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Tunnel Vision – 560kW Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R

26 June 2024

Who in their right mind could get sick of a high-powered GT-R build? Definitely not us! One finished off by ST Hi-Tec? Even better!

Words: René Vermeer Photos: Glen McNamara

Hands down New Zealand has the most surprising car scene we’ve ever experienced — one moment you’re minding your own business, thinking you’re aware of all of the wild builds going on around Aotearoa, then BAM, a fresh one hits you right in the DMs. For four months, Ali Salehi had been building his dream Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R, which was just recently finished up, dialled in, and tuned by the GT-R gurus at ST Hi-Tec. 

It wasn’t always Godzillas and Japanese performance cars for Ali, though — the love for them grew over time after driving, then owning, a Subaru WRX STI GC8. “After driving that car I loved how the car worked with barely any technology and how much potential those cars had, so I decided to sell that, then try more JDM cars and try to get into modifying them.” 

 

At this point in time, it was sure as hell safe to say that Ali was hooked on the Japanese performance car life and the Euros were a thing of the past. After he’d had his fun with the WRX, it was moved on, then replaced by a modified Honda Integra DC5.

After living the NA K-series life for a bit, Ali then shifted his focus into saving for his all-time dream build: a BNR32 Nissan Skyline GT-R. “A few years ago I used to own a Skyline R33 that just had a stock RB25DET in it that was making fairly good power with minimal engine mods. From then, I fell in love with the RB engines and always wanted to buy another one and properly build it. I chose the R32 GT-R because of the potential it has, and it’s a perfect car to build for big power and handling at the same time. Also, it was one of my dreams to own a GT-R, so I saw the opportunity and took it,” Ali told us. 

Like almost all of us building a car, the plans from the outset were humble to say the least, with Ali just wanting to do a ‘simple’ single turbo conversion, with a modest, reliable power figure in mind. But as most of us find out, when you’re collecting the parts, investing in quality stuff, and forking out for labour costs for some of the fabrication and installation, sometimes it’s just better to bite the bullet and go the whole hog. “As I started gathering parts and saved more money during that time, my plans slightly changed and I decided to do a proper build and make the car how I always wanted it to be,” Ali explained. 

Retaining the stock capacity, the RB26 was freshened up with locally sourced performance parts, including Tomei forged pistons, Eagle forged rods, and Tomei valve train. To ensure the RB doesn’t have an oil pump mishap as they commonly do, Ali opted for a Nitto oil pump drawing oil from a RIPS high-capacity sump upgrade. With the stock capacity remaining and a power target of around 500kW in mind, the valve train component upgrades were vital, as the RB26 will be turning some serious RPM to make those numbers with the stock capacity (and we’re glad, because it sounds insane!). With 64mm of compressor wheel, it  was more than enough to produce the chosen power figure, so Ali had a Precision 6466 bolted to the side of the RB26 with Turbosmart’s largest ‘gate taking charge of boost control. 

 

“My favourite part of the build would have to be the dyno day when you’re about to find out what power it makes, or if something will go wrong. Nothing beats that excitement when building a car,” Ali told us. With a trick trigger kit, enough fuel, boost, RPM, and an epic tuner by the nickname of ‘Boomer’, the dyno day was a breeze and output an easy 560kW at the hubs on ST Hi-Tec’s Mainline dyno. 

 

Getting that power down isn’t an impossible task in an R32 GT-R, with the all-wheel drive system having proven itself time and time again the world over. However, poor tyre choice and old suspension can make a car like this terrifying (in a bad way) on the street. With that in mind, the GT-R has Öhlins circlip-adjustable suspension, an array of Nismo adjustable arms, and chunky 265/35R18 Hankook Z232 street-rated semi-slicks to ensure it shoots straight when the trigger is pulled. Keeping in mind too, that it’s still running the factory five-speed H-pattern, so there’s a bit of eye-hand-foot coordination going on as the GT-R tries to fight itself off the tarmac when boost comes on. 

