When some Kiwis take on the world, they try their hands at exotic flavours, foreign fruits, and other such delicacies unobtainable in New Zealand. Jamie Turner, however, a purebred Kiwi, decided to build something we’re well known for, an RB-powered Skyline. Hell, we even have the world's fastest GT-R. NZ Performance Car’s René Vermeer decided to have a chat with Jamie and talk about the Canadian car scene, and what it’s like owning an RB-powered monster over there.
NZ Performance Car: Hey Jamie, can you tell us a bit about yourself, when you moved to Canada, and what cars you owned in New Zealand?
Jamie Turner: I've always been a fan of cars. I remember having a picture of a WRX on my wall as a child and grew up playing Gran Turismo on Playstation. I moved to Canada almost 10 years ago now. I met my now wife while overseas and made the decision to move over here. She's Canadian and Canada has embraced me as one of their own now. Back home in New Zealand I owned a Mazda 323 GT-X turbo as my first car, then a Subaru Legacy RS RA, Evo I, WRX STi, and another R34 GT-R before moving to Canada.
When did you purchase the R34, and why?
I purchased the R34 mid 2014 from a domestic car dealer in Japan. It took me approximately four months to find a vehicle I was happy with. Once I found it, I had to get someone in Japan to export it for me. The whole export process took a couple of months, from finding the vehicle, to having it landed here in Vancouver. The reason I purchased the vehicle was pure love for the R34. Unlike America, which has a 25-year restriction for bringing in right-hand drive vehicles into the country, here in Canada the law allows vehicles 15 years old to be brought in. The R34 became legal to bring into Canada early last year, so I had to get another one as soon as possible.
Was it always going to be a big horsepower build, or did it snowball from a stock example?
I actually planned on keeping it pretty much how I got it, other than a few small mods like rims. The car came with a few upgraded parts, including bigger twin turbos, exhaust, LSD, etc. It was probably making around 350hp at the wheels. ‘Nek minnit’, I blew the engine after owning it for three months. I initially thought about just fixing the car to get it running again, but then thought, if the motors got to come out anyway, why not make it complete beast mode.
What were your plans for the engine originally, and how did the plans change as the build progressed?
I worked with a local shop here called Racing Greed. They did an amazing job and work on a bunch of Japanese cars out here, from GT-Rs to some 745kW (1000hp) Supras, and a lot of high power R35s. Initially we decided on what kind of power I wanted to make — 597kW (800hp) was the magic number we came up with, as I still wanted to have a car I could daily drive that didn't have a ton of lag, while still being able to track and drag the car in the future. It also had to have the ability to destroy most vehicles on the road. There's still room for 50–75kW (70–100hp) by adding a second fuel pump and some bigger injectors. After that, the turbo is pretty much maxed out. We have the car tuned with pump gas (94 octane) and E85. Unfortunately we maxed out the injectors and fuel pump at E50. Any time you do a big build, plans seem to change a little along the way. We had to tweak a few small things that were not planned, like cutting the AC out, needing a bigger exhaust, etc., but it all worked out perfectly in the end.
What’s it like owning an R34 where you live currently? Are there many more around like it?
As far as I know, there's only three in British Columbia, and maybe 10–11 R34 GT-Rs in Canada. British Columbia has just under five million people living here, so the car is as rare as a McLaren P1. Because of the 15-year import rule here in Canada, R32s are a common sight, while the R33 hasn't shown to be very popular. The R34 has cult status over here, partially due to the Fast and Furious franchise, and obviously video games.
Are there many workshops that build cars such as this?
There's three big shops here in Vancouver that could work on these types of cars. They all seem to do great work and I could have gone to any of them and been happy I'm sure. I decided to go with Racing Greed, as they understood exactly what I wanted the car to do and they were recommended by a few friends.
What cars are people commonly modifying where you live? Plenty of Japanese cars?
Living in North America, there is a huge muscle car culture here. Corvettes and Mustangs seem to be the most common cars here that are modified. A friend has a brand-new 2015 Mustang GT here that, for $8000, can be supercharged to make 447kW (600hp). I wish it was that easy with imports. There are a lot of sleeper cars here; supercharged BMWs to turbo Mustangs. There’s also a growing JDM scene out here. A lot of Evos, WRXs, and R32s are now making their way from Japan, and there is a really big car meet that happens every Thursday night here in the summertime that attracts a couple-hundred vehicles. Anything from bikes, Civics, and GT-Rs, to modified exotics like Lamborghinis and McLarens.
Will the car be used for racing, cruising, and enjoying on the street, or both?
Right now, I'm just using it on the street as a car for the summertime here. I plan on getting it to the strip before the end of summer and seeing what kind of times we can run.
Thanks for chatting to us Jamie, it’s great to see another Kiwi taking on the world. If you’re on Instagram you can check out Jamie’s R34 by following @jt_gtr. For videos of Jamie’s GT-R in action, look below the tuning menu.
Photos: Cohen Bahneman, carspotterpnw.com/
1999 Nissan Skyline GT-R (BNR34)
- Model: RB26DETT, 2600cc, six-cylinder
- Block: CP forged pistons, Manley rods, ACL race bearings, Tomei oil baffle, Power Enterprise kevlar timing belt, N1 oil pump, N1 water pump, Supertech spline drive oil pump kit
- Head: Tomei Poncam Type B, Tomei valve springs, ARP head studs, ported and polished, Tomei adjustable cam gears
- Intake: Custom intake pipe, pod filter, Custom front mount intercooler, R.I.P.S intake plenum
- Turbo: Borgwarner FMW S300SX 64mm, Raw Brokerage billet turbo manifold
- Wastegate: twin 46mm Precision PW46
- BOV: TiAL 50mm
- Fuel: Injector Dynamics ID1000’s, Walbro 450l/ph E85 fuel pump, A1000 fuel pressure regulator
- Ignition: Splitfire coils, NGK Iridium spark plugs
- Exhaust: Custom 3.5-inch downpipe, 3.5-inch Powerhouse Amuse R1 Titan titanium system
- Cooling: Greddy oil cooler, twin reversible 12-inch X-treme S-blade radiator fans, Koyo aluminium radiator, Samco sport hoses, Carbing radiator cooling plate
- ECU: Haltech Platinum Pro
- Other: AEM wideband, Autostaff oil catch can, ATI super damper crank pulley
- Gearbox: Factory getrag six-speed
- Clutch: ORC 1000F triple plate
- Flywheel: Balanced
- Diff: 1.5-way LSD
- Struts: HKS coilovers
- Springs: HKS
- Brakes: Steel braided hoses, DBA rotors, Hawk pads
- Other: Cusco drag rod HICAS delete, Kansai strut brace
- Wheels: 18x10.5-inch (+15) Volk TE37SL
- Tyres: 285/35R18 Michelin Super Sports
- Paint: Factory Bayside blue
- Enhancements: Nismo side skirts and rear skirts, Night Pager rear wing spacer, carbon fibre bonnet
- Other: Custom LED lights
- Seats: Factory
- Steering wheel: Factory
- Instrumentation: Nismo multi function display, Nismo 320kph black gauge cluster
- Other: Takata four-point harnesses, custom carbon fibre interior pieces by Robson Design
- Power: 522kW (700hp) at the wheels on 24psi of boost with E50 fuel
- Driver/owner: Jamie Turner
- Age: 37
- Location: British Columbia, Canada
- Build time: five months
- Length of ownership: one year
- Thanks: Racing Greed for building the car, Robson Design for the interior mods, my wife, my friends Dan and Nadeem
GT-R review by Roads Untravelled: