History | The Look | Engine | Transmission | Suspension | V-spec | Handling | Summary
This vehicle is fantastic and I really wish I didn't have to sell, but due to some strategic changes in the family's direction, it must go (I have been promised that I can get another in a few years time). When I first drove this car, I was really amazed at how easy it was to drive as an everyday car, and I've been using it daily for the past 5 months without it missing a single beat. I've also managed to take the family out a few times, with a 3 year old in the back seat, and a 6 mth old in the child seat - everything fits, including the pram and bags in the boot. I would rather keep the number plates to keep the impetus up to get another in a few years, but everything is negotiable.
I believe this vehicle was owned by an enthusiast in Japan as the condition that it arrived in Australia in (December 2000) was excellent. This car was complianced and purchased from C-Red Tuning in Welshpool (talk to Jeff Ash) in May, and even they were very surprised at the condition of this particular vehicle. The registration (Western Australia) is valid until May 2002.
The R32 GT-R was introduced in 1989 and continued the very successful racing heritage of its famous GT-R predecessors with several championship titles. This car was built to fit Japanese Group A racing specifications, and only hit the road because the rules demanded its street homologation. So in reality, this is a race-car for the street.
Over a decade after the last Skyline GT-R (KPGC110) had been dropped, a new Skyline GT-R finally saw the light in 1989. Of course, expectations for the new top-performer were high due to the heritage it could look back upon. But this new version was more than worth the GT-R badge in any way.
At that time it may have seemed impossible for any car to resemble the PGC10's success on and off the track - that was, until the new R32 GT-R came along, which soon earned the nickname Godzilla. The Skyline GT-R was available only in coupe form and featured high-tech in perfection, high-tech that in this case was used to support the driving experience, rather than hinder it.
It came with ATTESA-ETS (Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All - Electronic Torque Split), an electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system that usually delivers the power to the rear- wheels, but can send up to 50% of the torque to the front wheels. Thus even drifts are possible with this car, which is usually very difficult with AWD. The handling was further enhanced by Super-HICAS, an improved system of the R31 GTS-X's all-wheel-steering, to make this car one of the best, if not THE best handling car in the world.
In addition, the GT-R did not only have a very good handling behavior, but also came with one of the best production engines of all times, the RB26DETT, a 2.6l DOHC inline-6 twin turbo with 280hp (206kW). The RB26DETT is a pure racing engine, derived directly from Group A racing, which was despec'ed to fit the maximum 280hp allowed by Japanese regulations. Tuned (newer) versions of this engine, however, have been seen to reach up to 1300hp. Still, the standard version makes the 0-100km/h sprint in 4.73 seconds, putting it on a par with a Ferrari 355.
But the GT-R was not only a great street rocket. It was basically designed to fit Japanese Group A racing standards. And racing is where Godzilla really shined. It won so many races (i.e. it won every single race - 29 altogether) in Group A that this class was abolished because nobody wanted to compete against the Skyline anymore.
The Australian Connection
Here in Australia, as in Japan, the Skyline GT-R's were ripping through the (V8 oriented) Touring Car Championship. In 1990 and 1991 Jim Richards won at Bathurst with Mark Skaife doing it again in 1992. It was these victories that got the V8 supporters worried. Locally produced V8 Ford Falcons and Holden Commodores were being thrashed by overseas competitors. Even the Ford Sierra RS500 was beating them. Because of this, rules were introduced which prohibited the Skyline from competing again, thus the reason for the two make series that you today (Shell Championship Series - V8 Supercars).
At this time, Nissan Australia did need homologate the Skyline GT-R for inclusion in the Championship, and as such, there were approximate 100 vehicles shipped over and complianced in 1991 and available until 1993. Of these, approximately 30 were used for racing (in Australia and New Zealand), leaving about 70 for the Australian public. Part of the homologation process was for the vehicles to comply with the 'Australian Design Rules' (ADR's) for motor vehicles. Differences between these Australian versions and those imported directly from Japan nowadays include a rear differential oil cooler (mounted at the rear near the differential), side mounted indicators, seat belts and different rear lights (one brake and one indicator per side). Most of these are now part of the compliancing of imported vehicles including the addition of child seat restraints and replacing of seat belts to comply with the ADR's.
A length of 4545mm and a width of 1755mm make the R32 the smallest of all newer GT-R's, and with a height of 1355mm it is also 5mm lower than its successors.
The front is dominated by the front spoiler, which is clefted with air inlets and makes for an aggressive appearance on the street. Except for some bulges around the wheels, the look of side is pretty much that of the standard coupe's, just with a slightly taller rear-wing.
The GT-R's back gets the twin round tail-lights common to all R32 series Skylines, and its back can only be distinguished from the standard coupe by its larger wing and the GT-R badge.
The overall design of the car feels actually quite simple and inconspicuous - as strange as this may sound concerning a Skyline GT-R. There is no real hint for outsiders to show what this car is really capable of. It rather looks like a simple family-coupe that some over-ambitious tuning-freak had its hands on. But in reality, the clefted front spoiler, the bulges and the rear wing are no exaggerated design tricks, but features directly taken from racing. They all have their purpose in a car that, at the time it was built, was considered to be one of the best sports cars of the world - maybe even THE best.
The interior convinces with excellent ergonomics. The instruments are comprehensive, with additional front-torque and oil-temperature gauges in the centre console, which are quite useful for track-use.
