It Was Acceptable In The ’80s
Where To Begin

Usually when preparing and structuring these stories I like to start slow in my storytelling, gradually building up with some nice details, culminating into what I feel is a build’s most impressive or captivating features.

My approach is often easing the faithful Speedhunters audience through the nuances of the car before hitting you, square in the chin, with its showpiece – the one stand out part or element that makes the build worthy of a place on these hallowed pages.

Boom. Mic drop. Exit stage right to rapturous applause.


My outlandish and overly embellished imagination aside, when it comes to Eric Straw’s 1984 Nissan Skyline RS-X DR30, I’ll be honest, I don’t know where to start. And it’s not for a lack of impressive elements either. I find myself asking… myself: what’s the stand-out part of this build?

Is it the perfectly-restored retro exterior with gleaming gloss white paintwork? Or how about the modernised footwork and handling, or the choice BBS LM wheels? There’s the interior too – the perfect blend of OEM and period-correct upgrades.

Maybe it’s what you can’t see – the immense amount of custom fabrication that’s taken place under the surface to not only restore the R30 to former glory but to future-proof it for a sizeable increase in horsepower.


Of course the source of said horsepower is pretty special too – the heart of Godzilla. This legendary twin-turbo six-cylinder powerplant would’ve been a futuristic pipe dream when Nissan first created the R30, yet here it sits in Eric’s Skyline, looking just as at home as it would’ve done had Nissan’s engineers enjoyed the fruits of time-travel back in 1984.


It might be that, in the post-SEMA sensory haze of bright colours, overfender overload and extreme transformations, Eric’s K.I.S.S. approach to tuning is a breath of fresh air?


Truth be told – the stand out attraction here is all of these above. It’s the way that all of these restorations, modifications and improvements have been brought together into an incredibly tasteful package.


A simple recipe of a reinvigorated and reimagined retro car encasing much more modern and advanced underpinnings. It’s resto-modification done right.

One Thing Leads To Another

This R30 isn’t Eric’s first rodeo, and as a builder and fabricator he’s got around 19 years of previous form from transplanting more modern turbocharged Nissan motors into older bodies – namely his immaculate Datsun Roadster and Datsun 510, both powered by tuned SR20DET engines. Both different stories for different days…


The story of this particular build started when Eric and fellow Datsun enthusiast Michael Spreadbury of Spriso Motorsport were discussing what Eric should build next. The conversation turned to the DR30 Skyline, but it wasn’t until some time later that the perfect candidate came up for sale. A vague advert for an ‘iron mask’ DR30 RS-X with no engine soon lead to Eric and Michael finding themselves on a 400 mile roadtrip to pick it up.


As is so often the story, what started out as what Eric puts as a ‘straightforward motor swap’ (or to someone as mechanically inept as myself – ‘a lifetime project’) ended up being a long and arduous two-year journey involving a bare metal rebuild and an immense amount of fabrication (or to someone like me – ‘nope’). This was part driven by Eric’s OCD-like levels of attention to detail, but also by the fact that not all was as first seemed with his new purchase.


“I soon discovered the car had been repainted and some weird repair work had been done on the floor and firewall. After digging into it a few days I discover the car had lots of rust in the floors, A-pillars, firewall, cowl, and tail panel,” Eric explains. The solution was obvious at this point – the body was stripped back of all trim and soda blasted back to bare metal.


This gave Eric a fresh base upon which to start building the R30. While he addressed the bad metalwork that needed repairing or replacing, Eric also set about preparing the chassis for its new powerplant. After all, the Skyline was about to experience a significant jump in horsepower.


One thing that Eric was keen to retain was the Skyline’s ability to be street driven without compromise – in fact, it’s rule number one in a recipe that he follows for each and every one of his builds. The R30 isn’t a show car, nor is it a race car – it’s a car he’s built to jump in at a moment’s notice and take on some good ol’ fashioned spirited driving.

For this reason he had no intentions of adding a cage to help with the chassis strengthening – to Eric this would’ve been a shortcut that would have compromised the look and feel of the car on the road. Instead, he turned to his fabrication skills and modified Infiniti M30 full-length frame rails to connect the front and rear of the chassis.


The chassis was then fully seam welded, and the floorpan was reinforced with sheet metal and finished with dimple dies. With hundreds of hours in the metalwork and chassis prep alone it seems a shame to hide it all, but that’s exactly what Eric did. The finish is period-correct Nissan 002 white throughout.

(If you’re interested to see some more images of the build up, you can here)


The exterior was kept largely as standard – not that there are a whole host of aftermarket options for the R30 available any more – but it follows with Eric’s rule two of car building – keep the exterior appearance as OEM as possible.


Rule three of Eric’s car-building formula is to add modern engineering and footwork to his retro builds. The most obvious solution was to turn to some of Nissan’s most popular and well-supported performance platforms for suspension parts – the Nissan S13, S14 and R33 Skyline.


An R33 GTS-t was relieved of its front subframe and Eric heavily modified it to fit its much older brother. An S13 RHD steering rack was sourced and bolted up.


The suspension of choice was a set of KW Clubsport coilovers, in Nissan S14 flavour. The front knuckles and hubs and were also replaced by 5×114.3mm S14 items and graced by a pair of Brembo Evo IX front calipers with DBA two-piece slotted rotors. The rears are slightly newer but matching Evo X Brembos.

At the back, the R30’s stock crossmember was modified to allow Eric to utilise adjustable camber and toe arms, while the Infiniti M30 was called upon again for its rear trailing arm setup. Power is handled by uprated axles and delivered via a Nissan longnose R200 rear differential.

Eric’s tasteful restraint in the aesthetics department came into play when it came to his wheel choice too. A timeless set of BBS LMs, measuring 17×8-inch front and 17×9-inch rear were sourced and complete the footwork.


Although much larger than the R30’s stock wheels, the LMs fill the stock fenders perfectly. That’s right, stock fenders, in 2017! What even is this?!


There’s no testosterone-pumped overfenders, overly-aggressive ultra-low offsets, fancy anodised bolts or lips deeper than the Mariana Trench here. The approach to ‘stance’ is a fine balance of aesthetic and functional qualities, whilst remaining respectful to the R30’s origins.

Be Still My Beating Heart

The period-correct details and OEM+ approach continue on into the interior. Swing open the R30’s weighty doors and you’re cast back to a simpler time. A time when a full set of gradient-fade orange Recaros were on every auto enthusiast’s wish list.


I have no idea where he found them, but Eric somehow managed to source the Orange Spectrum Recaro Ideal C heated and powered front seats and mated them to the R30. The rear bench and door panels were then recovered in the same retro-fade fabric to match.


Drag your attention away from the lush seating and you’ll also notice lots of neat little touches – from the vintage Nismo floor mats to the Nardi wheel, the retro sound system occupying the rear shelf and weighted Tommy Kaira gear knob. Or how about a Puretron RMII-S? A spot of Googling and clumsy Japanese to English translating tells me it’s a  deioniser – a somewhat rare factory comfort option back when the R30 graced showroom floors.


What you can’t see is again equally as impressive as what you can – the inside was fully sounded deadened and insulated prior to installation, making the interior of Eric’s Skyline a pretty nice place to be.

Essential information is relayed back to the pilot thanks to a set of retro Speedhut gauges mounted in a custom dash panel and centre console. Again, Eric was keen not to stray too far from the OEM+ approach and, in my eyes, it works perfectly.


Remember the part where I talked about building up to a build’s climax? Open that distinctive ‘iron face’ bonnet and there it is.


Perhaps Nissan’s most revered powerplant, the RB26DETT originally came from a BNR34 Skyline GT-R and was expertly transplanted into the R30 by Eric’s fair hands. Keen to retain the R30’s rear-wheel drive configuration, an R33 RWD 5-speed gearbox was mated to the new engine.


Boost is provided by twin Garrett GT2860RS turbos, with the intake cooled by a huge custom front-mounted intercooler.


Eric fabricated the exhaust system himself, for the most part. Twin Tomei downpipes carry the waste gases into a custom 3.5-inch stainless pipe with an A’PEXi muffler exiting at the rear of the Nissan. I’ve not heard the car in action myself, but I can guess that the sound is somewhere in between ‘holy crap’ and ‘oh my God’.

A Koyorad Nissan S14 radiator fills the space at the front of the engine bay nicely and helps to keep things running smoothly. Fuelling is courtesy of a Radium fuel rail and Injector Dynamics ID1050x injectors.


Twin HKS intakes and an old school HKS coil cover finish things off nicely. The whole setup looks so right that, bar timeline inconsistencies, you’d struggle to know that it wasn’t created this way by Nissan themselves. I can’t think of a more fitting engine for this build and Eric has packaged the transplant with exemplary execution.


Engine management is provided by a Haltech Platinum Pro, and the magical numbers are 532hp and 389lb-ft to the rear wheels, as tuned by Z Car Garage in San Jose.


