Brian Spachman owns not one, but two Nissan GT-Rs, and his R35 race car (dubbed "Unabomber R35") is pretty damn crazy. Built by Topspeed Motorsports with a 4.4-liter billet block and ETS Pro 1900 turbo kit, it makes around 2,000 whp and has gone 7.64 seconds at 184 mph in the quarter-mile, not to mention a top speed of 219 mph in the half-mile. But his '96 Skyline, while not as ludicrous as his R35, is one of those quintessential builds people have come to know him by.
Brian purchased his R33 in non-running condition and the car had passed through many owners throughout its time here in the States. Unfortunately, the gremlins that remained from its previous owners' hands were too much to chase down and a brand-new build was in order. Shine Auto out of Alpharetta, Georgia, managed the build and utilized tech Brandon Bachtel to ensure a world-class assembly. Many big-name vendors had a hand in producing parts for this car, for example, Origin Fabrications, Tomei, ShepTrans, OS Giken, and Hypertune, to name a few.
As with every sizable build, you'll experience some teething. While the first start up and shakedown proved to be uneventful, the next couple of months were demanding for Brian's R33. Trying to get a built homologated race car to do acceptable street car things is difficult. You're literally undoing what Nissan engineers worked so hard for by changing how it breathes, moves, and thinks. Mix that with the fact that this platform was highly advanced for its time and never made it to the States, and you've got the recipe for a massive migraine. One of the main goals of this build was to make huge performance numbers—hence the 2.8-liter stroker and single turbo conversion—yet still retain some manners. Luckily, in this day and age we've got technology to lessen the frustration, such as the ProEFI ECU tuned by Induction Performance to propel this GT-R to 876 whp on E85 flex fuel.
So, what does Brian's Skyline feel like? The best way to describe the experience is concerning. It has the urgency of a cruise missile, the tenacity of a honey badger, and the precision of a micrometer. Simply put, this car hits like a hurricane in Florida. When you're in the powerband, there's no time to think—you just feel it out. You'd think the ATTESA system would tame that many ponies, but truth of the matter is it's still a rear-wheel-drive-based platform and she gets loose!
There are three generations of what most consider the modern heritage Skyline. Everyone has his or her favorite and his or her own school of thought on which is ideal. The R32 is recognized for the ass kicking it delivered to its opposition when released into the racing world. The R34 is the ultimate fanboy ride starring in many video games and, of course, The Fast & Furious franchise. The R33 is often considered the black sheep of the bunch, somehow earning the nickname "The Boat." Realistically, it's lighter than the R34 and offers more rear seating area than the R32, but it's the ideal street killer for Brian, that is when he's not behind the wheel of his 2,000-whp R35 GT-R.