Adam LZ's Nissan Skyline R34 GTR: Inspired by the "Fast and Furious" Franchise
In 1975, the original “Gone in 60 Seconds” movie hit the theaters, and an entire generation of car enthusiasts idolized the iconic Eleanor hero car, a 1971 Ford Mustang. That enthusiasm was reinvigorated when the 2000 remake of the same title came out, this time showcasing a 1968 Shelby Cobra GT500 edition of the Mustang. Fast forward a few years and many Millennial car enthusiasts have been influenced by the hero cars from the “Fast and the Furious” franchise, which initially debuted in 2001 and is now more than 10 editions deep with multiple spinoffs. For many, the most iconic vehicle in that franchise is the Nissan Skyline R34 GTR, which debuted in the “2 Fast 2 Furious” movie and made multiple appearances in later films in the franchise. Adam LZ’s Nissan Skyline R34 GTR is one of the best examples of a vehicle that was influenced from that movie and has now become internet-famous through his Youtube channel, which currently boasts over 3.7 million subscribers.
Taboo in the USA
Unfortunately for us Americans, the Nissan Skyline R34 GTR was never sold in the US. Therefore, the only way to own one is to import it, and with strict import laws in place, there are a lot of hoops to jump through to get a vehicle into the US. Thankfully, Adam was able to find one that was already in the states, and after losing out on an auction on an aircooled Porsche that he hoped would turn into an investment that would appreciate over time, Adam somehow justified buying this Skyline R34 GTR as an alternative investment. Since taking delivery nearly 3 years ago, Adam has ventured on a journey to rebuilt the R34 into a collector-grade spec, reworking nearly every aspect of the car into a final output that can be considered one of the nicest editions of the R34 Skyline GTR currently in the US.
Adam sought after a unique color for his collector-grade vehicle, and while he considered other colors including Lightning Yellow and Active Red, the timing worked out best in that a Midnight Purple vehicle was available at the time that Adam was ready to buy. Overall, there are three shades of the “Midnight Purple” family that were officially available from Nissan. The original color was officially named “Deep Purple Metallic”, color code LP2, and was available on a limited run of the 300ZX in the late 1980s. Both “Midnight Purple 2”, color code LV4, and “Midnight Purple 3”, color code LX0, came on various versions of the R34 GTR between 1999 and 2002. It is said that Midnight Purple 3 has a more blueish tint with hints of Gold and Bronze, while Midnight Purple 2 is more Purple with hints of Green and Blue. While everyone has their preferences as to which of the later two options is more appealing to them, it’s clear that both are unique and eye-catching.
Adding More Power
Shortly after taking delivery, Adam decided that he wanted to pull the engine out and add some more power. While the engine was out, Adam despised the black engine bay that came from the factory and had it painted to match the exterior color. The initial engine bay paint job wasn’t up to his satisfaction, so he had it re-painted a second time, this time by Croll’s Customs in Pennsylvania. Additionally, the entire exterior of the vehicle was paint corrected and ceramic coated by Adam’s good friend and fellow Youtuber Matt Moreman at Obsessed Garage, which truly brought the paint to a level of sheen and near-perfection that is expected from collector-grade vehicles.
The engine build would be the core highlight of the vehicle and took many months to amass all of the parts and find time to assemble the engine together. The goal of the engine build would be to upgrade the RB26DETT engine with improved parts and aftermarket upgrades that would help with drivability while adding the HKS V-cam configuration, which adds variable valve timing similar to Honda’s VTEC or Mitsubishi’s MIVEC solutions. This would help maximize the “area under the curve” on a dyno graph, which is seen as much more desirable to most enthusiasts. While the engine was apart, Adam couldn’t help himself but enlist fellow GTR enthusiast and Youtuber Tommy “Fyeah”, who is known for having a high attention to detail in restoring RB engines to a better-than-new state. While the engine was torn down, every bolt, bracket, and clamp was removed and evaluated for refresh. If it was available new from Nissan, it was bought at the dealership. If it wasn’t available new, the part was vapor honed, powdercoated or zinc plated to be as close to new as possible. Looking at the engine bay after it was refreshed, it looks better than it did the day it rolled off the showroom floor back at the turn of the century.
Internally, the RB26 engine is robust, and Adam used the opportunity to upgrade the internals to more modern technology. Forged CP Pistons were utilized, with a valve relief cut to improve valve clearance. Brian Crower 625+ connecting rods, ARP 625 head studs and main studs, and a Nitto head gasket were used to ensure the engine had all of the right upgrades for more horsepower. The magic in the power delivery truly comes from the HKS VCam Step 2 setup, which uses a 264° lift intake cam with a variable timing element to drastically improve the power and especially the torque under the curve. On the exhaust side, an HKS 272° Step 2 cam was paired with HKS adjustable cam gears on both cams to complete the HKS family of parts. A PRP trigger and PRP coil kit handle the timing and ignition elements of the equation, with the actual ignition timing being controlled through the Haltech Elite 2500 ECU. Fuel is delivered from a pair Deatschwerks DW400 fuel pumps through a half-dozen Deastschwerks 1500cc injectors (one in each cylinder. Adam uses Ignite E90 ethanol in the car for both improved octane as well as consistency, since pump gas can have a wide amount of variance in quality.
