In the Nissan family lineage, the Fairlady Z moniker has always taken a backseat to its bigger brother; the Skyline GT-R. Though it has its place in automotive history, the Fairlady has always stood in the shadow of the Skyline. Even the S13/14 chassis has shined brighter than the Z in the last couple of decades, so much so that during the mid '90s, it was removed from Nissan's US line-up altogether, due to poor sales. It was supposed to be the bigger, more powerful, more high-end of the two and it just couldn't hang. Instead of being the bigger brother to the Silvia, it ended up being more like the awkward cousin. While the S13/14s have gone on to have a cult-like following in the drift world, the Z has remained in the shadows. The Fairlady remained in the line-up overseas throughout its tenure in limbo in America, but all the while the Z32-bodied Fairladys continued as the role of the black sheep of the Nissan family. It wasn't until the debut of the Z33 chassis that the respectability of the Fairlady Z returned. The Z33 became quite popular worldwide but then Nissan decided to one-up itself and introduced the "smaller, lighter, faster" Z34 370Z. With a bigger motor and better styling than the 350Z, would it finally have its moment in the spotlight over its bigger brother, the GT-R? Today, we take a look at the two side-by-side with a R35 GT-R and Z34 370Z, both prepped by Seibon, and we ask ourselves: is there anyway the 370Z is comparable or even nearly in the same league as the GT-R?
Seibon Nissan GT-R The Skyline GT-R simply put, is amazing. It always has been. Since the first one was unveiled in 1969, the GT-R has been the epitome of Japanese automobiles. In 1989, the GT-R returned in the form of a R32 Skyline and was deemed "Godzilla" because it struck fear in the hearts of all other Japanese car manufacturers. The current Nissan GT-R, despite all the online bickering is for all intents and purposes, the modern day Skyline GT-R. Though Nissan decided to ultimately separate the GT-R model from the Skyline name, the R35 will always be known the world over as the next generation "Godzilla".
Concerns arose when GT-Rs made their debuts worldwide because they were thought to be untouchable modification-wise. Previous generation GT-Rs were tuning marvels. They were open to modification and you could squeeze gobs of power out of them with little effort. Nissan however, felt that the R35 they produced was perfect the way it was and didn't want anyone to mess with it. They even put restrictions on where you could mash on the gas and put a restrictive speed governor in that Japanese GT-R owners couldn't get away from unless they were at a Nissan-approved race track. Early on, the R35's ECU was thought to be untune-able. It was however, only a matter of time before someone got a hold of one and worked around all of Nissan's little kinks. Tuning companies saw it as a challenge and it wasn't long before they figured it out. Cobb Tuning was one of the first to unravel the mystery of the GT-R brain. They even brought a JDM R35 over a year before its U.S. release just to get an early start on it. Their Accessport technology opened the floodgates for modification of the VR38DETT engine. Any GT-R owner who possessed an Accessport would be given the ability to maximize the power gains from their bolt-on enhancements.
When plans came together to build an R35 demo car, the Cobb Accessport was definitely at the top of Seibon's list. They had aspirations for high horsepower numbers (around 570hp) provided by an HKS GT570 Upgrade Kit and the Accessport gave them the tuning map they needed to reach those numbers. Intercooler hard pipes were installed and connected to a GReddy Type 06R intercooler. Mine's VX air filters sit in place of OEM units and a newly developed A'PEXi RS Evolution exhaust sees the responsibility of expelling this GT-R's exhaust gases. The carbon-fiber engine cover and cooling plate by Seibon are just a small glimpse of the carbon-fiber that practically replaces every removable body part on this vehicle.
Seibon is one of the leading carbon-fiber parts manufacturers in North America so you should expect nothing less than a R35 dressed in all carbon weave. The GT-R from the factory has been known to be a bit on the heavy side so lightweight carbon-fiber is definitely welcome in weight savings. OEM pieces like the front grille, fender vents, rear lip and side skirts have all been replaced with Seibon versions. A dry carbon trunk shaves more weight from the rear and an SS-style front lip, GT-style hood and VSII-style dry carbon trunk spoiler act as lighter, more stylish upgrades. Even the fender emblems are done in the same material.
