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Weekend warrior: real-deal Skyline R31 GTS-R

25 June 2018



Name: Shannon Thickpenny // Age: 40
Location: Auckland // Occupation: Owner/CNC machinist at RS Works

NZ Performance Car: Hey, Shannon. You’re no stranger to these pages, having appeared back in Issue No. 220 with your FJ-powered Datto 1600, but this is something a bit different.
Shannon: Hey, guys. Yeah, the Datsun was featured a few years ago now, and this is one of my latest purchases. It’s a genuine Nissan Skyline GTS-R R31 and has only been in the country a few months, as it has taken me quite a while to find a good example. This is car number 643 out of a total 823 units made for motorsport homologation. 

We understand that there aren’t too many left around these days after being produced in such small numbers and used as ready-to-race track cars in Japan.
I only know of one other verified genuine GTS-R in New Zealand, which is a caged Targa car with most of the interior removed, etc., and possibly one other — however, it’s unclear whether it’s a GTS-X with a GTS-R spoiler, as it has been repainted white with red and blue Nissan Motorsport heritage livery. I could be wrong, and there may be more hiding about, as they do, but those are the only examples I know of here. 

And you mentioned seeing some in Japan?
I did, at R31 House, actually. I visited there on a recent trip to Japan, as they’re the go-to place for anything R31 related, obviously. I was given an awesome tour of their facility by Renato Suzuki, and they had paddocks filled with every model you could imagine. In one paddock, they stored customer’s cars that have never been collected, as they aren’t allowed to scrap or sell them to recoup costs, and there were quite a few GTS-Rs that had been crashed or abandonded. They also had a few pristine examples of their own tucked away.

Did yours get some love when it was being peddled around Japanese tracks?
The factory RB20DET-R has been rebuilt, and a few additions, such as a pod filter, additional injectors on the intake, and Trust intercooler, have made their way onto the car, as well as an aftermarket ECU that has raised the rev-limit up to 8000rpm, so I would guess it saw a bit of fun-time over there; however, I don’t know much of the car’s history, unfortunately. It did come with most of the original parts though, [so] if I ever felt the need to ‘restore’ it back to original [I could].

So, do you plan on keeping it how it is currently then?
Yeah, the plan has always been to keep it pretty much as it came into the country, apart from a bit of tidying up of the wiring in the engine bay and perhaps a nice set of Watanabes.

It’s a proper gem, Shannon. Cheers for the yarn.

1987 Nissan Skyline GTS-R (R31)

Engine: Nissan RB20DET-R, 2000cc, straight-six turbo, new Garrett TO4E, RB20DET-R stainless tubular manifold and heat shield, Trust intercooler, oil cooler, R31 House (Kakimoto-built) three-inch stainless and titanium exhaust, A’PEXi pod filter, twin additional intake-fed injectors
Drivetrain: Nissan five-speed gearbox, plate-type limited-slip differential
Interior: Factory GTS-R; GReddy oil-temperature, water-temperature, oil-pressure, and fuel-pressure gauges; Omori exhaust-temp and boost gauges; GReddy Rebic injector controller; Japanese radar detector; toll-card reader; Nismo Personal steering wheel
Exterior: R31 House reproduced decals, R31 House GTS-R vanity plate
Wheels: 18×8-inch and 18×9-inch Work Evolution VS
Suspension: R31 House (Blitz) coilovers, HICAS delete bar, GTS-R strut brace
Power: 154kW (factory output)

Thanks: To all my CJC [Circle Jerk Crew] family; my partner, Steph; Chee at Dynamic Automotive; Tony Markovina; Herb at Kumeu Car Painters; Renato at R31 House; Yuichi at Utilitas; Richard Opie; Tom Freeman; Falgs and my Speedmagnet crew; and Mate Udjur