It’s no news that Justin Fox and I are good mates; we met about 6 years ago in a job interview. I was applying for a sales role at AAI Motorsport, Buddyclub. Justin at the time was the Marketing Manager, and was given the fun role to put me under the gun!
I was just a kid, my long hipster fringe pulled across my face and tight straight leg jeans. Justin found me to be hilarious; I kept playing with my fringe the whole interview (it was hot, it kept sticking to my forehead haha), I really didn’t think I got the job! But few weeks later by the humour I brought, I got a call… and well the rest is history.
The years have passed, and my hair has been cut, jeans loosened but the laughter has not stopped. Over the years we have both cycled through many cars, but for Justin there was always one he would never let go of; his Nissan Skyline R32 GTR ‘RB26’. He was always willing to let me have a drive, but for some reason it was just one of those things that never happened? Until tonight.
The roller door raises, with a fluorescent light flicker throughout the rustic Zen Garage and in the corner sit 3 cars; my widebody S15 Silvia, Ryan’s track prepped FD3S and Justin’s timeless GTR. I walk over key in hand and slide into the tight bride seat, click it over to accessory stage a loud fuel pump ignites and the buzz of fuel seemed almost never ending. With the sound stopped I kick over the RB26 starter motor, like clockwork it starts and its lumpy big cam idol fills the garage. “This is the sound of a king”, I thought.
Clutch in and surprisingly light, as it’s been changed to a more street worthy single plate. Select the gear and roll her out. Off go the lights of the shop, and on go the lights of the illusive RB26. We are ready to rock and roll, I look down to the CD player to select a song… but lust all that stared back at me were Defi Gauges and carbon fibre. A cheeky smile and a tap of the accelerator, and we were in business.
Cruising city bound on the City West Link, 4th gear 80kmph. The exhaust note can only be described like sliding your hand over silk; so smooth, soft but an elegance I have never truly experienced before in a Nissan. Coming up to the Anzac Bridge there is a short tunnel, with a small rev match and into 3rd, slight feather of the throttle you can just hear the turbo spool winding and bouncing off the tunnels walls, heaven.
We have made some distance now, maybe covered about 10-15kms. The tires felt warm, I describe the Toyo R888 like pulling sticky tape off the road every time the wheel spins. Even at the speed limit, the corners on these tires show a demand for more. I kept thinking, “This car doesn’t turn, the road turns for it”.
We found our way to a small car-meet in the North Shore, where we parked and said our hellos and eventually our goodbyes. From there we headed back to the city to meet up with Aleks (All Stars) and Jason (Fitment Freaks) to take some snap shots of the famous GTR through the shadows and late night traffic of Sydney’s CBD.
We stopped quickly at a friend’s basement carpark to take few static snapshots; this gave us time to talk over the nights events. We were all surprised that the GTR was almost like a ghost in the city, bystanders hardly noticing the beast at all. It’s subtle styling and recent quiet exhaust has left the JDM King, a piece of art hidden in the shadow of traffic and inner city distractions.
With its power and heritage hidden behind noisy pubs and the ticking of pedestrian lights, the GTR is still king because of its heart, the way it makes you feel, the torque, the power and the fact that each corner seems tamer after it has passed.
At some points during the night I felt as if the car was guiding me, it was showing me its moves, coaxing me to just be part of the experience. Justin’s ‘RB26’ GTR has a soul, something I dare say, most of the cars I have driven are void of.
I’m not a GTR fan boy, nor am I a fan boy of any one car at all. But after spending a few hours getting to know and understand such an amazing example of the legend, I can honestly say ‘believe the hype’.
Photos: Big thanks to Aleks (All Stars), Jason (Fitment Freaks) and Joel (Slam.Poke.Tuck.Dope)