Sixth Element: MG-01 Full Carbon R
With the R35 Nissan GTR being well over a decade in production, we have to admit it gets a tad bit repetitive to look at the same old face. Slightly updated every few years with the aftermarket following suit, it seems as if people have perfected the GTR recipe to the point that it has become a straightforward affair for most owners. People know the car all too well, and that’s a good thing when you want to keep the car in perfect running condition; Yet somehow, the car isn’t exactly top of mind as a platform to let loose in terms of aesthetics.
Here’s the usual recipe: Take a wide TE37/Advan GT, slap on Toyo R888Rs and wrap the car with a few Varis aero pieces and your big wing of choice and you can’t fault that these cars were meant to look like that from the factory – which is why a lot of GTR owners run this particular formula. 600HP kits are basic bolt-on affair for these things, 800HP kits are ‘mid tier’, and your R35 will only become worthy of internet clout past the 1000HP mark; And even then, it’ll look somewhat the same as the next car. For a car that’s meant to go fast and bend the laws of physics, perhaps this look is enough… for the average GTR owner at least.
Weeeeelll Manuel Go isn’t exactly your average GTR owner. Having a storied history of building high performance cars from his MSO specced VP433 McLaren 675LT all the way to his infamous Bayside Blue LHD BNR34 Skyline GT-R (which we HAVE to take a look at soon, pretty please Autoplus), he isn’t exactly ‘new’ to building a vehicle to its absolute limit. Every single vehicle that goes through his stable gets the full treatment you’d imagine doing on a video game. We’re talking crate motors, big turbos, and at times bespoke parts that can only be sourced through back channels. His CBA-R35 (yes, an early 2008 model) has had all this done over and over throughout the years, but it reached a point where the parts he wants can no longer be bought – it had to be made from scratch.
See, the kit options that were chosen for this car would’ve been a straightforward affair. At one point an Overtake CF Kit was fitted onto the car, but then that wasn’t enough and they figured a set of Varis Kamikaze R fenders might do the trick – but they’re not exactly made in full carbon. Liberty Walk’s Silhouette kit was also brought in to see if the full carbon treatment can be done using that kit… it couldn’t. It came to a point where Manuel had to take matters into his own hands and build a full widebody CF GTR kit from scratch.
That said, what we’re seeing here is not a murdered out, matte-black affair that was popular in the early 2010’s – this whole R35 has been given the full carbon fiber treatment. Dubbed the MG-01, all exterior panels of this GTR have been re-made in twill and weave to reduce its inherent drawback: weight. The body itself has a layer of carbon on top of the original steel panel, while all the other pieces like the bumper, fenders, trunk, and hood are all molded in the lightweight material with perfect fit and finish. A good number of pieces of this kit has been carefully modeled and made after kits like the Varis Kamikaze R (which do not have the option to be made in pure Carbon Fiber) as well as a few pieces from Overtake Japan, one of the first who have done a full CF body treatment to the R35.
The carbon treatment in itself is an epic conversation piece, but the effort to reduce weight wherever possible is evident throughout the build. Bits like the wing brackets and mounts being made out of titanium were a pleasant sight to see – all bringing more focus towards bringing down weight in the smallest of details.
The work on the front fenders and all its wings and slats become even more evident as the shadows contrast with the twill-woven panels, further bringing focus to all the lines and edges that have been intricately crafted and molded into the lightweight material.
As if blending with the rest of the car, the gunmetal RAYS G25 wheels tie up the exterior to further accentuate the stealthy yet aggressive aesthetic of this R. The feel of this machine is akin to that of classified military weaponry, and it has the numbers to match.
Underneath the vented hood a rather well-worn motor greets us – not exactly meant for show, but we’re glad to see a proper motor put through its paces. Our friends at Autoplus Sports tells us this is an AMS crate motor that’s supposedly good for 1100 whp on pump gas and is in fact a story in itself. Seeing as this car has been around town since the first R35 GTRs came out, R&D on powertrain has been quite an extensive affair for this car. Everything from an HKS GT600 kit in the early days, to big HP names like Switzer and JUN, a bunch of variations of the VR38 have been in this car until the AMS kit eventually satisfied that power craving and allowed the car to safely hit the magic 1000 whp mark while retaining drivability on the street. All this of course means the transmission had to be rebuilt and strengthened at some point to hold the power too.
(Truth be told, there’s so much done to the engine and powertrain over the years that the owner pretty much forgot the entire spec sheet. A very nice problem if we do say so ourselves – Ed.)
This GTR’s party tricks don’t end with the CF body. A KW V3 kit fitted with HLS Front and Rear ensures that the whole car can be lifted a good few inches off the ground to clear the carbon pieces from any askew piece of pavement. Step into the interior and you will have to get acquainted with a rather intricate carbon fiber bucket seat mounted on Bride railings. You’d probably fit snugly yet comfortably in it and find yourself asking what seat you just sat on.
Congratulations. You just planted your ass on the seat of a McLaren Senna.
As mentioned earlier, this particular car is a first-gen CBA-R35, meaning this was the car that had all the transmission problems and warranty voiding issues when you turn traction control off. The patina on the door handles and center stack display enclosure is a clear sign that this car has been driven and well worn throughout the years, which begs the question: “Why not start this project with a newer, more updated GTR?”
“Because i will end up changing everything. NISMO or not.” Manuel Go tells us. “I would just change what can be taken off the car and maybe in some cases, even parts that don’t come off. So why buy a higher tier version when I can buy basic and go from there?” We always love stories of cars with owners that stick to their guns, and this CBA-R35 is a cut above the rest since it actually witnessed more than a decade’s worth of R&D and seat time.
The MG-01 Carbon R is but one of the latest builds our friends at Autoplus Sports have been busy with. While they have other toys for us to feature, perhaps the most important build is the one that is happening around the R35 in these photos. Suffice to say, the local car folk in Manila have something to look forward to once that build is done. We’ll be here to keep you posted!