If You Can Dream It, You Can Break It – Introducing Project Thirty Four

1999 was a bit of a strange year.

The world was braced for complete chaos as the Millennium bug ripped through computers faster than an itchy rash at Coachella. US President Bill Clinton was finally acquitted from having his stars & stripes rearranged by a White House intern, and the phrase ‘hashtag’ would’ve seen you arrested on conspiracy to sell weed.

Hell, a meme was just a foreign-sounding name.

But in between the weird was a bit of good. 1999 gave us arguably one of the best supercars of all time, the Mercedes CLK GTR. And for $1,499,950 less you could buy Gran Turismo 2, one of the best racing games of all time.

Seeing as Speedhunters is powered by Need for Speed those words should be muttered quietly, but I’ve been assured that for this one time only I’ve got a free pass. That, and I know Paddy loves a bash around the digital Nürburgring.

56

Not only did Gran Turismo revolutionise driving simulators on a mainstream scale, it changed my outlook on car culture forever.

While you could argue the series has lost its way a bit in recent years (it’s not much of a debate, it has) the first four games from 1997 through to 2004 remain some of the best racing games of all time.

45

Back then, I was 11-years-old and like most 11-year-old boys I’d developed a bit of an obsession for cars, thanks mainly to ‘old’ Top Gear during Clarkson’s merkin-for-hair era.

Put simply, if it was Italian with many vents or a swooping race car which shot fire, you had my 11-year-old attention. Then, along comes Gran Turismo – with all 45,000 variations of a Suzuki Alto Works – and suddenly my brain was poisoned forevermore.

What even is a Suzuki Alto Works? Why do I need so many versions? And why does an oil change almost double its horsepower?

8S4A0319

In reality, none of that mattered because it had already opened the door into Japanese car culture. A culture I’ve borderline obsessed over (a very Japanese approach ironically) for some 20 years now, and it’s all Gran Turismo’s fault.

That’s not to say other games didn’t try – the very first Need for Speed featured an NSX, RX-7 and Supra – but Gran Turismo did two things the others didn’t: car tuning and Nissan Skylines.

DSC05970

As a young boy obsessed with cars who hadn’t quite discovered the turmoil of females, my next logical obsession was numbers… or rather, Top Trumps.

‘Cus your love for a car could entirely be dictated by its vital stats – horsepower, 0-60mph and the all-important top speed. Throw tuning into the mix and all the standard rules go out the window. Tell an 11-year-old that a wacky-looking Nissan could be tuned to over 1000hp and you’ve created the ultimate Top Trumps top trumper.

The fact the Skyline GT-R looked like it’d crashed through Halfords in the process was just a bonus.

35

Skylines were iconic; they still are today. In the ’90s, after their initial dominance at Bathurst, tuning launched the Skyline to a stratospheric level – both in the virtual and real world.

Don’t forget this was a few years before The Fast and The Furious brought tuning culture to the mainstream, and connecting to the internet still sounded like R2-D2 was having a stroke.

DSC09984

What made GT-R tuning feel unique compared to everything else? The Japanese. If you presented a German man stood next to a Mercedes, suited & booted explaining cylinder head optimisation, 11-year-old me would’ve fallen asleep.

But show me a Japanese man in dungarees working in his garage – complete with some badly-translated subtitles reading ‘it gives great sensation of powerful feeling’ – and that seemed infinitely cooler than anything the western world could offer.

DSC00398

It’d take me a further 18 years to finally visit Japan, and it’s one of the few countries where the reality turned out to be far better than my imagination. Even if the culture of saying ‘yes, no problem’ to something which is actually a problem (and subsequently not possible) gets quite wearing.

02

Everyone loves an underdog. The Skyline GT-R shouldn’t be able to mix it with the best; it came at a time when Nissan was on the brink of bankruptcy. It chose turbochargers over displacement, four-wheel-drive over rear-wheel-drive. It stood out from the crowd without being ostentatious.