When Eric set out to build the R30, his main goal was to create a car which looks OEM yet offers a huge boost in performance over the typical ageing stock example while remaining perfectly drivable on a day-to-day basis.

I’d say he’s nailed it, wouldn’t you?

Jordan Butters
Instagram: jordanbutters

Photos by Louis Yio
Instagram: lusciousy

Cutting Room Floor


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I saw this R30 on Instagram before, really love his SR20DET swapped Fairlady Roadster (the original Fairlady, the non Z one) & 510... to make things better, they are white, too!


Awesome execution and attention to detail.


Needs jap wheels, nothing wrong with bbs but some work or ssr wheels would make it perfect


Yeah agreed, I'd happy give up the brembos to run some cool SRRs or Work wheels in a 14 or 15 inch. imo 17 inch wheels are just too big for early 80s jdm.


The BBS LM wheels are made in Japan.


What an awesome interior and those seats, wow.


Absolute sex on wheels, an incredible build and a tribute to the nameplate. Bravo


Heated and cooled seats???? On an 80s car no less?????


Damn that's clean. The seats do it for me lol. Also, bbs look good on everything.


This is probably my favourite car that was ever spotlighted on Speedhunters.


Absolutely stunning photos. The bokeh in some of these is so so nice.


I always have a soft spot for R30 and R31 Skylines.
It's a Skyline, and it has a "R", not the GT-"R", but the "R"S-Turbo "Tekkamen"!!
This example ticked all the right boxes. (Now That's how a R30 should look like!)
Exterior is clean, no silly over fenders, right wheel choice(I prefer a set of BBS RSs though XD)
By the way, is that Pioneer TS-series speakers in the rear? Awesome!
80s look packed with serious performance under the hood, YES PLEASE!
Thank you Jordan and Louis for sharing this gorgeous R30!
This one definitely made my day!


Absolutely stunning, perfectly restrained. The sort of car that you'd think only nostalgia can create, yet here it sits. The amount of work that's gone into this is insane.


My favorite part is the decals. It screams 80s


Do what they say
Say what you mean
One thing leads to another
You told me something wrong
I know I listen too long
But then one thing leads to another


this article was my fixx :3

Matthew Everingham

'Be still my beating heart," exactly what I thought of as i flicked past that first full sunset shot.
I can't think of a single DR30 build that matches this. Well done, Eric!


This is the R30 that should have one at the JCCS earlier this year. This is a REAL, full-on rotisserie restoration of a deserving chassis.
Not a "slap some Watanabes on-and wash it for the show, build"


Thank you to speedhunters for such a great experience.

Thanks for all the kind words.



this is absolutely stunning and something you look forward to drive everyday.


Many of the cars featured on this website look great but you wouldn't really want to drive them, not really, because they would probably break your back, make your ears bleed etc... but with this one it's different, you just wanna hop in and go for a drive. It's absolutely fantastic. Great job, well done.


IRON MASK! Beautiful car.


Very clean, well done swap.

Build makes me wanna put on my Miami Vice suit, buy and sell a couple kilos, and smoke a few Countaches and Testa Rosas. I mean that as a huge compliment.

I rrrraaaAAAAAAANNNNNnnnnn. I ran so far away. I just rrrraaaAAAAANNNNnnnn. I ran all night and day.


Was never that much of a fan of the R30 Skylines as they used to be the common ones where i live (sedan's, GTX's, etc.). With the recent influx of R33's and 34's all over the place, I've taken much more towards these and actually find them quite beautiful, now, when they've become pretty rare. Many have been RB25/6 or SR20 powered though

This has got to be one of the best I've seen, if not the best. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication


amazing car, i absolutely love the interior.
May be a silly question but seems like the interior shot with the door open shows that the door has 2 handles?


@killianBH Nice spot! On the passenger side only of DR30 the door has has 2 door handles so a passenger from the rear seat can both flip the seat forward and open the door from the rear. It those little detIls we love about these cars.


Kalervo Kasurinen

I would swap my r33gts-t for this baby!!


This looks like San Pedro Cabrillo Beach area, am I correct??


These photos make me happy because... I have always wondered where to take photos in my neighborhood! Now I see that I need to head down to Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro to shoot some :) Lovely spot Jordan and Louis!


Out of all the cars ya'll had featured in here, this has to be my all favorite mainly because of how they rebuilt it from the ground up and still kept it as OEM possibly as they could. The exterior looks exactly like the OEM look but whats under the hood and the interior was what AMAZED me most.