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Skyline GT-R - NUTHIN' BUT A G-THANG

Top Secret Could Not Wait For Nissan, So It Built Its Own Skyline GT-R

John C. Naderi
Apr 26, 2005 SHARE

Most of us here at Super Street are all talk. We like to talk about how those girls at Waffle House totally wanted us, how our project car will run 10s once grandma kicks down with that birthday check and, most importantly, how our Six Million Dollar Man action figure was not, in fact, a doll. But Kazuhiko "Smoky" Nagata--the nickname comes from his penchant for big, smoke-filled burnouts--prefers actions to words. Whenever we visit his Top Secret Performance Engineering Service in Chiba, Japan, we never get anything more than a humble smile, an acknowledging tip of the head, and a casual greeting with a wave of the hand. Hold on a sec there, chief. We dragged our sorry gaijin asses into the sub-coach seats of a 10-hour flight, endured bawling babies, rubber chicken and, worst of all, a screening of The Princess Diaries 2, and all we get is a nod and a smile? Can't we at least get a, "Hiya, how y'all doing?" No? Alrighty then.

Whenever we see Smoky, his focus rarely wavers from the task at hand, be it tuning a customer's 750hp Supra or dropping an RB26 into a Z33. His actions, which bring his beastly creations to life, are more important than words, which may explain why he never greets us formally. Well, it's either that or he hates Amerikajin or quite possibly just us Super Streeters. We get a lot of that.

Smoky's latest bandit is this JDM Skyline CV35, or what we roundeyes know as the Infiniti G35 Coupe. When most of us hear Skyline, dreams of the monstrous GT-R begin to dance through our heads. However, there is no GT-R model for this current generation Skyline--yet. For the '07 model year, Nissan will throw down with an all-new GT-R. Rumors abound regarding the specs, and those techno twerps from our sister publication, Sport Compact Car, even ran a shot of a test mule on the cover of their Feb. '05 issue. Early speculation, pontification, and downright guesstimation predict that the powerplant will be anything from a turbo'd 3.0-, 3.2-, or 3.5L variant of the VQ-series V-6 to either an NA or a turbo VK45 V-8.

Such conjecture can create an untold amount of talk from us, but not from Smoky. Rather than talk about it or wait for it, Smoky built his own Skyline CV35 GT-R. While there are many twin-turbo kits on the market for the VQ, and Nissan's GT-R will probably be offered with the same configuration, this was not enough for the Top Secret GT-R.

Smoky plucked a plus-size 4.5L VK45 V-8 from a Nissan Cima (our Infiniti Q45) to drive his Skyline. But a GT-R, be it from Nissan or Top Secret, just isn't a GT-R without some boost. To this end a matched set of HKS GT2835 turbos was plumbed into the mix. To handle the power, VQ30 rods and pistons were employed in the bottom end. Because a twin-turbo V-8 demands massive amounts of fuel and air, two Bosch fuel pumps force-feed Top Secret 720cc injectors while a pair of Pulsar throttle bodies brings in the air. The star of the air/fuel show is the Top Secret original surge tank intake manifold. This piece is so bad it's good, with its flawless finish and exquisite fabrication. Keeping everything cool like Fonzie is an ARC radiator and an intercooler set up in a righteous V-mount configuration. When the tuning is complete, Smoky estimates that his GT-R hybrid will put down in excess of 800 hp!

Our sources told us that Smoky's Skyline was going to be AWD, in keeping with the GT-R theme, but it was too hard to fit such a drivetrain. Smoky told us that the engine swap alone was a tough trick. "Just take a look at the engine bay," Smoky said. "It was like trying to fit big Oprah into a Japanese schoolgirl uniform." We know what you're talking about, Smoky. It's getting harder and harder to stuff Jonny into his Sailor Moon outfit every Saturday night. While it's impossible to conceive how Jonny squeezes into that little blue skirt, it's even harder to imagine how Top Secret made the V-8 work with a six-speed manual JZA80 Supra gearbox.

The outside of this Skyline is no less spectacular than the drivetrain. The fluid shape of the coupe remains, but it is accentuated with a Top Secret Super G-Force widebody kit. Where some widebody kits go too far, deforming the look of a car, the G-Force kit only adds to the Skyline's appeal, much like Jennifer Garner after a few months of Pilates as opposed to a few months on the Barry Bonds nutritional supplement program. Top Secret fans may have noticed the pearl white finish in place of the traditional signature gold. The white is sometimes used on the TS demo cars to change things up a bit. (Trivia Alert! Top Secret's signature color was green at one time, but Smokey was inspired after the '98 Olympics came to Nagano, Japan, prompting the now-famous gold medal hue.)

To properly fill the fenders, this G is blinging on dubs, 20-inch Top Secret Special Edition Volk GT-Cs to be exact. And the Top Secret Super Footwork System provides the right amount of tuck. This is quite the extravagant coilover setup. Aragosta Super Dampers and Swift springs are built to Top Secret specs, and Roberuta provides electronic ride-height capabilities to keep the lower spoilers free from any accidental speed-bump bodywork.

Negotiating the parking lot hazards of the Chiba City Mo's Burger, however, are not in this Skyline's future. Smoky plans to challenge Tsukuba and the world in a time attack with this beast. He also wants to break his top-speed highway record--hinting that the Skyline has a little Wangan action in the making. The Top Secret GT-R concept is so hot that it took the First Place award for the best-tuned vehicle at the '05 Tokyo Auto Salon. (Story Alert! See our coverage elsewhere in this issue.) It would seem that Smoky has produced a Skyline worthy of the GT-R moniker-dare we say even better than what Nissan will bring to market?

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By John C. Naderi
49 Articles

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