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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Godzilla Rises: Meet Patrick’s US-Legal R32 Nissan GT-R



Few cars have a performance legacy quite as rich as the Nissan GT-R. Where some sports and muscle cars have grown fat and unfocused across the years, the GT-R has consistently remained a finely-tuned track machine, which explains why veteran racer and wrench-turner Patrick H. had to have one. 
Imagine his delight when this rarified 1990 Nissan Skyline R32 appeared within a stone’s throw of his doorstep. Needless to say, he pounced and sold his ’94 Toyota Supra Turbo hardtop in the process, well aware that the GT-R had some mechanical issues despite a flawless appearance.

A few months and a few engine parts later, ‘Godzilla’ has begun to awaken once again, and when it does, it’ll be bigger and badder than ever before. We took a moment to catch up with Patrick about his R32, and here’s what he had to say…


What is it that makes the Skyline GT-R so special?

 I’m a motorsports guy, always have been. To me, the GT-R has a proven motorsports history on twisty tracks and a cult following that will stand the test of time. What stands out to me is the GT-R’s ATESSA E-TS all-wheel drive control system. I consider the ‘90s to be the “battle of the acronyms” for all sports cars. Not all of them were actually improvements, nor did most of them stand the test of time.

ATESSA E-TS on the other hand did, and made the GT-R primarily a rear-wheel drive car that utilized a very complex controller, and enabled the GT-R to add-in front-wheel drive, up to a 50/50 split, to assist in cornering and recovery. It also used a G-force sensor which was way ahead of its time.


It should be a riot to get sideways then.

 The R32 in particular was actually the most tail happy of the entire GT-R family. The ATESSA system could be turned completely down to full rear-drive in some cases. The later R33 and R34 had a certain amount of preload on the center differential which always puts some amount of torque to the front wheels.

Any idea on the backstory on your R32?

 I honestly do not have a clue of the Japanese ownership of the car. I found that my car was at one point sold at a US government auction for some reason or another, under what is called a “standard form 97”, which is the method the government uses for selling a government owned vehicle for road use in the US.

My state recognized the car on SF97 with no problem, issued the title, registration, and I was able to get insured without a hitch.


What’s it like to drive?

 Sadly, I’ve only puttered around in a parking lot just to test the transmission and the rest of the car. I didn’t actually stretch it out yet due to the rod knock, but don’t worry, I will have videos when it’s done!

How does your build look so far?

 I’m still waiting on the cylinder head to come back from the race shop that it’s at, but here’s what I’ve got so far. New N1 race block, Brian Cower stroker kit, Fluidampr harmonic balancer, ARP fasteners, fully ported cylinder head, new intake and exhaust valves, bronze guides, Tomei oil pump, Greddy weld-on sump extension, Tomei poncams, head gasket, stainless steel exhaust manifold, N1 water pump, Borg Warner EFR 8374 turbo, Nismo clutch and flywheel, 1.5-way front differential, Haltech ECU, plus Deatschwerks injectors and fuel pump.

All totaled, we should probably make 550 wheel horsepower on pump gas with 700 wheel horsepower being attainable with the turbo on race fuel.