10 Nissan Skyline GT-R Builds That’ll Make You Want to Import One Today

Photography: Gian Fernandez

  • Grid Icons is a new car show by Pit+Paddock that highlights a very specific genre of modified cars, the first event focusing on the R32, R33, and R34 generations of the Skyline GT-R.
  • More than 25 street- and race-tuned builds were in attendance, including a NISMO 400R on air suspension, a Millennium Jade M-Spec Nür BNR34 on BBS wheels, and Dai Yoshihara’s “DAI33” Skyline GT-R. 
  • The most serious builds were brought by GT-R specialist Original Auto, which included a VR38-swapped R32 and two 1,000+hp R34s, all tuned by Haltech.

Grid Icons media coverage is presented by Hawk Performance


Although it’s been some weeks since we hosted our inaugural Grid Icons event with title partner Yokohama Tire and presenting partner Haltech, we’re still receiving tons of great feedback! While we wish we could take all the credit, the car show would be nothing without the exhibiting GT-R owners. All of them worked tirelessly to ensure their Skylines were in tip-top shape for our 500+ guests to check out, not to mention many of them came from well over an hour’s drive (Brad Nielson traveled 1,400 miles to be there!). We appreciate you guys greatly, and for our third and final event report, we’ll be highlighting 10 of the most noteworthy builds that helped make our first-ever Grid Icons one for the books!

BEST OF THE R32

Original Auto: Every GT-R at Grid Icons was running an inline-six, turbocharged RB26 engine except for the Original Auto R32. A project that started four years ago, the GT-R shop swapped in the twin-turbo VR38DETT from the R35. Matched with a drag-spec Powerglide transmission conversion kit and tuned using a Haltech standalone, this R32 puts down 1,200hp to all four wheels and instills fear in any challenger that lines up next to it.

Chris Payne: While we have Original Auto’s R32 built for the drag strip, Chris Payne’s Skyline is the prime example of a more traditional JDM time attack build. Imported in 2015, Chris wasted no time as he took it straight to Laguna Seca and other California tracks. Later on, he decided to squeeze more power, so the motor was rebuilt in Japan by Garage Saurus with a N1 block and HKS 2.8L Step 2 upgrade kit. The rest of the build has every best possible JDM goodie available – Argosta coilovers, Runduce brakes, Ikeya Formula suspension, HKS fueling and exhaust components, and ARC intercooler. 

Lerry Liu: This 1992 Skyline GT-R is owned by Lerry Liu of Yokohama. The outside is kept clean and simple with a Top Secret carbon lip, NISMO side skirts and rear spats, and rolls on a set of Titan 7 wheels. Under the hood is where the magic is. Like Chris Payne’s R32, Lerry’s engine build was completed Garage Saurus in Japan, and has virtually every HKS upgrade you can imagine including the N1 block bored to a 2.8L, full internals, and single turbo conversion. Horsepower is in the range of 900 to the wheels.

BEST OF THE R33

Dai Yoshihara: A build that needs little introduction here, Dai Yoshihara continues his tour showing off his modern interpretation of the 400R. Nicknamed “DAI33”, the GT-R was built in collaboration with GReddy Performance Parts, Turn 14 Distribution and Toprank Importers. You can read more about the car in our Pit+Paddock feature story published earlier this year.

NISMO 400R: Often considered the holy grail of JDM cars, this 1996 NISMO 400R was brought in by Toprank Importers and is said to have sold for more than $1M USD! The new owner put his own flair on it by installing suspension from Air Lift.

Kaidohouse: Known for cool collectibles and diecast models, this is the Kaidohouse Midnight Purple V-spec GT-R that looks stunning with Work Meister L1 wheels, Gracer side skirts, TEIN coilovers, and various NISMO parts.

Corey Sanders: Another V-Spec beauty, this R33 from Corey Sanders of San Diego is built to 835whp thanks to a 2.9L Brian Crower stroker, built head, Tomei cams, Garrett turbo and Haltech ECU.

BEST OF THE R34

Marc Tcham: 1 of 144 Millennium Jade M-spec Nür GT-Rs in the world, Marc Tcham has embarked on a project that’s part restoration build as he’s sourced new OEM pieces for virtually everything that showed any signs of wear and tear. The other side of the story is a JDM tuner’s dream car with only the best parts finding their way onto the R34 including NISMO Z-tune and Mine’s aero, Amuse exhaust, and two different sets of BBS wheels, one side sporting the LM and the other the LM-R.

Original Auto: The cool story behind this R34 was that it was wrapped blue for the F9 movie of the Fast & Furious franchise. What most people don’t know is that it’s owned and built by Original Auto and makes 1,124whp using an RB30 block, Haltech tune, and sequential trans.

Brian Gold: Chalk up another GT-R to the 1,000hp club, entrepreneur Brian Gold is the proud owner of this all-black R34. 


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