If it were possible to make carbon-fiber springs, we're sure Seibon would be the ones to have them. Until that technology is made available to the real world and doesn't make a car pancake dangerously to the floor like it has bags, Seibon happily settles for Swift lowering springs. Stock 20-inch rollers have been swapped out for much lighter, forged RAYS VR.G2 wheels. These guys are in the business of making things lighter so finding the lightest 20-inch wheels in the market was absolutely necessary.
Many will scoff at the idea of the GT-R ever taking a backseat to anyone in the Nissan line-up. The GT-R is iconic and Seibon's version of Godzilla is a slimmed-down, more powerful version that only helps reaffirm its status in the automotive tuning world. Whether or not their version of the 370Z can come close to de-throning the king remains to be seen.
2009 Nissan GT-R
Hometown City Of Industry, CA
Occupation Designing And Manufacturing High Quality Carbon-Fiber Components
Power estimated 570HP
Engine 2009 3.8L Nissan VR38DETT; GReddy Type 06R front-mount intercooler; HKS GT570 GTR Upgrade Kit; Mine's VX air filters; A'PEXi RS Evolution Racing Sport exhaust system; Heatshield Products Lava Mat Volcanic Rock heat shield; Seibon Carbon-fiber Engine Cover and cooling plate
Engine Management Cobb Tuning Accessport
Footwork & Chassis Swift Springs lowering springs
Wheels & Tires 20x10'' RAYS Engineering VR.G2, 255/35-20 Hankook Ventus V12 (front); 20x11'' RAYS Engineering VR.G2, 275/35-20 Hankook Ventus V12 (rear)
Exterior Seibon SS-Style carbon-fiber front lip, GT-Style dry carbon hood, carbon-fiber front grille, fender vents, fender emblems, OE-Style carbon-fiber side skirts, carbon-fiber rear lip, dry carbon trunk, VSII-Style dry carbon trunk spoiler and carbon-fiber mirror covers
Interior Seibon carbon-fiber rear center console, carbon-fiber rear seats and carbon-fiber rear side panels
Thanks you Masaki at A'PEXi, Trey at COBB Tuning, GReddy, Paul at Hankook, Steve at Heatshield Products, Kenny at K&W Autobody, Eddie and Steve at Mackin Industries, Jason at Mine's USA, Shane at Mothers, SP Engineering
Seibon Nissan 370Z
While the GT-R seemingly holds the crown as the family jewel, the 370Z is definitely breathing down its bigger brother's neck. The GT-R is the supercar of the family and that designation also means that it is less accessible to the public. The price tag alone makes it a bit of a reach for the everyday average enthusiast, so the 370Z might be the vehicle of choice between the two, just based on the extra $30K you would have in your pocket to build yourself a GT-R killer.
The latest rendition of the 370Z is not only the most powerful of all the Fairlady Zs, it is also the best equipped to compete with its bigger and badder brethren. Engine size is nearly the same and both sport the latest and greatest technology from Nissan engineers. The main difference between the two lies in the twin-turbo set-up featured on the GT-R's VR38DETT engine. Seibon's R35 also has the HKS Upgrade Kit that bump horsepower numbers up over 550 and the only way the 370Z can compete with that is if it were also boosted. That is where GReddy Performance Products come into play. Their newly developed twin-turbo kit gives the Seibon 370Z 175-plus extra horsepower at just 6 pounds of boost! GReddy assures us that with a little bit more work and tuning, the twin TD06SH-20G turbos have the potential to make over 850-plus horsepower. While you may be thinking that a simple turbo upgrade would easily get the R35 over that 850-horsepower hump, consider this: the stock turbines of the VR38 engine are actually integrated into the exhaust manifolds and are one unit to decrease weight and promote vehicle balance. A simple turbo upgrade, in essence, wouldn't be simple at all because it would require new exhaust manifolds as well. The whole process would then be similar to installing a completely new turbo kit. More fabrication and development means a higher asking price for any sort of turbo upgrade. In this instance, the edge for ease of modification would definitely go to the 370Z.
