Super Street Network

 |   |  1994 Nissan Skyline GT-R - Barely Legal
Subscribe to the Free
Newsletter

1994 Nissan Skyline GT-R - Barely Legal

This 9-second GT-R could be the world's best daily driver

Alex Grant
Jul 27, 2016
Photographer: Alastair Ritchie

The nose of Glen El-Helou's Nissan GT-R pitches upward with a howl of a labored straight-six as almost 1,000 hp snatches at the start line. Squatting onto its rear axle, it takes off, torpedo-like, down Cootamundra Airport's quarter-mile, snapping and barking its way through the gears as it screams toward the horizon. It takes mind-bending savagery to join the ranks of the GT-R Challenge and Drag Battle event in New South Wales. Australia has a long-running love affair for heavily tuned Japanese metal, cars tiptoeing along the edge of legality, and this isn't an event for toe-tippers. Turn up without a 10-second timeslip or less than 600 bhp at the wheels, and you're wasting your time. And, like everything else lining up here, Glen's R32 is street legal—but it's also no stripped-bare race car. With the Nissan idling surprisingly evenly at the paddock, the man behind the madness says it's taken a long time to get here. "I've wanted a Skyline since I was a kid, maybe 12 years old," he tells us. "They dominate everything, and I wanted a car that would be king of the streets. There's nothing better than driving a 1,000-bhp GT-R on the road." It's a build he's overseen from the get-go. The car now putting down 9-and-a-half-second quarter-mile times with a closing speed of almost 160 mph is Glen's fourth GT-R, third R32, and he's developed a strong sense of what he does and doesn't like. Aiming for one of the fastest in the country is one thing, making it road legal is another, but he's super picky with it. That this car swapped owners three years ago in factory tune, immaculate, and with history to put Nissan's museum cars to shame means he knows the build down to every nut and bolt—there's no chance of being tripped up by previous owners cutting corners.

1994 nissan skyline gt r passenger side view Photo 2/16   |   1994 Nissan Skyline Gt R Passenger Side View

"I've been into drag racing all my life, and I've been doing it since '05," he explains. "So I know what it takes to build a competitive car, and I knew it would be tricky building one that would be strong enough to use every day. But I was always looking forward to the rewards—the times it's laying down now and the speeds that come with them." This meant going to some of the best in the business. Within days of taking ownership, Glen dropped the GT-R at Powertune Australia in Sydney to lay the foundations for more than tripling the stock power figure. There's almost nothing with a Nissan part number left under the hood. The 18-year-old motor was stripped, overbored and honed, then fitted with uprated TOMEI internals, upping the capacity to 2.8 liters and lifting the compression ratio from 8.5:1 to 9:1. Powertune hand-ported and polished the head to flow a ton more boost, fitting oversized valves and their own camshafts as well. It's not over-engineering for the sake of it. Still wafting heat waves after its run down the airstrip, the twin-scroll Precision turbo pumps 40 psi through its six cylinders, fed into the intake through custom-made pipework and a drag-spec HKS intercooler. It's enough to require a harmonic balancer to avoid overloading the crankshaft, and a healthy supply of E85. The result—a dyno-verified 911 bhp at the wheels, and reliably, too. Hypercar-slaying GT-Rs aren't uncommon, but the massive power increase wasn't straightforward. Four-figure horsepower claimed the lives of a couple of stock gearboxes before Glen bit the bullet and moved up to an H-pattern PPG helical 'box. Not cheap, but a lot easier than blowing shredded metal all over the strip, and easy to drive on the road—even with its OS Giken locking diffs and a triple-plate clutch.

1994 nissan skyline gt r rear bumper Photo 3/16   |   1994 Nissan Skyline Gt R Rear Bumper

"It's a true street car; I drive it at least three times per week," he says. "People don't believe how a 9-second car can drive so nice. When you drive it normally, it drives like a standard car. The only thing that gives it away is the sound that comes out of it." With no plans to track the car, chassis upgrades are relatively minor compared to what's happening up front. But, as with the rest, it's a money-no-object selection of parts lurking behind the Skyline's wheels. TEIN Street Advance adjustable coilovers are set to the high-riding stance needed for quarter-mile runs, while a NISMO strut brace stops the chassis flexing too much when it comes on boost. The stock Brembo brakes are still tucked in behind the wheels, too, but paired with uprated pads and rotors. It's all it needed to scrub the speed away after a run.

