Mixing Work With Pleasure: An Extra-Wide R33 GT-R

Most people have a hobby. Some are lucky enough to get paid to do it.

I count myself as one of those few lucky people. Capturing landscapes with a cheap camera started as a lighthearted way to escape my studies at university, but photography eventually became my day job. I can remember the day I realised that my hobby had been consumed by the drudgery of work, but it hasn’t been at all bad. Takuro Koyabu, the owner of this Pandem-kitted R33 Nissan Skyline GT-R, knows exactly how I feel because he is in the same boat. His hobby is also his day job.


During the week, Takuro-san works at a body shop, where he repairs, modifies and paints customer cars. In his free time, Takuro-san works on his own car – a never-ending journey of self-expression.


Takuro-san told me he has loved cars from the day he was born. Growing up, he thought about them every waking hour – and probably dreamt about them, too. He was sure he would work with cars when he grew up.


Takaru-san bought this R33 when he was 18 and had just obtained his driver’s licence, and began modifying it right away. At first glance, the car looks like a few other Pandem-kitted R33 GT-Rs we have seen, but the devil is in the details. And there are many personal touches all over the car.


Let’s start from the outside and work our way in. The Pandem overfenders house a rather large Work ZR10 wheels – 19×12.5-inch, to be exact. I initially thought they were at least 20 inches, because they seem to dwarf the 30-year-old Skyline so much.


Working our way up, the Nissan sports a snout bonnet and a custom–modified headlight intake. At the rear is a GT wing of unknown origin.


Back to the front of the car and under the bonnet is the original RB26 – albeit now built to 2.7 litres – with a unique aluminium grinder tattoo effect on the cam cover, with candy gold paint. This custom detail adds some funky flair, but the Trust T78 big single turbo, Sard fuel rail and injectors, and GReddy Suction Kit are all part of a 700hp recipe, which is more impressive.


The funky customisation continues in the interior, with a gold-painted roll cage that ties in the wheel centres and engine cover, plus some custom trim work using Powerpuff Girls-themed fabric.


The colourful cabin is also home to a pair of Recaro Pro Racer RMS seats with Sabelt harnesses, a Momo steering wheel (also gold detailed), and Defi gauges.


Like any hobby, messing about with cars can quickly become an obsession. Whether you are scrolling through auction websites and forums or simply daydreaming about the next big build, cars can consume your every waking hour.


This can become exhausting if it is also part of your working day. You have to be a certain kind of car addict to not let it drive you mad or even find joy in the all-consuming work hobby. Personally, I can’t find enough hours in the day to finish all my car-related thoughts.


But when my working day is done, you’ll find me working on my hobby – just like Takuro-san.

Toby Thyer
Instagram _tobinsta_



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest
Vincent Conker Auger

Great find and very nice pictures, Toby. Sometimes I wonder how you can find such empty streets in Japan, no less. What time was it at night ?

Love the exterior of the car and color combo, plus the engine setup. Interior is a bit too busy for me though, but it seems to be a japanese trend I do not really get. I was also a bit puzzled by the dual intake tube for a single turbo ... Anyone can chime in on the benefits VS a properly sized single tube ?

Cheers !


it’s just to increase the air intake and increase the air filter surface area.


Seems like he has some sort of aftermarket AFM installed however the other one is not visible. Potentially limited with the ECU that he is running and if you cant use a MAP sensor with that ECU then you have to use 2 AFM signals as per OEM.


Stylistic choice, if anything it would add turbulence. Looks cool I guess


"I was also a bit puzzled by the dual intake tube for a single turbo ... Anyone can chime in on the benefits VS a properly sized single tube ?"

To the best of my knowledge there is no benefit towards running two tubes and two filters like that as opposed to one tube and one larger K&N filter for example. As long as the inlet air pressure is not being starved it is a moot point. Always important to remember you never know what a shop had access to or what was available at the time.

I just finished doing an engine for my race car and had to use some left field ideas for my engine mounts due to many parts no longer being sold for my application. A lot of builds are not ideal and you have to improvise. But anyway, to answer your question there is no real gain to doing this and no real harm in doing it either. Just another way to accomplish the same end result of getting air to the turbo inlet.

Hope that helps.


The turbo intake situation caught me off guard as well. I'm suspecting it's purely style, because while it looks cool all I see is just an extra air filter to replace. Maybe the turbo can suck in more air that way. not sure


If the air supply isn’t being restricted and is meeting demands it makes no difference whether it’s 1 inlet or 2.


I used to restore cars through the week and when Saturday came after getting some coffee and taking a walk with the dog on the beach I’d be back there working on cars, listening to the radio, all on my own time. So, I am with you.


Simply amazing car!!


Reminds me a lot of Speed King from the Tokyo Extreme Racer Zero series also called Jintei in other iterations of the game:

The car in the game was a 34 but the color scheme and lettering in white is spot on.

Stephen Johnson

Love the interior!


Really cool 33


For sure! It's like one of the Wanderers from TXR0. :D

Bodyman with questions

Love the look, love the 700HP, and love the "street presence" (especially the front and rear shots - imagine seeing this in your rearview!)

Here is where I'm scratching my head: Mr. Koyabu is a bodyman AND painter yet won't paint his bay? The "lifer" bodymen I know always pride themselves on doing their own mechanical, whether they work in mom&pop shops, insurance pressure cooker shops, or high end Euro shops. The mentality being, why farm out that work, when the insurance door rate for mechanical labor is usually higher than the body or refinish line items. A skilled bodyman who drops engines/does suspension work, etc, will generate far more personal income, and save his business a ton in sublet costs, as well as the potential headache of transport to/from the mechanical shop.

The only exception to the above bodymen, that I know of, are the "English Wheel" type guys who are in concours-type work, where you spend 16 months on a single car. These dudes usually have some "Merlin of Carburetors" guy in captivity in their workplace who hams up the mystique of mechanical work and brings 2 stethoscopes and a timing light when changing oil on his niece's Hyundai. However I don't see a "concours bodyman" mentality when I look at this R33's engine bay shots, with blue overspray all over the place (red flag). Could not a few cents worth of foam tape be used to mask, or a thinner-soaked rag be employed to correct the aftermath? Either approach takes 10 seconds.

Clearly some thought was given to the aesthetic of the engine bay; stylistic choices are numerous including the valve cover effect and the unusual intake. And I am aware of some Skylines having "wrong color" bays from factory, for example the blue R34s having a black ecoat bay with no basecoat & oversprayed sides

Please excuse my verbose essay, just enjoying this amazing photography as I sip my Saturday coffee. And I do think the build is very cool so please don't get me wrong. The car overall gets a 99.9% grade from me so I am hoping my comment is not pruned in the spirit of positivity.

TLDR: Japanese trend of lackluster engine bays continues, confused admirers around the world continue to wonder WHY


In order to paint the bay he would have to clean it first, and he obviously has a big problem with doing that. I cant believe how filthy that bay is considering the body and interior is pristine.

Other than that the car is awesome


Don't try to use more than 60 brain cells in this comment section. You will be severely disappointed. The days of the forums are gone. This is the general public. Be warned.


Throw that intake on vs a single larger tube on a dyno and I’ll bet money the single makes more power. Apparently I know more about laminar air flow than your “f1 engineer” lol