Zilla in Manila: The ins and outs of a Manila-spec Skyline GT-R
Let’s all get one thing straight: The Nissan Skyline GT-R is the poster car of the Playstation generation.
Its reputation for dominating motorsports and the streets of japan in the 90’s has cemented the GT-R name as a legend the world over. Having since become one of the most coveted vehicles to come out of Japan, the BNR34 Skyline GT-R takes center stage with all the fanfare. And while the world over fawns and somehow gets their hands on the legend itself, the Philippines again misses out on automotive royalty… or did we?
A few lucky individuals were able to import, register, and acquire a handful of BNR32, BCNR33, and BNR34 Skyline GT-Rs that were made to be road-legal locally. When the ports closed off to second hand vehicles, these cars have become very finite resources – let alone specimens built to a high level of performance. Fortunately there are a few of these heroes-on-wheels rolling around town, and we have a fine example of a properly worked BNR34 GT-R to look at today.
People who are keen on following JDM builds around town would probably be no stranger to Jimbo Vicente’s white V-Spec R34. Having been featured on Super Street as early as 2013 certainly earns a lot of street cred around these parts, but following that well-documented feature it appears a lot has changed in the seven years since.
Perhaps the crowning piece of that would be the RB28DET HKS Step 2 Stroker that’s already nestled in the engine bay flanked by a rather sizable Borgwarner EFR8374 single turbo. This setup when last tuned prior to the shoot was good for 550 AWHP on pump gas – and it’s still somewhat held back by a dated Apex’i Power FC ECU. Following this shoot though Jimbo was able to upgrade to a Link standalone ECU that allowed the GT-R to push 623 AWHP at 24 PSI.
The one thing that makes this particular vehicle very special to the eyes of the rest of the world is the mandatory left-hand drive conversion that is required by law to make the car road legal in the Philippines. A Nissan 350Z (Z33) LHD rack was sourced to be the base of the conversion, then the RHD dash was chopped, mirrored, then re-skinned so that the orientation of the Multi-function Display (MFD) is still facing the driver on the opposite side. Everything found in a working BNR34 following the conversion still carries over: ATTESSA-ETS, HICAS rear steering, and all the other techy bells and whistles of the original still work on this car making it as close as we can get to a true factory LHD GT-R.
The footwork department appears to have received updates as well. While you’re quick to point out that the car is rolling on a set of Rota P45s for this shoot, you would be pleased to know that Jimbo has a new-issue version of the Nismo LMGT4 on order. Besides, we can’t question the wheel choice where there’s a familiar set of Nissan R35 GTR Brembo brakes behind the spokes. As for suspension this R34 sits on the crème de la crème of JDM coilovers: Aragosta’s Type S suspension kit. All the bling sits underneath the fenders for this one, talk about not judging a book by its cover.
Speaking of fenders, Jimbo’s R34 is rolling on the signature look that makes these things as brutish as they’re known to be: the Nismo Z-Tune kit. The protruded front fenders, NISMO wraparound pieces, and Sigmax CF items all round the car up to look the part of its legendary status.
The BNR34 Skyline GT-R is the epitome of greatness for a certain breed of car enthusiasts; particularly those raised on Sony Playstations playing Gran Turismo. The rest of the world treats this car as somewhat of a forbidden fruit, and that makes seeing a specimen built to this spec – let alone conquering all the hurdles to get it road legal – on our shores a sight to behold.
Words by Aurick Go
Photos by Jaime Miguel Echavez, Jose Altoveros
Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec BNR34
- HKS 2.8L step 2 stroker kit
- HKS type r intercooler 4”
- HKS oil cooler
- Tomei poncams type b
- Tomei cam gears
- Tomei oil pump
- Tomei oil baffle plate
- Nismo intake manifold
- K&N filter
- Borgwarner EFR8374 0.92 AR turbo
- Tial wastegate (screamer pipe)
- Titanworks custom exhaust manifold
- Titanworks custom 4” full exhaust
- Link standalone ECU with 2 bar map sensor (AFM delete)
- Sard fuel rail
- Deatschwerks 1000cc injectors
- 450lph external fuel pump
- Fuel regulator (forgot the brand)
- Exedy Triple Plate Clutch
- Changed final drive from 3.54 to 4.11 (R33 GTR)
- OEM R35 brake kit installed and converted by titanworks
- Aragosta type S coilover suspension
- Temporary Rota p45, in-transit Rays LMGT4 gloss black, 18 x 10.5 offset 15
- NISMO Z-tune front bumper and LED taillights
- Sigmax carbon-fiber hood
- Sigmax front spoiler
- Sigmax trunk
- Sigmax rear spoiler
- Sigmax rear spoiler mounts
- NISMO LED taillights
- Bride GIAS Low Max seats
- Takata Harnesses
- NISMO Multi-function display