An Open Apology To The R33 Skyline

This is quite a personal event, and a recent one too. This is the story of a life-changing moment, one that led to a new outlook on life.

Let’s be real for a moment here. Life is an endless battle; the ability to adapt fights eternally against a constantly changing world, and those that can’t manage the change eventually fade to nothingness. The reward for change is survival, surviving to adapt and battle another day.

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Change can be slow and constant; like evolution. Or it can be instant; like an ill-timed lightning bolt, a blink of an eye, or the beat of a heart.

My moment, the one I want to share right now, was the latter. In a microsecond of awareness my perception was altered forever, and after my moment of clarity I feel the need to pen an apology.

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The most perfect example of an R33 Nissan Skyline GT-R I’ve ever laid eyes upon was the catalyst for this change. She was jet black, reasonably standard looking, and perfectly clean.

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Aside from the ride height and a licence plate that hints at its power output, the other noticeable changes were the set of period correct, limited edition and highly coveted Nismo LMGT2 wheels by RAYS.

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The interior was equally clean and classy. Well, as classy as mid-1990s Japanese sports coupes get. The only aftermarket additions were items that increased or enhanced the GT-Rs functionality, like a Nismo 320km/h instrument cluster and a PPG sequential gearbox. Things that I’d assume are useful when you’re pumping out close to four-figure horsepower in a street car.


If I’d seen such a clean and mild-looking car on the road boasting this sort of power, I’d be very skeptical. But we weren’t on the streets, we were at MotiveDVD’s GT-R Challenge.

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A quick look under the bonnet in pit lane reinforced my belief that the GTR900 plate was indeed earned and not created out of vanity.

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The car was immaculate. It wasn’t tacky, and definitely not gaudy. There were no overly gratuitous decals, no eBay fiberglass body kits, and no poorly applied fluoro green paint.

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And this was my moment of life-changing realization. I didn’t hate the R33.

Prior to this, my issue wasn’t actually with the car itself. My concern was how often and how poorly their owners molested them. As the least sought after Skyline model in Australia, the R33 is also the cheapest, and the most likely to be modified horribly and unmaintained.

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I’m sorry R33. I misjudged you.

A Formal Apology

Some years ago – never mind how long precisely – I’d decided that all Nissan R33 Skylines, including the GT-R, were of no particular interest to me. I thought the world could be a better place if they’d all sail themselves to the darkest, deepest part of the ocean, only to be sunk halfway.

I was wrong.

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I am remorseful for every boat slur I’ve uttered across all the years, and I’m embarrassed by each use of a cheap meme that involved an R33 floating, sailing or speeding on water. I am guilt-ridden about the Boaty McBoatFace call outs. They were empty and hollow jokes; boat references won’t float with me anymore.

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Humbly, I apologize for every time I referred to you as Moby Dick. Furthermore, I apologize to every R33 owner I’ve called out to as Captain Ahab. R33, you’re not a whale; you were never ‘Beached As‘.

You don’t even look like a whale from some angles.

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You are more valuable than just the value you offer to those shopping for a cheap GT-R. You are a winner in my eyes.

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Sure, you’re the curviest of the family, but you’re still beautiful. You deserve more; you’re worthy of your place on the family tree and deserve more respect moving forward. Respect that I’m willing to offer.

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Well, that was less embarrassing and more soul-cleansing than I’d assumed. I feel so free now.

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Do you have a similar confession to make? Is there a car or a specific model that fills you with a newfound sense of appreciation? Or perhaps you’ve grown out of love with a particular vehicle?

Share your tales below and let’s jumpstart the healing process as a community.

Matthew Everingham
Instagram: matthew_everingham



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Jay Soh Tsu Chung

I can never understand people's hate for the R33. I'd rather have this over the over-rated R32 and R34.


Care to elaborate on what is "over rated" about a 32?


Want the short answer or the full-blown academic dissertation?


While I agree that the R32 is good but overrated, and I think the R34 looks like a modern incarnation of the Buick GNX (a Very Good Thing, by the way), I've always liked the R33.

Whether it was Smokey Nagata's 1,200 hp tunnel-running monster or Ex Vi Termini's drag car that'd do donuts inside it's own wheelbase, the R33's always done it for me.


The Ex Vi Termini R33 GTR known as 'GTR700' was actually a Croydon Racing car just like this one, GTR700 is actually making a come back after almost a decade long hiatus.


Totally Agree, The Top Secret 1200hp Monster was so immensely important to me when i was young really made me see that the exotics were dull comparatively... Long Live those Wangan Monsters :)

Matthew Everingham

Being the car wedged between two of the most perfect examples of motoring is a tough gig. I'm growing quite fond of the R33 as it ages but it still falls short of the R32 and R34 in my personal opinion. It's miles better than an R35 though.

Compounding this awkward place between two near mythical icons is how most GTSts were presentedin Australia until they'd all rusted out ir been shaken apart by cheap subwoofers.

Without these junkers on the road to ruin perception the clean R33s are getting a lot more positive attention from me.


Why is it that no matter where in the world you go, the piece-of-shit cars all have giant stereos?

And that the stereos are also pieces of shit?


Has it ever occured to you that some people love cars as much as someone with an amazing build, but they are not rich or cannot rip enough money out of their budget to buy high-class, top-notch equipment etc.?
I do agree that sometimes no tuning is better than cheap tuning, but still...


I don't have a problem with broke-ass dudes scrapping a junkyard rod together - I've been there.

I myself have lashed a five-speed conversion into a Bluesmobile-grade Crown Vic P71 with a dozen of those giant plastic zip ties to get to work while the proper transmission mount was in transit from Summit Racing.

I myself have nearly burned a car to the ground with a sketchy-ass homemade wiring harness held into the engine bay with old bread ties from the junk drawer.

I myself have built a homemade ram-air setup with a coffee can and a piece of Home Depot all-thread.

I know all about playing the low-buck game.

It's the attention-whoring boom car guys that piss me off.

Why is it that guys who like their music loud never - and I mean NEVER - like GOOD music?

Never do I hear Mozart or Bach echoing through the neighborhood - it's always rap. Hateful, profane, vicious and bass-heavy, existing only to annoy or attract attention.

And it's ALWAYS blasted out by a system that must've cost about five hundred bucks to slap together.

Can you tell I'm not a fan?


When you put it that way I know exactly what you mean.


Well put. Funny how our tastes change over time. I used to despise the Z31 300zx's. In fact I felt they were my least favorite of all the Z's. But then they started to grow on me. I even became slightly obsessed and now I am knee deep in a full on build of one :)

I will still say the R33 is my least favorite though (unless it's Cory from Atlantic Motorsport's white V spec). Hakosuka>R34>R32>R30>R31>R33



You forgot the Kenmeri. IMHO the gorgeous lines of it make the Hakosuka look like a Datsun 510


Believe me, you're not alone. I mean sure, the R32 and R34 are awesome cars, but for me, it's the R33 that holds a special place in my heart, due in no small part to a white example that my friend's dad imported into Canada back in 2010. He's taken me for a few rides and even drove me to school in it once!


I would take a 33 GTR over a 34 GTR any day.

Matthew Everingham

Good. We won't need to fight.


I would legitimately fight someone for an R33.

Matthew Everingham

Nice work, Flavien!


Just like any car really, there are good examples and not so good examples! Do love them, mainly the face lifted versions of the various models!


Bro, how's THE NINE going?

Matthew Everingham

It's still happening and still my daily. I've been caught in overdrive with work and family of late. Progress has been halted. Fingers crossed I'll have an update worth sharing in a couple of weeks though!


Personally, I've fallen out of love with most mainstream models and into a sort of denial-fueled p*rn addiction to whatever weird and obscure cars have been left to rot in the pages of history. '68 Charger? Nah, lemme get the 80s Shelby Charger. R34? Nah, HR30/31. Guess I should apologize to all the cars that earned their fame.


I've wanted to do a K-tona for some time myself.

Matthew Everingham

Actually found myself falling into the same obscure circles... There's usually a wicked story to accompany the fringe cars.


I was driven around in one of those as a kid, my Mum loved it. I almost bought one as my first car before settling for an R31 TI instead.


At first, I really hated the looks of the Z32/300zx but they have grown on me and now i really want one!!

