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Sin City Special: 1983 Nissan Skyline R30

All too often we find ourselves wanting something we can’t have. Growing up in the Philippines, Jay Kho was fascinated by American cars. However, after moving to Las Vegas and driving a ‘66 Ford Mustang for a few years, he eventually got over his muscle car phase. Truth be told, Jay didn’t have his eyes set on any particular car when he was in the market for a new project. His ‘83 Nissan Skyline R30 was more of a craigslist chance encounter. It’s safe to say this chassis hasn’t won any popularity contests like the first generation Hakosuka or even the ready-to-legalize R32.

R30 GT-R Front

So Much to Choose Between

Even before the Skyline got its Godzilla nickname, the boxy R30 was making a name for itself in the Super Silhouette races in the early ‘80s, copping two wins in ‘82 and five wins in ‘83. It has the four round tail lights that you’ll still find on the modern Nissan GT-R, and if you squint your eyes you’ll see headlights that look suspiciously similar to the most popular Skyline of all, the R34. The R30 was one of the most versatile generations of the Skyline—available in a coupe, sedan, hatchback and wagon.

R30 GT-R Taillight

After deciding which body style you wanted, you had the decide which engine configuration to go with, which didn’t make things any easier. Nissan offered five different motors during the R30 launch: L20E, L20ET (turbo), Z20, Z18 and LD28 diesel. By ‘83 Nissan was ready to revamp the R30 and made the RS version, which came with the four cylinder turbocharged FJ20ET. For Jay, the chance to acquire the underrated chassis was a no-brainer.

R30 GT-R Shifter

Finding the Right One

It wasn’t easy finding the R30. While scouring the internet Jay found a Hakosuka sedan and a GT-R clone, but wasn’t interested in dropping a pretty penny for a clone. After a few months he came upon an R30 RS. Jay recalls, “It looked like it just came out of a shipping container and pushed into the garage.” Luckily, the previous owner was open for a trade, and after exchanging a few messages, Jay ended up trading his perfectly running Mustang for a rolling shell R30. He accepted that he lost in the trade. “It may have been a stupid choice at the time, but I decided I was going to take care of this car—restomod it,” he laid out.

R30 GT-R Rear Side

Perfect Upgrades

As it turns out collecting parts is equally as difficult as finding an R30. Slowly Jay restored the car, and when it came time to drop in an engine, he figured he’d restomod the car with a modern inline four DOHC turbo on the SR20DET. The previous owner already had plans to use an SR20 ECU with an FJ20ET. Currently the engine is stock, but deep inside Jay’s garage you’ll find boxes of parts that are waiting to be installed. Although the R30 is SR powered, the engine is mated to an original FJ20ET transmission with a Blitz Stage 1 race clutch.

R30 GT-R Engine

A set of custom Feal coilovers were sourced to bring the classic Japanese metal closer to the gravel where your eyes will also find the quintessential old school Watanabe wheels wrapped in Nitto Neo Gen tires.

R30 GT-R Neo Gen

For the most part, the interior is kept period correct, with the exception of a sport tachometer and a Blitz boost gauge to keep things in check.

R30 GT-R Gauges

“I will always say that everything is for sale for the right price. But then after what this car did for me and the journey it took me through, it will be very hard for me to let go. When and if that time comes I’d probably back out,” Jay concluded. While the car isn’t as desired as a Hakosuka, these R30s are becoming extremely rare to come by. All it took for the AE86 was an anime series about a tofu driver. What was a loss in a trade might’ve just been a wonderful stroke of Vegas luck.

R30 GT-R Side

Tuning Menu: Jay Kho's Nissan Skyline R30

ENGINE: SR20DET Blacktop, GReddy oil pan, custom intercooler piping by Get Nuts Lab, Godspeed intercooler, Fluidyne radiator, 5Zigen exhaust
SUSPENSION: Custom Feal coilovers
WHEELS & TIRES: Nitto Neo Gen tires, RS Watanabe wheels 15x8.5 -9
INTERIOR: Momo retro steering wheel; Razo shift knob; custom aluminum front mount bracket for radio and boost controller; Sunpro 3-piece gauge; Pioneer stereo; Autometer sport comp tachometer; Blitz boost gauge; Cusco floor bar; Tekkamen driver and passenger seats
EXTERIOR: Jenesis front air dam, rear spoiler; OEM two tone paint and lettering; original Nissan headlight covers; Hella foglights; rear Tekkamen tail lights

Flip through the gallery below to see more photos of this awesome GT-R. If you want more JDM beauty, we have an LS-swapped Datsun Z that burns brightly.

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