyline was the king of the road. Great to finally see your car on Speedhunters Aki ! Keep the posts coming.


Aki_Itoh Jocky Me? Persuasive? Never... :D


Coryislost Good questions. Let me check on that


Itoh-san, that is a sweet built you got there! Love the clean "stickerless" look and the silver / black theme you have going!



Flawless, great build good to see it here. Blog with all the details looks also very interesting.




Man... this car just reinforced my love for R33s further. I still don't get why the hate on this generation. This was the first "Skyline GT-R" that I know of, and it will always have a special place in my heart.


Aki_Itoh SeBaBunea Regarding a R33 GTR being attainable, I just saw one on sale here in Sweden just now, almost 20 000 dollars, with exactly the same paint that you have on yours.

Thanks for replying! Looking forward to more updates!


Very nice GTR with some awesome mods to it! 

I reckon a full alcantara dash and would look awesome. Simple, modern and very tough!


One of the best rounded R33 GT-R builds out there and certainly one of the most knowledgeable owners.
A porject thread on Speedhunters? Is there any higher accolade?
Well done Aki, as ever, looking forward to all the updates. That last shot too - phew! What a shot!!


Amazing car Aki! You and your blog is definitely my main source of inspiration for my own GT-Rs. I just love a good OCD build ^^,


R33 GTR was always my favourite


ChrisBrox Thanks Chris for your support, as always! Stay in touch!


C7JFW Haha well that's the pro at work, not me. It's gonna be tough to find projects worthy of Speedhunters! Thanks for the kind words, as usual.


DinoSawr Not bad as an idea. Initially I didn't like them but after seeing how they work in Porsches and Lexus, may have to look into it. Thanks!


jay8393 Me neither. But hope my presence on Speedhunters helps to make a dent. Thanks for commenting!


DJVelocity ROFLOL! Well said my friend...


koko san Appreciate that very much! And I'm open to constructive criticism too so I'm waiting to hear from everyone on their ideas!


Charles Teo Thanks very much Charles! Actually, I DID have a couple of stickers in mind lol...


GTRBOB It's as fast as you want it to be! Thanks for the support!


EvolveWRC Well I hope what I do doesn't disappoint! LOL.


Aki_Itoh love the car, the mentality of the build...kind of what i wanna do to my Z32...definitely going to have a look at your blog. Very much looking forward to seeing where this journey


ethosVeritas_Z32 Thanks! Once you start reading my blog you will see that I am very, very meticulous about the parts I put on and the work that is done... OCD perhaps but I'd rather do it right the first time around!




Aki_Itoh I love the R33 GTR the most out of the 3 RB26 powered models. And you had just made my love of it stronger :D I read your blog a lot and had seen many of your builds. I have to say, the DIYs are my favorite. By far, your R33 GTR is the best build of any R33 GTRs I've read or seen. Mad work man. Keep it up, love to see it getting better and better. All the best!!
PS: THIS "because I’m simply not done with modifying and improving it. My thinking is (still), if I am going to have my car featured on Speedhunters, then I’d want to show everyone a proper finished product. And because with a Skyline GT-R one is never really finished, it would have never been featured, so long as I am alive " I CAN RELATE. No project car is ever finished.


They really cheaped out on the dash lights didn't they! I was squinting at my dash trying to make them out so much so I went and brought a GPSspeedo because it was more visible...


You're living my JDM automotive dream, keep on redefining what your R33 GT-R means you to!  

Out of curiosity, what would be a conservative estimate of the amount of funds you've put toward it?  I have plans on eventually importing a R33 GT-R, after having it serviced and upgraded by Mine's or Ōmori Factory before it's aquatic adventure.  Since your upgrade path is darn-exact to what I have in mind, it'd be awesome to know the truth of the amount of upkeep it'd take to keep a sports car like that on the road.


rally2727 THANK. YOU.


Khairul_Afiq Thanks so much for your very kind words my friend!


@daender Thanks, I will!

A full, ground up Mine's engine will probably now run about $25K-$30K (with install), depending on the specs. I see some cars out there with a "Mine's Engine" for much less, but I doubt those are full builds.  A Nismo Omori build, if it includes the engine and replacing all parts with new (that are still available), I asked for a friend and was quoted about 10 million yen (so about $100K) - and "only" 6 million yen if no engine build. Good thing though about a Nismo Omori build is that the car gets an "Official Plaque" which should help keep the value of the car high.

