If you're lucky enough to own a 2000 Nissan Skyline R34, arguably the brand's most beloved model, then you've got quite a few options. With 20-plus years under its all-wheel-drive belt, there's no shortage of aftermarket support to address every inch it, from appearance to power production. In addition, Nissan's tuning branch, Nismo, offers its own line of hop-up and dress-up parts that grant an OEM-esque fit and finish that most third-party outlets can't possibly match. Of course, with that high-level product comes an often-gut-wrenching price tag as the clich? "you get what you pay for" couldn't be any more appropriate.
Planning the Ultimate Skyline Build
For Phunnapat Phunsub, someone who long dreamed of owning an R34, price isn't really a significant factor in his vision of the ultimate Skyline. Having purchased the car in January of last year, he enjoyed it in factory form but felt he wanted something a little more exclusive without steering too far away from Nissan's intended purpose and original design language. Nissan's Clubman Race Spec version from the Omori Factory seemed like the ideal blueprint to base his project upon.
The car was brought to the Skyline specialists at Sky Gallery Garage in the Bang Kruai District of Thailand where the Clubman transformation would take place. The exterior was treated to a laundry list of Nismo carbon-fiber updates that include a complete front end, under-body panels, L.E.D. taillights and more. The look is custom, yet still somewhat subtle, indicative of the tuning group's original mission statement. The GT-Rs buff shoulders and hindquarters are only minimally bulked enough to fly under the radar of the average onlooker while raising a red flag to those in the know.
The TE37 or Work Meisters you would expect on a high-dollar GT-R build are nowhere to be found. Instead, Phunsub wanted to complete the more traditional factory-plus look with Nismo LMGT4 rollers and sticky Toyo R888s. Braking has been upgraded to R35 Brembos, something that seems to have become more common in recent years. With some restomods we've seen factory height and way-too-low options used but with this build, the adjusted Ohlins DFV set up looks picture perfect and poised to handle the increased power and braking duties they've been tasked with supporting.
Increased Power with an OEM+ Style
Lift the lightweight Nismo R-Tune carbon-fiber hood with its integrated air duct and you're not at all disappointed. Well known the world over as a potent performer even in a mild state of tune, the RB26's displacement has been stepped up to 2.8L using an HKS Step 0 kit that includes a new crank, rods and pistons to help support the GT III-RS turbo upgrade. A beefed up valvetrain, R35 injectors and Link G4+ ECU help the newly stroked powerplant to put down a reliable 528hp with 576 lbs.-ft of torque. A carbon-fiber intake is offset by a wrinkle finish valve and timing cover that's topped off with an HKS GT-R badge and the bay maintains a solid balance between OEM and aftermarket. The overall look under the hood is tasteful and organized—right in line with what Nissan's Omori Factory offers in various RB engine packages.
Not that the original interior had any issues, but Phunsub wanted a newer, absolutely perfect GT-R cabin, so every piece has been updated to black 2001 pieces. Entirely driver focused, the slew of gauges we commonly see in Thai-built cars is handled by a Nismo combination meter and Plex micro display. So fresh is the interior, in fact, that even the original protective plastic on the screen of the Plex and the plastic cover of the gauge cluster has been left intact for the time being.
The meticulous detail and scrutiny that went into building this Thai version of a Clubman Spec Race R34 is incredible. Beyond the dollars involved, great care was taken to incorporate authentic Nismo parts throughout the entire build and Phunsub believes his is the only R34 Skyline GT-R of its kind in his country. Before you assume it sits inside of a temperature-controlled garage for preservation, think again—the owner racks up miles on the streets of Bangkok regularly, enjoying the efforts of piecing together his ultimate dream car.