Matthew Everingham

Buy one!


people don't like the way they look and that's all subjective and fine, but the facts say they are cool cars and every bit as capable as the R34... in fact, the 33 rides on essentially an identical chassis to the R34 aside from the C-pillar (which Nissan welded to reinforce the rear of the car). As a result, you can bolt a ton of stuff on between the two cars and the R34 isn't much faster around the track, hence Nissan never posting an official 'Ring time with the latter.

it's also in no way heavier than the 34 which is another common misconception I see regurgitated 24/7.

Matthew Everingham

At no point did I call out performance.
But since you asked the R33 was my least favourite you drive, although I've only really driven pretty poor R33 examples and open having my mind blown by a mint vehicle


Wasn't aimed at you and was instead more just passing commentary on the subject at large.


" There were no overly gratuitous decals, no eBay fiberglass body kits, and no poorly applied fluoro green paint."
I think I know exactly which r33 you're referring to lol. It's not that bad but id I had to go with one I'd put myself on this one. Welcome to the ever growing R33 love club!

Matthew Everingham

Not an exact car. A whole fleet of the same nonsense could be seen on any given day for 10 to 15 years. :[ they damaged my eyes.


I never got the hate, I've had my '96 GTST for about 13 years now, always prided myself on keeping it clean and tidy and tastefully modified.
That being said, as a fellow Aussie, it does tend to be the model you see the most of, typically in that maroon colour with mismatching panels being driven like a flea bag.


Among the Skylines the R33 is my favorite.


Apart from "40th Anniversary Autech Version", I still don't like Titanic as much as other Skyline GT-R; but then I put PGC-10 Skyline GT-R (the sedan) as my favourite, so... although, if R33 GT-R would become "cheaper" due to its' reputation, I don't mind have one.

Other car(s) that I still dislike are like type-996 911 & type-986 Boxster, Mk.1 Supra (Celica Supra), Progres... and the lot, although they're still car(s) that I don't mind have, just not the first choice.

Matthew Everingham

Nice list. Agree with most except mk1 Supra is COOOOLLLLL!



Give me a Mk. II!

Joachim Taverne

As a R33 Owner, I've never been shocked by those "boat" jokes.
I sometimes Joke myself about that too.
No matter what people think of a car, if the owner enjoy his car, that's a good one (except older gen FIat multipla may be :p ).

To be honest, I must admit that when I bought it, I wasn't one of those "hardcore fan" of the model. I was more thinking about Lancer Evo V or VI at that time. But I will something "out of ordinary" and the opportunity of a skyline came in.
R34 were already too pricey (and too boxy for me anyxway) and I was not a fan of Dashboard of the R32 so I looked for the R33.
And even if it has always been a love/hate story since then (due to mechanical troubles), I didn't regret it.
What has started as a "logical" choice had become a true passion after all :)

Matthew Everingham

Thanks for sharing! :)


It's not your fault, it's a common judge. Even Inital D under-rated the R33.


I always liked all GTR's. My first encounter with them was on a bubblegum wrapper. It was the Iron mask, and ever since i got hooked. Unfortunately in my part of the woods a regular nissan is very rare....a skyline is, well, a unicorn. Only saw 2 GTR's in my life. link:

But my apology is to the BMW E46. Especially my 2004 wagon. I never liked beemers, i thought they were driven by idiots, and maybe they are...but roughly 3 years ago i got the greatest news from my wife. I was going to be a dad for the first time. So, with my heart clenched, i sold my Golf MK3 GT Special, 3 door, and as i was shopping around for a new car, i happened to find an unloved E46 wagon 318D, which had a little bit of damage in the front, but very fixable. As i said i never liked beemers, but, if was the car i needed, not the car i wanted. The price was very right at that time, the interior space seemed plentiful and it had options galore. It could fit the baby seat, the stroller and all the bags with diapers and everything i would need and still leave enough room to get some extra passengers, like the grandparents.

I fell in love with the way the beemer drove. If until owning the e46 i had driven mostly fwd cars, the first time i drove it on some very twisty roads, i realised that i was searching constantly for the understeer point, to keep it perfectly between the lines and it never came. The car turned much tighter than i had ever experienced before, and certainly much tighter than was needed for the speeds that i was brave enough to push in the corners. I never got that understeer at least for the first year. I learned to drift for the first time in it, and for that i realise i am a much better driver than i was. Of course, winter time, empty parking lot, but still. I was doing figure 8's around 2 light poles the first evening, by only using the throttle and the steering wheel, steering with my right foot.
So, sorry old beemer, you are not to blame for the people that drive you.


