The $133,000 GT Zero: An R32 GT-R Reimagined
Getting The Look Right

¥15,000,000 or the equivalent of around US$133,000 at the current exchange rate – that’s what each of the 10 ‘GT Zero’ Nissan Skyline R32 GT-Rs Team Nichiei plan to build are going to being sold for.

Creating complete cars out of revered and respected models and then asking a premium is not a new thing. Nismo has been doing it for years, HKS did it with the Zero-R, and more recently tuners and resellers are doing it, Global Auto in Japan being a prime example. In the world of German cars, it’s been a business model that has led to the formation of huge brands – think AMG and Alpina for Mercedes-Benz and BMW respectively. And let’s not even get into the whole Porsche side of things; it seems as though there’s an outfit doing their own interpretation of a 911 every other month.

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But put aside what all that means and forget what sort of R32 GT-R you’d be able to build yourself with a $133,000 budget. Today, let’s see how Yokohama’s Team Nichiei has gone about piecing together its GT Zero concept machine.

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When starting fresh on a not-so-fresh car you really have no choice but to take it down to bare metal, and that’s precisely what’s been done here. As you’ll see shortly, dealing with the natural toll taken on chassis after 25-odd years of use was also the perfect opportunity to fabricate a pretty serious roll-cage, an addition that helps set the tone for this unique build.

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But first the obvious things. This san-ni wears an overfender kit from Rocket Bunny, which is no longer called that due to some legal disputes with a foreign company that lacks any nuances of originality. But that’s OK, because Kei Miura’s work will always remain instantly recognizable, and here the tried and tested recipe of making cars looks their best by pumping their guards – albeit now under the Pandem banner – has again worked well.

Had you told me some time ago that Miura would one day design overfenders for a GT-R, I’d have said “no way” right then and there. But if there’s one GT-R the look really suits, it’s the BNR32. The simpler, more subtle design of this late-’80s Skyline is just asking for a boost in width, and once you have the car in front of you it just looks right. Would I do it to my own R32 if I had one? No, of course not. To me it would be sacrilegious. But there are others out there that would, and they’re who this kit is aimed at.

The Pandem look is further emphasised with the addition of 18×10.5-inch 6666 Wheels single-piece rims shod in chunky 285-section Goodrides at all four corners. Hiding behind the spokes of the Enkei-made wheels are GT Zero branded 6-pot calipers biting down on drilled, floating rotors.

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While the front flares are so big that they cover the entirety of the fenders, the resulting look isn’t all that in your face. You can’t exactly say that for the rears though; they are wide and they aren’t afraid to show it.

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The R32 gains 100mm at each side, making its hips a focal point from every angle.

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The pin-striping that runs along the high swage line helps bring it all together, despite having very visible exposed screws. The flat gray wrap was added prior to this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon, a last-minute addition to ensure the car really stood out at the show. I think it was a good call as the black paint beneath just wouldn’t have highlighted the Pandem kit quite so well under the Makuhari Messe’s lights.

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The kit is topped off with a very Miura-esque interpretation of a BNR32 rear trunk lid spoiler; it’s small compared to his usual style, but fits the car better. The prolonged main wing element is additionally secured with two metal rods that appear to be more about aesthetics than actual function.

Another unique touch can be found in the headlights where Team Nichiei have added a daytime running LED strip to the stock housings to give a more modern touch to the 32’s face. LED indicators followed.

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If you look closely you will notice the taillights are also unique, the afterburners further emphasized by red LED outer rings around the stock lenses. Of all the LED-converted rears I’ve seen for the R32, these are by far the more digestible; they almost look like modern-day OEM units.

Nailing The Concept
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No matter how good a GT-R looks sitting still it should always be about performance, and that’s precisely the way Team Nichiei approached the GT Zero.

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With the instantly recognizable look nailed, it was onto the bespoke interior and aforementioned roll-cage.

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There’s no better way to take full advantage of a true bare metal rebuild than adding some extra stiffness to the chassis. Any chassis can be massively improved with clever additions, and they work especially well on an older car like this. The roll-cage, which you can see above is gusseted to the A-pillars, also helps give a ‘clubsport’ look and feel to the GT Zero.

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Modern day track specials from German manufacturers always seem to feature a color coordinated cage, and that’s the case here too. This concept car has an optional rear cross bar section which renders use of the rear seat obsolete in exchange for added rigidity and a harness bar which you can properly attach a multi-point race belt system to.

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You really get that ‘track car for the road’ feel inside with every panel and trim piece having been upholstered in Alcantara.

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The outer portions of the carbon buckets are trimmed in leather to match the light tan hue of the cage, something which is brought across to the shifter boot and center sections of the door trims.

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But the true talking point of the cabin has to be the massive AiM color LCD dash display which communicates directly with the engine’s Link Engine Management ECU.

