I’m a complete fiend for new and exciting content. Probably more now than ever before, what with the ongoing pandemic and all.
Yet one of Speedhunters’ greatest assets isn’t just the ever-changing homepage; it’s the back catalogue of goodness collated over the past 12 years. Most of which gets quickly forgotten about the moment it’s pushed onto page two.
Whether you’re patient enough to use the ‘Load More’ tab or prefer the simplicity of the ‘Search’ function, the Speedhunters archive has a never-ending supply of car culture spanning just about every country, car make and model imaginable. By my count – or rather the approved stories tab in the backend – we’re up to 14,448 and counting.
Obviously there’s a tenuous link to all of this; one that goes along the lines of Looking Backwards, Moving Forwards. Translated out of middle management speak, that simply means sometimes it’s good to remind ourselves of what’s been covered in the past, instead of simply demanding new and different builds for the sake of it.
I say this as someone who has abused the ‘Search’ function quite a lot lately, usually coinciding with my activity over on the Pistonheads classifieds. For example, how good does a 280ZX look on RS Watanabes? And they’re pretty cheap, too. Dangerous game…
Anyway, speaking of money-absorbing old Nissans, it’ll come as no surprise to learn that Project Thirty Four remains off the road having some niggles sorted. I say ‘niggles’ – it did briefly catch fire on the dyno – but after a bit of wiring and a new air-con hose it’s at least running.
Hearing these kinds of developments can make you question your sanity with a project, but that’s where the Speedhunters archive comes into its own.
I love a good list, and ‘10 Of The Best’ has a pretty good ring to it, too. So what better way to waste away the hours – or rather, remind myself it’ll all be worth it in the end – than by looking back at 10 of the coolest R34 Nissan Skyline GT-Rs to grace these pages. Those eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed the lead picture has only nine images on. Good spot. Quite simply it looks better, and between you and me the only image not included is the actual winner in my eyes.
These are, of course, my choices and don’t actually represent technical ability or any form of a points-based scoring system. That’s why the majority come from Japan… I can’t get enough of the place. But that shouldn’t dampen the nature of this list – it’s actually a glimpse into some of the coolest GT-R spotlights we’ve forgotten about over the years, starting off with an absolute legend.
We’ve all seen that Mine’s video and gawped at how quickly it revs and accelerates. Could it be voodoo, or good ol’ fashioned witchcraft? Turns out it’s actually shorter diff ratios – matched with a catalogue of Mine’s upgrades and weight reduction – but that doesn’t take away just how quickly this thing grips and goes.
It’s hard not to love the Mine’s approach to GT-R tuning; never straying too far from stock with the focus squarely on performance and nothing else. Oh, and if someone comes across a set of those BBS Mg wheels in GT-R fitment, please let me know immediately.
Charles Wong’s R34 Skyline GT-R
This one’s still on our homepage, and if you’ve not given it a read already you absolutely should. Aside from being a properly comprehensive build – including a 6-speed sequential which I’m obviously not jealous of – Charles has managed to do what I think most GT-R owners (outside of Japan) would love to embark on: a tour around the homeland in your very own GT-R tuned by legends Garage Saurus.
From one of the latest GT-R features on Speedhunters to one of the very first back in 2008. This is how all time attack cars should look in my eyes – functional but still properly, properly cool. I get the use of bonkers aero in modern time attack cars, but it’s all got a bit too mad, hasn’t it? Just space-frame a car and whack some visually similar panels on instead.
The M-Speed GT-R looks like it’s straight out of a video game. And while its focus is on performance, whoever thought of putting green centre-lock magnesium RAYS Volk Racing TE37s against a yellow, black and red (striped) exterior is an absolute genius.
Trust ‘Future Proof’ R34 Skyline GT-R
When I bought my R34 GT-R a few years back, prices were beginning to get silly but not to the absurd level they’re at now. In one sense this is very good; it means I might make some money when I sell it. However, GT-R ownership is never a single expense… it’s continuous. And I’ve sworn I’ll never sell it. So that point is completely redundant.
It does mean a lot of R34s are now being bought up as ‘future investments’ and while that’s absolutely fine, I can’t help but think it’s a shame that so few will now undergo ‘big’ transformations (which made ‘em so legendary in the first place) because of the stock values.
That’s why I love Trust’s R34 shot by Dino in 2018. From the outside, it looks like an R34 on RAYS wheels with a bit of an exhaust. But Trust have replaced and upgraded almost every part on this GT-R, without making it too blindingly obvious. Even the paint isn’t Bayside Blue… it’s a candy version instead. If this is how modern R34 tuning is being approached, maybe it’s not all bad after all.
The Z-Tune should be (and usually is) considered the holy grail of R34 GT-Rs, but it’s so ridiculously rare and expensive I’d argue it’s gone past the point of being collectable and now belongs in the realm of unobtanium. Which makes it pretty pointless.
