Reader Submissions: Perfect Windy Road Companion: Nissan Skyline That Begs To Be Driven Hard

Perfect Windy Road Companion: Nissan Skyline That Begs To Be Driven Hard

By Petrolicious Productions
March 7, 2016

Story by Gianluca Querin // Photography by Matthew McCamley

My uncle used to own a used car dealership, and one of my earliest car memories was when he brought a Honda NSX by my place and took me for a spin. I must’ve been around six or seven, and I couldn’t believe that the engine wasn’t in the front, wasn’t even in the back—but hiding behind the headrest. The sound was nothing short of amazing, and it was the first time that I really felt proper acceleration in a car…I was hooked.

My older brother was always into cars, and, as the younger child you naturally want to be like your big brother, so also became interested in them from a young age. Through my early teenage years, I grew up with the Fast and Furious movies, got into Formula 1, searched the internet, and expanded my knowledge on classic cars and races. I took a liking to old racecars like the Alfa Romeo GTAm and the Skyline GT-R—and knew that one day I had to own one of the legends.

Ever since my early teens, I’ve wanted a Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R, due to their legendary status in Australian Touring Car racing, as having completely demolished the competition at Bathurst. When I finally got my full license, I began the process of importing a GT-R from Japan through a broker. After months of searching for the right car, I finally found one in fantastic condition with a few tasteful modifications.

We won the auction, then came the nine week wait for it to come over to Australia. When it finally arrived, it went to a holding yard for a night before I could take ownership. Much to my dismay, the car was stolen from the holding yard overnight (!!) I was shattered, but luckily, I was reimbursed all money I had spent. For the next couple of months I searched the net for a local GT-R. Then, one night, looking through the classifieds I found a local car with similar tasteful modifications for a cheaper price. I organized a test drive for the next day.

Drove it. Loved it. Offered the asking price. Within a week the car was mine.

At the time, the prices of R32s were at a low point, and I knew that the car was far too iconic to stay that cheap for very long, I had to snap myself a bargain. For the same price I could’ve bought a Mitsubushi Lancer Evolution VIII or an FD Mazda RX-7, but to me these cars, although quite quick, did not have the same character and mystique of the legendary R32. This specific car was very clean,  with all the tasteful upgrades I would add if I were to buy a stock car.

I’m definitely leaning more towards the side of function over form. Too many people drop their cars down to the ground and put ridiculous camber on them. The wheels are only 17-inche, to allow thicker profile tires. The tires are fairly wide semi-slicks to give me that little bit extra grip. The engine is stock, but handling has been enhanced through upgraded sway bars, coilovers, strut braces, adjustable camber arms, and bushes. The car doesn’t sit too low to reduce scrubbing on hard turns. The small Nardi steering wheel makes the steering feel quick and precise like a go-cart. The harnesses strap you in tight and make you feel that are one with the car allowing you to have greater confidence going into the bends. Being a 20+ year old car, it feels very raw. Everything is heavy, mechanical, and smells of petrol—but that’s what makes it so rewarding to drive.

As for the styling, the number circle on the side is purely for that nostalgic racecar feel and has never really had a race number in it, however, occasionally the car does get taken to the track to set lap times.

People think I’m crazy driving a GT-R as my daily, but they don’t understand how much I love driving my car. It’s my passion and I’m lucky because I get to drive my passion everyday. I get to work at 7 am on Monday mornings, and I’m already smiling and in a good mood, because I’ve given the GT-R a squirt around a few tight bends on my morning commute. It’s perfect in its imperfections. It has stone chips, scratches, and imperfections in the body but it’s not built to be a show car, it’s built to be driven…hard.