It’s a great addition and one that goes very well with the other modernizing touches that have been carried out, including a custom center console which does away with the A/C controls (they’ve been relocated under the center arm rest) and head unit in exchange for a touch-screen tablet to manage the infotainment. This is definitely something we will be seeing a lot more of in the future as owners of older cars figure out ways to bring the interiors of their pride and joys a little more up to date.

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So the more you look at the details, the more you realize that no stone has been left unturned with the GT Zero. Take the suspension for example; Nichiei Black coilovers feature at each corner with adjustable upper arms to counter the excessive negative camber that lowering causes.

A Solid Powertrain
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It’s all been well thought out, which brings us to the one aspect of this build that I’m sure you’ve all been waiting to see – the engine.

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If I had to describe the work that has gone into tuning up the RB26 in one word, I’d say it was solid.

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The rebuilt engine comes with a bump in capacity to 2.8L and a set of cams to get the best out of the Trust T78 single turbo conversion that sits in full view on a high-mount manifold.

The setup is all geared towards developing a strong yet reliable mix of horsepower and torque, and the 600hp that’s generated will allow the GT Zero to fend off modern day sports cars with ease. Trust products continue with a front mounted intercooler, all matching piping, and a GReddy intake manifold to distribute the intake charge optimally to each of the six cylinders.

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Fuelling has been revised also, the aforementioned Link ECU charged with managing the fuel and ignition maps.

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Nothing is more effective against a newly-built motor than a fresh lick of paint in the engine bay. The relocation of the battery and fuse box to the trunk really helps in this respect too.

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Power is sent to the wheels via a BNR34 GT-R Getrag 6-speed gearbox, a sought after modification for a lot of R32 owners and one that will cost quite a bit if you source the transmission new through Nissan or Nismo.

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All of this brings us to the underlying question: is this all worth the money that Team Nichiei is asking for the 10 cars they will build? I’m not going to give you that answer as it will entirely depend on what your personal tastes are. But if what you’re after is a logically executed and well put together complete tuner car, the GT Zero may make a lot of sense.

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We live in interesting times where custom touches are becoming appreciated again. It’s all about nailing the niche sub-markets that exit out there, and it’s been proven that if you have the right recipe, the right marketing approach, and a product that speaks for itself, there’s no reason why you can’t make it.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino
dino@speedhunters.com

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67 comments

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1

Nope. Absolutely a sweet car but you can do a lot more with that much money.

2

Why 133k? I see 60K max :/

3

I was watching an episode of Ultimate Factories with my brother once, and this one was about the Porsche factory.

Of course we were doing a running commentary, which went something like this when they got to the station where the guy attaches the Porsche badges:

(Me, as tour guide): "Ja, und here ve haff Hans, who iss attaching ze batges to ze boot lid. How arr you doink, Hans?"
(My brother, as worker) : "Ohh, ferry well, Dieter! Ve are right now tripling ze value of ze car!"
(Me, as tour guide) :"Oh ja, das is gut! Continue, bitte!"

4

Possibly...IF YOU DO ALL THE WORK YOURSELF!

5

Interior looks the goods... But everything else is a big yeah nahhhhh. Grey wrap? Looks like a matsuri missile in acrylic primer. Kit is putrid. Engine bay looks messy as for a car that's been bare metalled. take 100 grand off the price and that would be a fair deal. Otherwise, leave it to the Aussies to build the best jeedeeahhhhz

6

on what planet dude? youd be stressed to find a great condition stock R32 GTR for $30k. let alone one thats been built and tuned from the ground up

7

last time i saw great condition stock R32 GT-R for sale with 15,000 euros in Finland!

prices are still reasonable over here

8

Man, I love the wheel and tire setup on this...the chunky tires are awesome.

9
Garrett Palmer

The price aside, I do not see anything that makes the car that special. I believe that a custom paint scheme (for example the alpinas of the 80s) is absolutely necessary to distinguish the car from any other modified R32. I do like the idea of Leather matching the Roll cage, but somehow the seats just don't look upholstered quite right. I think that adding maybe some small details unique to the car itself would make a big difference in how its viewed.

10

The primer grey color really makes this car's rather nice lines and angles pop, and while I don't care for DRLs as a concept, the bright blue-white light really looks good against this car's color & styling.

11
Matthew Everingham

It's been a long time since I've felt so conflicted about a car. There's a lot to like here, but it still feels wrong to mess with the R32's iconic lines.

Author12
Dino Dalle Carbonare

When you getting one then?

13

I don't get it? This is not special. This is parts and over priced labour. What's the tag line? Too lazy to buy a gtr and drive it to your local shop with a build plan? Well have we got the car for you.

14

I am sorry, for 130k usd, this looks really crass and something that came out of a tuner workshop. Taste is subjective so lets not go there.

when i pay 130k (when i have it) i want it to be completely premium and special. Something like the Top Secret R32(5).