Taking money out of the equation for a second, when I first saw Powertune’s R34 my immediate thought was ‘this is even better than a Z-Tune’. It’s more modern, it’s more powerful, and it’s got just about every Nismo part from the Z-Tune catalogue thrown at it too. My favourite bit? The revised MFD (multi-function display), where the pixelated ’90s dials have been replaced with a HD screen, albeit with R34 ‘style’ dials added back in.
Garage Kagotani R34 Skyline GT-R
I remember this car from my Max Power days, mainly because it was our cover car in 2005 and I’d never heard of Garage Kagotani (despite being a bit of a GT-R fiend even back then). Yet, no sooner had they appeared from nowhere, they disappeared shortly after too.
Despite being built for time attack, the aero on Garage Kagotani’s GT-R remains some of the coolest I’ve ever seen, with a fit and finish way beyond a lot of aftermarket gear. It was fast too, lapping Tsukuba in the 57-second bracket back in 2005 while looking fresh out of Tokyo Auto Salon (complete with rainbow-finish wheels).
Details, details, details. Torita-san’s R34 GT-R is all about leaving no stone unturned, from the arch linings and hardware right through to the more ‘obvious’ bits like the wheels, brakes and interior. It’s not the biggest power GT-R, it’s not the rarest, and it’s not loaded with custom parts. But it is without a doubt one of the cleanest R34s around, even though Torita-san uses it every week. A lesson learnt in paying attention to every part of a build.
Blitz Autobahn R34 Skyline GT-R
Back in 1999, Blitz wanted to take a GT-R faster than anything else on the autobahn – Germany’s famous, limit-free stretch of motorway (well, in designated parts). The goal? 349km/h or 216mph in old money.
Trevor brilliantly recapped the story with Gary Castillo, one of the original crew invited to cover the record attempt, and the very nature of it is everything I love about that era of Japanese tuning. They may have ‘only’ reached 213mph, but keep in mind that was 21 years ago now. No manufacturer backing; a tuner car on a brand-new (R34) platform. Quite simply a product of a bygone era, but what a piece of history.
No GT-R list would be complete without a little mention of Dino’s Project GT-R, a car he’s owned for longer than many of our younger readers have been alive (feel old yet Dino?). This has to be the longest-running project on Speedhunters, which I think is a good thing. ‘Cus it’s worked for a lot of that time. And being completely honest, if I ever need to work out what wheels my own R34 should run I always check through the archives given the fact Dino’s ran just about every models of RAYS wheels imaginable.
Global Auto/Auto Select R34 Skyline GT-R
When I think of a big-power ‘tuner’ GT-R, this is exactly what I imagine. You could argue it actually looks a bit fussy – the random spattering of carbon additions, that textbook Japanese interior and a front bumper which definitely wouldn’t pass an NCAP safety test in 2020 – but that’s also what I love about this type of tuning. It’s purposeful… and a little bit wacky.
This is how I’d build an R34 GT-R: Bayside Blue bodywork, Volk Racing TE37s and a Trust T88 turbo strapped to the side of a 2.8-litre motor. Combine that with the Z-Tune aero and you’re looking at my number one R34 GT-R spotlight from Speedhunters. Question is, which one’s yours?
Garage Ito's R34 > Dino's R34...
Sorry but no sorry...
I think an honorable mention, should go to the Top Secret R34!
I love the Garage Kagotani R34, just such a spectacular beast. Showcar looks with supercar slaying performance on track. Time attack cars don't come any cleaner than this one!
Signal auto r34 is forever number one for me, the heritage, the paint, the sound!
Kobayashi-san from MCR's red r34 GT-R will always be my favourite GT-R.
My Top 5: Mine's, Trust, M-Speed, Blitz, and Dino
Names are a strange thing.
I love the R34 but can't stand the R35, so the R35 can have the name GT-R.
For me, this car will always be the pinnacle. The Skyline. The R34. But never again the GT-R.
Where is the Power House Amuse Carbon-R (R34) ??
No mention of Veilside's Street Drag R34; 1360hp & 215mph on the street in 1999.
No Top Secret R33 Drag R-II...
My faith in this site is gone!
Long Live Kazuhiko “Smokey” Nagata!!!
Only R34s bro, i agree sickest GTR apart from mines and ams alpha 12...
Yeah i realized just after posting... Bugger me!!!
Mines is the HOLY GRAIL for sure...
Even with all the features, no matter how good they are, there is just something about seeing one of these cars in real life and therefor I have to go with Charles's R34. Seeing the car in RL was so different to all the other times ive seen an R34 and to see it in Tokyo made the experience almost surreal.
MCR should be there.
The M-Speed R34 Skyline GT-R was my favorite car and still is, I wrote that feature btw, Dino didn't even worked for Speedhunters at that time