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800hp Street-Legal 1998 Nissan Skyline GT-R R33

Meet one of Australia's fastest street cars...JET26L!

Brad Lord
Dec 21, 2015
Photographer: Alastair Richie

There's no denying the effect wide fenders, big wings, and carbon fiber can have on the way a car looks—it's a recipe that works more often than not. But sometimes it's just not necessary, and something as simple as the right set of wheels matched to a fitting ride height is all that's required to take a car to that next level. It's that sort of restrained modifying methodology that initially led us to this '98 Nissan Skyline GT-R in the first place. What's under the hood, however, convinced us to hang around and take a closer look.

008 1998 nissan skyline gt r oem rear wing Photo 2/20   |   008 1998 Nissan Skyline Gt R Oem Rear Wing

As a right-hand drive nation that has allowed its population access to used JDM machines for more than two decades now (although not without some restrictions), Australia has a thriving modified Japan street car culture, and one that's largely built around horsepower. Nissans are a favorite, so when you factor in the BNR32's utter domination of V-8-bred Australian touring car racing in the early '90s, it's little wonder that Skylines of the GT-R variety are revered in this part of the world.

1998 nissan skyline gt r rb26dett engine Photo 3/20   |   The beauty of this GT-R lies under the hood with an RB26 dyno-tuned to 800+hp.

Like so many other Australian GT-R owners, Mushin Ali found his way into this late-model BCNR33 through another imported Skyline—specifically an R34 GT-t. Despite being a pretty solid package in its own right, for what Mushin had his mind set on doing, the GT-t's 2.5L RB25 was never going to cut it. Instead, he found what he was looking for in this previous-generation GT-R, aka JET26L. From the outset, Mushin's idea was to take the largely original R33 and build it up into a tough yet fully streetable weekend machine capable of running quick e.t.'s on the strip when the need arises. And this is where Sydney's Just Engine Management comes into the picture. Despite its name, JEM is a multifaceted operation with a reputation in the local community for its ability to build badass Skylines. With JEM's owner and head tuner, Adam Neish, providing guidance, a plan of attack was devised and Mushin's GT-R went under the knife.

1998 nissan skyline gt r oem seats Photo 4/20   |   No denying it's a full street car, especially with a pristine-condition factory interior.

Although it was heavier than the original RB26-powered GT-R (3,400 pounds for the BCNR33 versus 3,146 pounds for the BNR32), Nissan addressed some of the R32's shortcomings in the R33, providing a strong foundation for tuners to build on. That's an important thing in this instance, because rather than going down the route that many other Australian GT-R owners in search of ultimate street performance do these days—namely an RB30-based engine with an automatic drag-spec transmission behind it—Mushin was hell-bent on sticking to the Skyline's original script.

According to JEM's in-house dyno, 807 hp is generated by Mushin's RB26 engine—an impressive figure considering it still maintains the factory crank and 2.6L capacity. Of course, some serious power-making components were called for, and on top of 8.5:1 forged JE pistons, there are Argo I-beam rods, a cylinder head that features HKS 272-degree cams, and a Supertech valvetrain for easy 8,000-rpm-plus pulls. Then, things got real in the turbo department... Where once a pair of small T25-based Garretts resided, you'll now find a single Precision Turbo PT6466 perched on a custom Turbo-1 manifold and running dual TiAL wastegates. It's not hard to miss. There's the expected stuff, too: a large front-mounted intercooler, a custom 3.5-inch exhaust complete with high-flow cat to keep on the good side of the authorities, and a suitably spec'd fuel system comprising of 2,000cc injectors, twin high-flow fuels pumps, and a 1.6-gallon surge tank mounted underneath the car. An Australian-made Haltech Platinum Pro engine management system gives the correct firing orders.

1998 nissan skyline gt r precision turbo pt6466 Photo 8/20   |   Gone are the factory twin turbos; now sits a massive Precision PT6466 turbo atop a custom Turbo-1 manifold.

A number of the Skyline's original drivetrain components have been retained—the five-speed manual tranny and active limited-slip rear included. The aftermarket bits come in the form of an OS Giken triple-plate clutch and flywheel and a Cusco one-way front LSD. To date, the whole package has stood up to everything Mushin has thrown at it—hard launches notwithstanding. Elsewhere around the underside, you'll find HSD MonoPro coilovers, Whiteline sway bars, ZSS rear camber arms, and Hardrace rear traction rods. A slight upgrade to the factory Brembos was added with DBA slotted rotors and EBC pads.

