How I Bought California’s First Street-Legal GT-R
Making The GT-R Great Again

Dubbed “Godzilla” by the Australian motoring media, the new generation BNR32 Nissan Skyline GT-R was the almighty of the Japanese super car regime.

That’s a statement that I will always stand confidently behind, whether anyone cares to doubt me on it or not. Name another car that won 29 of 29 races in Group A, or 29 of 30 races in N1, or holds 92 wins of 98 races total in Super Taikyu from 1991 until 2003 inclusively. I’ll wait…

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Now that you’ve spent a few minutes trying to Google answers to the GT-R’s unparalleled performance numbers, I’m certain we can agree the king still holds its throne.

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In 1985, Naganori Ito succeeded Dr. Sakurai’s crown and became responsible for all of Nissan’s sports car production. After the R30 and R31’s poor racing success (but they were utterly beautiful race cars nonetheless), Ito-san knew the only way to revive the brand and pay proper homage to the KPGC10’s 49-win streak in the 1970s would be to start from scratch. Mind you, this was an era where Japan’s economy was booming, so money was basically obsolete.

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With that type of freedom at hand, Ito-san took to the drawing boards and ‘Project GT-X’ was born. Almost all supercars and prototype cars at the time featured all-wheel drive systems, all-wheel steering systems, turbochargers, and were made of composite materials. Ito-san drew inspiration from these technologically advanced vehicles within the industry, but there were two that stood out most.

The first was Nissan’s own MID-4, a prototype mid-engined supercar; the second was slightly more practical and realistic, the Porsche 959. If you dig deep enough into the 959, you’ll unveil an electro-hydraulic all-wheel drive system that vectored torque between the front and rear wheels based on the weight distribution of the car at any given moment – a system quite similar to the ATTESA E-TS found in the R32 GT-R.

Other notable similarities include the lightweight six-cylinder engine, mated with not one but two Garrett T25 turbos. To push boundaries even further, the RB26DETT was equipped with a large intercooler, large intake plenum, and six individual throttle bodies, which drastically improved throttle response in comparison to any of its rivals at the time.

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Come May of 1989, Project GT-X saw its completion, and the R32 GTE, GTS, GTS-T, and GTS-4 found their way onto showroom floors for the general public to purchase. But it wasn’t until later that year, August to be exact, that consumers had their go at the Gran Turismo Racer edition.

Though sharing the same general appearance as the GTS-4 coupe, the GT-R was a totally different animal (or evil Japanese dinosaur) beneath its skin. It was a homologated race car making 320hp from the factory, with the most advanced engineering to ever be put into production by Nissan.

Development of Project GT-X clearly had one thing in mind: dominating the track. If you’ve been an avid Speedhunters reader, you may recall a couple of articles by Brad and Matt where they look at this more in depth. You can find their articles here, and here, which they cover a tremendous amount of history and technicalities on why the GT-R was as good as it was.

Some History About Eatwithnaveed
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At this point, you’re probably wondering what I’m on about. Well, the easy answer is that everything I’ve mentioned so far is what led me to make my own purchase of my 1990 GT-R a couple of years ago.

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But before we dig deeper into this, in order to give you a better understanding of my background in the automotive world, allow me to shed some light on a few of my previous cars.

From the time I first became licensed until now, I’d been humbled with ownership of some of the best cars to ever be produced. My first real performance car was this BMW Z3 M Coupe, which I purchased at age 16. I was a sophomore in high school, and I managed to save up some money after working for a couple of years.

At the time, these cars were neglected, and the only people who wanted them were people who actually knew what they were, under their odd looks. My cousin had purchased the S54-powered, late model version in Laguna Seca Blue a little before I purchased mine, and after driving his, I was totally hooked. It’s a car I’m proud to have owned, as it provided a gateway into performance vehicles.

A few cars later, I somehow wound up owning a handful of Subarus. The one pictured above was my more modestly set up car, which served importance as it helped me venture out of the BMW scene, and learn more about the world of rally racing and Group B.

As most of us can relate, once you take ownership of a car, or sometimes even prior, you can’t help but research the hell out of anything and everything related to what makes the model so great. These cars taught me to research, a skill I find important in all aspects of life.

In between ownership of other Subarus, I finally made a few purchases of the BMW E36 M3s that I was always keen on. My heart was right all along when it came to these cars, as there is absolutely nothing like them. People often ask me which car I like most, and my answer to this day is still the E36 M3. It’s not the fastest car in the world, or the most exotic looking, but there is no other car as well rounded as the E36 M3.

It gives you everything from looks, to performance, to 50/50 weight distribution, to comfort and luxury, and everything else in between. On top of that, they are still relatively affordable by modern standards, but we will see how much longer that lasts. Prices are skyrocketing on these things, and I figured it was inevitable. They are perfect in every way, and it was only a matter of time before people caught onto that.

Next up is my old MKIV Toyota Supra. I purchased this car shortly after high school, and it was my first high-horsepower car. It was set up to dominate everything on the drag strip, sporting a big single Precision 6766 turbo, forged internals, custom exhaust, HKS drag coilovers, and everything else needed to get the car going obnoxiously fast. The biggest problem I had with this car was the lack of drivability; having nearly 800whp it became unbearable as it constantly scared the hell out of me when I drove it. Though, I’m grateful for my ownership with it, because it taught me the value of balance in a car.

Sure, I could totally break loose in sixth gear at 70mph, even with the 335mm drag radials in the rear, but for what? I found the power utterly useless, so I sold it about a year after everything was complete. The Supra will always have a place in my heart, but I don’t think they do anything for me as far as personal ownership goes.