Everything unrelated to the aesthetics of the Z were all developed in house at GReddy's facilities. This meant that no outsourcing was necessary for engine management as this 370Z receives all brain function from a GReddy e-Manage Ultimate ECU. The new fuel system is also GReddy-made as is the dual SE exhaust system.
Suspension and brakes, as you might expect, are also pure GReddy productions. They have supplied Seibon with their Type-S fully-adjustable coilover suspension and stopping power comes by way of GReddy's 8-pot front/4-pot rear brake system. Housed over the larger brake rotors are the same wheels found on the Seibon Edition GT-R: 20x10'' and 20x11'' RAYS Engineering VR.G2s. The 370Z is able to accept such an aggressive wheel set-up thanks to 10mm-widened Seibon carbon-fiber fenders.
The 370Zs are much lighter than R35s but that doesn't mean that it shouldn't shed a few pounds. The Seibon GT-R dropped quite a bit of weight with all the carbon-fiber goods and this 370Z follows suit. It features Seibon's very own NS-style aero kit which utilizes a carbon-fiber front bumper that mimics styling cues from the GT-R. The sides, rear lip, hood and rear hatch most are certainly Seibon carbon-fiber components. Though it may not have that supercar reputation, it definitely makes up for it in the tuning potential department. Doing anything to a GT-R would require a pretty large chunk of change and parts aren't always as readily available compared to the Z. You really have to ask yourself if the R35 is worth double the asking price of a Z34. The Fairlady Z is also a purebred two-door sports car by definition. It still hold similar styling cues which pay homage to the Fairlady Zs of year's past and still retains a true manual gearbox, which has been omitted from all current generation GT-Rs. The thought of not being able to drive stick in a sports car would drive some people nuts!
Many of you who are reading this might think it's blasphemous to even compare the two because they're not remotely near the same class of car. The GT-R should be discussed in comparisons with other super cars like Porsches or BMWs, which in those particular cases, the GT-R would be a deal. Of course comparisons can be made; they're both manufactured by the same brand and their ancestry has run parallel to each other throughout automotive history. The Fairlady Z reputation took somewhat of a hit in the '90s but looks to be back in a big way. With a little bit of assistance from GReddy and Seibon, the 370Z is right up there performance-wise. It'll never be a supercar like its brother, but this particular Z is pretty damn close.
2009 Nissan 370Z
Hometown City Of Industry, CA
Occupation Designing and manufacturing high quality carbon-fiber components
Engine 2009 Nissan 3.7L VQ37VHR V6; GReddy TD06SH-20G Tuner Turbo Kit, cast manifolds, Type-T wastegates, Type 29 Spec R front-mounted intercooler, Airinx AY-MB intakes, Dual SE exhaust system, 12-row oil cooler kit, L Iridium spark plugs, high pressure radiator cap and oil cap; Heatshield Products Lava Mat Volcanic Rock heat shield; Seibon carbon-fiber engine cover
Engine Management GReddy E-manage Ultimate 370Z Fuel System, Informeter TOUCH and Full Auto Turbo Timer 2
Footwork & Chassis GReddy Type-S Full Adjustable Suspension Kit
Brakes GReddy GREX brake system, including front 8-piston calipers, 380mm front brake rotors/rear 4-piston calipers, 330mm rear rotors
Wheels & Tires 20x10'' RAYS Engineering VR.G2, 255/30-20 Hankook Ventus V12 EVO (front); 20x11'' RAYS Engineering VR.G2, 275/35-20 Hankook Ventus V12 EVO (rear)
Exterior Seibon TS-Style carbon-fiber hood, mirror covers, 10mm wider front fenders; NS-Style carbon-fiber front bumper, side skirts, rear lip and trunk spoiler; carbon-fiber rear hatch and pillar covers; GReddy by Raybrig 370Z lighting system; S&A Design vinyl graphics; Mother's detailing products
Thanks You GReddy staff, Paul at Hankook, Steve at Heatshield Products, Kenny at K&W Autobody, Eddie and Steve at Mackin Industries, Shane at Mothers