Having all but conquered the world and crowned itself as the king of the import world, the Nissan Skyline GT-R was put out to pasture. Although legendary, the GT-R's potent RB26DETT power plant, all-wheel drive system and muscular tones are all now dead. There is a new GT-R lurking on the horizon, but for now, the only car bearing the Skyline nameplate is naturally aspirated. Sold as the Infiniti G35 here in the United States, the smoothly styled Nissan coupe is known as the Skyline in Japan. Rumors abound that the new GT-R will be a variant of the Skyline coupe, stuffed with a turbocharged engine. But what if you took a current G35 and crammed a tuned RB26 engine into it? Would you then have yourself the new Skyline GT-R, or would you just be labeled a mad scientist?
James Evans, owner of JE Import Performance in Baltimore, found himself in just that situation. This Infiniti G35 coupe originally arrived at JE in dire need of help. An unscrupulous shop had installed an overly ambitious nitrous oxide system, which blew the stock VQ35 engine in short order. The owner came to Evans looking for a new engine, and the brainstorming began. Looking to build something stronger and a little different, the decision was made to swap to a RB26 GT-R engine. Having tackled numerous RB26 engine swaps, mostly into 240SX bodies, JE was up to the challenge. As a Honda Challenge champion and former Speed World Challenge team member, Evans knows a thing or two about building a fast car.
After removal of the ailing VQ35 engine, the first task was to fit the RB26 into the engine bay. JE Import Performance tackled the task with a custom set of motor mounts, a front cross member, a modified oil pan and all the necessary wiring modifications. Keeping in mind the popularity of such an idea, JE is going forward with a production version of this kit by the time you read this. So if you want to put a RB26 into almost any Nissan FM platform, whether it be a 350Z or G35, you know who to call. Evans let us know that the drivability is impeccable as well. By using an A'PEXi Power FC standalone engine management system and a few wirings mods to allow the headlights and other such accessories to work, the car drives as well as any other street legal daily driver.
Currently outfit to put out near 680-690whp, if the need calls for it, the tuning has been conservative, but still peaks above the 620whp mark. The stock engine internals are still utilized, although the crankshaft has been knife-edged and the connecting rods shot-peened. The cylinder head was given a port and polish job before being cinched down with ARP head studs. Hotter HKS 264-duration camshafts are used up top, along with HKS adjustable cam gears. The stock RB26DETT intake plenum was removed along with the factory individual throttle body setup. A polished GReddy unit is now used on top of a Thermalnator heat barrier gasket, and has been heavily modified in order to clear the G35's body, as well as to provide a mounting spot for the single Infiniti Q45 throttle body. JE Import Performance expects to have a production intake plenum available for those looking to complete this swap.
A JE Pro Fab stainless-steel exhaust manifold is used in place of the stock unit, dumping the twin turbocharger setup in favor of a single PTE GT4067R turbo. The front-mount intercooler is also a JE Pro Fab piece, which is the in-house brand name of JE Import Performance parts. A Bosch 365lph fuel pump pushes 93 octane gas through stainless steel braided lines to the custom fuel rail and PTE 780cc/min fuel injectors. Tuned by JE Import Performance using an A'PEXi Power FC, the car currently puts down 625whp and 506lb-ft of torque. The OEM viscous rear limited-slip differential is still used for now, and Evans tells us, the car has a hard time driving straight when boost hits.