Top Secret’s VR32 GT-R: The Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing
Who exactly is the man that thinks of doing something like this?
Well, I guess in hindsight this is the same guy who got tired of Toyota dragging their heels about a possible remake of the Supra so he decided to stick a V12 from the Toyota Century into a JZA80…and then twin turbo charge it. Guess we shouldn’t be that shocked right?
At last year’s Nismo Fest at Fuji Speedway, I was able to get a brief look at this R35 R32 mash up and was literally blown away. The powertrain, drivetrain, and interior of the R35 GT-R was neatly placed in a R32 GT-R and if you weren’t aware, the R35 is much bigger and wider than it’s predecessor. How the hell did it all fit??
Once again, at the 2017 Tokyo Auto Salon I was able to get a close look at Kazuhiko ‘Smokey’ Nagata’s newest creation but wasn’t really able to find out more information about it.
It was only after I was asked to help arrange an exclusive shoot and act as a translator for an overseas magazine was I able to really spend some quality time with the VR32GT-R. Sorta
The catch was we would only have 2 hours to take pictures and interview Nakkarai-San before he had to go back to work and assist other customers.
The most popular question asked, well probably besides how, would be why on Earth would they do this? “We thought it would be interesting and it has never been done before so we figured why not.” Nakkarai-San said to me jokingly. The smaller, lightweight, and beautiful design of the R32 was the catalyst to the idea. The only problem was the R32 GT-R in stock form ‘lacks’ power – which it’s newer, bulkier, heavier successor has plenty of thanks to its VR38DETT.
Truth be told, not much planning went into the idea before buying both the pair of GT-Rs. It was more of one of those we’ll cross that bridge when we get there programs
Thus after both cars arrived in the workshop, the 1 man , 1 year project began. Yes, you read that correctly – the entire project was done by one man (probably Smokey)
Now the fun part – the how question that everyone is dying to know the answer to. In all honestly, me too. Not wanting to reveal all their cards, I wasn’t able to get all the nitty gritty details. For example, while talking to Nakkarai-San about the power figures, he mentioned that it was basically around a regular R35 GT-R power. However, I recently stumbled upon a magazine and they sited thanks to R800 Top Secret turbine, the power figures were well over a stock power. Like… around 790 whp. So here goes!
Being used to putting unconventional and sometimes totally random engines in cars they were never designed for in the first place is Top Secret calling card thus getting the VR38DETT and drivetrain into the smaller body wasn’t as difficult. Although the overall width of the R32 is almost 8 inches shorter than the R35 meaning getting everything to fit would still be a massive ordeal of moving and hacking of metal
Keeping the engine cooled are the original radiators that came from the R35 – just squashed in a bit.
With the wheelbase of the R32 also being smaller than the R35 ment that the drivetrain would also need some special attention to get it to fit. You can actually see in a small cutaway in the rear seats the transaxle system.
Beautiful 18 inch OZ Challenge HLT wheels (10.5J Front, 11J Rears) fit perfectly under the bulkier fenders and are the perfect match for this ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ R32 – nothing to flashy, understated, and highly functional being made of a blend of lightweight Aluminum and Magnesium.
They also do an excellent job showing off those massive 380mm Brembo brakes which, you guessed it, came from the R35 GT-R.
The titanium side exhaust pipe serves a purpose besides looking bad ass. To exploit all the power the VR has to offer, a straight pipe system dumps directly to the side pipe. This also means all hell breaks loose in the form of decibels comes screaming out of the pipe – which the Japanese government isn’t too fond of
Thus to pass emission testing, a butterfly valve system opens up and allows the exhaust to travel through the regular exhaust system which exits out the original R32 GT-R muffler.
Bits of carbon fiber aero in the form of a front splitter, and rear diffuser add both functional downforce and nice accent to the crystal white paint. Again, the idea was for the VR32 to be more understated than all in your face thus minimalistic styling was a must.
The hardest part in the whole projected I was told had to be transplanting the entire R35 interior into the R32.
This task was a new one for Top Secret and everything had to be seamless and perfect. It had to look as if it left the factory looking like that.
I absolutely love the new Greddy Sirius meter. The thin-film electroluminescent display creates a three dimensional look which can act as a stand alone unit, or combined with other displays to overlay multiple information at once. It also, like the titanium side exhaust pipe, is bad ass
Unfortunately, 2 hours is only 2 hours and before we knew it, it was time for us to go.
I guess I can’t complain though, I was after all only suppose to arrange the shoot and act as translator so being able to pull this off was like killing 3 birds with one rather large stone
Also, this just gives me the excuse to go back and see if we can feature Top Secret and the VR32 GT-R again – on film.
Just maybe, we can get those juicy details the second time around!