I get to live a lot of peoples dreams when I turn the key of this car. I'm talking about my 2001 Nissan Skyline GTR VSpec II. The car arguably made famous by the late Paul Walker in the Fast & Furious franchise.
Not only is this car my dream car, but the dream car of a large number of people hooked on the Fast & Furious movies themselves. These movies pivoted this car from Japanese super car to iconic status. The performance of the car made sure it remained there.
The twin-turbocharged RB26 engine has a claimed power figure of 206kw (276HP) but can quite easily be stretched beyond these figures with fairly minimal modifications. In standard form, the car is impressive. Especially relating to vehicles of the same age and era. However to really unleash the power, any Skyline or GTR owner is bound to start modifying.
My example actually has a rebuilt engine with forged internals, larger turbochargers installed as well as injectors and an exhaust system. Not only have these modifications shown me what the car aptly named "Godzilla" can really do, it has demonstrated what bang-for-buck benefits the Japanese manufacturers have shared with us.
Suspension in the VSpec II is slightly different to the other GTR variants. Boasting a 'stiffer' arrangement, this car isn't luxury four-wheel drive comfortable. It's far from it. You feel the bumps in the road, you dread speed-hump signs, as well as anything that involves the word 'driveway' in it. If you are lucky enough to take one of these vehicles to the racetrack, you will soon realise why the suspension is set up the way it is.
For a 2001 model car, the Skyline GTR lacks on options from equivalent year vehicles. From the factory there is no Bluetooth or phone integration. There are no parking aids or assistants which isn't really such an issue for a car of this nature. Yet some people would consider for a car worth over $100,000 AUD new, you are getting a bit ripped off.
The GTR does however boast a very handy MFD display unit which has information such as a boost gauge, and fully optional gauges such as temperature (oil and water) as well was various other interesting things such as throttle pressure, and if you are interested, exhaust temperature.
When contemplating buying a spots car, you generally don't consider how much you can fit inside the boot. Don't hold your breath with the GTR because you would be correct in assuming it doesn't hold much. To give a visual impression, you will fill the boot if you decided to place an average sized suitcase inside, on its side of course!
The cabin isn't much better in this aspect. Space wise, just hope you aren't asked to sit in the back. The GTR is a four-seater, and if you are anywhere near six foot tall, there will be a very small person who may be able to sit behind you. With that aside, if you are lucky enough to be in the front seats, you will notice the bucket-seats are designed to hold you you in quite well. A perk of the VSpec II trim is the dark charcoal coloured material and aluminium pedals which are a VSpec II only option.
I have actually been lucky enough to own a number of Skylines. Ranging from R32 GTR's, to R33 GTS-T's and of course my R34 GTR. From a reliability standpoint, if you do the right thing by the car, it will do the right thing by you. What I'm getting at is the need for regular servicing and proper maintenance. I have driven the cars how they should be driven in the proper racetrack environment, and to this date am yet to break anything. *touch wood*
Servicing of these cars isn't cheap however. Not compared to my daily driver and other vehicles I've owned. Much like trying to get motor insurance if you are under 30 years of age. They are expensive and it can sometimes be hard to find a reliable, and reasonable person or workshop to perform work on these cars. But at the end of the day, the grin they give you in return cannot be given a monetary value.
In summary, all GTR variants and models will remain as automotive icons. Their presence on the street as well as the stigma attached to them will keep them on the 'must have' lists of many people for years to come. For good reason!