In celebration of the Nissan Skyline GT-R’s 50th birthday, the next couple of articles from me will focus on GT-Rs and non-GT-R variants. Call it a celebration of Skylines as a whole, with an emphasis on the R32 through R34 generations.
So let’s kick things off with two special Skylines from tropical land of Malaysia – Jason Teoh’s R33 GTS-25t and Velson Khoo’s R32 GTS.
Both owners have a lot of admiration for the GT-R, and both couldn’t bear the thought of hacking one up. Factoring in the insanely high values that GT-Rs can fetch over in Malaysia thanks to the government’s import tax penalties, one would rarely ever modify a GT-R to the point that both Jason and Velson desired.
Here’s where the similarities end and the differences in the approach to modifying their respective cars begins. Let’s start with Velson’s R32 GTS…
Childhood Dreams Turned Reality
As a child, Velson became captivated by the BNR32 after watching the ’90s action movie Thunderbolt. In the film’s first major chase scene, Jackie Chan drives a Mitsubishi FTO and attempts to chase down a villain in their all-black BNR32 Skyline GT-R.
It was that evil role fulfilled by the GT-R that stole Velson’s heart, and he became obsessed with the R32.
Fast forward to adulthood, and Velson finally had the opportunity to buy his very own R32. The Skyline GTS he purchased was in rough condition and a full restoration was in in order, but that wasn’t the biggest issue.
After driving the car around for a few hours, Velson realized that it desperately needed more power – the naturally aspirated RB20DE just wouldn’t cut it. But luckily he had a fix, and it came in the form of a Toyota 1JZ-GTE engine he had sitting around.
Without delay the 1JZ was retrofitted in the Skyline, and it remained in stock condition in the car for the next four years while the Nissan’s bodywork was totally refreshed.
The R32 GTE
You might be wondering why someone so obsessed with the GT-R would opt for a Toyota engine in their car. The truth is, Velson loved the BNR32 chassis, but not the RB26DETT engine that powered it. His engine dreams had always been reserved for Toyota’s 2JZ-GTE, so the 1JZ-GTE was always only going to be a temporary fix for the GTS’s power deficiency. The ‘GTE’ badge is a subtle hint at what lies within…
Ultimately, Velson was able to make his dreams come true by combining his two loves. Out came the 1JZ and into the R32 chassis went a 2JZ-GTE backed up by a R154 gearbox.
Although the conversion is new and some of the bugs are still being ironed out, Velson’s ultimate goal for the engine is much more power than the current 480whp it’s pumping out with a single Garrett GT3582R turbo conversion.
The completed exterior features the rear fenders and rear bumper from an aftermarket wide-body kit, but the front bumper and front fenders have come straight from a BNR32 GT-R.
The interior, like the 2JZ swap, is still being finished off, but for now there’s a Nardi wheel and a few gauges to bring a performance feel to the GTS’s cabin.
By combining his two loves, Velson is well on his way to realizing his childhood dream.
The Black Sheep
Now it’s time to take a look at something a little more extreme – Jason’s R33 Skyline GTS-25t
Similar to Velson, Jason’s loved cars ever since he was a child. However, his his first love wasn’t the R33. Truth be told it wasn’t even Japanese, it was old school European. At the age of 18, Jason bought a VW Beetle and the love for classic cars grew.
Jason then transitioned into Japanese classics, owning a Toyota AE86 and a few Celicas before finally deciding it was time to buy something a bit more modern.
He turned his attention to Nissan and immediately started looking at GT-Rs. But the thought of executing what he had in mind on a GT-R seemed a bit wrong to him, so he began the hunt for another Skyline variant.
Working to a budget, an R34 was out of the question. The R32 was an option, but the R33, being the black sheep of the trio, was an even cheaper proposition.
The direction was decided – Jason found a stock R33 GTS-25t and almost immediately got to work.
Looks That Can Kill
Jason knew that the GTS-25t’s tame exterior would need some work in order to grab attention, and as you can see it definitely doesn’t blend in anymore.
The aero kit consists of Nismo 400R front and rear bumpers, side skirts, and customized Impul vented front and rear fenders.
The carbon fiber KevTEC GT wing is 1,700mm long, and size-wise puts nearly all others to shame.
Carbon fiber can also be found in the front doors, S2 vented hood, custom grill, and the headlight-replacing air intake.
Large Brembo brakes sourced from a Porsche Cayenne are another hint that this GTS-25t has the performance credentials to back up its new look. Sitting behind 19-inch Enkei RPF1 wheels, the front calipers bite down on 380mm floating discs, with 360mm units in the rear.
Sprayed in Nardograu, the Skyline’s exterior commands attention from all angles. But what’s under the hood?
Show & Go
Not wanting to end up with a car that’s all show and no go, Jason has invested a lot of time and money in the engine bay.
Despite what the RB26 rocker covers might suggest, the engine is actually comprised of an RB30 block with the GTS-25t’s original RB25 head. Internally, there are 87mm forged pistons, Manley H-beam connecting rods, Tomei 256-degree camshafts, and ARP head and main studs to name just a few of the upgrades.
Bosch 750cc injectors supplied by dual Epman external pumps ensure the RB is sufficiently fueled, and air is pushed in through an 80mm throttle body and custom GReddy intake via an FRP GT35 turbocharger.
To help keep combustion chamber temperatures even cooler, Jason has fitted a custom Snow Performance water/methanol injection system. An ECU-Shop Monster Spark 4 ECU and MSD Twin Tower coil and cable ignition system ensure that everything runs optimally.
All said and done, the GTS-25t is now putting out 678whp and 83kg/m (593ft-lb).
Compared to the exterior and engine bay transformation the interior is a little tame, but it has a bit of a ’90s feel to it with a Cusco bolt-in roll cage, Recaro SR3 seat for the driver, Momo Race steering wheel, and a bunch of gauges.
As it stands, Jason has gone above and beyond in showing the world what you can do with the black sheep of the Skyline lineage when there’s no GT-R badge to be found.
I’m curious though – what approach would you have taken if you were building up a Skyline from stock? Would it be a similar approach to Velson’s, Jason’s, or something different altogether?
More stories from Malaysia on Speedhunters
Cutting Room Floor