That attitude appeals much more to me than a traditional supercar; it represents the type of character I am. Happiest flying under the radar without making a fuss unless it’s necessary. Maybe that’s the real reason why Japanese culture stood out so much to me? Hideously introverted in day-to-day life but with a car that serves as an extension to your true character behind closed doors.

33

There was no promise that one day I’d own an R34 GT-R, even if my last dying words screamed ‘Smoookeeeyyy Nagaaataaa’ before performing harikari.

I’ve always looked at things in a horrendously logical way – great for accepting that luck and God doesn’t get you results, bad when you realise it’s only hard work and informed decisions which do. Ironic given my typical approach to buying cars.

DSC00921

It’s not so much that logic goes out the window, it’s just more that logic doesn’t exist in the first place.

Viewing a car, driving a car, checking its history. Leave that all behind.

If there was a WhatsApp group of car salesmen around the world, I’d be the statue they all pray towards for good luck. First car I bought? Japanese (EK Civic). First car I crashed? Japanese (EK Civic, obviously). First car I bought in the dark without driving? Japanese (RX7). First car I blew up? Japanese (RX7, absolutely blindingly obvious).

SH_SCENE_008

Skip forward a few years and that story repeated itself more times than I should probably admit to. Three RX7s (the most recent of which I still own is pictured above), two Civics, an S14a, Evo X and two Skyline GT-Rs later, I finally found myself in a position to buy an R34 GT-R.

This is the one Japanese car which had always escaped me. I’d use every excuse why – the R33 shares many parts with it, the R32 is the original – but the only reason was that I couldn’t afford it. Simple as that.

36

It’s a really odd feeling buying a car you’ve borderline worshipped for so long, one I feel has been watered down by various YouTubers making a fanfare for buying their dream car, inevitably selling it six months later and then buying their ACTUAL dream car all over again. And again. The influencer who cried wolf springs to mind…

29

The reality is, there isn’t a big fanfare. There’s equal parts of nervousness mixed with excitement – more in fact – because like the old saying ‘never meet your heroes’ there’s the real possibility your dream car might be a bit naff.

37

This is why I love the world of tuning so much. It doesn’t matter if it starts off a bit crap; you’ve got the freedom to refine it into your actual dream car. A dream which doesn’t require asking subscribers what colour you should wrap your own car – it’s your choice and spec no matter how wild or farfetched it seems.

That’s not a deliberate dig at any YouTube influencers, but rather the culture that manifests itself by taking a privileged experience and monetizing it for views.

34

The real problem with buying an R34 GT-R is the market. Not the lack of, the exact opposite in fact. It’s a car which is being crippled by two key words rapidly tainting interesting cars across the globe… ‘investment opportunity’.

30

Whatever happened to buying a car for an enjoyment opportunity? It seems the moment a car exceeds 20-years-old it’s immediately looked upon as a future classic. Doesn’t matter how terrible it was first time round, if it’s old and not rusty suddenly it’s a classic.

Now, if you’re blessed with a fat bank account and like the idea of telling people what cars you own rather than actually driving ‘em, fill your boots. But that’s never washed over with me.

23

The moment you take a car away from what it was designed to do – transport people, go fast around a track, whatever – you’ve gained an expensive paperweight. That’s not to say you shouldn’t look after it, and I get that for some it’s the thrill of the chase which outweighs the ownership aspect.

When Gordon Murray was busy weighing the speakers for the McLaren F1, do you think he did that on the assumption that one day it’d be worth £20 million?

16

That’s how I view the R34 GT-R.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a Nissan engineer or a tuner in their workshop building performance-enhancing upgrades, those people and that car exists solely on the basis that it gets used.

Step forward Harlow Jap Autos.

I’d known about HJA for years already; they differ from your typical used car dealership because they stock equal amounts of tuned cars as they do stock. Seeing as I’d never been in a position to buy one, I’d never given them much of a look. But as soon as ownership looked like a possibility, HJA became the holy grail for terrible-brilliant financial decisions.

50

My dream R34 GT-R couldn’t be stock – I wanted the peak ’90s Japanese special. Big silly turbo, Volk Racing TE37s, preferably some odd-positioned gauges and far too much horsepower. Turns out that’s HJA’s bread and butter.

