Project Nissan Skyline GT-R R33 – Part 1: I finally have one!
We’ll also be talking about the EFR Borg Warner turbo that will be replacing the unit the car came with…
…which will be sitting on a Full Race exhaust manifold! The turbo and manifold combo is something I’m hounding MKC Performance to me in the door for. Once they finish their customers’ winter projects, I’m told I’m the next one in.
Like I did with our Project MKIV Supra, I’ll be wrapping all of the exhaust components in the engine bay with Thermo Tec’s thermal exhaust wrap. It’s lasted years on the Supra, so why go with anything else?
Lastly, while minor modifications could be made to mate the new turbo’s setup to car’s current 3-in exhaust system, I’m contracting MKC to build me a full new one using nothing but Vibrant Performance parts, and using their V-band clamps. And yes, this will be one of the very few modified Skylines going back to the dual-exit exhaust setup to bring more of a stock R33 look, but without sacrificing any air flow.
I’d mentioned the only R33 (and last Skyline) I’d driven prior to my 2020 purchase was one I did a photo shoot with in the Spring of 2008 for an article I was doing with Turbo and Hi Tech Performance Magazine. It was a sweet, 520 WHP example built in part by by Speed Force Racing in Santee, California. I remember thinking just how perfect this car was to drive. I loved it.
Sadly, the magazine announced its closing of its doors just a few months later, and the article never saw the light of day. 12 years later, you’re the first to see them! They’ve been sitting in the archives of my computer ever since, and I just wanted to finally show someone the car now nearly 13 years later! (okay??!)

Stay tuned as we embark on a journey that—at least for yours truly—will never be forgotten. Wheels and tires next!

Author’s note: since AEM EMS systems are for off-road use only, all street pictures of the car will be done with the factory ECU, which can be easily be swapped out since the AEM is plug and play.

Advance Engine Management (AEM)
Borg Warner
Falken Tires
Full Race Engineering
Mackin Industries
Meara Image Motorsports
Modified by KC
Poor People Racing
SDR Garage
Speed Force Racing
Vibrant Performance


  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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