Working as a Japanese car importer can certainly have its advantages. Just about every Japanese sport compact you can't get in the U.S market can be had for a reasonable price in New Zealand. And since there are no local car manufacturers in New Zealand, import regulations are generally very lax.
Based in West Auckland, New Zealand, Croydon Wholesalers specializes in Japanese imports. Its modified Skyline GT-R is currently one of the quickest GT-Rs in the world. The GT-R is considered by many to be the king of all imports. Unlike conventional performance-based all-wheel-drive cars, the GT-R runs a four-wheel-drive system with variable torque split (ATTESA). This means that under normal driving conditions, the car doesn't drive through the front wheels unless the rear tires are losing traction.
Croydon originally imported the GT-R as a promotional vehicle. Nick Jenkins, owner of Croydon Wholesalers, recalls, "The car was carrying quite a few performance parts when it landed here. The engine was running an HKS computer and tuned to around 700 hp." It was also equipped with a Trust six-speed gearbox.
The car was originally road registered and set up for circuit racing. But the techs found the gearbox wasn't up to the task, so they fitted the stronger Hollinger six-speed that's still in the car now. They then started drag racing and reached a point where they had to decide what direction the car should take. As drag racing is more popular than circuit racing in the NZ, they decided to develop the car in that direction.
At the Croydon Wholesalers showroom, a stack of trophies on the company mantlepiece reveal the GT-R's multiple track success. Glenn Suckling, mechanic and race driver of the Croydon GT-R, says, "We knew the GT-R had a lot of potential to run quick so we were initially hoping to run into the 10s. We slowly fed in more power and ran a 9.99 e.t.; we were pretty stoked with that."
In September 2003, the car ran its quickest ever at the 2003 Jamboree held in Queensland, Australia. Standing trackside, the GT-R sounded incredible off the start line. With around 10,000 rpm on board, the thundering noise was more like a cross between an F1 car and a machine gun with complementary flames visible from beneath. Glenn set a blistering pace of 8.56 in qualifying before backing it up the next day with an 8.55 at 165.99 mph in eliminations. The car now holds the record for the world's fastest R32 Skyline GT-R on DOT street tires (Mickey Thompson ET Street tires).
However, the Japanese drag racing community may not necessarily agree. Japanese records permit only Nitto radials to be used as the legal street tire. Even the popular BFGoodrich T/A series drag radial tire isn't street legal in Japanese drag racing. That said, as long as the Mickey ET Street tire is classified as a DOT-approved tire, Croydon will continue to hold the street tire record.
Under The Bonnet
Lifting the hood of the GT-R reveals arguably one of the toughest six-cylinder engines ever mass-produced. The Nissan RB26DETT is a high-revving, 2.6-liter, straight-six, DOHC, intercooled and twin-turbocharged engine and is rated at a deflated 276 hp in standard trim. The engine was conceived to compete in Group A racing, hence its odd 2.6 liters of displacement, which is as big as a turbocharged powerplant could be and still qualify for competition.
Croydon's engine dyno has seen more than 1,424 hp so far. Holding this sort of power reliably meant shelling out on high-end components. The short block consists of a forged Trust crankshaft, Carillo rods and custom 7.8:1 compression JE pistons sitting in Nissan rings. Up top, the cylinder head is fitted with Tomei secret-spec cashafts, springs, valves and retainers. Oiling is upgraded in the form of a Trust oil pump and sump.
Since our photo shoot, Croydon has upgraded the engine bay's centerpiece. Sitting on a custom exhaust manifold is a new hybrid Croydon-spec Turbonetics turbocharger. A direct-port nitrous oxide system helps bring 60-foot times down into the 1.26- to 1.29-second region, although Glenn is hoping to improve those even further. Using the old turbo alone, the car recorded a 9.13-second pass unassisted.