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Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec Trio - Is This Heaven?

Charles Wong's collection is every enthusiast's dream

Oct 1, 2018

If you're anywhere between the ages of 25 and 45, chances are you've fantasized about owning a Skyline GT-R at one point in your life. For myself, I fell in love with the GT-R at the age of 14, sitting in front of the TV playing the original Gran Turismo. And like every fanboy in the late '90s and early '00s, the R34 became the car I'd rob a bank for; in fact, it still is that one Japanese sports car I'd wish to have in my garage. Besides its beautiful and aggressive styling, the GT-R's RB26DETT is still one of the best engines in sports car history thanks to its 2.6-liter, twin-cam inline-six with individual throttle bodies and twin turbos. Its cast-iron block meant it was indestructible, too, meaning builds in upwards of 1,000hp were realities from some of the best tuners in Japan, Australia, and elsewhere. Unlike Toyota's Supra, Honda's NSX, or even Mazda's RX-7 from the same era, the GT-R featured all-wheel drive in the form of ATTESA (Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All-Terrain), so lead-foot drivers like myself could benefit from more traction and control. Of course, to this day, owning a Skyline is still a farfetched idea for many of us. It's still a gray area to register one in the U.S. as it doesn't comply with 25-year-rule, and if you're like me, you're still making peanuts for a salary. We have to live vicariously through other blessed individuals in the community, and one such individual who has quite possibly the ultimate garage of GT-Rs is Charles Wong.

Charles Wong V Spec Nissan GT Rs Photo 2/16   |   Charles Wong V Spec Nissan GT Rs

I met Charles during a trip to Canada earlier this year, but I've heard about his Bayside Blue R34 for a while now. Photos of his Skyline at Laguna Seca during the annual R's Day track day caught my attention first, then I was able to peep his GT-R in person at Wekfest Seattle last year. It's a purpose-built machine with the right recipe of JDM form and track-ready function. The best part about the project car is that Charles doesn't baby it one bit. It's driven hard whenever gets behind the wheel—a pretty ballsy thing to do with something that's so rare and expensive to maintain to begin with. So, while I knew of Charles before meeting him up for our photoshoot just outside of Vancouver, BC, I wasn't expecting him to bring three R34s, which all happen to be his!

Charles Wong V Spec Nissan GT Rs Photo 3/16   |   Charles Wong V Spec Nissan GT Rs

Charles' main gig isn't what you'd expect it to be. He does floral designs for weddings. Like many of us, cars are his hobby, and in '06 he got into the whole Nissan thing when he began importing JDM goodies as a side gig to catch a break from his day duties of arranging roses and tulips. He formed his own brand called CW Collective where he'd bring in cars and parts for his buddies. The first JDM car he imported was an S15 Silvia, followed by an R32 GTS, then an R32 GT-R. Note: Before we go any further, Canada's rule for importing cars is 15 years as opposed to America's 25-year rule. He tells us that it's fairly easy to import and register a car in Canada as there's no strict smog laws, too.

With the ease of importing, he could legally start shipping in R34s in '13, which he did. Charles' technique is that he would browse used cars online through private sellers and auctions, then fly to Japan to check 'em out in person. "I don't like buying anything unseen, especially for that amount of money," he explained. "R34s are still pretty hard to get in Japan, especially a nice one. I have to touch it, see it, and it least test drive it once. It makes the whole experience of buying a GT-R more unique. And if you're spending that much amount of money, you might as well go there." Charles estimates that all said and done, you should budget around $100K to account for your travels, purchasing the car, covering all import costs, plus all the maintenance and repairs required to make it road worthy.

Charles Wong V Spec Nissan GT Rs Photo 7/16   |   Charles Wong V Spec Nissan GT Rs

So why three? Well, if you're given the opportunity and have the funds to own three, why not?! That's just how nutty Charles was for Nissan's Godzilla, but if you're going to have three, you're sure as hell aren't going to make them all the same. There are similarities in all of Charles' children, being V-Spec models and having Volk Racing TE37s, but all three serve different purposes.