Throughout ownership of these cars, I almost always had a daily driver on the side, and what better daily driver than a station wagon? I needed something that served as a decent parts-hauler more than anything, and though I should’ve left my dailys alone, I almost always found justifications to modify them.

So above is one of my favorite old wagons, the E46 Touring. Nothing special here with this little estate car other than it being my first VIP-inspired setup. It was low, it was slow, and it hauled parts like no other wagon before it.

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Speaking of wagons, the E30 Touring was actually my first imported car. They were never offered new in the States, so when they finally became legal for import, I bought two of them. Both were right-hand drive as they made way across the Atlantic from good old Great Britain.

I sold off the blue one first, and started drafting plans for the red one. I got as far as sourcing a super rare interior for the car, and getting OZ Racing wheels and air suspension from Air Lift Performance for it, as well as an M-Tech II body kit. But some life changes came my way, and I eventually had to put a halt on all plans and sell the car. I still miss it to this day, and plan to own another at some point in my life.

The most drastic build of all of the cars I’ve owned is my last STI. This car was my holy grail build, as it started off pretty much bone stock other than a half-assed built motor by the previous owner. I had once made a promise to myself that if I ever came across an ’06 STI, I would build it to full-blown WRC standards, but with my own personal touch. No one had done this at the time, and my goal was to build something that raised controversy amongst the Subaru community, but in a quality type of way. And so I did just that.

Everything on the car was custom, top to bottom. It took me two years to get this car to where it sits in those pictures. It made just under 500whp on the fully built motor, but it also had 10 degrees of negative camber. And boy did it piss everyone off. It was absolutely awesome, in a sense that I was able to get so much reaction out of people. My purpose wasn’t the attention though, but rather utilizing the car for networking purposes. I met a lot of people in the industry through this car, so for that, I am grateful of my ownership with it.

The one car that got away from me though, that I miss most, is my 1972 JDM Fairlady Z. It was a rust bucket, but it was the most epic driving experience I had ever had in a car. Everything shook under open throttle, the triple Mikuni carbs screamed along side the Fujitsubo exhaust, and the wind would creep through all of the holes on the floor.

It was imported back in the ’80s by someone on the East Coast, which was eventually purchased by my friend locally, who then sold it to another friend, and it finally found its way onto my driveway. It was the oldest car I had owned, and it was what made me realize how much of a difference there is with vintage cars versus a car developed in the 1990s, like everything else I had owned so far.

It required a tremendous amount of driver input and awareness when trying to push it to its limits, and I fell in love with that, big time. I will have another one some day, but until then, I can only weep pathetically whilst filled with regret.

Last in the line up here is my girlfriend’s 1991 Acura NSX. I get it, it’s not mine, but hey, what’s hers is mine and what’s mine is… uh… mine? (don’t kill me when you read this!)

This was another car I was fond of in the early days of my childhood, not so much because of its performance, but more so for its looks – it’s absolutely one of the best looking cars to ever come out of Japan. But after she purchased the car a little over a year ago, I persuaded her to share cars with me every now and then. I will admit, I was blown away with how much I love this car. It’s extremely well rounded in a sense that it not only serves as a great performance car, but also a great GT car. We’ve successfully taken it on long road trips, while also ripping it through the mountains, and it does both very well.

There’s raw driver feel and proper feedback, great comfort even for someone my size, and of course, unmatched reliability. I had never been a huge Honda fan other than their true econo-racers of the early ’90s ( sorry S2000 fans ), but this car definitely helped change my perspective on that.

Quite the list of cars, right? Reiterating on my statement before, I’m humbled with the opportunities I’ve had which led me to ownership of such amazing cars over the last 11 years. I tried to take it easy by noting the more significant ones, but there are quite a few others in there that I’ll possibly shed light on later in the future.

Making The Decision

When I found myself looking for a new project two years ago, I had a laundry list of expectations to check-off on. After ownership of the cars mentioned prior, I yearned for historical significance, performance, drivability, reliability, abuse-ability, rarity, aesthetically appealing design, and most importantly, driver feel.

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So a few years ago, after going down a deep rabbit hole drooling over articles of Group A racing one night, I realized that the BNR32 was the only justifiable car for me. It checked each and every box, and it was a car I had only dreamt about as a child growing up in the ’90s. Luckily for me, the timing couldn’t have been any better: the 25-year rule we have in place for imports here in the States had just cleared the R32’s legality, which made the choice inevitable.

Within that year, I managed to network around and came across a mutual friend who had just completed the California CARB compliance on an R32 GT-R through American GT-R Senpai, Sean Morris. I’m not quite sure what made him not want the car, but I believe it had something to do with funds, so we’ll just leave it at that. A few phone calls later, I found myself en route to his place, a couple of hours away from home.

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I still remember the night I picked it up. It was a couple of weeks before my birthday in February, and I had my girlfriend borrow her mother’s minivan to help carry some additional parts that my buddy included. I don’t think I’d ever been so excited to purchase a car, and no one knew other than myself – not even my girlfriend. So when we showed up and saw it stowed away behind a mountain of boxes and clutter in the garage, both of our jaws dropped. As cliché as it might be, it was love at first sight.

Little did I know then, this car actually had a story of its own to tell, being the first California registered R32 GTR under the 25-year rule.

The 25-Year Rule

California is considered the Golden State for numerous reasons, but for us automotive enthusiasts, it’s everything but that. We are the front line in a constant tug-of-war battle against the Environmental Protection Agency, California Air Resources Board, California Highway Patrol, and Federal Government, just to name a few. It sounds like a suicide mission, right? In all honesty, it sometimes really is. I cannot express enough how difficult it is to get an imported car legally registered here, but truth of the matter is, if you stick to your guns (and have a blank check book ready to go), it can be done.