The sportive layout of the car is further supported by well sculpted bucket seats and a leather steering wheel. But the GT-R is not all track-specced. A digital climate control and the common powerpack make this car as well useable as a daily commuter. If you want transport someone on the rear-seats, though, make sure they are children or adults that don't mind cowering, because the R32 offers the least headroom of all GT-R's in the back. Still, even with its small boot, the GT-R is quite practical for the sportive car it is.
The Engine (RB26DETT)
The R32 GT-R uses the RB26DETT engine, a DOHC inline-6 with 24-valves and a six-throttle inlet manifold. A bore of 86mm in connection with a stroke of 73.7mm make for an overall displacement of 2568cc.
A compression ratio of 8.5:1, twin T28 Garrett turbochargers and a large front-mounted intercooler help the RB26DETT produce 280hp at 6800rpm and 360Nm (260lb-ft) of torque at 4400rpm. But actually this engine was directly designed for use in Japanese Group A racing, and tuned derivatives have proven to reliably run with over 550hp without needing any internal changes.
|RB ||Engine series
|26 ||Displacement - 2.6l
|D ||Valvetrain - DOHC
|E ||Electronic Multipoint Fuel Injection
|TT ||Twin Turbo
The power is deployed to the wheels via a 5-speed gearbox which is coupled to the Skyline's all-wheel-drive system ATTESA-ETS (Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All - Electronic Torque Split).
The GT-R uses an electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system (similar to Porsche's 959). A 16-bit microprocessor monitors the car's movements a 100 times per second, including wheel rotation and lateral as well as longitudinal acceleration. When slip is detected at a driving wheel, the system electronically distributes torque from this spinning wheel to one without slip.
In this case the electronic AWD-system offers the advantage that actions are enacted much faster than by a viscous-coupling-system (we're speaking of hundredths of a second here). In standard setup, ATTESA-ETS distributes the torque to the rear-wheels, but when slip is detected on one of those rear-wheels, it can distribute up to 50% of the torque to the front wheels, i.e. it can adjust the front/rear torque-split from anything between 0:100 to 50:50. Among the rear-wheels, an active LSD can further distribute the torque from one wheel to the other if necessary. Due to this setup, the Skyline GT-R can even drift, although it is an AWD car.
The R32 GT-R uses a double wishbone/multi-link suspension setup front and rear. Road-holding and especially the steering is further improved by the Skyline's all-wheel-steering system Super HICAS.
The Skyline's all-wheel-steering enables the rear-wheels to steer the car with a maximum of one degree. A very complex system compares the car's movements with the driver's input at the steering wheel and adjusts the angle of the steering wheel according to the direction the driver intends to go via minute changes to the suspension geometry. The result is steering that makes the GT-R feel much more nimble than its size suggests.
The (R32) V-spec Version
The Victory Specification version is the most sportive version of the Skyline GT-R and are quite rare, being created to celebrate the amazing number of victories in the Japanese GroupA Touring Car Championship. An interesting oddity is that there are actually two versions of the same car, the V-spec, and the V-spec II (although the V-spec II actually had slightly wider tyres at 245/45). The differences between the standard GT-R and the V-spec is that the V-spec uses a firmer suspension setup, an electronically controlled limited slip differential and a revised all-wheel-drive system (ATTESSA-PRO). Additionally the performance is improved by bigger 17inch 225/50 tires mounted on 17 x 8 BBS rims and four-piston Brembo brakes with ventilated 324mm discs up front and two-piston 300mm Brembo brakes in the back.
Limited numbers of the R32 Series V-spec and V-spec II models were made with 1453 V-Spec and 1303 V-Spec II models being built up until October 1994. This particular vehicle was built in December 1993 and first registered in January 1994.
The R32 GT-R was developed for racing, and it feels like that in every move. The RB26DETT is one of the finest engines ever to work in a road car and catapults the Skyline from standstill to 100km/h in 4.73 seconds. The steering is precise and offers good feel. Overall, the R32's responses feel quicker than on later models, which may partly be attributed to the fact that this car is at least 50kg lighter than its successors.
Swiftness does not come easy, though.
The GT-R is a true driving machine and as such it responds best when driven aggressively. And that is when the Skyline really shines - this car lives for the twisty stuff.
Thanks to the HICAS-improved steering and state-of-the-art suspension, the Skyline GT-R has race-quick responses, and thanks to ATTESA also loads of grip.
But it is not only an uncompromising driving-machine. The GT-R is also well usable as a daily commuter. The clutch may be a bit heavy for a road car, but that is the price you have to pay for driving one of the most potent street cars of its time. Apart from that, the car is quite comfortable, with bucket seats that not only hold the driver tight during fast-cornering, but also accommodate him quite nicely. Although rear headroom and boot space are a limited.
This is only of secondary importance when you really push the car hard. In those joyful moments you are most likely to be alone with the GT-R, anyway.
Even today, some people still consider the R32 to be the purest Skyline GT-R ever. It was certainly revolutionary with all those gadgets when it came out. But in contrast to some other cars, all its technology does not hamper the driving experience, but supports it. Today, the 16inch tires (17" on the V-spec) don't seem that big any more, and the formerly huge brakes are (referring to the standard GT-R), seen by current standards, also only average in size. But considering today's prices for this impressive car, it is a good deal indeed.
The R32 GT-R may not offer the latest safety features of newer vehicles such as airbags (it does have ABS), your money does buy you one of the most unique driving experiences ever in the world. After all, of the latest Skyline GT-R's, this is the real legend - and you get the racing pedigree for free.
The above information was reproduced and modified (for Australian details) from the JB Cars web site.