Not only do they bring over über-clean stock models, they’re also responsible for buying some of Japan’s most iconic tuner cars too. Garage Defend, Auto Select, Sunline Racing – these famed demo cars now reside in the UK and beyond, all thanks to Harlow Jap Autos.

43
51

‘Genuine beast from the east – Full Stage 650bhp HKS 2.8 R34 GT-R’.

I’m not saying Ozz had been monitoring my internet search history, but that advert title was too much of a coincidence. It looked beyond perfect, 11-year-old me was having a complete crisis at the thought of it. HKS 2.8-litre engine, T04Z single turbo, Volk TE37 wheels and 650bhp.

Aside from a slightly enthusiastic Voltex wing and BRIDE bucket seat which my fat western thighs couldn’t fit in, this R34 was the epitome of my dream R34 GT-R. It even ran a Top Secret front bumper (probably the best aftermarket option after Nismo Z-Tune).

For once I’d actually picked a good one. Of course, I didn’t drive it before buying it. Why change the habit of a lifetime?

In the months following the purchase, I drove the R34 as much as humanly possible – come rain or shine. I had no interest in tucking it away while studying worldwide values; if it had 650bhp, I was going to use 650bhp whether that was going to the shops or heading to the Nürburgring.

Full boost, all the time, here’s a car that’s begging to be used.

03

Unfortunately, I should’ve probably ignored this slightly care-free attitude for a few of the 3000+ miles I racked up, as I now find myself in the middle of rebuilding its engine for the second time after a bit of bad luck and a whole lot of enthusiastic driving.

You know what? I’d still choose that approach over a garage queen any day of the week, even if my bank balance screams otherwise.

But we’ll save that story for next time.

Mark Riccioni
Instagram: mark_scenemedia
Twitter: markriccioni
mark@scene-media.com

Project GT-R – Initial spec (from April 2018 purchase)

Engine
HKS 2.8 Step 2 stroker kit, HKS Oil pump, Trust sump extension, HKS crank damper pulley kit, HKS 1.2mm metal head gasket kit, HKS Step 2 cam shafts, HKS valve springs, HKS T04z Single Turbo, HKS manifold, HKS External wastegate, HKS air filter, HKS intake pipe, HKS intercooler piping kit, Nismo Bearings, Early cast iron RB26 block used for build, Dummy head block bored, Full Stage catch tank, Full Stage custom titanium exhaust, Samco radiator hoses, Nismo engine mounts, ARC engine oil cooler kit, Full Stage Aluminium radiator, ARC transmission oil cooler kit, ARC diff cooler, Sard coolant air separator tank, Full Stage swirl pot setup, SARD fuel pressure regulator, Sard 800cc injectors, JUN fuel rail, Nismo twin fuel pumps, HKS F Con vV-Pro Gold, HKS boost controller

Driveline
ATS Carbon rear LSD 1.5way, ATS Carbon front LSD 1.5way, Omega diff oil, ATS carbon twin plate clutch, Omega transmission oil, Brembo 8 pot monoblock brake callipers front, Brembo 4 pot callipers rear, Floating rotors front and rear

Suspension
Crux coilover kit, Ikeya Formula arms, Auto Select front strut brace

Wheels & Tyres
18×10.5in ET15 Volk Racing TE37 alloy, Toyo R888r 275-35-18 track tyres

Exterior
Nismo LED tail lights, carbon bonnet painted body colour, Nismo clear indicators, Ganador wing mirrors, Top Secret front bumper and carbon undertray, Nismo side skirts/spats, carbon R34 GT-R spoiler (with extended wing stands)

Interior
Recaro Pole Position bucket seat, Nismo shift knob, DEFI gauges x 6, Cusco roll cage

ADVERTISEMENT

Comments



Comments are closed.

46 comments

by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest
1

Ahh man, I actually hopping you talk about your car one day. That day finally came! awesome story fricken story!!

Author2

Appreciate it! The rebuild has already gotten quite out of hand, but it'll make for a fun follow-up.

