After many years on the forbidden fruit list, the Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R is fair game in America. Nissan too has a product and a very special one at that, the Godzilla of cars, the GT-R. Whereas here in Oz, we see the R33 GT-R's as the R32's fatter and less successful sibling, around the world, it's the R33 that's usually perceived as the hero car. Toward the end of my time with this Japanese monster in robot clothing, I get a text from my brother asking if he could go for a spin in the GT-R.
The GT-R is powered by a bespoke 3.8-litre twin-turbo hand-built engine that makes 542bhp of power. Back in the 1990s, some of the coolest cars on the street were Japanese-built sport compact cars like the turbocharged, all-wheel-drive Subaru Impreza WRX. And a radical belief that a real supercar delivers performance in real-world conditions.
But the acceleration time is unmatched by lighter and more powerful supercars three times its price and the weight seems to be there for a reason. The good bits like the inline-six engine and rear-wheel drive were retained, but Nissan worked on the styling, hence making the Skyline GT-R's sporting looks even better.
In 48 states you should be able to register a Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R as easily as a new 370Z, but Hawaii can be more difficult Nissan Skyline GT-R because of state safety regulations. Other premium and standard equipment include 20-inch RAYS forged-alloy wheels, Nissan-Brembo braking system, Bilstein Damptronic suspension system, and a titanium exhaust system that round up the performance end of the list.
The S20 gives the Z 432 nearly 50 per cent more power than the stock L20 engine, seriously increasing performance. Few have doubted the GT-R's prowess, but as the old breed sold almost exclusively in Japan new - bar the 100 that slipped into Aussie new-car obscurity in 1991 - very few petrolheads ever had a chance to form an unbiased appraisal of these cars.
When the 510 hit American shores badged as a Datsun, it offered buyers a unique combination of features at a low price, undercutting the BMW 1600-2 (a car with very similar specifications) by nearly a fifth of the BMW's price. In truth, I could have chosen any of the other cars here and still be enamored: the revived Japanese coupe, the pure roadster, the plush GT fit for a king, and the true hot hatch.
The GT-R Challenge and Drag Battle, held in Australia, draw the highest horsepower, street registered cars together to compete in a shootout-style elimination event. A jarring supercar quality that's been ironed out of so many modern high-performance cars.