In 2012 I purchased my first car, a stock R34 Nissan Skyline.
A lot of people ask me why I chose an R34 and to be honest, it wasn't my first choice. I have always wanted to own a black coupe and initially wanted a 180sx, but after doing a lot of research and wanting something that was a little more reliable and modern, I soon found myself spending countless nights looking at R34's. I was attracted to the shape, and the aggressive presence they provoke.
THE CAR THAT STARTED THIS CRAZY PASSION....
After saving for a very long time whilst trying to find "the one", I stumbled across an immaculate black R34 in Sydney. The car was in perfect condition, with low km's and ticked all the right boxes which meant it was finally time to make my first "big" purchase. I remember picking up the car and being overly excited, yet nervous at the same time as I didn't even know how to drive manual. But with determination I managed to pick the technique up quite fast - and I guess I had to if I was planning to drive it to and from work every day.
After doing a bit of research into the model I purchased, I learnt that I was the first owner in Australia and the car still had a years worth of rego in Japan! I thought that was pretty cool! It also turned out that this particular car was a rare GTV model which meant that it had all the GTT upgrades, minus the turbo as I was still on my P's at the time.
So as I couldn't do any engine mods until I got my full license, I slowly modded the exterior the way I liked. I have a thing for keeping things minimal and had a particular look in mind that I wanted to achieve, after drawing inspiration from VU's GTR (which I've had bookmarked for years). So whenever I had the time and money, I would make subtle changes to the car.
First thing I did was delete the rear windscreen wiper - seriously how much better do they look without them!? After that, I purchased some Nismo tinted side and front indicators, some personalised number plates, a 3” Trust PE2 exhaust and a set of BC Racing coilovers - finally it was time for some much needed low!
Once I lowered my car with the adjustable coilovers, I also had a go at changing my brake pads, which was a fun learning curve. I then placed an order through Jesse Streeter for a set of TE37SL's (18x9.5+22 all round). Jesse is your go to guy when wanting parts from Japan. The service provided by Streeter Corp is really impressive - I remember emailing him a million times and he would get back to me straight away.
And I'll never forget the day they arrived from Japan. It was a rainy Monday morning, some time in January 2013 and I didn't want to get out of bed, but as soon as I heard a knock at the door, I raced downstairs, opened the door, quickly signed the papers and raced back upstairs with all 4 boxes. I was so excited and it was probably the best thing to be woken up to on a Monday morning - even my cat Moo was excited ( >'.'< ) !!
Once the TE37's had been fitted with some fresh tyres, I got my guards rolled and took out the inner lining to prevent any scrubbing. With the wheels finally on the car, I couldn't wait to see how they looked! I actually wasn't sure if I liked the look at first, but I soon changed my mind and they have been the best purchase I have ever made for my car. I love how the signature red superlap stickers complements the iconic red R34 tailights.
Leading up to the day I could get my full licence, I purchased a stock turbo R34 4 door so I could do a complete engine swap, making my car turbo. I initially wanted to go a lot bigger by stroking a 2.6L but since I didn't want to have my car off the road for no longer than a week as I was driving it daily, and since I had never driven a turbo car, I decided to keep it simple by converting my non-turbo RB25 to a stock turbo RB25.
I was very fortunate to have Mitch from Haltech (who was my boyfriend at the time) do most of the work, but that's not to say that I didn't get my hands dirty. Getting involved during the engine swap made me learn so much about my car and appreciate it on a whole new level.
Whilst the engine swap took place, I also decided to get a new front mount, dump pipe and sway bar. I also got rid of the silly HICAS and swapped the dash in the interior so I could have the 3 center turbo gauges. I even did the dash conversion on my own which I was super proud of!
Since my car technically wasn't a GTV anymore now that it was turbo, I ordered some new personalised number plates. I wanted something more muted and I definitely outgrew the pink ones - I ended up hating them as they drew way too much attention.
After the plates arrived, I felt like something was missing so for my cars 3rd year anniversary, I purchased some Z-tune style side skirts and rear pods to complement my existing Type D1 front lip (which happens to be my 3rd lip, Sydney roads suck!) The side skirts are probably my new favourite addition to my car and definitely makes the car look a lot more complete.
Over the past few years, I've taken the car to Wakefield Raceway several times, which allowed me to have some fun and learn the limits of my car.
The best part is that I can drive my car to the track, race it then drive it back home, without any issues. Sure there are times where I have wanted a little more power (especially after driving some of my friends cars) but I am very content with what I have got and it still has plenty of power to have fun. Plus my little RB is so reliable! I have never had any issues with the car besides a boost leak which I fixed by replacing the existing hose and a misfire issue which I resolved by getting new coil packs.
I believe that you should keep cars fun, so every now and then I do like to take the car out on some private roads and let loose. After all, cars are meant to be driven and they should stay that way. And of course I have to ensure my photographer friends come along on the journey too, to capture what I get up too :p
Since owning this R34 I have discovered a true passion for cars and automotive photography. It's been almost 4 years since the day I bought it and there is not a day where I don't feel grateful, knowing that it is sitting in my garage waiting to be driven. It has taken me to so many places, and has taught me a lot about not only cars, but myself too. This car brings me so much joy and I have built it just the way I like, reflecting my own personal style. Each time I get behind the wheel, a huge grin appears across my face and all worries are out the window. It's incredibly smooth to drive every day, sounds good and every time I park it I still can never resist a quick glance as I walk away.
I don't think I could ever get rid of this car.