1994 nissan skyline gt r rb26dett engine Photo 4/16   |   1994 Nissan Skyline Gt R Rb26dett Engine

Otherwise, it's giving almost nothing away. Glen saw no reason to deviate too much from the way his childhood dream car looked out of the box—even down to keeping the amber turn signals. And, while you'd expect a 9-second GT-R to be a 'caged body shell with a driver seat, this has a full interior good enough to make park-and-pose show cars look unimpressive. Trimmed in Bride fabric and suede, including the dashboard, it's subtle enough to be factory-fitted, and even has an audio system for road use. Supercar performance, supercar luxuries. The biggest clue—screamer pipes aside—is the TE37s he runs on the road. On the dragstrip, they're swapped for R33 GT-R rims wrapped in sticky Mickey Thompson drag tires. And that's how it's staying. "I originally built this aiming for a 10-second pass, but it's gone to another level," says Glen, letting slip that his competitive attitude means this still isn't quite where he wants it to be. "I'm aiming for low 9s in street spec, and the 160-mph mark—I'm not far from that. Once I achieve that, I'll put it away and keep it as a weekend car." Good reason to look forward to the weekend, then.

1994 nissan skyline gt r rb26dett Photo 8/16   |   1994 Nissan Skyline Gt R Rb26dett
1994 nissan skyline gt r rear bumper Photo 12/16   |   1994 Nissan Skyline Gt R Rear Bumper
1994 nissan skyline gt r glen el helou Photo 16/16   |   1994 Nissan Skyline Gt R Glen El Helou
By Alex Grant
9 Articles
1994 Nissan Skyline GT-R - Barely Legal
Tuning Menu
Owner: Glen El-Helou
Hometown: Gregory Hills, NSW, Australia
Occupation: Gym owner
Engine: RB26DETT with bored and honed block; TOMEI 9:1 stroker kit, oil pump, lifters, Type C valve springs, cam gears, head gasket kit; 8-liter Hi Octane sump; SARD radiator, fuel rail and regulator; HKS drag intercooler; custom-made Powertune camshafts (10.2 lift, 272? duration), head and valves, head oil drain kit; ACL race bearings; ARP head studs; Supertech valve stem seals; Mines head baffles; K&N air filter; Precision Turbo 7657 twin-scroll turbo; twin TiAL 38mm wastegates and twin screamer pipes, 50mm drag-spec blow-off valve; Bosch 2,000cc injectors, 044 external fuel pumps (x3); Turbo-1 4" manifold, surge tank; Walbro in-tank fuel pump, E85 fuel sensor; ATI Super Damper harmonic balancer; Gates timing belt
Drivetrain: five-speed H-pattern PPG helical gearbox with dog gearset; OS Giken triple-plate clutch, flywheel, front and rear differentials
Engine Management: Haltech Platinum Pro management; Zeitronix ethanol sensor; Turbosmart E-Boost2 boost management system
Footwork & Chassis: TEIN Street Advance coilovers, sway bars; NISMO strut brace; Nolathane polyurethane bushings; HICAS lockout bar and arms
Brakes: Brembo calipers; Bendix pads; DBA rotors
Wheels & Tires: 17x9" R33 GT-R wheels; Mickey Thompson Drag Radial tires
Exterior: N1 bumper vents
Interior: suede upholstery by Darren from Interior Designs including Bride fabric centers; Turbosmart E-Boost2 gauges, Kenwood speakers, L909 head unit; Mongoose alarm; restored steering wheel
Thanks You: Sonny at Turbo-1; Chea at Powertune Australia

BROWSE CARS BY MARKET

MORE FEATURES

We present to you four members of a group of grassroots enthusiasts who are literally just like you and me.
RodrezApr 28, 2017
Building a car that the S-chassis community won't be forgetting about anytime soon.
Jofel TolosaApr 28, 2017
Starting in the fall, the NISMO Heritage Parts Program will kick into high gear, beginning with spares for the R32 Skyline GT-R
Bob HernandezApr 27, 2017
Is this how the Cayman GT4 should have come from the factory?
Michael FebboApr 27, 2017
The BMW M550d gets a 400-hp quad-turbo diesel inline-six and comes as a wagon. The catch is you have to live in Europe to own one.
Alex NishimotoApr 27, 2017
Sponsored Links

SEARCH ARTICLES BY MAKE/MODEL

Search
CLOSE X
BUYER'S GUIDE
SEE THE ALL NEW
NEWS, REVIEWS & SPECS
TO TOP