It's funny, I feel like time passing is really shedding new light on certain models. I am also guilty of hating the 33, now, I'd consider one over my 32. Another car I could not understand was the Lamborghini Diablo ahem I mean the 300ZX. I think time has been so kind to those, they are so cool in 2018, especially the rear; it looks like it is straight out of an early Ridge Racer game. As for the 3000GT....I just cannot get my head around it yet, sorry.

Matthew Everingham

I feel the 300zx needs another decade or two :p


cant go wrong with a big power GTR with a sequential box and those wheels

Mukesh Thulsie

I used to hate all front wheel drive cars... but then I started getting better at driving my FWD Toyota Tazz. This prompted me to learn more about the FWD layout. The more I learnt, the more I grew respect for it. Our hatred for something is often due to our lack of knowledge of the thing we hate.

Matthew Everingham

Where are you located man. Is that a Cortina in frame?


Looks like a TC to me. Here's hoping it's the six with the power bulge...


33 GTR has and will always appeal most visually to me. Appreciate the other GTR’s but the heavier pumped guards indicate muscle which just can’t be matched. Not quite sure were the lower value claim is coming from as generally the same price as a R32 GTR


R33s have always been my favorite model for some reason. Doesn't get much cooler than a blue 400r for me.


I used to despise r33's, still my least favorite of the skylines but I love them all. I also used to really dislike the bug eye impreza. Its big round innocent eyes dont match the rest of its aggressive rally ready styling and I used to hate the look, for whatever reason they have really grown on me (when done right). They just look unique and the front ends simplicity can make it look really good and clean when done right!


WELL this r33 is really a game changer , I want one for a daily driver ^ ^


Of the three, R32, R33, and R34, the 33 may be the least attractive, and it may have the least sharp handling...but it’s always been my favourite. I don’t know why, I’ve never driven any of the 3....but purely just from magazines and video games, I like the 33 the most.

I think it’s something to do with seeing videos of Smokey Nagato’s gold R33 back in the day, or maybe it was the red and blue R33s that were in the Tokyo Street Racing video that came as an extra with TXR:Zero....or maybe it was the silver ones in Wangan Midnight. Something about the R33 just takes me to another world :)


Never driven any of the three and formed an opinion that the 33 is the least sharp. That is exactly what is wrong with people. The least sharp is the 32 with it's soft floppy chassis.


Author od this article should also check out the driftworks r33 driven by a Lady. It's very sinister looking.


Comment section is packed on this one. Am I the only person who laughed out loud when the picture of the turbo popped up? Feeeerk.


Now, Kozo "God Feet" Hoshino should apologize for his words.


I'm glad Aki Itoh didn't have to strangle your neck to straighten your opinion about BNR33s.


It's all just trending and changing opinions.

Back in like 2007 people used ti say the r32 was the worst of the 3 because it looked too old. Now it's seen as the classic.

Ryan Greythorn

For me it'd be the hate for the front wheel drive cars in general which I've had with me for a long time. They're just different from what most of us look for, not worse than anything else.


It’s so strange that you’ve seen so many of them, and bad examples too, that it ruined the car for you. I can count on one hand the number of 32,33, or 34s combined that I’ve seen on the street in my life. Quite the opposite

Kerrod Johnson

When I first laid eyes on the back end of an R33 GTR in Gran Turismo 2 way back when, before the R34 had taken the world by storm (helped by a certain movie franchise in part I think as well) I fell instantly in love with it. I dreamed about owning one for as long as I can remember. I have since owned 3 R33 GTSt’s and 2 R33 GTRs.

What made me happier is after driving multiple examples of every other GTR and how much more refined the R33 feels to me over the others. That, and although my car is on the lower side of the GTR power scale with only 500awhp, it never stops putting a smile on my face when I put the foot down or when getting home and waiting for the garage to open and I see the back end of my beast lurking there.

I am very much looking forward to driving it down from Brisbane to Sydney for the GTR festival if everything goes to plan on the dyno next week.

I always love hearing about people’s opinions on the R33 GTR changing once they get first hand experience or in your case, a moment of realisation.