As of now my personal opinion is, it costs stupid, it looks stupid, and i will be stupid just being in 1.

15

I'm very happy to see Japanese tuners offering these type of services to iconic vehicles like the GT-R! However, as much I appreciate the craftsmanship I'd still have an R33 in my garage!!!

16

Rocket Bunny, which is no longer called that due to some legal disputes with a foreign company that lacks any nuances of originality.


What's the go with this?

Author17
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Not too sure but it was a bit messy

18

was going to ask the same thing. i googled rocket bunny and the cars and kits are the only thing that come up

19

All that money and they still can't get the taillight housings to fit properly.
If you're going to try and muscle in to the same sort of market as Singer you need to produce things *better* than the factory.

20
TheBavarianVolvist

I second that. Cheaply made seat upholstery, taillight housings don't fit, the whole car looks liked banged together in a hurry. Which would probably do the job for me on an RWD model, but NOT for this price and NOT for an icon like the GT-R. And the icing on this s**tcake are Goodride tyres. If this car was in the league the price indicates, these should be Michelin Semis and not cheap junk rubber.

21

Like the author, I will not put this "Pandem" body kit on my own R32 GTR if I have one, it ruin the original coke bottle line of the R32 by being out-of-proportion-ly wide. But if I have the lesser RWD R32 variants like a GTS-T, heck yeah I will put this body kit on it.

Author22
Dino Dalle Carbonare

And I'm sure where you'll see the biggest number of these kits fitted on

23

Power is sent to the rear end via a BNR34 GT-R Getrag 6-speed gearbox


Is this a typo or is it converted from AWD to RWD?

24

Goodride tires on a 133k car? awful

25
Rich E Wavy Kariuki

Workmanship, YES
Interior, YES
Exterior, No
Price, HELL NO!

26

For this price one could expect a properly made, unique body kit, instead of the usual riveted on boring rocket bunny/pandem kit that makes every damn car look the same.

The leather on the seats also could be better.

The really sad thing however is that modified GT-Rs are now slowly becoming expensive collectable cars instead of cars that are actually driven. And this thing is just a try at capitalizing on that

27

never ever.. poor GTR - i'm sorry but the buildqualitiy looks horrible.. look at the seats, looks like somebody tried upholstery for the first time?
look at the taillight housings and that massive uneven gaps around. The engine bay looks really messy, and the paint is nothing special. Bodykit would look good if it would be well done metalwork, not this plastic rocketbunny (do it yourself) kit.. engine looks great, but altogether i'm sad about this poor GTR.. sorry

28

Wait, what happened to the rocket bunny name?

29

For the same money you could get a 600hp Alpina B6 Biturbo. And that car is functional, not like the gusseting on the A-Pillar...

30

133k for a car with rivets? no thank you i'd rather a Koenig Specials car

31

so they've "modernized" an R32, but they still use decades-old techology on turbochargers. a greddy t78 seriously? in the era of the GTX gen 2's and the borgwarners. but hey , who wants response , right? maybe they prefer to pick parts off the shelf instead of fabricating manifolds etc.

32

Funny you should mention that, as I was just about to post the same. If I recall correctly, I believe GReddy/Trust contracted with Garrett as their turbo supplier, but maybe they still have some MHI stock? Either way, the T78 is in no way, shape or form a 'modern' turbo, as you accurately pointed out.

Is it cool for nostalgia purposes? Definitely. But it does not improve and refine the driving experience. If anything, it makes the car somewhat unpredictable and not very useful for low speed, low rpm driving. If the goal was a wangan runner, that is a horse of a different color.

33

I waited long for a feature of this car. And man when I read the comments it's realling getting roasted....

I would not spend this amount of money for this car.

34

Am I high or is that front wheel only held on with 2 wheel nuts?! There is deinitely thread showing on the studs.....
Would probably want more than 2 wheel bolts and something better than gacked philips-head bolted body work for that price.. or any price. Love the jap styling here but the quality leaves a lot to be desired.

35

this car isn't aimed at people with 133k to spend on a car, its aimed at people who's total worth means that spending 100+k on a car, is the equivalent of me buying a pair of jeans. People who's car collection amounts to all the other cars you could buy for 133k. Whose cross shopping a car like this? no-one.

I think its badass. I wouldn't buy or own one. But its badass none the less. I bet they sell them all very quickly.

36

I think anyone who wants to collect a GT-R, is going to buy a stock one.

37
michael silcock

perhaps, but does that mean they would not want one like this along side a stock one? of the large collections I have seen, they usually consist of numerous editions of the same model.

my main point was that this isn't going to be someone's only car, therefore what you can buy with the same money is somewhat irrelevant :)

38

I think a collector would rather collect a car with prestige, rather than one which could go either way.

I get your point, however.