3

Wanna come round and talk cars whilst playing old car games? You seem like my kinda guy! You wanna come too? You're welcome, just bring a controller and some snacks.

Author4

Suzuki Escudo Pikes Peak, Stage 4 turbo kit, 1832bhp & High Speed Test Course. See you there.

5
Mark Joseph I. Argoso

lul try that on my JGTC Supra

6

"Everyone loves an underdog."

Not everyone, and certainly not me.

Things should be praised because they're good, not because they're scrappy nobodies with dreams of grandeur.

To put it another way, are we supposed to cheer for something just because it's the underdog, then treat it like the villain when it makes it big and the next underdog comes along to challenge it?

Author7

I agree that things should be praised because they're good. The point being made is that the GT-R is exactly that, in spite of anything else.

For me there's a difference between giving praise to something simply for being good, and giving praise to something because it defies the odds or captured your imagination along the way.

I can respect the Mercedes-Benz AMG F1 team for perfecting their craft and dominating season after season. Unquestionably one of - if not the best - F1 teams of all time. But will i cheer as they cruise to another win purely for being that good? Absolutely not.

I want to feel entertained and engaged whether it's the sport i watch or the car i drive. And that doesn't necessarily require it to be the best.

8

Honestly this story feels like it could have been written by myself, touches home on so many points, awesome! My only difference is.. I still cant afford the 34 ha! Missed my chance to own one before, probably wont happen again now.
I am sure i remember your black RX7 from years back, it was in a magazine but cannot remember which one.

Author9

I'd love to say i hope R34 prices won't continue rising, but it looks unlikely. The only saving grace is the tuned ones might stay put; i've got 5 x gauges drilled in the dashboard now so unlikely to win any Concourse events haha!

Crikey the black RX7 was back in 2008/2009 now - Max Power magazine in fact. There's an old old post on SH about it somewhere.

10

your one looks awesome! I managed to get a 32GTR out of my system a few years back.. just before they sky rocketed in value also.
I thought it might have been Max Power, Fast Car or Redline. Probably before i started reading Banzai.

11
Jay Soh Tsu Chung

So now there's three R34s in the Speedhunters project cars stable. LOL!

Author12

You say that like it's a bad thing, although it does mean at least three of the SH staff will sustain permanent headaches...

13
Jay Soh Tsu Chung

And yes, I highly agree about the Top Secret front bumper being the next best thing after the Nismo Z-Tune. It looks like a factory Nissan piece, but also different enough to see that it is aftermarket.

14
Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Nah... it'll be interesting to see the different approaches you, Dino and Ron will take on each of your rides.

15

I'm currently having an absolute NIGHTMARE with my project car (ae86) so reading this gave me a much needed motivation boost. Also I collect retro games, GT2 is in my top 5 games!

16

I'd never thought I'd live long enough to read GT2 being called a "retro game". Nice one !

17

Boring...
One more R34, same old tunes (Gran Turismo, teenage times on PS, big turbos, TE37, etc), fanboys without driving license on internet will wet their pants, but there's nothing more than that unfortunately. Boys with some extra cash playing the boost game with cars they are not even able to master totally in their stock form. It sure makes nice pictures and many likes on instagram, but I wonder what you can do nowadays in real life with a 650hp 90's diva... Too expensive/rare to take it to the track like it should, and too powerful for daily use, what is the point ? During the last 15 years I've had around 10 persons in my racing entourage who bought Skyline GT-Rs (5 R34, 4 R33 and 1 R32), they almost all sold them after a few months because the cars weren't living up to the fake expectations they had from video games and internet hype (and also because they ended up spending tens of thousands in parts for a car that was spending most of it's time in the workshop). The only one who kept it and still has it to this day is a guy who has a bone stock Mspec II Nür in Millenium Jade. Let's stop this internet hype thing, it's really getting ridiculous. I miss the old Speedhunters, where there were enough stories and cars to cover to avoid having every editor writing the same self centered stories over and over again (travels to Japan, Daikoku, "projects", etc)...

