Project GT-R Meets Sparco SPX Carbon Seats

“What’s happened to Project GT-R?”

You wouldn’t believe how many times I get asked this, and rightly so. My good ol’ BNR34, which in around two months’ time will turn 20 years old, has been slowly progressing, even while on the back burner.

No matter how much love we have for our cars, life and work commitments will always get in the way. In my case, raising three kids has certainly taken its toll on the ‘Dino fleet’ of project cars. It all comes down to time management; these days I have a lot less spare time to go around, but you deal with it and keep pushing forward, which is what I’ve been able to do with the GT-R over the last year since its showing at the 2018 Tokyo Auto Salon.

I’ve set myself the goal to get everyone caught up on every progress step and addition that’s been made to the car over the last year, starting right here with the latest injection of love from a company that I’m humbled to have on-board with the project: Sparco.


Having direction when you strive to perfect a car is extremely important, and ever since I started modifying my Skyline, every upgrade and change has been made with the goal of modernizing it. I love the notion that a car that was a pretty big deal back in the late 1990s and early 2000s can still hold its head high against the latest crop of performance cars. And that’s pretty much what keeps my passion for the R34 alive; it’s that satisfaction of seeing it get better, a little faster, sharper around the corners, and now – or should I say soon – a little more comfortable.

Every new upgrade always starts with a delivery and what was shipped all the way from Torino in Italy is physically the biggest one I’ve ever received.


The courier ended up keeping the two massive cardboard boxes with blue Sparco logos printed on them, and that left me with two finely-packed objects at my front door entrance.

This delivery was made late at night, so I had to wait for the following day to photograph the unwrapping. It was torture – two obvious seat silhouettes just sitting there, with the scent of high-end leather more commonly found in prohibitively expensive supercars hanging in the air.


Shall we have a little peek?

You can probably imagine my excitement at this particular point in time.


And voilà, the surprise fully out of the bag – literally.

If Ever There Was Seating Perfection This Could Be It

I’ve sat in, driven, tested and photographed more than my fair share of cars over the years, and one thing I’ve always noticed is how damn hard it is to find a seat that not only feels supportive and comfortable, but one that keeps an element of comfort over extended use.

Buckets are great for half hour sessions around a race track, but deal with a fixed, thinly-padded race seat in a car you drive around on a daily basis and the novelty soon wears off. Then there’s design and construction; there are a ton of great-looking seats out there, but I’ve been disappointed countless times with both OEM and aftermarket offerings that after a while give you aches and pains.


It’s pretty much why I’ve always been against doing a seat change in the GT-R; in my mind the factory items are pretty close to perfection. In fact, I’ve always thought that when the time came to spice up the interior, I’d probably hand the car over to Robson Leather and have them fully reupholster the cabin.

But then Sparco released the SPX seat and I was instantly interested; the best solution would be combining the right seats with a matching re-trim of the interior. Genius.


The SPX is definitely not your average aftermarket seat. The best way to describe it would be aftermarket meets OEM, because that’s exactly what it is.

The underlying structure is what Sparco calls the SPX Modular Seating System, which means that this is the same basic seat setup that you’ll find in production cars like the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, the Lotus Evora R400, the Bugatti Chiron and the Koenigsegg Regera. Of course, each manufacturer customizes the design and finish, but at the core it’s very much the same. And how damn cool is that? It’s the best conversation-starter I’ve heard.

This SPX aftermarket offering boasts some pretty cool credentials, conforming to stringent OEM certifications for both construction and safety, which puts it at the very high end of the market. The bolstering and headrest is covered in soft Italian leather and the centers of the seat and backrest are finished in Alcantara for some added high-friction grip.


There’s double-density foam for added comfort and it’s all hand-stitched, finishing off with the embroidered Sparco logo on the headrests. One touch I really like is the connected harness openings; no longer will I need to struggle to push the buckle portion of my Takata Racing 4-point harness in and out of the tiny openings of the stock seats.


Around the back things only get better.


