With less than 100 Skylines in the United States, it's hard to justify doing a build-up series on that particular Nissan. But the R33 isn't our only on-going project, and the RB26DETT is a stout engine and one of our all-time favorites. So we jumped at the chance to follow along as the Nissan, the dream car of SP Engineering's Alex Shen, went from stock, to basic bolt-ons, then to full, fire-breathing glory.
The car was dyno tested in rear-drive configuration with the stock 458cc injectors, stock twin T28 turbos and 1 bar of boost (14.7 psi). In this trim, the GT-R put down 358.5 whp.
The rally cry for this segment was "hands off the block." The RB26 would retain its stock internals, the stock cams and cam gears were left in place and no head work was done. The prime-time player under the hood is an HKS T51R KAI turbo kit. The T51R KAI is one of the big hitters in HKS's arsenal of single-turbo options, in fact, only its slightly more buffed out brother, the T51R SPL, is bigger. The turbo in the kit featured here runs HKS's newest ball-bearing version of the turbo-the T51R KAI BB.
The KAI flexes a 56-trim 94mm compressor wheel nestled in a .70 A/R housing and while that's big, it's the turbine side that opens the door to big numbers. The KAI runs an 82mm turbine wheel in a 1.00 A/R housing. To put this into better perspective, a GT25-series turbo runs a 47mm turbine wheel. The T51R KAI BB produces the flow to really go and with its innovative ball-bearing center section, spool-up should benefit as well. The rest of the turbo system includes a Blitz front-mount intercooler, GReddy blow-off valve and a Blitz SBC-id boost controller.
On point in the tuning attack is an HKS F-CON V Pro SP Engineering has tuned with a two-step rev limit that will allow full boost launches. The fuel side consists of an HKS drop-in pump, HKS custom rail and HKS regulator, as well as Blitz 720cc injectors. Other tidbits include an HKS titanium exhaust, HKS Twin Power ignition amplifier and Blitz twin-plate clutch.
Repositioned on the Dynojet, the Skyline just about wore out the rollers, as this combination was tuned to 1.8 Bar on 104-octane Sunoco unleaded. The tuning efforts culminated with a 710-whp pass.
What did you get on your birthday? Shen rewarded himself with 351.5 hp; the testing was conducted on his 34th birthday. As you can see from the accompanying dyno graphs, the difference in performance is sick. At 4000 rpm, the super-responsive stock T28s provide 80 more hp than the T51R BB. But by 6000 rpm, they find themselves woefully out-gunned by 320 hp. Between 5000 and 6000 rpm, T51 power production skyrockets 400 hp; that's a steep power curve.
While the RB26DETT is all about pumping the thrust, the Skyline is the compete package. The sleek R33 has been outfitted with footwork that is up to the 700-plus whp challenge. A set of Blitz SP-7 Racing coil-overs were on the car when Shen acquired it. The SP-7s are a joint effort between Blitz and Sachs and their high cost means they're a low-volume Japanese domestic product, even in the land of Godzilla.
Beyond the dampers, Cusco anti-roll bars adorn the front and rear while Nismo arm sets are poised at the corners. The Nismo upgrades replace the stamped-steel control arms with tubular units that are adjustable and lighter than the O.E. offerings. The rest of the items are chassis stiffening devices from Do Luck, namely an interior-mounted rear crossbar and lateral bars that run alongside the frame between the front and rear tires. Stopping power has been enhanced beyond the already impressive V-Spec specs by using bigger Brembo gear up front. Rolling stock consists of Work Meister aluminum and Bridgestone S-02 rubber.
It's good to see Shen smiling as he drives to work. "I'm building all these high-horsepower cars for customers, but didn't have one myself. Now I can drop the hammer just like they do."
Believe it or not, this 710-whp shot is just a love tap. Future plans call for some serious upgrades inside the engine, driveline fortification and some truly pounding runs on the dyno. The $64,000 question-will this be the ultimate street-driven Skyline on American soil? Stay tuned and judge for yourself.