18

It is only boring when the owner bought it for YouTube/Instagram fame, or for a sealed garage with resell value.
Look at this guy, he rebuilt the engine twice now and still drive it as much as he can, and going almost everywhere. This is the good type of owner who deserve the R34.

The GranTurismo and Managzine has inspired a lot of people. I get that it is not a unique thing to do. But it is still a very honorable thing to do with a GT-R.

It is the same analogy you see here; so many soldiers died in a battle, it does NOT mean the next dying solider is any less honorable "because he is no longer original".

He is living the dream most of us cannot afford to be in it. Just respect that.

19

No such thing as a M-Spec II Nur :P

20

M-Spec Nür, not M-Spec II indeed. One of the 144 ever made in JW0 color, if you want to play the geeky game.

Author21

Just so I understand this correctly – because you’ve read that other people in the past have been influenced by a series of events/games/actions, that means anyone (subsequently) in the future who’s been inspired by the same things has to be categorised as ‘boring’.

What type of car makes you happy? Or more specifically, what type of driving? By the sounds of it racing hence the entourage thing.

If that’s the case, what’s the point in going racing? Is it necessary? Do you have to race to make a living or do you do it for… fun?

Depending how much you glazed over the words above (no offence taken) the point of buying an R34 GT-R for me was to 1: have fun and 2: own a car I’ve wanted to own for a while. Fairly standard reasons really, boring even.

Now your idea of fun might be lapping a track, racing with friends, going fast. More power to you, it’s good fun – I’m a big fan myself (the GT-R above has already done 4 x track days including 2 x Destination Nurburgring days with more planned in the future).

The thing is – for me at least – track driving is only one way to have fun with a car. It might be the way that brings the most fun to you personally, but you can’t tarnish everyone with that same brush unless you’re one of those internet sorts hidden behind a pseudonym…

I get the point you make; I’ve seen plenty of people go through the same. See Skyline horsepower, shit themselves at the reality, cut their losses and generally end up with something Porsche/BMW related. But, that’s not me. I’ve owned and tuned Japanese cars for some 13-years now, and I’ll carry on doing so regardless because that’s what I consider to be fun.

They might have lots of horsepower, I definitely don’t have the skill to utilize 650bhp to its maximum. Doesn’t mean it can’t be fun, though. In fact you could say the same for the standard F80 BMW M3 – does that mean anyone who isn’t a racing driver shouldn’t buy one?

Also, if you miss the old Speedhunters, feel free to send over your suggestions to enquiries@speedhunters.com and we’d be happy to take ‘em on board.

22

Thank you for your reply and for taking the time to detail every points. Let me clarify in the light of the elements you bring.

First, what I mean is that it really became boring to read over and over again the usual stories about “JDM” (I can’t even stand that acronym anymore). They always include the same elements: Gran Turismo, video games, and the worst of them all: Fast & Furious. It appears in each and every single post in any website when it comes to japanese car culture and yes, it’s become boring, especially now that Japanese car culture unfortunately became mainstream.

What type of car makes me happy? The list would be too long to detail but let’s say that I have a clear preference for anything relatively light, NA and well-engineered. What type of driving, mostly spirited, I’m more of a handling guy rather than a “MOAR POWA BAYBAY” guy and I hate straight lines. I currently daily drive a 1996 NSX-T that I bought in 2001 and a NC1 NSX bought in 2017. For the track, I’m currently racing an Aston Martin V12 Vantage and a Noble M12. I’m lucky to be in a group that actually tracks instead of talking about numbers on social medias, hence the entourage thing. I’m also lucky enough to be able to do that for fun, doing it for a living would definitely not have the same savor.
That said, I perfectly understand your personal reasons for buying an R34. Have fun, get a dream car, etc. There is nothing wrong with that at all. The only thing I’m saying (and I’m glad you also addressed it in the article) is that how many times have we already read those introduction lines, would it be on websites, or on crappy Youtube channels. At some point isn’t it the role of a journalist to try to bring something else to the general landscape, or to just try to blend in and just bring the same thing as the others do? I think it’s that kind of originality that was there at Speedhunters years ago, which unfortunately tends to disappear.

