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'98 Skyline 25GT & '95 180SX - There's Something About Nissan

Super Street Online logo Super Street Online 8/30/2018 David Ishikawa
1998-nissan-skyline-25GT-turbo-RB26DETT.jpg

We all know RE Amemiya for building incredible rotary-powered Mazdas. Some of the most iconic RX-7s we've loved and praised over the years were born in their house in Chiba, Japan, not to mention they've made a name for themselves in JGTC/Super GT, time attack, and D1 Grand Prix. In accolades to achievements in motorsport, every year at Tokyo Auto Salon they manage to debut a special demo vehicle and blow the minds of nearly every enthusiast that walks by their booth. What you probably don't know is that RE Amemiya is not a one-stop shop; they don't do their own body and paint work... So, while the flashy, high-powered show cars grab all the attention at Japan's largest stage of aftermarket performance, the magic behind the illustrious paint jobs and custom bodywork comes from an unsung hero known as Masao Otani.

a train is parked on the side of a building: 1998 Nissan Skyline 250GT Turbo 1995 Nissan 180SX© David Ishikawa 1998 Nissan Skyline 250GT Turbo 1995 Nissan 180SX

Otani-san (not to be confused with the baseball player, Shohei Ohtani), is a master auto body tech at TM Car Body Shop. He's touched nearly every major build that's worn an RE Amemiya badge over the last several years; however, after meeting him, it was very shocking to find out he's never owned a Mazda himself. He's dabbled with a Honda CRX and even a Rover Mini, but his latest projects couldn't have been anymore fitting for this issue—a pair of color-coordinated Nissans.

a car parked on the side of a road: 1998 Nissan Skyline 25GT Turbo URAS Z Tuen Front Fenders© David Ishikawa 1998 Nissan Skyline 25GT Turbo URAS Z Tuen Front Fenders

Visually, the R34 GT-T and S13 180SX cars share a distinct white-with-black color scheme. Otani-san tells us they were built for slightly different purposes. Starting with the Skyline, it was purchased in '00 for the purpose of drifting. Thus, for those questioning, the rear-wheel drive GT-T was chosen over the all-wheel drive GT-R. It remained lightly tuned for a short period of time until Godzilla's RB26DETT was swapped in place of the original RB25DET NEO (which wasn't much more than its 276hp stock rating). Now with the beefier RB and upgraded with a TRUST turbo kit and cams, the result is an impressive 600 horsepower at only 14psi boost. Otani-san explains the boost is set on the safe side, meaning there is plenty of room for more power if he wanted.

a car parked on the side of a road: 1995 Nissan 180SX Origin Labo Front Over Fenders© David Ishikawa 1995 Nissan 180SX Origin Labo Front Over Fenders

Fast-forward several years and Otani-san was given the opportunity to nab a good condition 180SX his co-worker was selling. The addition of another sports car allowed him to begin changing the setup of the Skyline from drift to grip, more specifically to run at Tsukuba's legendary TC2000 circuit. This meant more suspension and chassis upgrades but also allowed him to change the styling to match the Skyline's new purpose, which included Top Secret's front bumper and Uras fenders. For accents, there are plenty of carbon-fiber pieces, including side spoilers, canards, and diffusers—all handmade by, you guessed it, Otani. Additionally, a set of Gram Lights 57CRs complete the GT look—black faces on the driver-side and blue on the passenger-side to trip folks out.

a boat parked on the side of a road: 1998 Nissan Skyline 250GT Turbo 1995 Nissan 180SX© David Ishikawa 1998 Nissan Skyline 250GT Turbo 1995 Nissan 180SX

Now about that 180SX... Otani was also working on it simultaneously with the Skyline. It came with a 220hp SR20DET, and he wanted to keep it stock and reliable. It would be better suited for places like his nearby track Mobara Twin Circuit, which measures 0.7 miles long in contrast to Tsukuba's 1.271-mile length—more like a go-kart track or autocross than a true road course. 