1999 nissan skyline GT R v spec voltex type 4 GT wing Photo 8/16   |   1999 Nissan Skyline GT R V Spec Voltex Type 4 GT Wing
1999 nissan skyline GT R v spec laguna seca Photo 9/16   |   No show car here! Charles driving his Bayside Blue beauty at Laguna Seca

The blue one, which is Charles' favorite child, is his race car. It has run Laguna Seca once, Ridge Motorsports Park in Washington half a dozen times, and Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit on three occasions. It doesn't just look fast, either, but has a 650hp setup using a fully-built HKS motor and single-turbo conversion. Charles revealed that a new stroker motor is being built to 750hp which will mate to a sequential gearbox. "The car is going to Japan next where it will attend the largest GT-R meeting in the world at Fuji Speedway," he revealed. "The car will stay there until next Spring where it'll be used for track days and street driving when I visit." Note: You'll notice that we're missing proper interior and engine bay photos of the blue car as the motor and interior were still a work in progress during the time of our shoot.

The white car is the simplest of the three, however it's a slightly rarer V-Spec II model. It features a NISMO kit, carbon-ceramic brakes and Ohlins coilovers. "This is built for day-to-day use and getting from A-to-B. It's quiet and comfortable, fits four people, and has a full working A/C," he explained. Almost sounds like it could be a daily driver, which Charles reassured us it is. He's not afraid to go to a nice dinner with his wife in this car, nor is he afraid to pick up groceries in it. If you ask us, it's the most unlikely car for a daily driver in the middle of downtown Vancouver, but that's just Charles...

Which leaves the gray one... "It's kind of like the white car, except faster, but harder to drive," he reasoned. "It's not as street friendly, but it's also not a full-out track car like the blue one. Somewhere in between..." Charles picked up the gray R34 equipped with a built motor; however, he added a new turbo, injectors and ECU. When all was said and done, it was tuned to around 500hp. Upgrades like the triple-plate clutch and fixed Recaro driver seat make it slightly more of a chore to drive regularly, but he still manages to bust it out on the weekends and to local shows.

"This was always my part time thing, bringing in parts from Japan and helping my friends out by sharing on shipping costs. It takes a lot of stress off of my regular work, and I've been able to meet a lot of cool people with the same passion in GT-Rs. The R34 GT-R is the most unique car in my opinion, looks aggressive and stands out from everything else. For the price, sure you can buy a better performing car out there, but the R34 is so exclusive. There's something so historical about it, has such a strong racing background, and it just feels really Japanese," he concluded.

Charles Wong V Spec Nissan GT Rs Photo 16/16   |   Charles Wong V Spec Nissan GT Rs

Charles' next phase includes helping out other R34 owners. He continues to import on the side, but has also developed his own line of parts such as the carbon-fiber version of the V-Spec rear diffuser and a bolt-in half 'cage as seen on his blue car.

We Americans might still have to wait half a decade until the R34 is truly legal, but if you're a true fan of the GT-R, you'll be patient. It's been 20 years since I've fallen in love with Nissan's supercar, and to this day it's still one of the best damn cars in history.