First things first, you have to do some thorough research on who and where to buy your car from. Luckily for me, this step was already complete with the GT-R, and it was done through the most reputable person within the importing industry. Sean Morris is the guy that brought us the Skylines in The Fast and the Furious franchise, and the same man who worked alongside legend Paul Walker. So you could say he knows a thing or two about how the government system works.

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Prior to being owner and operator at Top Rank Imports in Southern California, Sean had a stake in MotoRex – yes, that infamous MotoRex of the early 2000s. For those who might not be familiar with the MotoRex name, they were the ones to bring in the Skylines for Hollywood, but also the first to import them for the general public. It’s an excruciatingly long story with what happened to that company, but long story short, MotoRex had great success bringing imports up to federal spec requirements – for a while. They even went as far as crash testing the R33, a million-dollar task alone.

Then, things took a turn for the worst. After some illegal activities, they were shut down by the federal government, and the whole federalizing process became extremely difficult to do. All of the cars already here were grandfathered in, but hardly any other companies pursued importing cars after the crackdown. It was a huge market that was left untouched by the citizens of the United States, Sean being an exception.

With the 25-year rule set in place, Sean took advantage of the untouched opportunity and began importing cars on his own, under his own company. With that, he managed to work a deal with the conformance agency to get these cars registered within the state of California.

Basically, the cars need to be 25 years old to begin with, so that they are exempt from having to conform to federal regulations. What are these federal regulations? Well, though the list is quite long, but it basically consists of general guidelines that auto manufacturers have to comply with in order to offer their cars in the States. Amongst that list are things like crash test ratings, proper impact bumpers, proper emissions controls, proper safety equipment, and so forth.

This is why if you ever look at cars like a US-spec 993 Turbo versus a Euro-spec 993 turbo, the bumpers are totally different, the headlights and third brake light placing are different, and the US model will typically have more airbags, just to name a few things. The only loophole around the 25-year rule, is to wait until a car is 25 years old, where the law states that cars are exempt from conforming to said regulations and guidelines.

But don’t get your hopes up, because that’s not all.

In about 45 or so of the 50 states, this is all you need to get the Nissan Skyline of your dreams. For those of us in California though, we are blessed with having to abide by the states regulations on smog (emission controls). I find myself torn in this argument, so bear with me…

California has been cracking down on air pollution ever since the smog and congestion issues brought up by scientists of global warming research and development labs across the state in the late 1970s. Part of me totally understands where this comes from, and I support solutions for cleaner air and making less of an impact on our already polluted global environment. But on the contrary, the enthusiast side of me feels attacked and targeted by these rules and regulations set in place, because they are contradictory to their state’s arguments. The state supports electric cars which require energy usage in the process of building said cars – it just doesn’t make sense. But that’s a whole other article that we will touch base on in due time. My point here is that because of the state’s efforts to keep air clean, we suffer from having to deal with a ridiculous amount of emissions controls on our vehicles.

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So, when it comes to getting an import registered in the state, it has to go through this whole process of being brought up to factory spec (so it runs right), having numerous amounts of emissions controls added onto the car, and then it has to be sent to a state-certified laboratory to get tested. From there, once testing is successful (it costs a lot of money each time it fails), it gets sent to the California Highway Patrol for further inspection, and finally completed with a sticker placed on the inner door jam, for proof of completion.

But wait, there’s more.

Now that you’ve gone through this entire process, you have to take your mountain of paperwork to the Department of Motor Vehicles, or as I like to call it, Satan’s first home. You will be greeted with a few hours of wait time, which ultimately leads you to a confused worker who has no idea how to process Japanese import documentation, because well, it’s in Japanese. You will get a supervisor involved, they will turn you away multiple times, but as I mentioned before, you must stand your ground, and eventually you will prevail.

If I lost you anywhere in that explanation, don’t feel bad. It’s totally okay to feel frustrated and confused. But think of this – my car is what set the standard for that type of process. Imagine how many people were involved, how many issues and hoops Sean had to jump through in order to get this down right, as a process, so he could replicate it more efficiently for future enthusiasts. Maybe now, people will understand why California cars are always so sought after when compared against out-of-state-titled cars.

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Is it worth it? Probably not, as it would be easier to just title it out of state, as many seem to get away with going that route anyways. But one thing is certain, once you nail this process and have it complete, you will be headache-free for as long as you own the car. Some may even argue that they would never want to live in a state where you have to deal with this type of governing, and that’s absolutely okay.

I for one, love it here in California. There is nowhere else in the world where I can wake up on an early November morning, where the sun is shining bright and temperatures are at a cool 70 degrees, and make my way towards the beach, whilst driving scenic mountain roads and stopping in the city for some Philz Coffee on the way – all in any single given day.

OEM+
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So let’s dive back into details of my car’s progress. Shortly after the headache was over, I found myself at a fork in the road. By no means am I tooting my own horn here or anything, but when you finally own a piece of significant history, in a place where most have only heard or read about the car, you almost feel obligated to preserve it.

On one hand, I wanted to create a full-blown tribute to the Group A racers of the 1990s. On the other, the modest purist in me wanted to keep it as original as possible, as if I was responsible for portraying what a factory example GT-R truly was to California enthusiasts. So what better way to find a happy medium between the two than to go OEM+?

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I knew I’d be using the car for its initial purpose – driving hard – so my first priority was to get everything up to proper spirited-driving spec. As with any 25-year-old car, the bushings were pretty worn, the suspension was quite soft, and the ride height was unbearable. My solution ended up being a gorgeous set of Öhlins DFV series coilovers, new bushings all around, and a lowered ride height for a better center of gravity. Of course, maintenance like fluid changes, coil packs, and MAF cleaning was taken care of as well.