One of the biggest upgrades outside of the engine comes by way of the pair of Garrett GTX 2860 Gen2 turbochargers. These turbos were selected for their quick spooling nature, again with the focus on power delivery over peak horsepower. Exhaust gasses are pushed into and out of the turbos through custom 4” piping from Vibrant performance, with spent gasses exiting through a full 4” titanium exhaust. A lot of thought and effort was put into all of the piping to ensure it was not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing, which just goes to show that this car was built with a long term vision. Fresh air comes through custom Vibrant tubing, through the HPI intercooler, and feeds the engine through the Plazmaman intake manifold, which maintains individual throttle bodies into the engine itself. Engine temps are kept cool with an ARC Radiator and large e-fans, with a Garage Defend cooling panel ensuring that as much air is diverted through the radiator as possible.
Oiling is one of the major concerns of the RB26 engine, especially at higher RPM’s, and a lot of thought and effort went into ensuring that the oiling system could keep everything lubricated properly. The oil pump was replaced with a Nitto high flow oil pump replacing the stock component, pumping oil through an HKS oil cooler, and keeping the oil in the right places using baffle plates in the valve covers. Additionally, an Odyssey fab custom catch can was used to capture any excess oil, with Radium swivel fittings attached to all of the hoses that feed the catch can allow for easier serviceability.
Measuring the Ponies
After all of the engine upgrades, the R34 hit the dyno a few times and finished with a power output of 670 HP, and 530 lb-ft of torque, again with an emphasis on drivability and consistent power delivery. The power is pushed to the ground through a Direct billet twin-disc clutch, stock transmission, and an upgrade Nismo 2-way differential in the rear while the front differential remains stock. Through the power of ECU tuning, another major feature that Adam pushed to integrate was flat-footed shifting. The Haltech ECU has a function which allows for the driver to remain at full throttle and shift gears without lifting, using unique parameters to limit the revs between the shifts to keep the engine in boost without over-revving and over-boosting the turbos.
Wheels, Tires & Suspension
The power finally meets the pavement through a set of 18” Volk TE37’s wrapped in Nitto NT01 competition road course tires, which provides plenty of traction on and off the track.
Chassis performance is handled with a set of Ohlins Road and Track coilovers, which are largely considered to be the best performing coilovers for the R24 chassis. A full catalog of Nismo suspension goodies were also added, consisting of upgraded bushings on the subframe, engine, and transmission mounts, Nismo control arms, as well as Nismo sway bars. A Mines front strut brace is one of the only non-Nismo parts in the suspension setup. Stopping is handled through a set of Endless big brakes on each corner.
Nearly Perfect Outside
Externally, the R34 doesn’t need much by way of upgrades as many people consider it one of the most aesthetically pleasing production cars ever built, but an enthusiast like Adam needed to add a few of his own touches. Adam added a pair of Carbon Fiber wing risers to the iconic rear wing, and replaced the fiberglass center of the rear spoiler with a Carbon Fiber piece. On each door, the stock OEM mirrors were replaced with colormatched Ganador versions, with the taillights being replaced with NISMO versions that have a distinct halo starburst light pattern. Finishing off the personalized touched, Adam went with Gold GTR badges, which came as a very scarce option.
Since completing the car, Adam says he only occasionally takes the car out for drives or a local Cars and Coffee, but finds that driving some of his other cars is more fun. However, there’s no denying the beauty that is the R34 chassis, and admits that the car turns heads more than most of the other cars in his possession. Future plans may include a larger turbo and a bit more horsepower, but overall, the car is smooth to drive and ticks a box in the collection as a collector-quality version of one of the elite JDM tuner vehicles of the '90s.
Spec Sheet: Adam LZ’s Nissan Skyline R34 GTR
|Owner:||Adam Lizotte-Zeisler (aka Adam LZ)|
|Engine:||CP piston with valve relief cut, BC 625 rods, Arp main studs, Arp 625 head studs, Nitto gasket, Nitto oil pump, HKS V-Cam step 2, HKS 272 exhaust cam step 2, HKS adjustable cam gears, PRP trigger kit, PRP coil kit, Garrett Gtx2860gen2 turbos, Turbosmart blowoff valve, Custom Vibrant 4" exhaust titanium, True 4" custom titanium downpipe, PlazmaMan ITB plenum, Odyssey fab custom catch can, Radium swivel fittings, Baffle plates in valve covers, Ati damper, Greddy filters, Numerous brackets, bolts, and clamps replaced with New OEM if still available or vapor honed/powder coated/zinc coated. OUTPUT: 670 HP / 530 lb-ft Torque|
|Cooling:||ARC radiator, HPI intercooler, E-fans, Garage defend cooling panel, HKS oil cooler kit|
|Fueling/Engine Control:||Twin Deatschwerks dw400 fuel pumps, Deatschwerks 1500cc injectors, Haltech Elite 2500 ecu, Ignite e90 ethanol fuel|
|Drivetrain:||Stock transmission with Direct billet twin-disc clutch, Factory front diff, Nismo 2 way rear differential|
|Suspension:||Ohlins Road and Track coilovers, Mines front strut brace, Nismo control arms, Nismo bushings on subframe, engine, & trans, Endless big brake kit, Nismo sway bars|
|Wheels & Tires:||18” Volk TE37’s & Nitto NT01 275/35R18|
|Exterior:||Carbon wing risers, Carbon wing center, Ganador mirrors, Nismo tails, Midnight Purple 3 colormatched engine bay by Croll’s Customs, Full paint correction and ceramic coating by Obsessed Garage, OEM Optional Gold plated badges|
|Interior:||Steering wheel spacer, Nismo floor mats, Nismo cluster, Mines shift knob & boot, Multiple OEM trim panels replaced with new old stock pieces|