About my idea of fun, it’s more complex than that. Track is one thing, but it’s not the absolute truth. I honestly have as much fun ripping the track in the V12 Vantage as carving some alpine roads with the NSX-T. Two different universes, very much complementary. I could not say that I prefer one to another. My point was that considering the reality of traffic and regulations nowadays, there is genuinely no way a 650hp car would be exploitable on open roads, especially in Europe (this is the reason why I’m not enjoying my NC1 as much as I would like to). The problem with boosted Japanese cars is also that are nowhere as reliable as the hype makes it believe, as you made the experience yourself. Therefore, it’s not really interesting to take them to track because the running costs are far too high (not to mention the difficulty to have mechanics who really know how to work on those cars, depending in which country you live). By saying this I'm not really adressing to your particular situation, but to people who still think that big hp is the ultimate goal. Through the years I’ve come across a lot of those fanboys (they all look the same, mid-30s, New Era cap, iridium glasses, can of Monster energy drink, baggy shorts and Vans shoes), especially with Skylines and Evo’s, they all wanted to get more hp right after buying it. As a result most cars were always in the workshop, when they did not end up wrapped around a tree after a few months. Bottom-line is, you get a car that is expensive to buy, expensive to run, unreliable and not suited neither for track nor for open roads. Despite all this, the hype lives on, thanks to the internet, and people still wet their pants every time ones mentions the word Skyline. Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely love those cars, I just don’t subscribe to the general boosting craze. As you admit it, and kudos to you, you don’t have the skill to utilize 650hp, so what is the point? The analogy with the F80 M3 isn’t the best because those come out of the factory with 430hp, we are not talking about boosting them. Of course there is not more way that any lambda driver could exploit the car at its maximum, but at least you have the reliability (sort of) and the homogeneity of a car that has been engineered to deal with that power on a daily basis, in nearly any condition. This is not the case with an almost 20 years old car that came out of the factory with 330hp and sees its output doubled.

Do not take it personnaly, I’m just tired of reading the same lines again and again on a topic that I genuinely love, to see the prices hiking for no reason other than hype, to hear fanboys brag about cars they have never driven in real life in blogs comments, etc. Japanese car culture was great when it was in the shadow. Bringing it to broad daylight is just killing it. Let's just stop feeding the fanboys.

Author23

All very good and interesting points, and quite honestly, I do agree with just about all of them.

I think the whole Gran Turismo/Fast and Furious analogy, it’s both generational and (somewhat) Western as opposed to just lazy (or at least in this case). As a 31-year-old in the UK, that game is responsible for showing me Japanese cars and culture, closely followed by Max Power Magazine in the late 90s too (which I ended up working on from 2004-2010).

That being said, the company who does the work on my GT-R – RK Tuning – originally tuned Vauxhall Firenzas back in the day, closely followed by Cosworths and then Skylines in the late 80s/early 90s due to seeing them racing on TV which was the media they had accessible to ‘em.

What I mean is, different generations of writers/owners will have taken their inspiration from whatever inspired them at the time. It might just be more common currently as those similar to my age find themselves in a position to afford/own one for the first time.

But, I do agree that the ‘general’ approach to Japanese car culture has become lazy. Actually, lazy is the wrong word; misrepresented and misinformed maybe. I’ve been lucky to visit Japan five times for work this year (specifically focused around the car culture aspect) and I find the smaller, non-documented subcultures and genres more fascinating than just going to Daikoku.

While I agree it’s a journalists responsibility to bring a fresh, interesting spin on these things, I can’t disguise the fact that the ‘generic’ reasons within the feature aren’t what first brought Japanese cars (and the R34) to my attention. I could lie, but I’d say that’s even worse. I also think that a lot of ‘hidden’ gems are now considered mainstream, and for some that can be considered boring, but it’s a cycle; you bring new avenues to the site, it gains attention worldwide (think RWB), that suddenly becomes the ‘same’ so you jump ship to the next interesting article.

