Within 15 minutes of stepping foot into Tokyo Auto Salon, I find myself smack dab in middle of the Top Secret booth. There's an array of Nissan Skylines, followed by parts and swag for sale that would make any JDM fan boy giddy. Standing behind one of the glass displays is the legendary Smoky Nagata — just shootin' the shits with old friends that had come by the booth to say hi. And then there is this '00 V-SPEC II Skyline GT-R... While an R34 Skyline isn't the rarest car to see inside Makuhari Messe, this particular blue beauty had a certain characteristic about it that made it more than your average build. And upon meeting its awesome owner Kenneth Blanck, I was reminded why we come to Tokyo Auto Salon every year in the first place again and why we continue to come back. This car is an example of what TAS is all about!
Kenneth was born and raised in Japan and currently works IT in Tokyo. He's owned this GT-R since March '11, picking it up from Global Auto — a firm well-known for buying and selling modified vehicles. This was Ken's dream car, ever since he was a teenager and it's taken years for him to finally have just the right canvas to paint his perfect project car. "I used to drag race in Okinawa and the R32 GT-R was considered a 'super car', as it was so fast and used to beat up on any tuned car back in the nineties. After being successful in my career and saving up some cash, I decided it was time to invest in a GT-R. I loved the R34 shape as it was featured in the Fast and Furious movie series. After watching Fast and Furious 4, I was inspired me to buy the R34 and was sold on the Bayside Blue color." Despite many people who poke fun at the Fast and Furious franchise, we're grateful it had a positive impact on Ken. And we're glad he didn't go out and add underglow kit and racing stripes, but transformed it into one of the cleanest and most polished R34 Skylines we've seen to date.
While Ken's background was in quarter-mile racing, he knew drag strips were limited in Japan. He also wanted to build the car that could handle the circuit, yet be comfortable enough for the street. So he sought the aid of world renowned JDM tuner Top Secret. It was there, Smoky Nagata himself helped revamp Ken's GT-R into the 960hp powerhouse it is today.
The internals are built and the head has been redone as well. But perhaps the most interesting part of Ken's engine setup is the turbo. It is the first R34 in Japan to run a Borg Warner EFR-9180 turbo. Top Secret also fabricated a custom dual wastegate dump pipes off the side skirt of the passenger side as well as a titanium 80mm exhaust off the passenger side.
Continuing the total package is a Top Secret coilover system that features Roberuta air cups so Ken can get in and out of driveways with ease. The stock tranny has been ditched for a GReddy sequential — this Skyline can accelerate like a beast! There's also D2 Racing big brakes all-around as well as 19x9.5" Volk Racing TE37 Tokyo Time Attack wheels.
The blue on this car isn't your typical Bayside Blue. A white pearl base coat was applied so you can see a bit of flake/pearl when you're up close and the car is in the light. The exterior wears Top Secret aero all-around that includes some carbon goodies such as the front lip and hood. The front fenders are wider versions from NISMO.
Interior is kept as bare bones as possible. It's not fully stripped as Ken still drives the car on the street all the time, but it does feature a Cusco rollcage, Recaro Sportser seats and a MOMO steering wheel.
While this car looks simply majestic under the lights of Tokyo Auto Salon, Ken tells us he's pushed the car on Fuji Speedway as well as hit 350kmh (217mph) on the track. His car embodies the type of rides we look forward to seeing in Japan every year — all the right parts, perfect execution, big power and an enthusiastic owner who isn't afraid to beat on it!