Sparco is one of Italy’s top carbon fiber producers, supplying auto-clave-made pre-preg material to manufacturers like Lamborghini and Alfa Romeo.


So it makes sense that they went all-out on this top-of-the-range seat, sculpting a very modern angular shape to the seat’s back. I think it will align just right with the R34’s interior design.

And all functionality will be retained too, as when you pull the leather strap on the each of the two seats they’ll tilt forward and allow full access to the rear seats. I noticed a cool detail of the strap – there’s an inner nylon section to it so that the leather doesn’t stretch or deform with continuous use. There’s also a fine adjustment knob to adjust the rake of the backrest.


Sparco’s ‘S’ logo is embedded into the back of the headrest and the harness opening is finished off with an aluminum trim, secured in place with exposed bolts.


I’m already starting to think that swapping these out for titanium equivalents would look amazing, at least to the rear seat passengers – i.e. my kids. Okay, that’s possibly overkill. [It's not. Do it. - PMcG]


As it sits, without the sliding mechanism and mounts, each seat hits the scales at 19kgs.

Hit play and you can see a quick video of the unboxing.

On To The Details

Speaking of mounts, there was another package that needed opening.


The contents of this box is what will allow for that important adjustability when fitting aftermarket seats.


Staring off with the spring-loaded sliding mechanism.


And then the actual seat mounts that Sparco custom made for me after sourcing an R33 GT-R in Italy.

Yes, an R33. The seat mounting points are the same on the R33 GT-R and R34 GT-R, hinting at just how similar the two cars really were.


I think my twin boys, aka The Terrors, are possibly more excited about seeing these leather-clad, carbon fiber works of art being fitted in Project GT-R than I am.

The Fitting

Ever since its last round of modifications courtesy of Ito-san at Do-Luck, Project GT-R has been living a life of leisure, parked in a warm and dry underground garage in central Ginza. My friend kindly offered up the empty car spot, which was previously occupied by his very own V-spec II Nür BNR34, that for the last six months has been in the capable hands of the folks at Omori Factory. We’ll soon see that car in full detail.

The next step will be to plan the seat installation, which should happen some time next month.


In the meantime though, as I touched on in the introduction, there are quite a few upgrades that need to be documented so I can bring everyone up to date with the current state of Project GT-R.

So, expect to see more very soon…

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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Sparco is the best!
They should definitely make household furniture

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I wouldn't be surprised if they already do that for other companies...


I learned it the hard way in a sparco sprint, during the 1200 km drive home when I bought my r32! Those seats look amazing, and remember that every day you get something done on your project, you get one step closer to the goal ;)

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Very true, one step closer to whatever goal the end goal will be haha.


Those seats look unreal! So keen for more project GT-R content (and that Omori factory V-spec II Nür)

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I've got a massive folder of pix on my desktop ready to be tapped into, need to get everyone caught up!


Get the titanium bolts. I don't even know why this was up for debate lol.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Uhm, very good point! hahaha


I never knew someone could take such beautiful photos of car seats before, hahaha. Anyway it should look right at home in the R34, and I'm really intrigued on what other mods you did to the car. Btw how much does the seat cost?


For $3k USD a piece you think they could've thrown in some titanium bolts.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I don't think that's a necessary part of the seat though ...


Those seats are a sight to behold. Well done. And admittedly it's been a month since I've managed to make my way back to Speedhunters unfortunately... and I somehow missed the color change on your Bayside Blue Beauty? How long ago did you get that done, and wow... just... that color is so nice. I cant even tell you how perfect I think that looks. Well done sir.


Nice seats Dino. Was planning on getting the recaro sportster for my GTR. But made me think twice when I've read your article. How much did these cost you?


I'm sure he got a discount in exchange for the review. Makes me wish there was some sort of discount available from all of SH's suppliers for being a regular reader of this site. They're all brands I'd seriously be interested in using in my own cars (these seats included, actually), but the prices on certain items make me lean toward settling on something else.