39

GREED that's all i see here

40

Cool in theory, lame in practice. With the recent 400R feature being my frame of reference, this car misses the mark on several levels, for me personally at least.

It strikes me as trying to embody RWB individuality, but with the mechanical consistencies of Nismo, while doing neither particularly well. In fact, I would say that combination is almost oxymoronic and self-defeating, in a way.

Do I like the raw overfender look? Yes, but not so much on a car at this price point that has intentions of being a serialized production model, with fit and finish to match and justify the cost.

Where the 400R is endowed with an imposing, muscular stance through tasteful and subtle aesthetic changes, this just seems to be trying too hard, cobbled together and janky looking.

Another reader already commented on this aspect also, but the T78 is a poor choice to modernize and improve a car. If anything, it is a step backwards in technology and useable, real world performance.

Again, this is a great concept, but it needs some changes to work. I believe if the Pandem kit was molded instead of riveted, that would be a step in the right direction.

Even simple changes like black silicone and black texture-coated intercooler piping under the hood would be a big improvement. For that kind of money, I would expect and demand a far more cohesive look.

41

I miss when R32 GT-Rs were sub €10k. They're supposed to be the super car of the working class.

42

I really don't get it, paying 133K just for what looks to be a Rocket Bunny demo car.

43

The exterior is just too gorgeous, but those tan alcantra accents are jarring.

44

They have the right idea, just need to work on the execution a bit.

45

What model year is this one?
(irrelevant question to help sort my wallpaper collection)

46

I want to do it differently, but it's a good idea!

47

I personally really like the car, something about the 80-esqe boxflares just does it for me.
However i cant wrap my head around why anyone would buy it for that price.
The reason why other companies, such as Alpina, Amg or Singer have successfully sold their cars, and why they became collectable is that they came with parts fabricated by the companies themselves. If you want an AMG engine AMG is your only source. Same for alpina wheels.
Everything that's in the GT0 is available on the open market.
So why would i buy one, if i could justtake the partslists and pictures out of this article, show it to any given tunershop and have them build me the same R32 for half the money?

48

It still boggles my mind that Japanese tuners are still using decades old turbo technology on high end builds. And for a build that cost this much and not offer a modern turbo system is a non starter. All that needs to be done is look at Australia's GTR scene. Their tuners have fully embraced modern Borg Warner EFR and Garret GTX turbos. I guess its a pride thing. But being proud of being stuck in the past is just disappointing.

49

couldn't they afford to paint it?

50

Great kit but they need to find a way to flush the gas filler door. Otherwise, fantastic!

51

Doesn't look too bad but I prefer the midnight purple or bayside blue. How much wider is this over the Veilside Combat bodykit for the r32? To me they look about the same

52

whats the cross though the number plate mean?

53

Blatant knockoff Porsche Carrera GT carbon buckets? Absolute joke.

54

Car looks like absolute dogs**t for $133k price tag. at least clean the damn car before a spotlight photoshoot. greasy fingerprints around the front bumper, wrinkles around all of the upholstery, front seats that look like they were made in China and sold over ebay for the $99 a piece special. and the headlight harness all electrical tapped up just sitting out bare in the engine bay. Do I have to keep going? I love these cars and their styling, but if you have the crass to try and sell someone a car with this caliber of workmanship for over $100k, you better get the details strait or sit the hell down and leave the car building to the professionals.

55

nothing would make me want to put 133000k in that... maybe the need to put it bak to stock

56

hahaha and the duct tape on the wiring !!!!!

57

Dear Japan,
Please stop with the old ass turbos.
Sincerely,
The rest of the world

58

I'd say the best part of this car is the interior, you don't see many heavily modified cars with such nice interior, not as luxury as the singer 911, more like a track oriented interior but more tidy and with better material.

59

Hey Dino .... have you noticed what is going on at Brillsteel's facility, about an R 32 ?

60

Japanese aftermarket workman ship still leaves ALOT to be desired, that gusset to the a pillar is SOOOO UGLY and unnecessarily big, tuck the cage more, and the turbo and engine parts, lets just not talk about those. japan is falling behind the rest of the world in the aftermarket industry

61

Dino do you have any shots of the car before the wrap?

62

After reading all the comments, and looking closely at the photos in detail, all I see is hack work. I would love to have the car with rust, unrestored.

63

Are we all just going to ignore the one missing lugnut on the front driver-side wheel?

64

With that price tag I was hoping for something akin to a Singer Porsche in quality, but the overall fit and finish seems lacking. I hoping that this one was slapped together to make a show, and isn't the final product that a customer would get. I would love to see more OEM+ type cars on the market.

65

I love these wheels but I can't find any info on the web when I search for "6666 wheels by Enkei". Are we sure that's what they are? Any pointers?

66

nice car. what color are they going to paint it? lol

67

Kill it with fire. Super lame gtr in my opinion.

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