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Now that things were grounded, I began the hunt for the few Nismo bits on the car. I scavenged the Japanese auctions for months, bidding and constantly losing to Japanese locals on all of the old original parts. But eventually luck struck, and I found myself taking delivery of authentic Nismo N1 bumper vents and Nismo N1 six-piece side skirts, the two most critical parts in R32 aesthetics.

From there, I felt that the car needed just a tad bit more, so I went ahead and purchased the carbon AB Flug front lip, carbon Fujimura Rocket Dancer wing gurney, and the carbon Top Secret rear diffuser.

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Whilst searching for more aesthetics, I came across a pair of Trust rear bumper spats and a pair of Ganador mirrors, which I quickly jumped on as well. And I’m glad I did; they add subtle touch of aggressiveness, and further help enhance the aerodynamics on the car.

Wanting to keep true to the OEM+ look, I had my mind made on a good set of Nismo LMGT-2 wheels to rebuild. The problem was, they’ve always been difficult to come across in the States. But one night, while I was chatting with a buddy from Fresno about other wheel choices as I had nearly given up, he mentioned that there was a dealership local to him that had an old beat up Z31 sitting on their lot, with the LMGT-2s in factory spec on the car. He asked me what I’d be willing to pay for them, and the next day went to the used car lot and asked the owner if he’d sell just the wheels. After some back and forth negotiation, the wheels were purchased on my behalf.

A week later, I picked up the wheels and immediately dropped them off to my buddy Jesse over at Griplow for refinishing. I’ve always been intrigued by wheels, and had have owned quite a few sets that were refinished by Jesse for previous builds. But these wheels were special in a sense that they were going on my ultimate pride and joy. After discussing some fitment requirements, the overall specifications came out to be 18×10-inch +13 up front with high back-padding, and 18×10-inch +11 in the rear with low back-padding, resulting in 3.5 and 4-inch lips respectively.

Fitment was spot on for the look I was going for, sitting a few millimeters outside the fender wells, with 245/35R18 Federal 595 RS-RRs all around. Technically, I should’ve gone with something in the 17×9-inch range for proper OEM+ fitment, but being the stance-loving kid I am, I couldn’t help but fully fill the wheel arches for that ultimate hovercraft look.

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Moving on to inside the car, everything was already perfect. Since my GT-R was maintained fairly well by the previous owner in Japan, there were no common R32 bubbles or cracks on the dash, no faded trim pieces, and all of the door panels and seats still had their proper fastening equipment on them. Because of this, I couldn’t find it in me to make any drastic changes to the interior, other than upgrading the front seats to R34 GTR V-Spec items, which matched up quite perfectly with the rest of the interior.

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There are a few other changes that are currently in the works for the car, including some touch-ups from the abuse it’s sustained on mountain roads over the past couple of years. You’ll notice some road rash and a few chipped pieces on the carbon accents of the car, but overall, I’m quite content with where it sits. I can proudly say I’ve got it dialed in to a point where I’ve kept up with, and even surpassed some supercars in the back roads that I frequent. It still blows me away with how well this car perform.

More Than Just A Car
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Deriving from the chapter title, this car has served me more than just being a fun mountain carver. Sure, owning it comes with many perks, and on contrary, a mildly annoying amount of attention, but all of that is overseen when I think of the bond I’ve formed with the car. Whether it be going out on a spirited run with fellow enthusiasts, or simply washing the car on an easy Sunday afternoon, the car has become it’s own network in a sense.

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Prior to ownership of this car, I felt like I was trapped in some sort of bubble. I’d always been interested in a broad array of different platforms – everything from new-age supercars down to early-’60s econo-shit-boxes. But for some reason, I wasn’t able to make connections with the owners of those vehicles. Maybe it was because my last build was rocking -10 degrees of camber, so most enthusiasts probably couldn’t take me seriously when I’d reach out. Or maybe it was because of the ‘guilty by association’ mentality that comes with owning a Subaru or BMW.

Regardless, the GT-R serves as a tool to get that initial conversation going, and it’s helped me build some seriously awesome relationships with people that I can now call friends.

I’ve successfully managed to create a network not only for myself, but for people around me as well. Over the passed two years, I’ve organized some sort of driving event almost every weekend, even when the weather has not been in our favor. Just look at some of photos of my last major driving event, Tour De’ West, which was comprised of everything from a multi-million dollar Ferrari 250GT Lusso down to a Nissan 240SX.

How often can you say you’ve seen that sort of diversity in a group of enthusiasts, sharing the love of sheer driving pleasure, together?

Or take a look at some of these pans shot by a good friend of mine that I met whilst driving. Daniel spends his weekends out on Bay Area back roads, snapping pics of all the crazy stuff flying around out there. He’s kind of like our own personal track photographer. Who does that? You have to have some serious passion for photography and cars to be willing to spend that much time in a hobby where you’re not being paid for it. But Daniel’s passion prevails forward, and his friendship circle constantly grows with it.

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If it wasn’t for owning the GT-R and getting out on the road to drive, I would’ve never met him, or any of the other like-minded individuals that I now know and share my passion with. I can’t say this enough, but I’m truly humbled by these people, and grateful that we’ve all made some sort of connection in some way, shape, or form.

This has been more than just a build for me, it’s become the epitome of my life. As the car progresses into its better future self, so do I.

I’m An Open Book
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I’ll cut the rest of this short, as we’ve covered quite a few different topics. There are plenty of other stories that I’ll be sharing with you all in the near future. I’ll leave room for a gallery, and also want you guys to know that I’m a complete open book when it comes to the comments section.

