Working as a Japanese car importer can certainly have its advantages. Just about every Japanese sport compact you can't get in the U.S market can be had for a reasonable price in New Zealand. And since there are no local car manufacturers in New Zealand, import regulations are generally very lax.
Based in West Auckland, New Zealand, Croydon Wholesalers specializes in Japanese imports. Its modified Skyline GT-R is currently one of the quickest GT-Rs in the world. The GT-R is considered by many to be the king of all imports. Unlike conventional performance-based all-wheel-drive cars, the GT-R runs a four-wheel-drive system with variable torque split (ATTESA). This means that under normal driving conditions, the car doesn't drive through the front wheels unless the rear tires are losing traction.
Croydon originally imported the GT-R as a promotional vehicle. Nick Jenkins, owner of Croydon Wholesalers, recalls, "The car was carrying quite a few performance parts when it landed here. The engine was running an HKS computer and tuned to around 700 hp." It was also equipped with a Trust six-speed gearbox.
The car was originally road registered and set up for circuit racing. But the techs found the gearbox wasn't up to the task, so they fitted the stronger Hollinger six-speed that's still in the car now. They then started drag racing and reached a point where they had to decide what direction the car should take. As drag racing is more popular than circuit racing in the NZ, they decided to develop the car in that direction.
At the Croydon Wholesalers showroom, a stack of trophies on the company mantlepiece reveal the GT-R's multiple track success. Glenn Suckling, mechanic and race driver of the Croydon GT-R, says, "We knew the GT-R had a lot of potential to run quick so we were initially hoping to run into the 10s. We slowly fed in more power and ran a 9.99 e.t.; we were pretty stoked with that."
In September 2003, the car ran its quickest ever at the 2003 Jamboree held in Queensland, Australia. Standing trackside, the GT-R sounded incredible off the start line. With around 10,000 rpm on board, the thundering noise was more like a cross between an F1 car and a machine gun with complementary flames visible from beneath. Glenn set a blistering pace of 8.56 in qualifying before backing it up the next day with an 8.55 at 165.99 mph in eliminations. The car now holds the record for the world's fastest R32 Skyline GT-R on DOT street tires (Mickey Thompson ET Street tires).
However, the Japanese drag racing community may not necessarily agree. Japanese records permit only Nitto radials to be used as the legal street tire. Even the popular BFGoodrich T/A series drag radial tire isn't street legal in Japanese drag racing. That said, as long as the Mickey ET Street tire is classified as a DOT-approved tire, Croydon will continue to hold the street tire record.
Under The Bonnet
Lifting the hood of the GT-R reveals arguably one of the toughest six-cylinder engines ever mass-produced. The Nissan RB26DETT is a high-revving, 2.6-liter, straight-six, DOHC, intercooled and twin-turbocharged engine and is rated at a deflated 276 hp in standard trim. The engine was conceived to compete in Group A racing, hence its odd 2.6 liters of displacement, which is as big as a turbocharged powerplant could be and still qualify for competition.
Croydon's engine dyno has seen more than 1,424 hp so far. Holding this sort of power reliably meant shelling out on high-end components. The short block consists of a forged Trust crankshaft, Carillo rods and custom 7.8:1 compression JE pistons sitting in Nissan rings. Up top, the cylinder head is fitted with Tomei secret-spec cashafts, springs, valves and retainers. Oiling is upgraded in the form of a Trust oil pump and sump.
Since our photo shoot, Croydon has upgraded the engine bay's centerpiece. Sitting on a custom exhaust manifold is a new hybrid Croydon-spec Turbonetics turbocharger. A direct-port nitrous oxide system helps bring 60-foot times down into the 1.26- to 1.29-second region, although Glenn is hoping to improve those even further. Using the old turbo alone, the car recorded a 9.13-second pass unassisted.
Controlling such a high-horsepower application is a full MoTeC M8 computer and a MoTeC CDI8 ignition system that ensure nothing is left to chance. An HKS triple-plate clutch feeds power through custom driveshafts and front and rear Cusco 4:11:1 centers.
The Skyline's 26x8.5-inch Mickey ET Street tires are wrapped over standard GT-R magnesium wheels. Skylines run a decent brake system standard, so only a parachute was added to help pull the car up after each quarter-mile blast. Croydon also developed a stout suspension package consisting of custom Bilstein coil-overs and King springs with in-house geometry settings. The finishing touch is the white and yellow race paint.
Inside, it's all business. Glenn keeps the car straight with help from a MOMO steering wheel and he's held in tight with the Recaro race seat. An array of Trust gauges give warning to any dangers facing the RB26 and a complete roll cage built into the car addresses safety.
What Does The Future Hold?
"It's been a huge learning curve over the past few years, with many breakages along the way to get the car to its present state. We're on top of everything now and believe we have a reliable and consistent package," reflects Glenn. All modesty aside, the car's present state is at the top of the food chain; it's the world's quickest street tire Skyline.
The GT-R may not wear the Croydon race colors for too much longer, however. Nick explains, "The car is currently up for sale. We've run a lot faster than we ever envisioned so we're more than happy with our achievements." Nick's background is circuit racing so he's getting back into that. He's got another R32 GT-R which is currently in pieces and will be the basis for the next project.
1994 Nissan R32 Skyline GT-R
|UNDER THE HOOD|
|Engine:||Nissan RB26DETT 2.6-liter I-6|
|Internals:||Forged Trust crankshaft, Carillo con rods, JE 7.8:1 pistons, Nissan rings, Tomei camshafts, valve springs, custom valves, Trust oil pump and sump|
|Induction:||Hybrid custom Turbonetics turbocharger|
|Exhaust:||Custom manifold, custom system|
|Engine Management:||MoTeC M8 ECU and MoTeC CDI-8 ignition system|
|Gearbox:||Hollinger sequential six-speed with custom shifter|
|Clutch Combo:||HKS triple plate|
|Differential:||Cusco front and rear 411/4375|
|Suspension:||Bilstein coil-overs, King springs|
|Brakes:||Standard with Mintes 1166 pads, parachute|