You guys didn’t really think I would do an entire month’s worth of homologation cars without mentioning Godzilla did you?
By this point, I’m going to go ahead and assume everyone is already fairly versed in the significance of Nissan’s BNR32 Skyline GT-R. After all, we’ve done the car some serious justice in previous stories.
But to briefly touch base on its past, at its launch it was the most technologically advanced Japanese car, it held the unofficial lap record at the Nürburgring for some point, and it still holds quite an appealing racing saga under its belt even by modern standards. In other terms, it’s arguably one of the best cars to come out of Japan.
I may be a bit biased in saying that, since I own one as well, but the truth of the matter is – and I’ve covered this in depth with the story on my own car – that these achievements are precisely what courted us Nissan and Datsun enthusiasts to the GT-R in the first place.
Before I get caught up in passionate stories of Godzilla’s pedigree, I’ll pivot back into the purpose of this article: the homologated GT-R.Nissan Motorsports, Also Known As Nismo
On February 22, 1990, the world was greeted with the ‘Evolution’ edition of the already iconic R32 GT-R, Nissan rightfully naming it after its internal motorsport segment – Nismo. Though the GT-R had already been released the year prior, Group A homologation regulations required 500 units of the race-version GT-R be produced for road-going purposes in order to compete.
Nissan graciously abided, and developed 500 Nismo production cars, plus an additional 60 that were kept to turn into race cars.
At first glance, the Nismo R32’s variability may seem negligible. It comes off as a standard R32 GT-R, sharing timeless factory box flares and quintessential circular tail lights. But the key characteristics begin to expose themselves when noting the little details.
Subtle aerodynamic improvements included two box-shaped opening ducts on the front bumper for better airflow to the intercooler. Nissan also removed the honeycomb front mesh guard for the intercooler, so that air would be 100% restriction free. The bonnet retained a modest lip to improve air guidance to the engine, and the boot received a lip spoiler under the wing to further enhance downforce as well.
Lastly, the original two-piece side skirts were scrapped in favor of the Group A-styled six-piece side skirts with teardrop rear spats, and the rear wiper was deleted to save weight and help rid drag.
Paint options were kept minimal – the Nismo edition R32 GT-R was only offered in the KH2 color code, also known as Gun Grey Metallic, and the only Nismo badge found on the exterior would be a now ‘old logo’ circular sticker on the top rear right portion of the boot lid.
Inside the cockpit, the majority of the comfort features were retained with the exception of the radio tuning controls on the dash, as the radio was only offered as an option. The Nismo in this feature does have the option equipped, and the owner has also opted for a rare knee pad rest on the door panel, as well as a deeply sought after 330mm Nismo steering wheel.
Lastly, the most notable difference would be found within the gauges and tachometer of the car, where max speed shows 260km/h instead of the usual 180km/h found in a standard GT-R, with both sporting Nismo stamps. This was essentially due to the removal of the top speed limiter, as the Nismo also received extra horsepower.
Perhaps the most significant differentiators with the Nismo are mechanical upgrades, which include cross-drilled brake rotors, a 3-inch stainless steel cat-back exhaust, stainless exhaust manifolds, beefed up dampers, front and rear strut tower braces, LMGT wheels, and of course upgraded Garrett T04B turbochargers.
On top of the performance gains, all of these upgrades resulted in 67lbs (30kgs) being shed from the original car’s overall curb weight, while adding a bit more power as noted prior. The overall result is a modestly enhanced driving experience that feels nimbler and more balanced than the ‘regular’ GT-R.
Oddly enough, there’s five of these very special cars in our NorCal owners group, and since many of the described characteristics were supposedly options, they all seem to have been ordered in the same fashion by the original owners. All of the Nismo GT-Rs local to me are optioned with said features, which makes me curious if this was some sort of dealer gimmick or quirk that has yet to be investigated…A Nissan Kid
Owner Glenn Chiou became infatuated with Nissans after being fueled by Hollywood hits in the late 1990s. His passion falls into the Datsun lineage, specifically the 240Z. Glenn explains, “Why the Z? Because it was obtainable, relatable, and for the most part, a bulletproof vintage car. I’ve always felt this about the Datsun and Nissan brand, hence why I am so committed to the success of Datsun historic racing.”
To elaborate on his point, Glenn has been racing in vintage historic races like the Rolex Reunion for quite some time. He’s owned, and still owns quite a few iconic race cars driven by celebrity status racing drivers. You may have even seen him out on the track in Atlanta or Monterey at some point, giving Porsche 935s a run for their money.
With that in mind, it’s unchallengeable that Glenn resorted to the R32 GT-R Nismo specifically as his weekend warrior of choice. It had been a dream car of his since his teenage years, trumping over the later R33 and R34 models primarily due to its historical significance. And since the 25-year rule had officially given way, Glenn jumped at the first chance to purchase one of the homologated cars as soon as it hit the market.
It’s a little crazy to say, but this is probably one of the more normal cars you’ll find in his garage. There’s a handful of interesting projects going on there, that we’ve planned on eventually sharing with you guys in the future.
But until then, I’ll hold you over with a few more photos of this rare and iconic beauty.