Please, feel free to chime in and let me know your thoughts on everything I’ve talked about here, whether it’s asking me questions about the community, myself, processes of importing cars, or critiquing my choice of mods. Don’t be shy, I’m all ears.

Naveed Yousufzai 
Instagram: eatwithnaveed

Cutting Room Floor
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119 comments

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1

I googled the GTR prototype image. and it thinks its, 2017 legacy 2.5 i premium

XDDD

Author2

sounds about right...lol!

3

Godaaaammmm the pics...and also .shout out bayroadsap . And for some reason my fav pic is the red z and you.
Let's keep handing out these bus passes.
Congrats Naveed

Author4

LMFAO Thanks Ricko! Lets link soon!

5

I almost lost nnn to this post ;)
In all seriousness, great write and gorgeous cars.

Author6

Thank you!

7

The R32 was what got the GTR the Godzilla name and even for a 25-year old car it is my dream car as the modern classic
And finally we get the R33 and I have been fond of the non-GTR coupe
I wish we can get the R34 tho

Author8

Yup, the R32 is THE OG! And only about 5 years to go before we can have a go at the R34!

9
Marius Engen Skinnes

For some reason the R34 is already stupidly expensive. I wonder if it's going to be more expensive in 5 years..?
Great article, car and photos :)

10

What a nice ride! There is a ton of these in Canada, most of them totally clapped out, so it’s a treat to see one this nice. Those wheels are dope AF.

Author11

Much appreciated! As I'm sure you're aware, Canada's 15-year rule meant you guys got first dibs! Tons of nice rides out there still, though many are hidden.

12
Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Inb4 Supra fanboys be hating on you for selling off your Mk. IV for its rival. XD

Nice car though. The LM-GT2 is a timeless design. Nismo sure knows how to design their wheels, however the same cannot be said for the Nismo GT-R's TE37-like design...

Author13

Haha! In all honesty, the Supra is one hell of a car, but out of all of the JDM choices around, I firmly stand behind the GTR.

And I agree, the new GTR wheels don't do much for me. But all the old stuff from Nismo is very well thought out. Which is probably why they fetch a premium.

14

but...what are your lap times?

Author15

Sadly, no seat time on the course just yet, but that's soon to change =)

16

YES!

17

With three SpeedHunters each on the R32, 33 & 34, the trio is finally complete! Now look for someone who has a hako...

Author18

It might be coming sooner than you think =)

19

You, sir, are living my dream in my hometown!!
90% of your pictures are shot at places I took my own car to for photos as well, and I drove these roads all the times. This bring back so much memories with the cars and the people I've met on these roads.
Congratulation! I wish you nothing but the best. I will say hi to you whenever I see you on these mountains.
I totally agree with you; California Government is a sh!t hole assault on all our constitutional rights!

20

Why do people in California complain about the carb laws and such? You do know that your rules and regulations are actually quite lax? Ok, you do have restricting import laws. But once beyond that you can do almost everything with your car and there is no checkup whatsoever. There is a reason Europeans and Australians see a difference in "Road Legal", and "American Road Legal".... Most, if not all modified cars from America wouldn't be road legal over here. And yes, we also have a equivalent of CARB/smog test each and every year for the first 30 years of the car, and every 2 years after that. Only exceptions are cars from 1960 and before.

So really: Stop complaining, since your rules are a joke to say the least....

21

because in relation to other states where we live CA is strict. we compare state to state here because its where we live. must be a difficult concept for people to understand with all those regulations to sort through ;)

22

Not for me as a citizen of the World, But it must be for people in California? Because thats the only reason I can think of to make such a comment?

23

"citizen of the world" what are you a vogue model?

24

Nope, just somebody who's lived on either side of the pond. What are you a retard?

25

no one liked your comment

26

I understand, in Europe and Australia, the rules are 10x stricter and much worst than California. We have it lucky here that the Police does not enforce the law 100% of the time. If the Police were going by the book at all times, much more than half of the cars on the roads would be pulled over for tickets. Our "enthusiast cars" are on a rolling dice everyday on the road; if we happen to meet a policemen looking for his monthly quotas, he can give you a bunch of "fix it tickets" in on instances. It's a nuisance, and under their eyes, our cars are criminals equivalents. =[

27

It isn't so much the police over here, as it is the yearly checkup. They check for pollution and comformity. So you can mod the car, but cant alter the wheelbase or trackwith for instance. Or something simple like the window tint. You can't alter structural parts under any means, or put an engine in that didn't come with the model in the car. Not that you would pass the emissions tests anyhow....
If you do any of the above it can still be done, but you will need to have it checked and approved on a vehicle to vehicle basis. So that means after every build part a checkup is needed. Then its signed of if done right, and you cant alter it no more. Thats a process that goes back and fort for a long while, until eventually the car is built and is submitted for road tests on a closed track. Once that is done the engine of choice still needs to meet factory emissions, and once thats done it's time to get it insured, which is a hassle in itself. And thats when the yearly checkups begin.

There was a time that cops just wrote tickets on just every every mod there was on a car. But luckily the same rules apply for the cops. So they are regulated as well. A lot of tickets got overturned once you new the instructions which they have to follow before writing a ticket. So I would say its hassle free, but is is manageable. So long as you stick to rules your fine. But rules are there for a reason. Most of the ticketing is actually thanks to the community itself: Keep it in check and it'll be fine....

28

Well, that sounds like an easy version of the Swedish modification laws ;)

Currently working on registering my modifications (nothing major). To give you a hint... I have to install larger brakes since the car got a new intercooler, and it lost some weight. Stock gtr is too powerful and I need to file for increased engine power acceptance, up to a maximum 20kw /100kg car..

