1994 Skyline GT-R - Our Shed

By: Alex Affat, Photography by: Nathan Jacobs

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Alex spent almost a year searching for the right car; but it hasn’t always been ‘simple’ maintenance since

It’s been a while since I’ve penned an update on my Nissan Skyline. That’s partly my fault; it really only just struck me that I’ve owned the car for two years already!

That’s not to say I’ve been neglecting it. It’s mostly been simple maintenance since purchase.

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I tried to drive it every weekend, weather permitting of course (I try to keep it out of the rain if I can help it), washed it religiously, and changed the oil, filter and plugs every 5000kms. 

| 2020 Market Review: Nissan Skyline GT-R

There were other non-essential areas of improvement. I guess, most obviously from some of the photos, is that I changed the rare Nismo wheels that came with the car to these Japanese Volk Racing TE37 bronze six-spokes. I had received a few offers for the three-piece Nissan wheels but they remain safe in storage for now and I will likely keep them.

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I also changed window rubbers on both sides as I found out after the first wash that the car wasn’t exactly watertight. It’s still not 100 per cent, but is near as close enough. As much as any 90s Nissan frameless coupe has any right to be.

| Buyers Guide: 1989-1994 Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R

There were other small issues: the car suffered a terrible misfire for a while, which was virtually eliminated with a new set of ignition coilpacks; and I had noticed that the ATTESSA dynamic all-wheel drive mode would occasionally kick itself into RWD mode seemingly for no reason and at random.

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Beyond that, not much else had been done. The car has been through two track days since I’ve owned it. Both grassroots time attack day events at Winton raceway, three-and-half hours up the Hume out of Melbourne. 

The first was more of a test and benchmarking day, still on the street-spec tyres and brake pads that came on the car. At the start of this year I returned, now with more suitable brakes, rotors and – most importantly – tyres. Instantly, from the first session out, the car was transformed. The simple switch to a brake pad compound with a higher operating temperature, and the aid of 265-section Hankook RS4 tyres at all four corners, allowed me to scorch my previous PBs and achieve a 1:40.1. I was determined to break into the 1:30s but luck would have it otherwise.

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New wheels for a new look

In the second session, a coolant hose blew somewhere in the depths of the notoriously cramped 2.6lt twin-turbo inline-six’s engine bay. I nursed the car into the pits, escorted by the track marshal under red flag conditions.

Despite the previous owner handing me a stack of invoices for a significantly costly engine rebuild – somewhere along the line somebody seemed to have decided to reuse the original now-26 year old rubber hoses.

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Godzilla’s heart

A small componentry failure, but too far in the depths of the engine bay to fix at the track. Any water we put into the radiator simply poured out on to the ground.

Friends drove me back to Melbourne, where I picked up a Toyota Hilux press car and rented a trailer, and drove all the way back to Winton to fetch my wounded Nissan.

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Clean modern interior

It’s all fixed now, but it was a stark lesson on how hard the track is on old cars. I’m increasingly thinking of retiring the car from track use but I know I will miss it. But these cars are also now somewhat of a rarity and worth preserving. What to do…?

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From Unique Cars #442, July 2020

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