Project Nissan Skyline GT-R R33 – Part 1: I finally have one!
Chad was able to figure out the AC and tachometer, and also wired in an electronic boost controller so I could enjoy the car for the time being. Because we still have to find the knock sensor signals, he set the power level to a dyno’d and safe 340 WHP on 93 octane until they can pencil me back in for the real work (sneak peak to what’s going on in Page 5!).

Fast-forward five months, and it’s now early February as I write (with snow outside). Every time I walk past the car in the garage, I marvel that I have it. Shoot, after 18 years I still can’t believe I even have Project Supra in there, for that matter. But the R33 Skyline GT-R, the car I thought I never could have—it’s here, and just 25 feet away from me this very moment (I’m smiling here). So here I am, living my dream – it’s finally coming into focus, 25 years after that serendipitous R&T article.

While there are plenty of people who prefer the R32 and R34, I am one of the many whom have always been partial to the R33. I just love the look. Both the front and rear simply do it for me. No, the R33 didn’t impressively win every Group A race in the JTCC series like the R32 [literally] did from 1989-1993—thus, dubbing it the name “Godzilla” in Australia. But the R33 was also pitted against much heavier hitters. In its 1995 Le Mans debut, a GT1-classed Skyline R33 GT-R LM finished 10th overall, and 5th in its class (behind the likes of four McLaren GTRs), but not before beating out the all Ferrari F40s, Supras, and 911 Turbos in its class! Now that [too] is very impressive.

I bought this car equipped with these Kansei wheels that had crazy 305-mm wide tires in all four corners (so if you needed proof that they fit, here you go—and they didn’t rub). While I loved how it looked from the rear, overall it was too much for me. Plus, the fact the front wheel well splash guards had to be removed was the rear deal breaker for me because it not only made it see-through in front of the tires, but it also made the front bumper super flimsy.
For the time being, I put the factory 17-in stockers on with the factory wheel well covers. Yeah, they don’t look nearly as good with 245-mm wide all-seasons, but I like the bumper not flexing, and the OE look behind the wheels (as opposed to seeing straight through to the ground). In the sunlight you can really see the KN6 grey’s “cool” blue and purple hue in the metallic paint. In fact, that color code here in the States is referred to as “Dark Purple Blue”. Grey was never my top choice color for a car but this KN6 gray grew on me quick. Today, I love it—it really brings out the body lines.
On the suspension side of things, I am very pleased with the NISMO S-tune suspension that came with the car. In fact, I was truly amazed at just how good this car feels. Even with these smaller all-season tires, the handling is awesome, and I have so much confidence with this car through the turns—even more so than Project Supra and right there with how I felt with my previous E46 M3. The front setup comes with shock reservoirs for added fluid capacity, and there is a NISMO tension rod underneath on each side as well. NISMO reports 20% stiffness in ride, and a 0.75-in drop in ride height. Perfect for me.
Pictured here is the rear NISMO S-tune shock and spring, along with the rear upper link set and NISMO’s A-arms below.

21 comments

  1. This was a really cool start to the project, looking forward to more updates. I don’t think I’ve seen an R33 in person yet, a couple guys in our area have R32s that made the trip overseas.

    Loved seeing all the old photos and magazine articles. A fun blast from the past, just like your last article on the Fikse wheels for Project Supra.

  2. In the last four-or-so years I’d only done 1 article (Nitto tires on Supra), and that was 2 years ago. These last four articles I worked on (Supra P19, and now GTR P1-3 articles) have happened in the the span of three weeks, and boy have I enjoyed doing them. The Nostalgia has made them extra special to me (and yes of course these are some awesome parts too!). So I thank you very much for your feedback, Andy! As you can see, I am far from exaggerating the excitement I have conveyed. Shoot, I even just got back from a little errand in the R33–maybe that’s why I’m rambling. 😊

  3. Have always a soft spot for R33’s over the others, I think it may be because of the original Gran Turismo. Just an amazing machine, back when Nissan was actually cool. Accidently found that color too when we did a quick respray of my stepdaughters old B14 5 years ago , was going for the R32 gunmetal and ended up with that one.

    1. Yes the original Gran Turismo games–the R33 400R was a special-win kind of car, if I recall. Not for certain. That was my fav. That’s a cool way to find that color, too. Yeah I didn’t know it had purple/blue in it until I got touch up paint here in KC, as that’s what it was called. Then it made sense when I saw it in the sunlight. I had it sitting next to a GM grey/anthracite and, yeah, they were nothing alike. Cool daughter-in-law 😉

  4. I am also looking for a R33. I remember going to Motorex back in the day and seeing Big Bird while it was still white with HKS logos and thinking it was the coolest car I have ever seen. I’ve had a 1990 R32 10 years ago, but dodging questions about the quasi legality of the car got old and I sold it.

    I have R35 now, but R33 need is Strong!

    1. I know that feeling! Fortunately, now you’ve got a lot of more reputable importers to choose from. If you’re in Cali, of course you’ve got Top Rank. Otherwise I enjoyed my dealings with SDR as well, who can also have a car imported for pick-up in TX in order to save a customer on shipping.

  5. Great read, thanks for sharing your enthusiasm and I’m looking forward to following the journey of the R33! Hope to see the car in person soon!

  6. My screen name has been nlzmo400r on every forum since forums were a thing. I thoroughly approve of this purchase.

  7. Congratulations! I feel like the R33 is the sweet spot between the old-school R32 and the forcefully-modernized R34.
    It’s the only one of the three that looks most like an actual coupe not a 2-door sedan.

  8. I am very jealous. As a GranTurismo fan boy growing up. It was all about the Skylines. And the r33 has always been my favorite looking. Them hips, the curves…it could weight 10,000lbs and have a 3cyl diesel wouldn’t care. I wanted one and was saving up to buy one then well…got married…started a family, bought a house and well now I play with $300 cars. Such is life.

    1. Agreed and, while we feel your pain, that part of life will always be more important (as you surely already know). Thanks for chiming in!

    1. thanks Joe. Yes in the next piece we discuss the Falken tires. they’ve been awesome. Actually, just checked and it’s live today!

    1. Thanks for the compliments, Kevin. If you’re referring to the two suspension pics on the bottom of Page4, actually that is the front and rear, respectively (notice in the bottom pic you can just start to see the exhaust pipe on the lower right). And if I misread your comment, apologies.

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