Its been a second since i came across this build. Sorry to say that the color you chose for the car is one of the more painful things ive ever seen. I fully understand you are free to do whatever you want and i respect that, but im being honest when i say it not only doesn't fit the car AT ALL, it just looks outright terrible. Lovely seats and im jealous either way, but goodness that overly reflective, baby diarrhea/vomit/dead fish green is just upsetting. Sometimes less is more... best of luck to the future with this R34.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

You are free to think whatever jordan, but it's not a color, it's a vinyl wrap :)


Man I was just thinking how good it all looks with the color and the wheels. Im usually pretty critical as well. I get the bayside blue is classic but like you said its a wrap so no harm done. Great job Dino, it all looks great.


Take it off, please! That car deserves to be blue and beautiful once again!!!


If you care about Bayside so much, just think of the wrap as him preserving the original paint.


That idea is too close to not using a car in order to preserve it for my comfort. Cars are meant to be used, paint is supposed to get rock chips, patina adds character and tells a story... usually a fun one...

Dino Dalle Carbonare

There's a reason I'm keeping the wrap as well. I think I may do a post on that...


That is one of the best looking seats I have ever seen. I am scared to see the cost of each seat. Good choice.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yeah, I don't think much comes close to be honest.


The Porsche GT fixed back buckets would give them a run for their money


Sorry, those were M-Spec ones which I think look decent too. But those Porsche...

Dino Dalle Carbonare

yeah a bit too Porsche for a GT-R me things :)


I was going to make a sarcastic comment about how its good you made sure the seats were so light in a car that weighs as much as a house...

...then I read the line about you having three kids. If you need to buy these seats then you damn well deserve to buy these seats. Anything to stop the stresses of parenthood LOL

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Well isn't 1,500 kg lightweight by today's standards? ;)


I guess that is true. Cars are heavy now huh?

Dino Dalle Carbonare

And getting heavier still... not all obviously.

Naveed Yousufzai


Dino Dalle Carbonare



I wish you are still using those BBS.
But I guess those wheels ain't cheap?

Dino Dalle Carbonare

It was only for last year's auto salon :(


I found one of your old post & saw you mentioned about it in comment section, I really love that wheels but I bet a set of that probably equals to 2-3 sets of Volk Racing wheels.


Nice work Dino !!
Long time coming but worth it in the end, right :)

Dino Dalle Carbonare

It always is Dave. Like I always stated when I embarked on chronicling the stagers of progression of the good old R34, taking it slow has something I've almost always tried to do. Aside from the fact that I like to feel every change and understand it, I've never been in a rush with this car. 20 years and counting. Fuck, how old does that make me sound lol


lol - not as old as me :)

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Nice! These seats truly have the OEM kind of look to them.


Aftermarket seats can really make or break a car, and I wasn't sure how this was going to turn out when you first mentioned them, Dino. But bloody hell, they do look good. Looking forward to seeing them installed.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I'm of the same opinion. I've seen stunning cars utterly ruined by crap seats, so this wasn't even something I was considering until I saw what the higher end of the market offers these days. Can't wait to get them installed and test them out


Hi Dino! Awesome Review, I'm looking forward fitted in the car. Little question: Have you installed new Brakes on your Skyline? Are there any details of them?

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yes, and that's a post that's coming up soon :)


Nice acquisition Dino, Read up on the weights and i'm seeing 28lbs, not 19 kg's.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I think that weight includes the slide rail & mounting bracket. I'll weight them properly during the fitting and compare them to stock


Swap in the titanium hardware !

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Haha I'm happy to see everyone likes this idea! Normal titanium or the heat treated one (rainbow effect)


really cool back design it feels like IRONMAN seat.


Damn Dino, those are some badass seats. Cut no corners and you will be rewarded. Great choice.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thanks Fabio!


Nice looking seats and pretty cool to get Sparco to make the seat rails to suit the GTR. From what i have seen that is one of the hard parts about fitting aftermarket seats to GT-R's from what i have looked into. What are the plans for the original seats?

Dino Dalle Carbonare

They will be wrapped up and kept in storage :)