My GT-Rs - The R35

Saying goodbye to my old friend and hello to my dream car
Few car nuts are lucky enough to say they own their dream car and I'm happy to say I'm one of those fortunate bastards. Even if I had all the money in the world my garage would still have an R35 GT-R – probably several if I'm honest, as well as an army of mechanics to keep them in tip-top shape 24/7 (and my personal group of race queens if we're talking hypotheticals anyway).

Yes, I lust after exotics I'll never afford like the Mclaren F1 and TheFerrari but the GT-R is the one car I've most wanted to own since getting hooked on their ilk by – what else? - playing Gran Turismo.

In case you're new to GT-Rs, the different generations are usually referred to by their chassis code . The first proper GT-R, introduced in 1969, is referred to as the PGC10 for its chassis code but more recent ones are numbered from R32 onward with the R35 being the latest one introduced in 2007.

As a car-obsessed college kid I dreamed of owning an R34 but with the arrival of the R35 that car became my aspiration. And so, in late 2009 I found myself trading in my beloved Infiniti G35 6MT coupe to a Nissan dealer in Phoenix, Arizona for a brand-new 2010 Black Obsidian GT-R Premium. I didn't even get to test drive it beforehand but I knew I had to have it. The R35 was still so new that the whole dealership ground to a halt once all the paperwork was done and I pulled out to take my new baby home. As I did so, all the staff dropped what they were doing just to watch me fire her up and take her out. It was a rock star experience for a rock star of a car.

I'm happy to say that despite the lack of a test drive the car did not disappoint, nor has she in all the years hence.

I had initially planned on keeping my car stock because ironically (despite my interest in tuner culture) I had never modified a car before besides having a better stereo and a CD changer installed in my first car – a 1997 Nissan Sentra. I don't think that counts really. The sportbikes I've owned have had various mods chucked on them by me or a shop but never one of my cars. Cost was one factor, not wanting to lose my warranty was another.

The R35 proved to be a different case though. I don't know what it is but GT-Rs really do seem to be cars that are hard to keep stock. It's not that they have issues that need fixing or improvement because they're amazing cars even while in the form decreed by the car manufacturing gods - but talk to any GT-R owner of whatever vintage and chances are they'll tell you about how their car just drew them into modding it.

That's exactly what happened to me. It started out simple enough. The stock nose was low and would scrape on some parking lot entrances so after seeing the cool lines on the Stillen front lip spoiler I had one installed. It not only improved the car's looks but being polyurethane it's durable and easy to fix if it does get a bit nicked up.

Then I did wheels. At the time there was another guy in town with a black GT-R, a 2009. Wanting to differentiate my car I got a set of Volk Racing GT30 20-inch wheels in Formula Silver.

Then I got an Akrapovic titanium exhaust because I loved the look of the carbon fiber tips. I was one of the very first guys in North America to have one (they didn't even have a US distributor at the time) and it cost an arm, a leg, and my left testicle. I still walk funny as a result but I think it was worth it.

Then I got a carbon fiber hood. Then carbon fiber seats. And it only got worse from there.

Fast forward to today and my car has a fully built motor, stage 2.5 tranny, upgraded turbos, a whole crapload of other mods, and has dynoed at a touch over 800 awhp.

Suffice it to say the modding snowballed. The car is just that amazing because despite all the vital organs I've had to pawn off to pay for all of the modifications, I still giggle uncontrollably when driving it. Like any car, it hasn't always been champagne and roses but the issues have been few and it has been superbly reliable for such a potent and complex vehicle.

In my years of owning her my car has taken me to several trackdays, including the Nismo Performance Academy at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. I've gone on many road trips – including an epic 18-hour, 1100 mile blast through the stifling humidity of Texas, the searing heat of Arizona, and the lethal monotony of southern New Mexico. I've gotten close enough to 200 miles an hour to know what its breath smells like. Several car show trophies litter my living room. I've met some amazing people – fellow owners, Nissan staff and execs, fans of Nissan and GT-Rs from the very young to not-so-young, car shop owners and staff, and so on.

In short it's been an amazing ride.

But the best part I like about this car – MY GT-R – is its VIN number. If you read my introduction post about why this blog is called 23GT you'll know how special the number 23 is to Nissan. Well, my car's VIN ends in 231123.

To a lifelong Nissan devotee, how much more special can you get than that?

How she looks today. Photo care of my tuner - the great guys at TopSpeed Motorsports