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 |   |  Wifey-Approved 1989 Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R Dream Car
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Wifey-Approved 1989 Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R Dream Car

When your significant other pulls the trigger on that R32 you’ve been dreaming about, you know they’re the one.

Dec 9, 2020
Photographer: Vincent Ng

Survey the modern automotive landscape and if you've been a car fanatic for even a handful of years, you quickly realize just how good we had it in the '80s and 90s with factory dynamos like this 1989 Nissan Skyline GT-R. While you and your peers pound your phone's keyboard about questionable current manufacturer styling and the race to see who can create the largest front grill opening (or perhaps not so open, as so many rely on multiple faux grills), old Skylines are getting their second and third lives, as they migrate to U.S. shores and into the hands of lucky individuals like Daniel Pacificador.

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Top of the Food Chain

Sitting at the top of just about every import fanatic's "one day it will be mine" list, the boxy AWD brute with a mountain of potential has increased its stateside footprint ever since reaching its legal importation milestone. Daniel kept a close eye on things, though he wasn't confident about getting his hands on one. He notes, "The R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R was personally a dream car I thought would be forever out of reach. So instead, I purchased an '05 Subaru Impreza STi after I got my first real job." Call it a steppingstone if you will, but the STi was no slouch, and over time, morphed into a project car with air suspension, widened fenders and more.

After some time behind the wheel of that STi he'd been adding to regularly, Daniel wanted to revisit his GT-R aspirations and this time around, it was much more than just a reoccurring daydream. "When the R32 finally became legal, I decided to take my dream seriously and was ready to sell my STi to fund my dream car." The search was on and it wasn't a quick process by any means. After hunting for over a year, he found "the one" sitting at JDM Auto Imports of Wisconsin.

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She's a Keeper

Fully ready to make the purchase, Daniel scrapped his plans at the 11th hour. "Before I could put my STi up for sale, my wife and I found out we were expecting our first son. I thought buying a two-door wasn't the most responsible thing to do and decided to put the dream on hold until my son grew older." A mature approach no doubt, he was set on his plan to revisit that elusive R32 years down the road, though his wife silently disagreed. He adds, "That was when my wife pulled the biggest flex of the century—she discovered my email thread and finalized the purchase as a surprise! The GT-R is now a daily reminder that I am the luckiest husband in the world."

Nickels & Dimes Lead to Major Deposit

In a perfect scenario, you work hard, get your dream car, start making the changes you always envisioned, and all is right in the world. To be honest, Daniel wasn't planning much and intended to the keep the car stock for the most part and just enjoy the magic of the R32 as-is. Minor problems began popping up, however, and the constant fixes were getting annoying. "I kept running into little issues, such as rubber hoses leaking from dry rot and other miscellaneous parts wearing out from age." Daniel and his friends regularly spent weekends sorting out problems and he realized that the driving time to down time ratio was skewed. "Eventually, rather than tackling the issues one at a time, I decided to just pull the motor and address everything at once. With the help of Mike and Franz at ProEshift Performance, the project quickly escalated into a build with a 'since the motor is already out' mentality." You're familiar with that mindset, knowing that the removal and reinstallation of a power plant presents as much opportunity as it does potential headaches.

Satisfy Your R32 Cravings With 2 More Features:|
R32 loaded with GReddy goods

2.8L, 890hp GT-R

004 rb26det r32 Photo 25/25   |   Wifey-Approved 1989 Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R Dream Car

What you can't see are the brand new N1 oil and water pumps, APR head studs, Brian Crower 264 cam and single spring and titanium retainer setup. What you can see, if you peek under the Garrett GTX3528R and ARC intake box, are the Doc-Race twin scroll manifold and Tial 44mm wastegates. On the other side of the RB26, you'll spot a Hypertune intake manifold and matching 90mm throttle body with a Tomei fuel rail and Bosch 1,000cc injectors at play. Link's G4+ ECU runs the show and the effort involved in the rebuild absolutely paid off with 650hp, 500lbs-ft. of torque relying on E85 that sends power through a Driveshaft Shop carbon-fiber drive shaft.

Keepin' it Clean

No massive wheel extensions or towering wing to take away from the '80s icon sheet metal, though the front has been enhanced with a Rocket Dancer front lip and N1 NISMO headlights and bumper ducts. Ganador mirrors with Aerowolf mirror visors join Shorin Japan side skirts to update the profile, with a Dmax roof spoiler, Crazy Hornet trunk lip, Shorin rear half bumper and Zled LED taillights making up the rear. It's not a dramatic makeover by any means and that's what makes it so unique; serving almost as an ode to simpler times when the focus was primarily on engine performance and a clean, user-friendly aesthetic, this R32 bucks current trends and remains timeless.