29

There is more involved then the ones mentioned above. Although I'm totally not aware of the Swedish Laws regarding cars. 20KW / 100KG? Is that age restricted, or just general? Because that would a shit ton of cars would be illegal over there?

Porsche 911 turbo (2009) for instance:
368KW
1545KG
So that cant be right?

Or did you mean a maximum increase of 20KW or a decrease of weight with a maximum of 100KG?

Over here a 40% increase in power is exceptable as a maximum. But they don't measure power at the yearly checkup. You can run way higher outputs as long as you keep the engine that comes with the car or was used in its models lineup. They don't have dyno's during the yearly checkup, so as long as your emissions check out your fine. I have run a 400% increase without any real issues in the emissions department. You just need to set it up correctly....

Author30

Thank you Dante! I genuinely appreciate that, and I look forward to meeting you up there! That's what driving up there is all about!!

31

wow Naveed aside from the style of wheels you almost all incorporate with your cars.
The history lesson on GTR you have quite an undertaking on the best of Japanese Automotive Industry.
You tasted them all super envy here.
Plus your girl is reallllllyyyyy COOL.

And showing us all how GTR's are made in California you are definitely doing California right.

Author32

I appreciate the kind words Allan! It's a passion that I live by, and I genuinely enjoy sharing it with all of you! And yes, she is totally amazing! =)

33

can't wait for your next update on your Project.

34

that license plate, YEN! why YEN?

Author35

Japanese currency! It felt appropriate some how =)

36

Well done! Where did you get your Ohlins set from?

Author37

Bought through a dealer that was able to purchase from Japan. For some reason, they only offer the R32 coilovers in Japan, so you have to go throughs someone that can purchase from there.

38

>baww baww such stringent regulations about clean air!
Well if you murricans wouldn't be so careless when it comes to things like pollution, then you wouldn't have to deal with such laws..but alas..

Author39

Fair enough, I'm sure some places have it worse. I was just looking to share my own personal experience is all! Cheers!

40

I think the mods you've done to the GT-R are super tasteful and respectful of it's heritage, nice write up!

Author41

Much love, thank you!

42

Beautiful R32, looks great, one of the best I've seen. I suppose I should've anticipated that once they turned 25, we'd start seeing some great US-modified examples. To me it looks "OEM++" - with the 18" wheels and rear blade, you've gone one step beyond OEM+, but still in the same tasteful, appropriate direction.

Also a very engaging, open write-up, a good read, thanks. I've no problem with your fanboyism, but I'd have to respectfully disagree with the idea that the BNR32 is unambiguously 'the almighty' of the Japanese performance cars. I think motorsport enthusiasts recognise that sustained success is one part technical merit, one part marketing budget and two parts corporate and ruling body politics.

Ultimately what made the period 1989-93 so special is the sheer diversity of approaches to performance. To contrast, your girlfriend's NSX undoubtedly makes a purer induction howl and carries less weight over the nose, as well as having a lower centre of gravity and that link back to Ayrton Senna. On the other hand, the BNR32 has that tuneable turbo engine and ATTESA 4WD. I don't think you can really say that one of these approaches is *better* than another, any more than Chinese food is *better* than Italian, they're just different. The joy of the early-nineties was that different Japanese manufacturers offered so many flavours of performance, all done with an absolute dedication to technical excellence, almost regardless of cost.

Author43

OEM++, I like that analogy!

Totally agreed, the NSX and the GTR are both VERY good in their own ways.

And thank you for the kind words! I just wanted people to be able to have some sort of insight from someone who has went through the process, and what kind of experiences future enthusiasts may encounter.

44

Stop whining about that regulations. Living in California must have at least some downsides :P

Author45

Haha fair enough!

46

Clean!
I’d go for a little less stretch/offset/camber but I can dig it!! How much do you like the Ohlins dampers?

Author47

This is the second set of Ohlins I've had on a car, and I can vouch they are PERFECT for street cars with occasional track sessions. A buddy of mine is running them on his track car, and he loves them just as much as i love mine! Definitely would recommend!

48

With all respect, how much would it cost me to take it off your hands?

Author49

HAHA! I was waiting for this one. Gonna have to be a good offer to pry it from me!

50

Seriously, how about $50k?

51

Naveed, my question is quite different from those that others may have. How does the South Asian representation (I am a US born Indian) fare in California's car culture?

Author52

One thing I know for certain, is that I've found the car community to be one of the few outlets in the world where race, gender, etc are hardly ever an issue. Especially here in California, melting pot of the world. I have friends from all over the world, with all sorts of backgrounds and political preferences, and never has it become an issue, nor do I believe it should. So I'd say its not an issue.

53

That tittle is soo wrong. That's not the first street legal GT-R

Author54

Under the 25-year rule, it sure is.

55

I’m 16, and I saw you were able to get the z3 so I started telling myself that’s doable , then I see “supra shortly after highschool “ and I realized I was not going to relate to this at all lol, I’ve been saving my money for an e36 m3 tho!!

Author56

You absolutely can, you just gotta find your hustle my friend! Work hard, as cliche as that is. Anything is possible. If you would've told me that I would own a Skyline at some point in my life 5 years ago, I wouldnt have believed you. But here I am. Truly grateful of it too, but I've worked very hard to get here, and if I can do it, anyone can.

57

Have never understood why people will spend so much money on a car and then run a tire like Federal. Put some proper rubber on there those tires are garbage.

58

I figure if he's planning on tracking the car, he's probably going to have a completely different wheel and tire setup.

Author59

I'd beg to differ. To each their own though I guess.

60

Fair enough, but tires aren't really a subjective thing. I could see it for a street car but think as you get more into tracking it you will find the flaws and adjust. You seem like a smart guy and the car is great. First thing I always look at is tires though.