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5 years ago

Not many epople know this but Australia was the first and only market outside of Japan to official sell the Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 (only about 100 vehicles were officialy sold by nissan Australia). This was because like in Japan the R32 GT-R was homoligated for Group A touring car racing. Whislt Europe and the rest of the world were still pidling around E30 M3’s and Cosworth Sierra RS500’s in Group A, here in Australia the R32 GT-R totally demolished and destroyed all M3’s and RS500’s in touring car racing. Even at Bathurst were the best European M3 and RS500’s teams also came over to compete in our great race were anhiliated by the GT-R. The car got its nickname first in Australia “Godzilla” as it totally dominated the Group A scene. The Winfield R32 GT-R were so destructive and unbreakable due to Aussie enhancements like stronger Australian made Holinger race gearboxes that even Nisma would send engineers over to Australia to find out why our GT-R’s were so much faster and learn what the local teams were doing to the GT-R to make them so incredible. Kind of like what Dick Johnson did with the RS500 eventually making it stronger and faster than European RS500’s of the day. So whilst folks in the Uk, the US and the rest of the world are still dicovering what the GT-R is, the Aussies were the first outside of Japan to work on these beasts and delevope them. Not bad for such a tiny country (in terms of population). Only the R32 GT-R’s have a true homilagation touring racing history. R33 are too fat, and it is arguable that the R34 was a better car, but in terms of history the R-32 will end up being the most sort after because of it’s racing history domination. Following racing series in Japan that used R33 and R34 for the local race series is not the same as the cars were so heavily modified they had virtually nothing in common with the street car (unlike the R32) Group A rules again.

John Watson
John Watson(@roads_watson)
5 years ago

This was a great read. Lots of love for the R32. Seems like a marriage. Like he’s found the one. And that it’ll take a lot for him to replace it. That’s good. Car looks great. The racing number circle on the side is a nice touch too. I’m a 33 man myself. But do love a fellow enthusiast with a nice R32

Sintya Bella
Sintya Bella(@mukhlis-53tarigan)
5 years ago

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Maxime Veilleux
Maxime Veilleux(@quebecois)
5 years ago

Ive heard that is very difficult to have an ”Enthusiast” car in Australia is that true?

Nick Diggens
Nick Diggens(@nickdiggens)
5 years ago

Attachment fail…

Nick Diggens
Nick Diggens(@nickdiggens)
5 years ago


Matt McCamley
Matt McCamley(@mattmccamley)
5 years ago

Thank’s again Petrolicious for the post. Such a top owner and one wicked daily .was happy to photograph this masterpiece.

David Khoury
David Khoury(@dkhoury93)
5 years ago

Definitely one of the cleanest examples I’ve ever seen of the R32 GT-R. I like the tasteful mods you’ve done to it, especially those BBS LM’s which are to die for!

Love your passion and the fact that you daily it, you are an inspiration.

Keep up the fantastic work, mate!

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger(@gtrslngr)
5 years ago

Great car .. love the earlier GTRs and all … but …. err … a 20 year old car should not be smelling of oil or much of anything else for that matter other than the cologne / perfume or lack thereof of the occupants [ present or past ] in it .

Smelling of oil is the domain of 40 + year old cars … not 20 … indicating there’s something potentially catastrophic or ( at the very least ) seriously wrong with the car . So as nice as the car is … get that smell checked out before the car with or without you in it becomes a CarBQ

And err … not to be picky or in any way insulting but ahhh … whats up with the somewhat pretentious white number circles on the doors ?

PS; On a postive note … anyone that thinks you’re crazy for using your GT-R as a daily driver hasn’t got a clue what the GT-R’s are all about . To sum it up … PRACTICAL supercars

Gianluca Querin
Gianluca Querin(@gianluca-querin)
5 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

Wow thanks for sharing your great opinion.

Please tell me where you gained such a vast knowledge in every car ever made and how each of them smell. Do you have first hand experience owning an early 90’s rb26 or is it just your geat wisdom and years practicing as a mechanic that give you the authority to make such generalizations? The only flames you will be seeing from my car are out the back of the exhaust.

And err…not to be picky or in any way insulting but ahhh…the article clearly stated what’s up with the ‘somewhat pretentious white number circles on the doors’ (it says they’re there for the nostalgic racecar feel – just in case you need me to spell it out for you)

To sum it up…I felt your comment was pretentious and quite simply not needed. Next time you see yourself about to insult somebody’s pride and joy please think twice and put those keyboard warrior fingers of yours back down. It might actually feel good to know that there is no additional reason for people to dislike you.

Fredrik Assarsson
Fredrik Assarsson(@fassarsson)
5 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

Look up the word “irony”.
Usually it has to do with a pretentious character using the word “pretentious” in an overly pretentious manner. Thank you for the great laugh because you clearly wheren’t serious were you?

Gianluca, I regret to say it’s only possible to like your comment once which is far too little. 😉