Keep the love for all things GTR going I say :)


As the owner of a KH3 Black R33 GTR, Im pleased you respect the car for what it is. It is in every way an evolution of the model before it and has always been my favourite.

There are many poorly modifed and poorly maintained models but as value rises and those said examples rot to pieces the clean ones will rise to claim their place with the other two Rb26 GTRs and be respected for the amazing car that it is.



SirNick Photography

Although I never hoped they would drive into the middle of the Pacific/Atlantic depending on what side of the pond you are on; I did not give the R33 enough credit. Then I realized the GT-R I photoed at TunerEvo back in October was an R33 R400. IG @GNARPOWER


Man, I'd give anything if the 33 was the cheapest model here (US). I saw one for sale online the other day for right around 80 grand.

Don't get me wrong, I love the R32, but there's just something about the 33 that just does it for me. I love the curvy body lines. The 32 is nice too, but the 34 is just too boxy/squared off for me.


I was the same way with the s13 catch I thought the flip up lights and rear light bar were the worst design choices in the Japanese market that was until I came across a cluster of s chassis at a local meet and at the time in my opinion the S14 was the nicest jdm car available for import/purchase so naturally I went straight to the kouki s14 parked nearby I slowly made my down the line until I made it to the RPS13 when something just clicked with me it's unique almost Chrysler-esque tail light bar and the flip up lamps that can be configured to a peek to look more aggressive just in that one moment time froze and I finally appreciated the batch for what it was an all around great addition to the s chassis line and an undeniable head turner


I get nothing but respect from people on my R33 & about how clean it is, even as a gtst. Theres a lot of bad examples out here in Aus though & you'll always get the sheep on FB & that calling them boats etc.


Very true about internet sheep... You don't see many clean R33's. Now increasing in desirability.


What a lot of pathetic drivel


There is a vehicle that I used to love, that I nearly worshiped. I thought that the 370z was the definitive sports car, the sultan of speed. But even though it has so much power and great design, I can't help but now see it as the car that won't die. Nissan rolls a new useless trim level every year despite growing evidence that the car is becoming boring since it has been appearing in the driveway of your local vape king, mid-life crisis dad, and hairdresser for nearly 10 years. And while the engine is fun and sounds good, it's still the same old VQ we've seen in every Nissan and Infiniti since the early 2000s. So I'd like to make a righteous sendoff to my devotion and to the 370z. It is the car that shall stay in my memory as my teenage dreams with unfounded substance.

Brennan McKissick

Although I've been fond of them for a while I never really liked the Mk III Supra for a long time. Then a few years back a local shop built one with a 1JZ, 72mm turbo and a TH400 and I rode in it and it was just so cool. There wasn't really anything special about it. It was just a white Mk III with a few dents and scuffs but a nice set of Welds with some sticky Mickeys out back and skinnies in the front and it ran so damn well. I'd love to have that car and just drive it.


I've always held the R33 close to my "motor head" heart. The Be5 Subaru Legacy is also another unsung hero in design and performance. I own a 2000 Legacy GT and I Fing love it! Nothing like odd-ball JDM baby!


Hate/love to particular models is an interesting topic. I'm facing the same here in eastern side of European continent regarding old Ladas. For local people 1970-80-s Lada is a cheapest car in a market, highly abused, unmaintained. When you say Lada you mean cheap taxi with all kinds of ugliness inside and outside. Lately it became a cheapest (again) opportunity to drift for teenagers, and you know how it looks like and where it ends. Also for western people Lada is something deeply soviet and communism related, while it is just a 1970-s car. What is interesting that pretty similar cars became iconic a long time ago (Datsun 510, BMW e10). Also Lada/Fiat 124 is closely bound to Italian classic compact cars family (which is valuable and expensive). It is sorrowfully to see how good things wrecked just because it cheap. I live far from places where Skylines could be cheap and without this article i would never think something like that about R33. Is this problem in price or in fact that we still have some cars enough to wreck?


Articles like this always remind me why the R33 is my favorite GT-R by a margin.
Aaaaand now, we need some more details on that brake kit upfront! :-D


I have allways stood up for the r33gtr. Never have i ever folded myself down during wild discussions about the r33gtr's place in this world. Strangely i felt a little tingle of pride over myself tingeling up my spine after reading this article.

- My eyes have allways been open.

Morgan Bagert

Please show me a boat that looks like a R33....