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