Leaving horsepower modest meant more time could be focused on the exterior. Everything from the custom bumper work to the handmade diffuser, canards, and side steps, plus fitment and molding of the Origin Labo fenders are examples of his expert craftsmanship. Lending even more to the aggressive look is a titanium exhaust with a downturned "dolphin tail" tip, while wide Volk Racing TE37Vs with meaty Dunlop tires complete the GT theme.

a car parked in a parking lot: 1998 Nissan Skyline 25GT Turbo BNR34 Rear Bumper© David Ishikawa 1998 Nissan Skyline 25GT Turbo BNR34 Rear Bumper

Between the Skyline and the 180, Otani-san admits that he has a soft spot for the R34. Even out of all the other cars he's owned, it's his favorite. The rear-wheel drive layout of the GT-T is just more versatile, allowing him to tackle both drift and time attack events. Probably not what Isami Amemiya wants to hear from his body and paint guy, as neither project cars are Mazdas. But hey, there's just something about Nissans, and there's not much you can hate about these two beauties.

Tuning Menu
Owner:Masao Otani
Hometown:Chiba, Japan
Occupation:Master Auto Body Tech
Instagram:@bighouselife
'98 Nissan Skyline 25GT Turbo (ER34)
Power:590 hp; 434 lb-ft of torque
Engine:RB26DETT swap; TRUST T78 33D turbine kit, 272° lift 9.1 cam, three-layer intercooler, surge tank; NISMO adjustable fuel pressure regulator, reinforced fuel pump; SARD 720cc injectors; Buddy Club 90mm stainless muffler with removed silencer
Drivetrain:OS Giken triple-plate clutch; KAAZ two-way differential; 4.9 final gear; reinforced mission mount
Engine Management:HKS Fcon Vpro, EVC 5, A/F knock amplifier; BNR34 GT-R V-Spec speedometer and tachometer; Defi Link Meter
Footwork & Chassis:A'PEXi N1 Damper Pro coilovers; Swift 14K front, 12K rear springs; custom pillow ball tension rods, front and rear adjustable upper arms; HICAS cancel rods
Brakes:slotted and dimpled front rotors; BNR32 drilled rear rotors; Project Mu HC pads and side shoes; NISMO braided lines
Wheels & Tires:18x10.5" +12 Gram Lights 57 CR wheels (Glossy black driver, Gun blue II passenger); 255/35R18 front, 265/35R18 rear Dunlop Direzza ZII Star Spec tires; 30mm and 40mm rear spacers
Exterior:Top Secret front bumper with custom ducts; Z Tune GT-R hood; URAS Z Tune front fenders; NISMO side steps; N-Style over-fenders; OEM BNR34 rear bumper; Blitz rear wing; Ganador Aero mirrors; custom carbon-fiber front under panel, side panels, canards, rear diffuser, diffuser fin, rear fender deflectors; OEM QM1 white paint with rainbow flakes
Interior:Recaro SP-G driver, SR-3 passenger seats; Takata four-point harnesses; Personal Pole Position steering wheel; seven-point rollcage
'95 Nissan 180SX (RPS13)
Engine:SR20DET; stainless exhaust manifold, turbo outlet pipe, front pipe, cat replacement; 80mm titanium muffler with dolphin tail tip; aluminum pulley kit
Drivetrain:ORC metal single clutch; KAAZ two-way differential; 4.6 final gear; reinforced mission mount; short shifter; rigid differential and subframe mounts
Engine Management:TRUST Profec boost controller; Defi Link Meter
Footwork & Chassis:CST coilovers; custom pillow ball tension rod; reinforced tie rods, mounts and bushings; Cusco rear adjustable upper arms
Brakes:OEM ECR33 calipers, BNR32 N1 rotors; Project Mu HC+ pads; braided lines
Wheels & Tires:17x10" -20 Volk Racing TE37V wheels painted custom color; 255/40R17 Dunlop Direzza ZII Star Spec tires; 2mm front spacers
Exterior:carbon-fiber hood with Garage Mak vents; Origin Labo front and rear 55mm over-fenders; custom side steps, rear bumper; Craft Square carbon-fiber mirrors; custom carbon-fiber under panel, fender deflectors, side panels, canards, rear differ, flat bottom under tray
Interior:Bride bucket seats; Sabelt four-point harnesses; MOMO steering wheel; NISMO shift knob; eight-point rollcage; relocated A/C control panel


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