In today's day and age we take many things for granted but none more so than technology. Take the modern cellular phone for example. We can check email, social networks or even watch videos from these devices. We can take pictures and review them instantly without a Polaroid camera and then share them with friends. We can even look up directions to a place we've never been, book a reservation and beat traffic all thanks to an invention that fits in your pocket.
But things, obviously, weren't always this easy. In the old days, you had to earn things the hard way and car engineering was no different. To build a fast sports car one must follow a basic set of rules: the car needs to have long sweeping body lines, must be driven from the rear wheels, have only two seats, weigh close to nothing and have tremendous power on tap. So how is it that Nissan was able to create one of the most iconic sports cars of all-time from, essentially, an over-weight, all-wheel-driven brick with seating for four?
The short answer is technology. The R32 GT-R almost single-handedly ushered in a new era of super cars and in the process created a Japanese automotive icon. Let's face it: on paper or at face value the GT-R doesn't exactly conjure up visions of sheer driving pleasure. However, thanks to advancements in technology the GT-R, and others that followed it, is a car far greater than the sum of all parts and has dominated almost every major form of motorsport it entered.
Nissan revolutionized the definition of sports cars with the R32 and along with it came quantum leaps in performance technology. One such advancement was the R32's state-of-the-art "smart" center differential dubbed ATESSA-ETS. The system would allow a range of 0-50% power distribution to the front wheels, something that was never achieved before. The other major contribution of the R32 is the now legendary RB26DETT. With its six individual throttle bodies and twin turbochargers the public was introduced to race items that formerly never saw the street on anything less than an exotic super car.
During the final steps of development on the R32 Nissan, began testing the car at the Nürburgring, the world's most grueling proving grounds. What is now a fairly common practice amongst all automakers was at the time almost strictly practiced by German manufacturers. After the production versions of the car became available Best Motoring took the R32 to the 'ring' and clocked a time of 8:22 seconds making it the fastest lap ever recorded by a production car at the time. Favorable press from journalists around the world cemented not only the car's fate as a Japanese powerhouse, but also its nickname: Godzilla.
So what happens when you take Godzilla beyond its factory trim with no regard for creature comforts? What happens when you bolt only the best, not to mention most expensive, parts available to this beast? You get a car capable of pushing the limits of physics. You get a sports car capable of slaying exotics. You get a car so fast you won't have time to crap your pants before dying of the ensuing heart attack. You get the Auto Gallery Yokohama (AG-Y) R32 time attack machine.
When I first came across this magnificent machine it was parked in Option magazine's "RB26 Tuning World" at Tokyo Auto Salon. To be asked to participate in this special area is a huge accomplishment and every machine in the stable was nothing short of jaw dropping. However, despite its age, the AG-Y car stood out like a sore thumb. It did the best it could to hide the fact that it really didn't belong with the street machines that surrounded it and at first glance it looks rather civil. But one look behind the wheels, under the hood or into the interior quickly reveals this is no street machine.