As for my funds, well, there is a reason why it's taken me 11 years to get to where I am... plus I like being able to experience every incremental gain in performance and feel with EACH part...


Aki_Itoh Thanks for the awesome knowledge being shared


EmmaMacki Feel free to ask! Cheers.


Aki_Itoh Charles Teo Stickers can go on the underside of the hood or trunk :)


Aki_Itoh koko san ....constructive criticism? maybe it needs a deliberate touch of imperfection, like many Japanese master pieces, a misplaced sticker or so LOL.


+2 on Haltech. The new elite series has obdii compatibility, use one with a plx kiwi and a carplay/android car double din head unit (I'd personally go the new jbl one) and get all your engine parameters on that instead of having to run gaudy gauges and ruin the oem feel you've got going.
Only cause you said you're open to suggestions :)


Aki_Itoh Isaac C "Here in Japan no one checks out the car unless they really know about cars..." 
Why is that? Care to elaborate?


Aki_Itoh I can't believe I'm seeing this photo again after all these years! Small world indeed.


apex_DNA Well I tend to hoard the good stuff...lol


koko san noted! But believe me, the car has many small imperfections that bug me...


D1RGE Charles Teo haha genius!


sollos I still am! Yes, I know of the Elite series... this is the kind of info I need and like. Thanks!


apex_DNA Come over to Japan and you will see.


Aki_Itoh I've been following your blog since 2009 when I was working my way to buying my R32 GTR. Sadly, after an accident I had to retire her and have since moved on, though I do still occasionally read through your blog. It was an inspiration to me back then, and can't wait to follow you here as well


Small world, I was reading Aki_Itoh blog a few months back when considering an R33. I always thought, I wonder if Speedhunters has done a feature on this car.

Well their you go!


lgunnz Many thanks for reading my blog since way back! Means a LOT to me, that people actually read it, and hopefully enjoy my adventures! Sorry to hear about your situation, but thanks for the support!


willis85 Thanks for reading my blog! Well it took almost 10 years for it to happen... and honestly I needed a few more years lol!


This build is so much like my taste :) Keep up the good work sir, I'm looking forward for the upcoming posts. In the meantime, I think I have to pop over to a blog for some reading... :P


Well, not only this nicely done R33
also your blog, passion would be an understatement,
just got more interested due to your mineS sticker,
since i will always remember those best motoring ´duel´ between the mineS R34 and the amuse Supra and Tsuchiya-Sans "oh shit" during given it the beans,
and well the story around your engine failure and the mineS Upgrade alone was great to read
thks to put this on SH
also to Dino ;)


I really liked that you admitted a mistake on the track. I hear so many excuses at track days that an honest assessment is refreshing. If you pick the wrong upgrade in your build, please don't hesitate to mention it!
I have had no interest in R33s until reading this. Very clean. Thanks for the info.


red87 Thanks very much, I'll try. THE PRESSURE!!! LOL.


Riddlah Yes, thanks to Dino for making it happen! I wouldn't say "passion" more like "determination"?? Thanks for the nice comment.


rook56 Thanks for that! Well that's why I spend a lot of time researching what the "best" stuff/part is, and then save up. There HAVE been a couple of mistakes, if you read my blog carefully.


Real nice car dude. I love how you kept it stock'ish looking. Those bumper vents are one of the coolest features/options ever put on any car. They look so good.


Buick Man Thanks man! Appreciate the love!


Stunning car


Mahfoodh Thanks!


Greetings from Malaysia. It has been a while since I last checked your website at r33gt-r.com but I still often checked out your posts at your Facebook page. I found your website back in 2010 which I am quite impressed with the things that you have done to you BCNR33. I was 17 years old back then and I din't really understand much about the technical stuffs that you are doing with your car. But today, I learned more about cars than I was before and I found your website to be more inspiring than before. Learned a lot of things about BCNR33 from there. I'll spend more time to catch up on the many posts in your website that I have missed out. 

I wish you all the best in your journey to further improve your BCNR33. I expect to see more great things coming from you Aki.


