Every Japanese car aspires to one day hold the worldwide renown of the Skyline. While the nameplate spans 13 generations and technically includes some cars us Westerners know as Infiniti models, most people know the Skyline for the performance GT-R variant that lasted from the R32 model of 1989 to the current R35.
Speaking from experience, there seem to be as many people who will praise the R32 or the R34 as there are Starbucks in Seattle, but nowhere near enough appreciators of the R33. As one of the few, the proud, the R33 enthusiasts, I’d like to tell you about one of the raddest ones I’ve seen driving around, a 1996 Nissan Skyline R33 GTS-25t. “But it’s not a GT-R!”, I hear you screaming from the balcony, scaring your neighbor’s dog. And you’d be correct, but in no way does that make it less cool. In place of the 2.6L RB26DETT I6 with screaming twin turbos is a 2.5L RB25DET I6 with one less screaming turbo. Horses? 247 hp for this GTS-25t versus 301 hp for the GTR. Yeah, whatever.
Way back in the day, Miguel (@ajjemy) owned a 1993 Nissan Silvia S13, or 240SX for the less chassis-designation inclined. During late nights of Gran Turismo escapades and other such games that inspired kids of that generation, he grew enamored with the R33. Once the years of financial and social freedom came around, it was the next logical step that he acquire something he grew up loving and lusting after. From the sea of import companies that will gladly bring your right-hand-drive dream across the ocean for a sizable sum of cash, Miguel picked RHD Specialties in Washington. The car was still in Japan when they advertised it but he immediately messaged them and placed a hold on what would become one of Sacramento’s few R33 Skylines.
As soon as it arrived, he spent no time making this R33 into even more of a beastly machine. On went Ksport coilovers, a 3 in straight pipe with Tomei titanium muffler, fender flares from a NISMO 400R, Spec D skirts, GTR rear spats, Type M S2 front bumper lip, full stereo and speaker upgrade, window tint, backup camera, Blitz turbo timer, Blitz strut tower brace, a sexier-than-hell vinyl wrap by Auto Factor, and wheels from an R33 GTR that were converted from single to three-piece wheels. Don’t forget to breathe.
With only 77,000 miles on the odometer, up from 64,000 when he bought it, the car drives like new and the crowd reactions are as priceless as one might expect.
“Older people look surprised and ask if the car came like that or if I had it made. Younger people will do the ‘OMG it’s a Skyline’ look and just point. Thumbs-up all the time and smiles.”
Miguel tells me he may upgrade the turbo in the future and change the wrap. There is also an equal chance that he will sell it along with his other cars which, if you’re wondering, are a 1989 Mazda B2200, a 1963 VW Beetle, and a 2002 BMW 330CI. Quite the stable indeed.
Regardless of its future ownership situation, I am glad I was able to see one of my dream cars so close and personal. And of course, thank you to Miguel for sharing its story with me! Maybe I’ll write about his other cars too 👀
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