You can tell a lot about a person from what tires they put on a vehicle. Not saying anything about you just builds in general.

Author61

I agree with that, I think the Federal's do extremely well for being a bang for the buck street tire that performs well under harsh driving conditions. But I'm certain there are better tires out there as well, which I'll eventually start looking more into as I start getting track time in the car.

62

Naveed - hit up YouTube for a comparison of the RE71R vs the Rival S 1.5 vs the Federals you run. three autocrossers did a comparison that was great. Federals on average across 3 drivers in 3 different cars were over 1.4 seconds slower. not a small amount of time.

63

Totally agree with this, but I actually run the 595rs-rr's on my e36 m3. Too expensive to run "track" tires on the street, the federals might be seconds behind re71 on the track, but do well enough on highway on ramps.

64

I seriously want one so bad my gosh. And may I ask where in the bay you live? Somehow I never seem to find good backroads to be driving around in that area, since I always think california is flat and straight as hell with their roads.

Author65

There's nice roads all over the bay area man! I'm in the east bay and these roads are in the west bay near 1!

66

I knew I shouldn't read this article. You just made my inner self to buy more project cars. And send my cash flying..

Author67

So long as you're being wise my friend! Make things happen, passion is never something to put constraints on! =)

68

Love the GTR but what hood scoop is that on your 06 STI? I'm trying to find one like that as I went FMIC on mine too.

Author69

Thank you! The hoodscoop on the STI was the ARC reverse hoodscoop!

70

Dang, those things are hens teeth! I've been looking for one for 2 years and only had one slip through my fingers. I wish someone else made something similar

71

Most enjoyable SH article in a hot minute. Great taste in cars... Do you also own the e36 pair in the driveway? I absolutely love my e36 m3 sedan, most enjoyable car I have driven on the street.. Complete opposite of the honda s2000 I owned previously but I also loved that car. Not a bad r32 GTR either!

Author72

Much appreciated man! Thank you! And the two in the driveway were mine, but I sold both earlier this year.

73

It's interesting to read about California's rules, because it seems like you guys have to deal with a tiny little harmless version of what we here in Germany have to deal with for the TÜV-checks and road-legal-status of an imported and/or modified car.

Author74

I've heard about Germany's intense road legality rules. I applaud those who still find it in them to build some nice cars out there, even with those types of restrictions. I will say though, I've seen some crazy builds out there, so if they were able to get away with it and figure it out, I think anyone else can, too.

75

Yep, you hit the nail in the head. It's the same with gas actually: 91 is a MON/RON rating, where 95 over here is a 93 RON rating. So it's about the same as what we have here. But they have piss poor gas.... What do you expect, at those prices your paying for it????

76
Prince Tattooing

OH
MY
That's simply amazing. Naveed, you have just crowned yourself as my fav speedhunter.
Seriously, your writing is engaging, ideas for articles are always fresh, and DAMN, THOSE PICTURES!
Your photography is stunning, thank you so much for sharing it here, this stuff made me fell in love with JDM and Cali all over again.
That's like a perfect match :)

Author77

I genuinely appreciate the love and support man! I'm glad we can relate that California and JDM go hand in hand! Ha!

78

Man, that is one awesome collection of cars you've had. So many great vehicles.

Author79

Appreciated! They all were amazing in their own ways, and of course, I wish I could've kept them all lol.

80

Dude. This gave me LIFE this morning! I am going to build a 1/24th scale version of it. I have everything stashed somewhere around my hobby area. Instagram: @tonio_seven

Author81

Send me some pics when it's done! would love to see that!

82

Will do!!

83

Great read, great photos! This really brings back memories of my former cars. I totally get what you're saying about the older cars and the feeling it brings you. My oldest car STILL is the best car for driver feel and connection I've ever had with a car and I still regret selling it some 10 years ago. I think we all have that one that got away.

Author84

Thank you!

Yes, exactly! I find it difficult even trying to put the feeling into words or explaining it in person. It's just one of those things where you experience it, and immediately just KNOW.

85

That MID-4. I think I know where the NSX got much of their design cues from...

Loving this article as I mentioned to you. Think I have read it 3 times now. Certainly not helping with my R32 GTR desire, damn you!!

Brandon

Author86

Could the MID-4 be the OG NSX?... or could it be vice versa?? lol. We'll never know!

And thank you for the kind words friend! Please, Buy one!! You wont regret it and I think it'll add to your awesome cars!

87

Naveed you are my favorite SH writer and one of my favorite photographers, keep up the amazing work.

Author88

Much love, thank you!

89

The state supports electric cars which require energy usage in the process of building said cars – it just doesn’t make sense. But that’s a whole other article that we will touch base on in due time.

Naveed!

Before you write that article, you should probably watch this video by Jason Fenske over at Engineering Explained. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RhtiPefVzM

Like you, I was pretty much on the "HEY, WAIT JUST A DOGGONE MINUTE HERE" bandwagon re: California and electric cars - but then Jason did the math for us, and now I'm all about "BRING ON MOAR TESLA POWERED 1949 MERCURYS!"

CARB is a huge pain in the ass - but getting there is not impossible (as you showed), and on the bright side it means that Los Angeles doesn't look like this anymore:
1959: https://i.imgur.com/lnEHk11.png
2017: https://i.imgur.com/bYaX6UJ.jpg

Author90

Thanks for the video link! I just finished watching it and though his article seems to be quite robust, I will say some of that information is left hanging. For example, he makes a statement of lithium only being mined from deserts of countries like Chile, where hardly any life form exists. But that's not entirely true, as lithium is also mined in countries like Afghanistan, where people live all throughout the country, including the desert like areas. With that said, the water being used for the mining can indeed put a strain on its society. Regardless though, I definitely thought things through a bit more from that info! Great stuff!