But, I still love all of it, and I think stories/features about the likes of Daikoku give people an achievable and relatable way ‘in’ if they find themselves visiting Japan. I don’t think that’s a bad thing providing it’s treated respectfully and not trying to ‘reinvent the wheel’ so to speak. But, yes, there’s so much more out there, and I too would like both to see (and experience) more if and when the opportunity presents itself again. And that’s something I’d love to do on Speedhunters given the chance.

That’s a fantastic collection of cars – the Noble especially which would’ve been built very near to where I live in the UK. It’s also a very privileged position (that’s not a negative) as each of those cars I’m sure brings you a different type of fun or driving enjoyment, even if it is centred around handling. For a lot of people, the reality is just owning one car, which I think is why some builds can end up confused – or with too much power – as they want a bit of everything. I’m lucky to own an E61 M5 Touring – probably the most unreliable car I’ve ever owned and flawed in many ways – but I absolutely love it for being a RWD estate with a V10 in it. If the R34 was my only car… well I did that in the past with an R32 and it was terrible haha!

Those types of owners – I think they exist in every circle unfortunately. Whether it’s supercars, tuner cars, every circle has some less-than-favourable characters who tend to shout loudest. Difference being now is social media gives them a platform to do so. I don’t fully understand the whole Influencer movement, but then I’d also argue that I’m not their demographic nor should I be. I could watch their content and become infuriated, or surround myself with platforms I consider to be more aligned with what I enjoy from cars. But I would also argue that a lot of those people are in it for the wrong reasons (namely views or a level of recognition) rather than simply loving cars. I’m sure I speak for both of us when I say, if social media ceased to exist tomorrow, we would still carry on doing what we do with our cars regardless.

Absolutely no offence taken, I think it’s good to hear both sides when there’s informed reasons for both opinions and I think you’d be a silly to assume that only one view can be correct. That’s why we love cars; it’s such a diverse culture which we all feel passionately about. The fanboys will come and go, but so long as you’re into it for your own personal enjoyment there is no wrong reason.

24

Congratulations on your new black hole! It looks fabolous! I would have probably ended up just as broke as you, if I could find a way to afford one. ( or a top secret supra) Although my aristo seems to enjoy eating wallets for breakfast. #2jznoshit

25

I had an Aristo with the 2JZ motor. Loved that thing... right up until the day I sold it and the head gasket blew just before the new owner came to collect it. Suffice to say that wasn't a high point on my Japanese car ownership CV! haha.

26

I don't think Aristo's like changing ownerships. I bought mine from a friend, who changed the cam belt before I picked it up. On my first drive it pushed out the front main seal, drowning the brand new cam belt in oil, courtesy of a failed pcv valve sending all the boost straight into the oil pan. Lovely... I swear i've spent more time working on it than driving it so far.

27

Thanks, that was a good read, it's great to hear about a personal story and how the new car fits into that.

The original NFS was great fun and the RX-7 drove sweetly, but having only eight stock cars paled into comparison compared to GT's 100+, plus modifying. I think what was special about the Japanese car culture in the nineties was importantly that it was 'young', rather like US muscle cars in the sixties, the nation's economy was booming and a new generation was pushing the boundaries and energetically embracing the new. I look at the GTR and I see the Hemi Cuda, just a generation later and the other side of the world.

The FD looks lovely - at least you have a nice reliable rotary to drive while the Nissan's in for an engine rebuild, right? ;) Seriously, congrats on the purchase and waiting to hear the full gory technical details of what happened, why, and how you got it fixed.

And with three project R34s now on SH staff, you may like to know that http://www.skylinehunters.com/ appears to be available :)

PS: tried to post this this morning but comments weren't available - is it deliberately on a time delay?

28

Anything with a link has to be manually approved :)

29

Three RX7s (the most recent of which I still own is pictured above), two Civics, an S14, an Evo X and two Skyline GT-Rs later, I finally found myself in a position to buy an R34 GT-R.



Damn man, infinitely jealous over here! (Minus the civics of course lol)

30

Mark Riccioni is currently in an open relationship with his engine builder and it's complicated.

