No Introduction Needed

Victor’s R35 GTR

Words: Mark Waterman
Photos: Ginash George

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If you gathered a group of Japanese import enthusiasts In the late 1990s, mentioning a handful of cars would spark instant conversation.  Among them would be the Subaru Impreza WRX STi, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, and the almighty Nissan Skyline GT-R.  All three were born out of four-door family sedans and have been performance enhanced from the factory. All three are all-wheel-drive and all three use turbocharged motors.  But most importantly, all three were unavailable in US dealerships.  With the SUV craze in full swing, Japanese sports cars that were available in the US like the Toyota Supra, Nissan 300ZX and the Mazda RX-7 were pulled from the American market.  Fortunately for us, Fuji Heavy Industries saw fit to bless us with the WRX for the 2002 model year followed by the STi for the 2004 model year.  With the success of those cars, Mitsubishi followed suit with the Evolution VIII for the 2003 model year.  But the most coveted of them all, the all mighty Godzilla, was still missing from the US shores.  Finally, in 2008 the GT-R was unleashed onto US shores as arguably one of the most anticipated automotive releases in recent memory.

When the specs for the new GT-R were released, it became immediately obvious that this new generation GT-R, dubbed the R35, was a radical departure from the previous GT-Rs.  First off, the R35 was not merely a factory souped up Skyline which is known as the Infiniti G35/G37 in the US. The R35 is its own model engineered and built from a clean slate.  This car was built to play with the big boys from Stuttgart, Maranello and Sant’Agata Bolognese.  The GT-R quickly proved itself by setting the fastest lap by a production car at the infamous Nordschleife.  It was traits like these that inspired Victor Arellano to purchase his Nissan GT-R in 2009.

What really stood out to Victor was the shape of the GT-R.  It looks exotic like its Italian rivals, but has its own very distinct shape. People either love it or hate it.  Non automotive enthusiasts have a hard time believing that a Japanese company known more for their family sedans could design such a car.  Under the hood of Godzilla is the VR38DETT: a 3.8L twin turbo monster.  Each motor is hand built in a clean room and is rated at around 480 horsepower and 430 ft-lbs of torque.  The potent engine coupled with the newest generation ATTESA E-TS all wheel drive system and a 6-speed semi-automatic transmission allows the car to sprint to 60 MPH in the mid 3-second range and passes the century mark in under 10 seconds.  The ease of acceleration of this beast was what impressed Victor the most on his first drive with the car.

At first his plans for the car consisted of what most performance junkies would tinker with first: wheels, suspension, exhaust, and some carbon body pieces.  However after putting a Pro-Kit suspension on the car, Victor discovered that it took away from the car’s smoothness.  So the stock suspension went back on and Victor recommends that any other R35 owner resist tinkering with Nissan engineers’ already near-perfect design.  The stock wheels were replaced with a set of HRE Performance Comp 90 Series rims.  The spokes are powder coated charcoal with the lips highly polished for a beautiful contrast.  For the carbon fiber goodies, Victor has added bonnet air ducts, a front lip spoiler, front grill, front fender vents, a rear under spoiler, side skirts, a radiator shroud, and engine cover all sourced from Zele.  For the exhaust, Victor has chosen to use an Amuse titanium exhaust coupled with a stainless steel Race Spec Y-pipe.

While the GT-R rolls out of the factory with more than enough power for most, Victor would like to squeeze more from the power plant.  He plans to do this through upgraded turbos and a front mount intercooler.  Then, after getting a new tune to most effectively use the new parts, he’ll assess where he is and decide where to go from there.  Until then he’ll keep on with the weekend cruising and participating in car shows, all while turning heads everywhere he goes.  Special thanks goes out to Victor’s family, Abraham, the general manager of Palm Springs Nissan, Greg from GT Motoring, and Cesar Marungo for introducing him to JDM Chicago.

-JDM Chicago

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