91

My first impressions of GTRs were from Gran Turismo. Then came Fast and Furious. I always liked the R34, then I moved from the R34 as my fav to the R33 just because of the cleaner lines. Well seeing your car, I now have a favorite. Man the wheels, stance and the body pieces you have REALLY go well together. Amazing car! I hope you feel proud driving it.

Author92

Thank you, Travis! I absolutely do! I love it dearly and take great pride in ownership of it, not only because it's an awesome car, but also because of how awesome the Skyline community is!

93

Excellent write up. I love history so thoroughly enjoyed reading about your own personal journey as well as getting educated at the same time. WELL DONE 9

Author94

Appreciated James, I tried! Ha!

95

Ok, hold up. Everything before the Supra was before finishing high school?

Author96
Naveed Yousufzai

Just about. I had a problem very early on haha

97

broke my neck when i saw this on woodside rd.

Author98
Naveed Yousufzai

Always out there!

99

Amazing article and car, congratulations man

Author100
Naveed Yousufzai

Much appreciated, thank you!

101

California's emissions regulations are only difficult for direct import because there's a hard date of 1973 phase-in for emissions compliance, other states are a rolling 25 year exemption.

The RB26, even stock, was not a very clean-running engine. No EGR system really affected the NOx output. Cold start HC/CO emissions are also high due to the lack of secondary air injection and other tricks to help heat up the catalytic converters quickly. Fixed valve timing is also suboptimal for emissions and response.

Don't get me wrong, I think CARB is nuts for mandating OBD2 on direct import for 1996+ (series 2, 3 R33 + all R34) but I don't think they're necessarily wrong to mandate a certain emissions standard for direct import cars after 1973.

Author102
Naveed Yousufzai

Some valid points here, I must say that the RB26 loves to run rich lol.

103

Yeah, it runs extremely rich on boost. I think it would be interesting to see water injection + more modern fuel injectors to see if you could run closer to ideal power AFR (~13:1 on gasoline) and get more response that way.

104

Awesome content, keep up what you are doing both in your garage and photography! Choice pieces and fantastic build, I loved seeing it up at Alice's this summer.
Inspiring me to continue my OEM+ build - subtle yet sublime under the right set of eyes (or driver)

Author105
Naveed Yousufzai

Thank you! Will do my best!! And OEM+ is the best way to go man! Cant ever go wrong with simplicity!

106

How can you expect the audience to read all this?
I certainly don't have time. The article states a Skyline R32, and you gave us a shit more reading prior to that that is useless.....gotta keep it short and sweet! People that follow the history of the Skyline know about Sean Morris and Motorex.

Author107
Naveed Yousufzai

You are literally the only person I've heard say this? I think most of our readers enjoy actually reading, like books and stuff. I respect your opinion though, so no worries if you did not enjoy the read. Hope you at least liked the photos.

108

Naveed, with all the due respect, the article was too long for me. I didn't care much about how many cars you've owned prior to the R32, I felt it was unnecessary. The title
said R32, I wanted to read about the R32. Then you went into the very beginning, history and what not...and how great the older Skylines were so great.....so you lost me, you know why? Because it sounds so cliche'.
In all honesty, I stopped following Speedhunters many years ago. Much jaded about the whole slammed/ stance scene, and it seems Speedhunters to these days still covers much of that. Occasionally I check it, I scroll thru pictures and I see nothing changed! Great pics, the content, as far as writing; it doesn't say much to me. Not technical, not articulated....it mostly based on opinions....and we all know everyone's got one.

Author109
Naveed Yousufzai

Fair enough, we'll have to disagree here and move on. Thanks for your inputs.

110

عکسها واقعا عالی بود و از مطالعه متن واقعا لذت بردم، موفق باشید

Author111
Naveed Yousufzai

متشکرم! من از آن قدردانی میکنم

112

amazing! beautiful! perfect! congrats on this car, I'm so jealous!!!

Author113
Naveed Yousufzai

Don't be jealous, get out and get one!

114

I really appreciate the story and it was nice to hear that it is possible. I understand it might take a lot of time, money and effort, but I feel in the end it will be worth it. And to think this will differentiate your car from others on the roads in California. Since your car has been through the process an you have some insights, how would this apply to other vehicle imported from Japan, be it a car that was available here in the states or not? Examples, Supra, NSX, Stagea Wagon, etc. Any info would be appreciated.

Author115
Naveed Yousufzai

Thank you Mike. Most of the same can be done for anything 95 and older, and costs vary from around 4,000 to upwards of 10k or so. I believe it just depends on the complexity, but I know that GTR's are the most expensive, being at that 10k mark. Mine was actually more since it was basically the test mule.
However, post 1995 cars will be a mission on their own. lol. I believe talks are that they'll have to be converted to OBDII, which is going to be a nightmare. It will probably cost around 25-35k for cars post 95 because of this.

116

Forget 25-35k. If it's not already OBD2 compliant IVI estimates that it will be closer to 45-50k in the case of something like a series 2/3 R33 GT-R or R34 GT-R.

117

If you don't mind, what kind of modifications/alterations had to be made to the R32?

118

AFAIK, it takes something like new catalytic converters welded to the downpipe/front pipe, tweaking the engine ignition timing, and new fuel injectors. It passes, but without much margin. Advancing timing causes you to generate more NOx, pulling timing creates more HC/CO. Balancing the timing keeps both low enough to pass.

You can fix this by using HKS VCAM or swapping RB25 NEO heads with VCT, but that's a much more expensive solution.

119

Cars are clean tho.

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