31

You know, i read the words, and I look at these pictures, and they were all put together with love and passion for that car. Thank you for sharing this. Makes me miss my old 34, I did not do right by her. Maybe someday I'll get another chance. Enjoy her, Treasure her, Don't let her go, but above all, let her run... It's all she wants to do is run with you. Bravo Sir.

32

Great read! Had a good few laughs ad can definitely relate to so many points. I also went from a EK Civic to a R34 GTR with a HKS 2.8 haha. Good luck with the rebuild

33

Man that HKS Step 2 kit was always the one to have

34

Thoroughly enjoyed that, like some of the other readers, I could totally relate to it. Japan, for me, is motoring heaven. Amazing cars, built by polite and humble people(mostly) in workshops that are a fraction of the size of private garages in other parts of the world.

Like you, I own an RX-7 or three. I still want to buy your ZE40s!
Thanks again for the great article, looking forward to the next part of the story.R26B

35

I love this story, Mark.

Can we get more stories from you? Especially about the RX-7 since I might import one from Japan.

How was the first months with the FD? Also, I remember it being for sale.... ;)

36

Whatever happened to Dino's GTR?

37

I've got the paper that had that photo shoot of all the 90's legends waiting to be framed.

38
Kiret Singh Kundi

Excellent write-up dude! Interested to see where you go/you've gone from here with the car!

39
Frederico Estermann

This was a great read - sensible, filled with passion and character. Thanks for sharing Mark.

40

So great to see another of the speedhunters that is willing to put his car on the road. I love a beautiful museum piece as much as the next person, but I completely agree with the sentiment that cars are meant to be driven.

That last shot of it on the tow truck is actually my favorite of the whole set, even if it may not be the happiest camper at that moment.

41

I've read the "I finally got my dream R34, I've been dreaming about this since F&F1" article 15 different times on 13 different websites.

Doesn't speedhunters already have an R34 project car too?

42

Also the R34 GT-R is from 2F2F!!!

43

Clearly you haven’t read this story because there’s no mention of ‘dreaming about the R34 because of F&F1’.

44

The Skyline GTR one of the best cars that you can daily

45

Aaaah, as DJ Khalid would say it - Anotha' one!
Damn, that sure is a sweet car - no wonder it took you over a year to write an article about it!

I am kinda jealous tho - I own a 94' jza80 and a 00' Altezza, but I guess I am getting a little tired - as you mentioned, you face 2nd overhaul of engine, I have swapped 2jz gte (was N/A) and still need to deal with various things (cooling in particular - EU temperatures are totally grilling my car). I am glad to see that you still want to go on with it - I just hope I can do so as well (to the weeping sounds of my wallet :D)!

Again - congratz on getting this piece of JDM history, I see you on the road ;)!

46

How do you like the ATS clutch? Any issues with slipping?
Got it on my "want to have" list, but I find myself looking at other options because om import fees (around 28% extra in sweden)...

OFFICIAL SPEEDHUNTERS SUPPLIERS

About Us

Speedhunters is an international collective of photographers, writers & drivers with a shared passion for uncovering the world's most exciting car culture stories.

Contact Us

We're always very interested to hear your own stories as well as to receive your feedback. Please take a look at our FAQ first but if you don't find what you are looking for then you are welcome to contact us via email, thank you.

Speedhunters Social

Team Speedhunters

Editor in Chief: Brad Lord
Editors at Large: Dino Dalle Carbonare & Paddy McGrath
Commercial Director: Ben Chandler
Community Manager: Mark Riccioni
Technical Editor: Ryan Stewart
Concept Artist: Khyzyl Saleem
Senior Contributors: Jordan Butters & Trevor Ryan
Contributors: Antonio Alvendia, Keiron Berndt, Mark Boxer, Ron Celestine, Cian Donnellan, Matthew Everingham, Blake Jones, Jesse Kiser, Stefan Kotze, Jordan Leist, Vladimir Ljadov, Luke Munnell, Bryn Musselwhite, Richard Opie, Alok Paleri, Sara Ryan, Dave Thomas, Simon Woolley, Naveed Yousufzai