“It always puts a smile on my face and I get happy when other people look at and appreciate my build. I can never get bored of driving the car. Driving the car on public roads feels like you are in a video game when you can hear the exhaust, the wastegate screaming, and the turbo whistle and flutter,” Ali continues, “Have a budget in mind. Collect as many parts as you can that are required before starting the build. Don’t change plans halfway. Talk to your mechanic or whoever is working on the car and take advice from them. Most importantly; be patient, don’t rush things and don’t take shortcuts.”

 

Although Ali tells us he’d never change the build, there are already some more upgrades in the works. They make sense too, as with this power level, it’s only a matter of time before shrapnel starts making its way out of the gearbox. “1000hp is the next goal. A block brace, bigger turbo set-up, 3200cc stroker, a sequential gearbox, and more supportive mods that are needed. I also want to change the colour of the car and install different wheels to make it stand out a bit more,” Ali explains. 

 

We’re not sure that an R32 GT-R needs anything further to stand out, but the way the exterior looks on Ali’s example, it’s the ultimate GT-R sleeper — you don’t know if it’s a stock, clean example with some wheels, or a 500kW lethal weapon with a pilot in the cockpit. Well, that is until you hear the turbo spool. 

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This article originally appeared in New Zealand Performance Car issue 305

SPEC LIST

MAKE AND MODEL: 1991 Nissan Skyline GT-R (BNR32)

 

Heart

ENGINE: RB26DETT, 2600cc six-cylinder

BLOCK: Tomei forged pistons, Eagle forged rods, ACL race bearings, crank collar, balanced

HEAD: Tomei oversized valves, Tomei valve springs, Supertech valve guides, Kelford adjustable cam gears, Tomei Procams, Nitto oil pump, Tomei head gasket

INTAKE: Billet NZKW intake manifold, 95mm throttle body

EXHAUST: Custom four-inch downpipe, custom 3.5-inch exhaust with AdrenalinR muffler, Sinco turbo manifold

TURBO: Precision 6466

WASTEGATE: 60 Turbosmart PowerGate

BOV: Turbosmart RacePort

FUEL: 1550cc Bosch injectors, FPG in-tank surge tank, Raceworks 340lph pumps

IGNITION: Franklin Performance coil kit

ECU: Haltech Elite 2000, hidden loom and wiring

COOLING: Koyorad radiator, 100mm Plazmaman intercooler

EXTRA: Hypertune rocker covers, RIPS high-capacity baffled sump, custom fabrication (including catch cans)

 

Drive

GEARBOX: Factory

CLUTCH: Xtreme twin-plate organic

FLYWHEEL: Xtreme

DIFF: Factory

 

Support

STRUTS: Ohlin circlip adjustable coilovers

BRAKES: (F) R33 GT-R Brembo calipers, Endless slotted discs, Endless MX72 pads (R)

ARMS/KNUCKLES: Nismo camber arms, Nismo traction rods, Nismo toe arms

 

Shoes

WHEELS: 18×10-inch WedsSport SA-70R

TYRES: 265/35R18 Hankook Z232

 

Exterior

PAINT: Factory

ENHANCEMENTS: Carbon fibre front diffuser, carbon fibre rear diffuser, carbon fibre N1 boot lip, carbon fibre spoiler gurney flap, aftermarket headlight duct, custom LED tail lights

 

Interior

SEATS: Factory

STEERING WHEEL: Momo Monte Carlo

INSTRUMENTATION: Haltech iC-7 digital display

 

Performance

POWER: 560kW (at the hubs)

TORQUE: 720Nm of torque

BOOST: 32psi of boost

FUEL TYPE: E85

TUNER: Anthony (Boomer) at ST Hi-tec

 

Driver Profile

DRIVER/OWNER: Ali Salehi

AGE: 22

LOCATION: Auckland

OCCUPATION: Self-employed

BUILD TIME: Four months

LENGTH OF OWNERSHIP: One year, 10 months

THANKS: I would like to thank my family and friends and my club boys from Boost Nation for their support and ST Hi-Tec for completing the build.