Introducing Project Phoenix, Round Two of our R35 GT-R Project.

With a crash, Project R35 came to an end.  A careless driver ran a stop sign and t-boned our car totaling it.  We were really upset that our wonderful, well-rounded Project Car came to such an unfortunate end.  To make matters worse, we had gotten all the stuff to complete the car, the parts to build a 4.1-liter monster engine and a turbo kit from ETS Turbo as well as a Stage 4.5 Shep trans with a mechanical limited slip.  All of this was going to be covered in MotoIQ and all that we were waiting on was the machine shop to finish work on our block.  On a positive note, I escaped with relatively minor injuries.  However, with thousands of dollars invested, we had to get a replacement to complete our journey.

My insurance AAA handled my case perfectly and ended up paying me enough to consider buying a new GT-R.  If you are looking for car insurance I have had nothing but good experiences with AAA and highly recommend them.  I was really liking the 4BA 2024 T-Spec GT-R, having owned the previous two chassis codes of R35, the CBA, and the DBA I was really impressed with how the car greatly improved with each iteration. I was really curious to see how the improvements to the platform added by my friend Hiroshi Tamura, the GT-R Chief Engineer for the R35 since the DBA minor facelift had refined the car.  That aside, I really liked how the 4BA T-Spec looked compared to the standard 4BA.

My retail experience was not going too smoothly.  There were only 58 USA spec T-Specs produced and only 23 of them were in the iconic Millennium Jade color I wanted.  Most of those 23 were already sold and all of the dealers on the West Coast wanted a premium for the car as only a few of them got a T-Spec or any GT-R allocation for that matter.  I refused to pay a 40-50 grand markup for the car no matter how much I liked it!  I probably called 14 dealers in an effort to track down the last remaining T-Specs and they all refused to budge one bit on the price until I got into contact with the good folks at Pinnacle Nissan in Scottsdale Arizona and actually got to talk to the sales manager as a serious buyer. I spoke with Sam Quina, the Sales Manager, and Eli Saba, the General Manager, and found out Eli has built a 1400 hp R35 and that they were MotoIQ fans!

I also found out that they like helping industry people and that Chris Forsberg buys all of his Nissan project cars through them. They offered me an outstanding price on my dream Millennium Jade T-Spec!  Happy as a clam I jumped on a plane to Phoenix to pick up the car and figured the drive home would be an excellent break-in trip.

After a 50-minute flight and a quick Uber ride, I was at Pinnacle Nissan in Scottsdale, a suburb of Phoenix Arizona.

I think I can see my car in there!


  1. Congratulations Mike! I hope you drive this one more than a few oil change intervals! Cool story too. I’m sad that more people don’t know who you are. You are a legend and deserve the red carpet.

  2. Mike, congrats on the GTR, I am happy to hear that there are still well to do dealers out there. I am in the process of buying my first car so I sympathize with the frustration of dealing with prices these days (though I am definitely not shopping anywhere close to the price range of the T-Spec lol). In any case, I found your candor in your review to be very refreshing. I think the term ‘wine and cheese’ journalists is well suited to many writers and critics around the industry. As someone hoping to make a career in this vast industry, I was pushed to do journalism for the longest time. However, nowadays it feels like these ‘wine and cheese’ journalists put certain manufacturers on pedestals based on current trends (i.e. the Porsche hype). Anyhow, I’ll spare you the rant and I just want to say I’m a huge fan of what MotoIQ is doing, keep it up!

    p.s: I’ve noticed that wearing your apparel to events always attracts the best kinds of enthusiasts, I couldn’t have imagined I would meet so many smart people because of a sweatshirt!

    1. They paid me a good price for the car, then I bought the car back and sold it to someone who loved the car that had connections to fix it.

  3. Man, if money wasn’t an object… I’d love to find another S13 and try to build a more modern version with the T-Spec as the aspirational goal. This car is gorgeous.

  4. The fact that you got one right after tells me that the R35 GTRs are great cars. This post was a great read on how much they refined this car over the different generations. Shame android auto hasn’t been fitted to the car! I’ve notice Lexus took a long time to include it too.

  5. Mike san, the end there with Tamura san signing the page with the child and his comment is not surprising culturally and melts my heart. Congratulations and I will reference this article again when I’m ready to also earn one and be my own pinnacle of a car enthusiast. In the meantime, I’ll just live vicariously through you.

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