But first, let’s savour the white sheet describing the specification, a very rewarding task if you thrive on anticipation. Let’s get one nasty number out of the way right now – the £84,500 price. That’s one reason why there will only be 20 – the other is that Nismo celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.
Now, you don’t need me to tell you that for this money you could have one of the more fruity Porsche 911s, an Aston Martin V8 Vantage, or a decent used Ferrari. And this is for a second-hand Nissan. That’s because Nismo only decided to build this ultimate R34 GT-R after it went out of production in August 2002. So it had to shop for mint, low mileage examples.
Now this isn’t the first time Nissan has bought back its own cars to refurbish them, by the way – it ran a programme in the US with old 240Zs, restoring them as an appetite-whetting prelude to the 350Z’s arrival. The difference here is that these GT-Rs are no more than a couple of years old – the 240Zs were as much as 30 – and they’ve been acquired for modification rather than restoration.
And the upgrades are extensive and gloriously arcane, too. For instance, the steel propshaft is now carbonfibre, saving five kilos. The door surrounds receive extra spot-welding to strengthen the bodyshell. The suspension bushes are replaced by harder versions generating less friction, and the brake hoses swapped for stainless steel braided varieties.
Also, the transmission tunnel and anti-roll bars have been strengthened and the electronic traction control unit, which sends torque to the front and rear differentials, reprogrammed.
Under the bonnet, the reconstruction is so comprehensive that you can see why the rest of the car has needed overhauling in a process that sees each model reduced to a bare shell. The standard V-spec GT-R straight-six produces 276bhp, but this version yields a startling 493bhp. And that’s an ‘at least’, apparently.
You’re not short-changed on pulling power either, the peak torque running to 398lb ft. Nismo’s engineers have delved deep into the engine to wring out this extra power. At its heart are reworked combustion chambers. There are re-profiled cams, a beefed-up block and a forged and fillet-rolled crankshaft which has been finely balanced, as are the upgraded, forged pistons. There’s a baffle plate in the sump to counter oil surge, and the whole ensemble is crowned with a Z-Tune rocker cover.
It doesn’t end here, either. There’s a specially built IHI turbocharger, a remodelled intake plenum and a revised exhaust manifold. Meanwhile, twin oil coolers, an upgraded radiator and intercooler, high-flow fuel injectors with a more potent injection pump are also provided. And finally, there’s a Z-Tune electronic control unit.
Elsewhere, there are three-way adjustable dampers that can also be altered for ride height, reinforced front strut towers, 18in alloys in a sinister black, a twinplate clutch and upgraded brakes that include six-pot calipers up front and four at the rear. The bodywork has also been resculpted purposefully.
Oddest are the air extractors in the trailing edges of the front wings just ahead of the door mirrors which leave you in no doubt about the car’s intent. And that’s rammed home with aggressive new bumpers and an adjustable rear wing, all of these in carbonfibre, as is the bonnet. Oh, and the Z-Tune package includes new front seats, restyled door trims and a 200mph speedo.