Sam Du
By
821 Articles
Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec Trio - Is This Heaven?
Tuning Menu
Owner: Charles Wong
Hometown: Vancouver, BC
Occupation: wedding floral design; JDM collector
Instagram: @cw_unit
'99 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec (Bayside Blue)
Engine: NAPREC High-Response kit, valve guides; polished intake and exhaust ports; polished head; valve seal grind; polished exhaust valve face; balanced crank; HKS 87mm forged pistons, H-shaped rods, T04Z turbine kit, stainless exhaust manifold, wastegate, Super Power Flow, Suction kit, downpipe; Power Enterprise bearings, headgasket, 15-row oil cooler kit, Type R intercooler; TRUST slide cam shaft sprocket, timing belt; Reimax valve springs, retainers, Gr-A oil pump, fuel delivery pipe; Fujimura Auto oil catch tank; OEM Nur-Spec valve cover; NISMO engine mount, fuel pressure regulator, fuel pumps; Tomei Expreme titanium cat-back exhaust; SARD 1,000cc injectors, 5-liter surge tank; custom hard lines; Tabata aluminum radiator; ARC air separator tank
Drivetrain: ATS carbon twin-plate clutch; front carbon limited-slip differential; Kansai Service transmission mount
Engine-Management: HKS F-CON V-pro 3.4, A/F knock amp monitor; Blitz dual SBC boost controller; tuned by Garage Saurus
Footwork & Chassis: Ohlins DFV coilovers; Stance Suspension air cup kit; Spoon rigid collar kit; Cusco front upper arms, titanium tower bar; Manatee pillow ball tension rod; NISMO front lower control arms, sway bars, rear subframe brace; Kansai Service subframe braces; Ikeya Formula rear lower and upper arms, traction rod
Brakes: OEM R35 GT-R caliper conversion; CW Collective billet brackets; DBA 380mm two-piece rotors; stainless lines
Wheels & Tires: 18x11" +18 Volk Racing TE37SL wheels refinished in Gloss Black; 295/30R18 Yokohama AD08R tires; 3mm front, 15mm rear H&R spacers
Exterior: AutoSelect carbon-fiber hood, Devil Carbon canards; NISMO Z-Tune front bumper, rear under spoiler, carbon-fiber pillar garnish, clear corners, GT LED taillights; CarShop F1 carbon-fiber front diffuser, trunk; Garage Kagotani front fenders, side skirts; Hasemi rear spats; Voltex Type 4 1800mm GT wing, titanium wing mounts; CW Collective carbon-fiber rear diffuser
Interior: NISMO 320km/h cluster, GT shift knob; HKS gauges; Recaro SPG3 Winning Rocket Limited seats; Works Bell quick release, Boss kit; Personal Blitz 350mm steering wheel; Willians four-point harnesses; V-Spec2 pedals; CW Collective four-point rollcage
'99 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec (KAD Gun Metallic)
Engine: HKS 87mm forged pistons with valve recess, forged rods, fuel rail; block and head decked and honed; balanced and polished crank; TRUST oil pan, intercooler, intercooler piping; A'PEXi GT step 2 264 cam with 10.6° lift, cam gear, headgasket, exhaust manifold, wastegate, downpipe; NISMO fuel pressure regulator, radiator; Ganador titanium dual cat-back exhaust; Spectrum Motorsport billet GTX3086R turbo; ID 1,000cc injectors
Drivetrain: ORC triple-plate clutch
Engine-Management: Link G4+ ECU; GM 3bar map sensor; MAC boost solenoid
Footwork & Chassis: A'PEXi N1 Pro Damper; NISMO circuit link set
Wheels & Tires: 18x11" Volk Racing TE37SL wheels refinished in semi-gloss black; 265/35R18 Yokohama Neova AD07 tires
Exterior: NISMO side skirts, rear spat, S-Tune front bumper; Garage Saurus front splitter
Interior: Nardi deep corn 350mm steering wheel; NISMO GT shift knob; Recaro bucket driver seat
'01 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II (Pearl White QX1)
Engine: NISMO downpipe, Weldina NE-1 cat-back exhaust; ARC front-mount intercooler; Samco radiator hose
Engine Management: HKS EVC-4 boost controller
Footwork & Chassis: Ohlins DFV coilovers; NISMO front and rear, upper and lower control arms, rear traction rod
Brakes: OEM R35 Brembo carbon ceramic brake conversion; CW Collective billet brackets; stainless lines
Wheels & Tires: 19x10.5" +15 Volk Racing TE37SL wheels; 275/35R19 Hankook V12 evo2 tires
Exterior: OEM V-Spec II dry carbon-fiber hood; NISMO Z-Tune front bumper, side skirts, rear spat; JUN-style carbon-fiber high spoiler stands
Interior: Recaro driver seat; Alpine iLX-007 head unit

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