Project Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R – Part 4: Borg Warner Turbo and Vibrant exhaust install
This was the exhaust that came with the car when I bought it, and it was a not-so-good mix of stainless and mild steel with sections that were mostly 3-in, but then with 3.5-in sections welded in the middle. Yeah…By Page 3 you will see how much better it looks with the new Vibrant Performance full stainless, twin-tip system!

It’s been a few months since we’ve posted anything about the R33 GT-R. To bring you up to speed, I’ve had nothing but joy come to me while in and around this car. The Skyline is everything it’s hyped up to be, and then some. Unlike driving the Supra, where everyone who spots it knows instantly what it is, and acknowledges it with the appropriate headlight flash, thumbs up, free rev, or “Supra!!” scream (yes by mostly very young men), the GT-R driving experience is rather more comical.

With less people noticing what this GT-R is right off the bat, it’s funny when their brains actually do register what they saw. At first, they’ll look at the car like they would anything else, and then–just as they start to look away–they suddenly rubberneck back with huge, saucer-sized eyeballs, and their mouths uttering–and sometimes literally screaming–expletives that I can’t repeat here. Again, by very young men.  Sometimes they’ll cover their mouths in disbelief, like they just saw a band member from the Beatles. Either way, it’s safe to say my wife knows I didn’t buy this car as a “chick magnet”.

The thing that surprises me is how many times people will pull up and ask me how on earth I was able to get a GT-R like this Stateside, when you can start with something as simple an Ebay search to see a few listed. In fact, that’s how I’d originally found mine, although I purchased it offline in the end. In any case, I don’t know if it’s like this on the coastal cities, but out here in the Midwest it’s always fun to see what type of responses I’m going to get. Don’t get me wrong, I’d do the same thing if I were they. There’s just something about these Skyline GT-Rs that does it for me, and I’m so excited to be getting closer to the “end game” of this project.

Until now we’ve seen the GT-R get a proper look with the addition of Volk TE37 SAGA wheels wrapped with 275/35-18 Falken Azenis RT660 tires. Walking away or back up to the car never gets old. And as much as I love any R33 GT-R, this car would just not visually be the same without that wheel and tire combo. When I look at the car, I still can’t believe it’s mine. But when inside the cockpit, the upgrade I or any driver are going to get the most out of–and tapping all the senses–lies under the hood. For that we enlisted the help of Borg Warner for its 8374 EFR turbocharger, Full Race for its RB26 exhaust manifold, and Vibrant Performance for its universal exhaust components.

Vibrant Performance was established in 1997 to design and produce exhaust and induction performance products for the Sport Compact market, and has been a big part of various MotoIQ projects. In order to keep up with the exploding demand for its high end products, as well as with the growth of the industry itself, Vibrant has expanded its line up to include various exhaust and induction components for Sport compact cars, domestics, trucks, and even motorcycles. While we will be using some of its stainless steel components for the R33 GT-R, Vibrant also sells various exhaust straight piping and bends in various sizes, but also in aluminum and titanium as well!

Today we’ll be focusing on the installation and fabrication of all of these exhaust parts. These are just a few of the Vibrant Performance products that we were able to fit into a close-up picture. In reality, we ordered four of those “J” bends, and a 5-foot straight piece as well. All of it is 3-in internal diameter, which not only will be plenty for our power goals but also keep the noise level own. My one-stop shop for the last 15 years, Modified by KC (which also uses Vibrant for almost all of its exhaust fab work), is doing all of it, including the follow-up dyno tuning.
You may have noticed my choice for a twin-tip exhaust setup. Well, that’s because that’s how these R33 GT-Rs came out of the assembly line. If you look, you’ll notice that the GT-R’s rear valance has an exhaust provision that it oblong, instead of more circular, like that of a Supra with its large, single oval tip.
Ross Randolph is Modified by KC’s dedicated technician for Project R33 GT-R. He loves to work on the car and takes really good care of it as well. It’s nice to walk into MKC unannounced and see this type of carefulness, especially when it comes to an original-paint GT-R in a rare color. After “asking around”, I estimate around a dozen of these KN6 “Dark Grey Pearl” R33 GT-Rs have made Stateside. 670 were made worldwide, which makes it a unique, 4% production color.


  1. Nice! I have an almost identical setup on my 33 ie Fullrace and 8374 0.92 iwg.
    I was going to connect the turbo cooling outlet back to the original spot like you but instead welded an AN6 male onto the radiator top tank which is above the turbo outlet so it thermal syphons when engine cooling down after turning off. This cools down the turbo bearing housing rather than cooking it.
    This was how it worked with the original twins.
    Cannot post a picture here but happy to send you one.

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