1998 nissan skyline gt r work emotion d9r wheel Photo 9/20   |   Factory Brembos feature DBA rotors and EBC pads for a little more bite and improved wear.

The R33's factory-pumped fenders have an ability to swallow up large wheels with ease, in this case 18x10.5" matte bronze Work Emotion D9Rs. From a performance perspective, wide rims were a requisite when the Skyline's power increased almost 300 percent—wrapped in 285/30R18 semi-slicks, they do a good job of translating all of the Nissan's might to traction.

1998 nissan skyline gt r oem gauge cluster Photo 10/20   |   100,000+ kilometers on the odometer—no trailer queen by any means!

Wheels aside, one of the defining aspects of the Skyline is its factory-original exterior, which goes as far as the OEM Super Clear Red paint. There are, of course, plenty of routes that Mushin could have taken, considering the amount of body kit options out there, but he had no interest in messing with the GT-R's timeless design, and you have to respect that. The same thinking has been carried over to the interior as well, and the immaculate series three trim, dashboard, seats, and steering wheel are all as Nissan intended them to be. The only additions are a Zeitronix wideband meter and Shadow boost gauge.

1998 nissan skyline gt r mushin ali Photo 11/20   |   Car so fast, owner Mushin gotta wear sweats to stay comfortable!

Having a GT-R like this in the garage is a dream of many, but for Mushin, it's an absolute reality. "When you get in the car, you just want to thrash it," he told us. But don't go thinking that it all ends here, because according to Mushin, there's still plenty more work to do in order to completely fulfill his original vision. The plans are pretty serious and will inevitably involve a Tomei or Nitto Performance Engineering 2.8L conversion, an even bigger turbo to match the increased capacity, plus an OS Giken OS88 six-speed sequential gearbox. With closer to four-figure-deep output and the ability to machine-gun through the gears, the future's looking very fast for JET26L—even if the license plate won't fit for much longer.

1998 nissan skyline gt r keys Photo 12/20   |   1998 Nissan Skyline Gt R Keys
1998 nissan skyline gt r oem front bumper Photo 16/20   |   1998 Nissan Skyline Gt R Oem Front Bumper
1998 nissan skyline gt r intake manifold Photo 20/20   |   1998 Nissan Skyline Gt R Intake Manifold
By Brad Lord
19 Articles
800hp Street-Legal 1998 Nissan Skyline GT-R R33
Tuning Menu
Owner: Mushin Ali
Hometown: Sydney, Australia
Occupation: Mechanic
Engine: 2.6L RB26DETT DOHC 24V inline-six with Argo I-beam rods; JE forged 8.5:1 pistons; HKS 272-degree camshafts, stainless muffler; Supertech 1mm oversized valves, double valvesprings; Precision Turbo PT6466 turbocharger; dual TiAL 38mm wastegates; JEM intercooler and piping, intake box, oil catch can; Turbo-1 Fabrications exhaust manifold; 3.5" exhaust; high-flow cat; Bosch Motorsport dual fuel pumps, 2,000cc injectors; 6-liter surge tank
Engine Management: Haltech Platinum Pro plug-in
Drivetrain: Five-speed manual with OS Giken R3C triple-plate clutch, billet flywheel; Cusco 1-way front LSD; factory rear active LSD, driveshafts and axles
Footwork & Chassis: HSD MonoPro adjustable coilovers; Whiteline sway bars; ZSS rear camber arms; Hardrace rear traction rods
Brakes: Factory Brembo calipers; DBA slotted rotors; EBC Greenstuff pads
Wheels & Tires: 18x10.5" +22 Work Emotion D9R wheels; 285/30R18 Federal 595 RS-R tires
Exterior: Bone stock but looks so good!
Interior: Shadow boost gauge; Zeitronix ZR-2 wideband meter; Kenwood head unit
Thanks You: Adam Neish (tuner and owner of Just Engine Management); Hamza Gharnrawi (engine builder at JEM); Waseen Sahib of JEM; Sonny from Turbo-1 Fabrications

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