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The 30-year-old suspension was ditched in favor of hand-built Fortune Auto 500 coilovers and a selection of bracing that includes a beefy Auto Select front and Kansai Service rear tower bars, Top Speed adjustable upper control arms and more. To take advantage of the now stiffer chassis, Rays LMGT2 wheels in 18x10 with 275/35 Michelin Pilot Super Sports were added and just behind, StopTech's 4-piston front, 2-piston rear brake kits are on the job.

006 illest vertex wheel Photo 25/25   |   Wifey-Approved 1989 Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R Dream Car

It's What's on the Inside that Wows

Based on the simplicity of the exterior, we were expecting a steering wheel and shift knob upgrade and maybe a set of harnesses but instead were met with a laundry list of choice upgrades that almost have the cabin stealing the spotlight. Plop down in the red Recaro Wildcat bucket and buckle up the Willans x Night Runners harness and in your face is the Illest x Vertex Limited wheel, complete with a Tough Club Special horn button, while a BreakerSpec shift knob extender pushes a classic Tommy Kaira shift knob up a few inches. A trio of AEM Electronics gauges housed in a Bee*R gauge pod, custom carbon fiber dash bezel and NISMO cluster add even more slick touches.

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Future Family Heirloom

If not for his awesome, understanding wife, Daniel's R32 pipedream would have remained just that, at least for the time being. Fortunately, he's been able to obtain the dream car, build it up the way he wanted, and the plan moving forward is pretty simple. "The goal now is to learn to enjoy what I've built. I'll never be done with the car though - part of the joy is the hunt for rare parts that enhances the timeless OEM-plus aesthetic that I love on my GT-R." This Skyline is probably on its third or fourth life at this point, but in terms of family legacy, it's just getting started. Daniel states, "What I love more than anything else is the joy of sharing my passion with my son, bringing him out to the scene and creating priceless memories every time we hop in the GT-R. Years down the line, my car could be something he'll inherit, remember me by, and even share with my grandchildren."

Tuning Menu



1989 Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R

Owner: Daniel Pacificador






650hp, 500tq on E85 Flex Fuel



Garrett GTX3528R turbo supercore w/1.06 turbine housing; Doc-Race twin scroll manifold; Tial 44mm wastegates; ARC intake box custom fit for single turbo set up; Hypertune intake manifold, 90mm throttle body; HKS High-Power exhaust, kevlar engine cover; custom downpipe, Brian Crower 264 camshaft, single valvesprings, titanium retainers; Tomei fuel rail; R34 Bosch 1,000cc injectors; APR head studs; N1 oil pump, water pump; Plazmaman Pro Series intercooler; GReddy 10-row oil cooler; Grex oil relocation kit; Autodream custom cam gear sensor;carbon fiber radiator cooling plate and wiper cowl; NISMO radiator cap; Tough Club oil cap; Vibrant Vanjen clamps; Link G4+ ECU, GTLink-NGTR; Redline coilpack and harness



Exedy twin disk clutch; Driveshaft Shop carbon fiber driveshaft



Fortune Auto 500 Series coilovers; Auto Select front tower brace; Kansai Service rear tower brace; Whiteline front/rear sway bars and end links; Drift Works rear Hicas delete; Top Speed adjustable upper control arms; SPL rear camber arms; Nagisa Auto fender brace



StopTech 4-piston front calipers, 355mm rotors; 2-piston rear calipers, 328mm rotors


Wheels & Tires:

Rays LMGT2 18x10 +10 front, +13 rear; Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, 275/35



Rocket Dancer front lip; NISMO intercooler surround duct, N1 headlights, bumper ducts; Shorin Japan side skirts, rear half-bumper; Carshop F1 twin twill carbon fiber hood; Ganador mirrors, Aerowolf mirror visors; Dmax roof spoiler; JDM rain guards; D.Speed clear corner lights (tinted); Kansai Service front tow hook; Crazy Hornet lip wing spoiler; shaved trunk keyhole



Recaro red Wildcat bucket seats; Zeos D1 checkered floor and trunk mats; Illest x Vertex Limited steering wheel; Never Content x Works Bell hub; Tough Club special horn button; Willans x Night Runner 4-pt. harnesses; Cube Racing short shifter; BreakerSpec shift knob extender; Tommy Kaira shift knob; NISMO lighter kill switch, 320km gauge cluster, OEM optional knee pads; Bee*R carbon fiber gauge pod; AEM Electronics gauges; Zoom Engineering carbon fiber Monaco mirror; Okuyama Carbing passenger kick plate, driver foot rest; Superior Auto Creative carbon fiber shift panel; custom carbon fiber dash bezel


Thank Yous:


My Brothers at Tough Club, Prime NYC, Mike & Fras at Pro E Shift Performance, Pedro from Vilar Auto Body, Kami Speed, VinPhotography, Vinny's Detailing, BreakerSpec, Steve from Image is Everything, Allan L., My loving wife Pattie, my kids Grayson, Penelope & Parker and the pups Ollie and Lani

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