Aki_Itoh Mahfoodh 
You know I have a Porsche Cayman, manual transmission, great balanced car, but nothing would quench my thirst of motoring joy like an R33 would do (within my budget)


Mahfoodh  LOL. Well that is an awesome car, right out of the box! If only the R33 GT-R was... or more accurately, would be as all examples are obviously now used (and thus require "refreshing"). There are certain cars I've kept in my head as the benchmark to what I want my 33 to be like (at least the driving experience) - with the theme being "balanced refinement."


Greetings from Malaysia. It has been a while since I last checked your website at r33gt-r.com but I still often checked out your posts at your Facebook page. I found your website back in 2010 which I am quite impressed with the things that you have done to you BCNR33. I was 17 years old back then and I din't really understand much about the technical stuffs that you are doing with your car. But today, I learned more about cars than I was before and I found your website to be more inspiring than before. Learned a lot of things about BCNR33 from there. I'll spend more time to catch up on the many posts in your website that I have missed out. Also, I have just started to read about your 2nd car in your new website. 

I wish you all the best in further improving your BCNR33. I expect more great things from you in the future.


Beautiful R33, Idk why R32 and R34 are more popular, this is a beast!!!!


It's beautiful!


cooki_monsta Thanks man!


Gendou_kun I'd love to know as well! But meanwhile, it's keeping the 33 a very affordable alternative and people here in Japan are taking note...


Gendou_kun BNR32, because it's the reason GT-Rs are called "Godzilla". Motorsports dominance that ended in records and feats is a very tough act to follow (ask the 33 GTR). It also was banned to compete back in the day because it's unbeatable, resulting to change in rulebooks on numerous race organizations. And BTW it's still breaking it's own records, like it broke the Fastest 4wd record in 1/4 mile last year I think. The previous record holder, another 32 GT-R.

BNR34 GT-R, because enthusiasts call it the modern 32 GTR with its sharp handsome looks, not droopy curvy like the 33. It's the most modern RB26 powered GT-R also, from power plant to body, and suspension. It also did well in motorsports.

BCNR33 not that popular compared to its brother, maybe because it's Chubby?? :D That explains the "C" on its chassis code that BNR32 and BNR34 doesn't have. lol But seriously critics and some GT-R enthusiasts didn't like how the heavy R33 handles, compared to the 32. It failed a lot of expectations also, thanks to the BNR32 setting the bar very high.

You know what, I knew some GT-R enthusiasts that sell their 33 GT-R before just to buy and go back to the 32! There is no BNR34 yet when they did that. :D


RGoz  Thanks for posting. It's an opportunity to clear up some very common myths about the car so I'm really glad you did. And I would agree, since most of the motoring public believes the same, it's probably why the 33 gets overlooked. But, again, the reason I agreed to post here on SH was in the hope that people get to learn more about all of these cars!

First paragraph about the 32. Yep, I would agree. It was so successful that it became banned in one race series outside Japan (Oz).  But did you know that the 33 is the only one that Nissan bothered to have compete at LeMans 24hrs (albeit in RWD form)?

Second paragraph. Did you know that the BNR34 shares its suspension with the BCNR33? Except for one part, a front link, which is made of aluminum (vs steel) and has a nice "GT-R" logo on it. Interestingly, many BNR34 owners swap this out for the adjustable BCNR33 piece. Power plant is the same for all 3 cars, with minor differences.  So, I'd argue that, the BCNR33 suspension and powertrain were so good, not much needed to be changed in the BNR34. 

As for looks, well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 

Third paragraph. One of the biggest mysteries apparently. The "C" on the chassis code is due to a change in how Nissan designated the chassis code. During the R32 and R34 generations, cars having the ATTESA all wheel drive system all had the HICAS 4 wheel steering; however, in the R33 generation some cars without the ATTESA had HICAS. Thus, to designate cars that DID have both, Nissan used the "C" designation. 

Agreed, the R33 IS a heavier car than the R32. It's a larger car, after all. The problem isn't necessary with weight alone - the big push during the development of the R33 was weight distribution.  The engineers felt at the time that the BNR32 was nose heavy and thus understeered too much. That's why the battery was moved to the back, for example.  Further the V-Spec model has an electronically controlled "active" rear differential, which further improved the car's handling.  

