The Nissan GT-R busted onto the automotive scene exactly three years ago at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show. It was Nissan's return to the high-performance market and their answer to the Porsche 911 Turbo. It boasted performance equal (and sometimes more) to cars costing twice as much. In the past three years, it's proven itself to be one of the fastest production cars around any racetrack.
Nissan fans that waited anxiously for the car flocked to the new R35 GT-R and the car made new fans where the old R32, R33 and R34 Skyline GT-Rs were never released. It was loaded with state of the art technology that Nissan's Chief Vehicle Engineer Kazutoshi Mizuno proudly says something in the nature of "we've done everything you can possibly do to make it fast and nothing else should be done to it".
Thus tuning the R35 was thought to be an unwavering challenge and the entire car would be an absolute black box, which turned out to be true - to a point. We heard nightmares about the car going nuts after attempting to tune the ECU, cars going off course because they installed an aftermarket suspension system and cars coming out of a tuning shop actually going slower than stock.
But there are always exceptions in this world. There is never a code that cannot be deciphered, a map that cannot be read and a box that cannot be opened. In this case, our Doctor Robert Langdon is Michizo Niikura of Mine's.
Niikura has been tinkering with Nissan's for more than 20 years and he has become one of the top respected GT-R tuners in the world. The Yokusuka tuner's signature pearl white R32 to R34 GT-Rs are all over YouTube (go ahead, search for them now) and have become legendary everywhere around the world.
Mine's was one of the first tuners to get their hands on the R35 when the car first came out in late 2007. Surprisingly they already had parts and a demo car displayed a month later at the 2008 Tokyo Auto Salon in January. When they were done playing with it in Japan, they sent the car over to GTChannel.com in Los Angeles to shoot videos stateside.
Going back to the GT-R being a car not suited for tuning, Niikura and his team were well aware of this concept behind the car. But it didn't faze him because Mine's own concept has always been to enhance the natural characteristics of the stock car and not just adding crazy features. So if Nissan was skeptical about aftermarket tuning, why not just concentrate on improving what Nissan had already done?
For example: if you change the shape of the front fender and rear wing it may slow down the vehicle. Mine's choice was to leave the shape as it was. However, Mine's changed the material of the front lip spoiler, front grill, front canards and rear wing to carbon-fiber to make it lighter. The intake duct covers and the roof antenna for the GPS are also carbon. As you can see intricate details go into the goal of making a lighter and faster car.
Mine's carefully chose what they wanted to do to improve the overall performance of the GT-R. The ECU was something Mine's specializes in and once they cracked it, they took full advantage of it by increasing performance and improving engine response. The engine itself is stock but covered underneath a black carbon engine cover. The air filter is Mine's VX Air filter. A new lightweight titanium exhaust system was added to compliment the increased outage from the new settings from the ECU. Now there's 550bhp at 6400rpm from 480bhp at 6400rpm stock.
Despite being blistering fast, the Mine's GT-R is very drivable and gentle on the streets. That's until you step on the gas. It rockets out like a rollercoaster, recording only 3.0 seconds to get up to 60mph and puts most cars to shame on the 1/4 mile marking 11.1 seconds.
Mine's coilovers are manufactured by Eibach to improve the handling and minimize understeer. The lower stance with the combination of the Bridgestone Potenzas makes turning much quicker.
The Mine's GT-R with everything included costs about $150K. But since the US got the short end of the stick once again and doesn't have the über GT-R - the 2 seat GT-R SpecV from Nissan dealers here - the Mine's GT-R is probably the closest thing you can get.
How Do I Get There?
Driving (approx. time: 1:30):
1) Take Metropolitan Expressway Wangan Line towards Yokohama.
2) Take the Yokohama Yokosuka Highway; stay on the left-hand lane and take the Kinugasa IC exit towards Miura.
3) Go to the right side towards 'Miura Jukan Toll Road' and go until you arrive at the Route 134 intersection.
4) Turn right and you will see the 7-Eleven on your right and Mine's is next door.
From JR Tokyo Station:
1) Take the JR Tokaido Line towards Atami to JR Yokohama Station.
2) From Yokohama Station, take the Keikyu Line Limited Express to Misakiguchi station. Better bring a book or your iPod because from here it's still a 50 minute ride.
3) After you arrive at Misakiguchi station, you will need to take a cab to Mine's. If you try to hike it you'll get lost in the woods, so be prepared. Just tell the cab driver you want to go to Mine's on Route 134 or show them this:
5-7-25. Good luck!
2009 Nissan GT-R R35
Owner Mine's Japan
Hometown Yokosuka, Japan
Gt-R Master Tuner
Engine 3.8L VR38DETT; Mine's carbon engine cover, carbon radiator shroud, Silence VX Pro Titan II exhaust, Super Catalyzer and VX air filter
Engine Management Mine's VX ROM ECU
Power 550bhp at 6400rpm; 28.6kg/m at 7,000rpm
Suspension Mine's ESTA Full Spec suspension with Eibach springs; stabilizer bars
Brakes Mine's 400mm front/rear big brake rotors and brake lines; Pagid brake pads
Wheels & Tires 20x10 Volk Racing G2 wheels (+30 f/+15 r); Bridgestone Potenza 255/40R20 and 285/35R20 tires
Exterior Mine's front lip spoiler, front grill, front canards, rear wing, intake duct covers, tail lamp illumination kit, rear wing cover, rear bumper cover, carbon hood, carbon mirror surround and carbon-fiber roof antenna