HKS Zero-R

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While writing about the R32 range, specifically the BNR32 Nissan Skyline GT-R, I went to gtrusablog.com and soaked up all things R32. One of the entries showed pics of various silver machines called HKS Zero-R. I’m familiar with HKS, a prominent tuning company with a plethora of aftermarket performance parts. Not only did they cover the BNR32 Skyline GT-R, they sponsored one in Japanese Group A racing category. So they were no strangers to GT-Rs. With that in mind, it made sense that HKS would venture into selling their own spin on the GT-R the same way companies like Alpina did with BMWs: even if the car’s basis comes from elsewhere, it’s been reworked to such an extent that it’s an entirely different animal in legal terms. Continue reading

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1989-1994 Nissan Skyline GT-R (BNR32)

This was my first official write-up for CarLustBlog.com, back in October 11, 2011. A lot has changed since then, as there’s FAR more pics and information available on this machine than just 7 years ago. My opinion on some details, as well as writing skills have also changed. Mistakes have been fixed, sections of the post have been moved and expanded (including pics and links), but the original bones are still there.

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Godzilla. You know you’re doing something right with a nickname like that.

While reading the GT-R story in Motor Trend Classic, I asked myself if it was fair to compare the technological tour-de-force that is the BNR32 Nissan Skyline GT-R with the lightweight (2500lbs vs 3150lbs), naturally aspirated rear-wheel-drive KGPC10 Nissan Skyline GT-R, aka the Hakosuka. They do have something in common, aside from name. Both were born to WIN.

The R32 range was spearheaded by automotive engineer Naganori Ito, who of course worked on its most famous version, the BNR32. This one was built around the latest Group A racing regulations. Nissan wanted to do better than its predecessor, the R31 Nissan Skyline GTS-R. Plus, it was a good opportunity to resurrect the GT-R badge, last seen on the 4th generation Skyline (R32s are the 8th), the 1973 Kenmeri KPGC110 Nissan Skyline GT-R. For that, some serious hardware was going to be needed: Continue reading

A60 Toyota Celica, Celica XX and Celica Supra (MkII)

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For the longest time, there has been one ‘80s Japanese sportscar that I really liked. Wedge shape, liftback body style, pop-ups, etc. I wouldn’t complain if it had a digital dash. And that car was… the Z31 Nissan 300ZX Turbo. Growing up, there were two around my neighborhood and plenty of them could still be found on the streets. The second in line to my heart was the Isuzu Impulse, because we had one in the family for a while, in red, no less. Third in line was the Chrysler Conquest, a Mitsubishi Starion captive import, because my Toyota MR2-driving uncle briefly used to own a couple. But what about the Supra, specifically the one whose generation has come to be known as the MkII on most markets? Unfortunately, I had no exposure to it; they weren’t that common when compared to the aforementioned Z31. Continue reading

Initial D: A Love Story

The beginning of the Initial D anime adaptation celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, with the original manga just a couple of years older. It’s only fitting to bring out this classic CarLustBlog.com post from 2015 for the celebrations. Many links have been removed (bummer) and it’s been edited and expanded upon slightly.

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Have you ever had something (not someone) that has been part of a surprisingly good chunk of your life, for better or worse? Most of my friends would just say ‘videogames’, which is a little vague. I’ll just lump ‘em under Nintendo and/or Pokémon, since those two are forever intertwined. For me, it’s an anime, a car anime to be specific. You may have heard of it: Initial D. Continue reading

Initial D Fujiwara Tofu Shop (AE-86) Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT-APEX:

The beginning of the Initial D anime adaptation celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, with the original manga just a couple of years older. It’s only fitting to bring out this classic CarLustBlog.com post from 2015 for the celebrations. Many links have been removed (bummer) and it’s been edited and expanded upon slightly.

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The AE-series Toyota platform is a gem of a car that was a fun to drive machine right from the beginning. But what’s so special about this one? What makes it any different? What is it about it that inspires replicas to be built all around the world, let alone inspire a college buddy of mine to replicate it as best as he could (Sorry, no pics. He sold it soon after)? Because it’s a hero car for a niche of a niche entertainment category (read: anime)?

Yes, and to be fair, this car is not so different from other well-cared AE86s… not until later anyways. Continue reading