I don't know who the critics are that you mention, but all professional race drivers I know who actually drove the cars in races back then, all mention how much better the 33 was in the handling department.  This was objectively proven by how much faster the 33 was around Nurburgring, the first production car to complete the lap under 8 minutes. (seems slow today of course!).  Oh and btw, the BNR34, despite having a shorter wheel base than the BCNR33, is still heavier by a few KGs!  Of course, both the BNR34 and 32, having shorter wheelbases than the BCNR33, may feel more agile... however the longer wheel base of the 33 means it's more stable at high speed. 

As for some people going back to 32s... well again it's all personal preference. I would prefer the old NSX vs the new one.  If you follow GT-R Magazine, there is one current NISMO racing driver that actually SOLD his Nismo tuned BNR34, but kept his BCNR33 (and then later bought a 400R), because the 33 was "more fun." So it all depends. 

The main point is that technically, the 33 improved upon the 32, and the 34 of course improved upon the 33.  The beauty of these cars is that they are all wonderful cars, amazing tech for the time, and further all look great in their own ways. The variety offered means that we, as car enthusiasts, are all better off for having a choice when it comes to answering "what's your favorite Skyline GT-R?"

OH, and many thanks for the kind words about my car!


Always had the impression the 33 was big car until I saw a 33 on the
freeway in Southern California, which is very rare.Thought it was a BB5 Prelude until seeing the
four circle taillights, then I knew it was a special car.Car does not
look big in real life and when it drove beside a new Camaro, it made the Camaro
look like a large boat.For the power
the RB26 is capable putting out, the size of the R33 seems perfect.You’re a lucky guy to own one.I would love to own one someday.


Cool car Aki, nice to see the progression through the years!
With the ECU there are so many options, but basically as long as you get a unit that has good safety features like active lambda correction and active knock control, and most of all have a tuner who is experienced with that unit, then you will be on to a winner!


ra21benj Well said, good example! There is a picture out there which shows all generations (32,33,34 and 35) which shows how large the 35 is in comparison, too. I hope one day you DO get to own one!


I think this is quite an interesting and timely article. I say timely since my interest in R33's has been increasing lately. I live in Australia and I guess we are fortunate to have an abundance of R33's here. Strangely this kind of tuned me off them for years. That and the fact that alot of the Aussie guys who owned them used to drive them like dick heads! Ha ha.
I'm a bit older now and perhaps the owners are a bit more mature too so my appreciation for the cars has been increasing. 

Seeing a R33 modified in the careful manor that Aki has just confirms for me that the R33 has come of age. It's a seriously beautiful looking car. I might just struggle to find an unmolested R33 in Australia where they've been getting beaten on for years.

Great article - I look forward to the next installment


day_old_tofu Many thanks for the very interesting, and introspective comment! Yeah I think these cars, being less popular, were cheaper to get into, and thus attracted perhaps the wrong crowd. But, as you say, I've noticed more interest even here in Japan amongst the older (and wealthier) generation, so things are changing...

And thanks for the kind words... I think it's actually it's a testament to good photography which makes the car look good, lol!

Next installment - I'm working on it! Oh, the pressure.....:)


Aki_Itoh day_old_tofu Best of luck to you!
I had a quick read of your R33 blog too and it was very enjoyable.I must admit I love reading the detail of someones quest for auto perfection.



day_old_tofu thanks buddy! :)


My favourite R33 GTR. car is such a credit to you @http://www.livefyre.com/profile/108132993/. Been following your blog for some time now. Keep up the great work


SkylineSI Thanks very much. Support from friends like you make all the difference!


Gods, I am pretty thankful for some serious R33 coverage. They always fall to the wayside of the older and younger generation, glad to see this project on board. Looking forward to more!


IRONWOLF RD I am grateful to the Speedhunters Gods as well! I'll try not to let you guys down, working on some projects as we speak!


I'll be dead serious. What do you think of the AB-Flug R33. To me that's the most beautiful R33 kit there is! What you think Aki?! :D


JTXUnique Well, as you can tell from my car, I like the OEM look, keeping things as original as possible. I don't like to add stuff just for the sake of looking good. Form follows function. 

I actually did take a look at Ab-Flug's offerings, and if the aero bits work, it might be worth looking into, however the parts they had were for pre-1997 models, so...



First of all I have to say your car is simply awesome, love way you went, maybe my favourite street R33. Also I´m reading your blog for a couple for years.

R33 have the same suspension as R34? Is the subframe the same too?


rmiguelcar Thanks man! 

To answer your questions - yes. Except for the lower front control arm - the 34s were non-adjustable as a cost savings measure (most cars since then are non-adjustable) -  the suspension and subframe are the same.  

In fact - a bit of trivia here -  all of the R34 N1 Taikyu racing cars wore R33 suspensions because of the adjustable lower front control arm.


Aki_Itoh thanks for the answer and the "in-fact" witch is very interesting they use a older car system... kind like that.


Suggestions? Not really, you are the best R33 GT-R owner on earth! Keep doing all that OCD stuff because it's impressive, really.

I'm happy to know this car is alive and kicking. I remember reading that blog about 5 years ago.


@Killua Thanks very much! Very much alive and kicking, blog was just updated too, rebuilt the suspension. http://www.r33gt-r.com


I have had my R33 GT-R V-Spec for just over a week now and I have to say it is the best car I have ever owned yet. Now where near as nice as yours Aki but I can dream! It is almost factory stock aside from the N1 engine, Fujitsubo dual tip catback and HKS intake and some really old G.A.B coilovers that are crazy stiff.


Josh222 Congrats and welcome to R33 GTR ownership. Remember it's taken me 10 years to get to where I am, so don't rush it. I always add one or two parts at a time, just to see how the car improves, incrementally.

Wow, the old dual tip Fujitsubo! Titanium or alum one? Still cool either way... change out the coilovers for something more road worthy, your car will drive better, promise! (see my blog on my impressions of my Ohlins...)


Aki_Itoh RGoz  Nice to finally read the TRUE virtues of the R33 explained on a popular car site. You pretty much dispersed every false belief about the R33 in one concise post.

Obviously I'm a big fan of R33 chassis as well. With the R32 following as a close second. I'm defiantly in the minority in that I don't care for the looks of the R34 or R35 at all. But they both perform well and that makes up for their ugliness! ;-)


Aki_Itoh The exhaust appeared to be just aluminized steel piping, I though it kind of looked a bit odd with dual runs of piping to just one muffler though. I don't really plan on racing this car and its more of a nice sunny day kind of car so I want to get a nice street oriented suspension setup. Any experience with the nismo s tune spring and damper set? I am still going over the car to figure out what needs to be fixed or changed. It has a remote oil filter setup with a large oil cooler but no oil thermostat has been installed so the oil temps hover around 70-75C and drop below the 70C mark on the oil temp gauge while cruising at 100km/h so that is my first thing to deal with. Seems like the car was setup for track days and not street driving. 


Josh222 Actually, that design is the one used on the 400R! Pretty sure they supplied NISMO with the exhaust for that car, although I think it was in titanium.  Yeah don't understand the "into one muffler" design but so be it, probably a combination of good flow but relatively quiet?

The Nismo S-tune is a good set up for street - slightly stiffer than OEM. Guys in the UK (with bad roads) seem to love them.  I had them before, but upgraded to the Ohlins DFV which are way better, and not bad on the track (S-Tunes not so good). Also, at the time S-tunes were not rebuildable, although I understand they are so now.

Looks like your car also has some aftermarket horns on it?


I love your car Aki, it's any GTR Enthusiasts dream.
Aki's blog was my inspiration to finally secure and own one of the best R33 GTR V-Specs left.
I myself am an owner of a model just like Aki's one, a 1997 R33 GTR S3 V-Spec
If any GTR Diehard wants a chance to own a S3 V-Spec contact me on vl.turbo.88@gmail.com


BJ88 Thanks man! Beautiful car, of course I'm biased but it certainly does look good in its OEM state!


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Aki_Itoh Started gathering a few parts for the car to do some work to it over the winter while I have it parked and just my luck last day out for the season the engine starts knocking while out for a nice autumn drive. I am going to use it as an excuse to build it. Curious to see what I will find in there with it being a n1 engine and not the original, did not get much service history.


Josh222 Nice! Well, you will certainly gain peace of mind by doing the rebuild. Agree that those slots are interesting but probably not necessary. If you can find a Series 3 left turn signal, it will have the cut-out to allow more air to flow to the oil cooler than the turn signals on the Series 1/2.  Good luck!


Well you definitely change the idea of people on what a r33 is..