2008 Nissan R35 GT-R

Top Secret Reveals Just A Little Underhood On Their 2008 Nissan R35 GT-R

Photography by Luke Munnell
writer: RC Faderoga

The Nissan GT-R shown here is subtle. Sure, it’s one of the most anticipated cars to come out of the automotive world in recent memory. And, yes, that’s definitely a Top Secret sticker splayed on the side doors-a sign that it’s built by one of the most decorated tuners in all of Japan. Ignore, for a moment, the burly front fender deltoids, the lowered ground-shaking stance and the fact that it’s essentially a Top Secret Nissan GT-R, and there is something missing from the line of vision. Obviously, Top Secret’s signature gold and white markings aren’t present, but that’s not the much-needed DNA evidence to put the perp in jail. Those subtle nuances are, indeed, invisible to the naked eye because, for one, in this photo of the GT-R you don’t get a look underhood. Needless to say that the tired old phrase, “Never judge a book by its cover,” has never been so true.

Let’s start at the beginning; the Nissan GT-R is the latest version from the famous line of Nissan Skylines that we all adore and all want inside our garages. Naturally, there are some changes with this new version. The GT-R was built with speed, efficiency and safety at high performance in mind, thus allowing the normal driver to immediately feel like Michael Schumacher at the gripping of the steering wheel. With the GT-R maximizing grip and airflow, it’s highly possible to actually drive like one of the best drivers in the world, despite road and climate conditions. Also, the entire car is built with a balanced mix of carbon-fiber, aluminum and steel, and the engine is assembled by a single craftsman, which is pretty major considering all the work that had to be done. It features the first independent transaxle all-wheel-drive system, allowing superior weight balance and a dual-clutch transmission with paddle shifting for direct control. All in all, it’s something we’ve all been expecting from Nissan’s GT-R brand, and we can’t wait to see one on the road in our very own backyard-better known as the United States.

Here comes the subtlety. During our visit to the Tokyo Auto Salon earlier this year, we spotted many GT-Rs, but none were more eye-catching than Top Secret’s. Out of approximately seven GT-Rs on display, Top Secret was the best to highlight the super-car’s high-performance aerodynamics and style. It was practically a no-brainer to pick it for a 2NR full feature. But, unlike the cars previously featured, this one is as close to stock as mechanically possible. There were no insane twin turbo setups, no shiny intercooler piping and finding anything remotely aftermarket was as hard as memorizing the VIN numbers and reciting them backwards. Seriously, we were all surprised. We couldn’t believe Top Secret put a stock GT-R on the Tokyo Auto Salon floor and actually put their label on it.

So, after doing some research in and around Tokyo, other than finding the weird gadgets and electronics that the Japanese are known for, we found JUN, another respectable tuner shop that shed some light on this whole mess. According to them, Nissan is proactively preventing anyone that has the itch from modifying their beloved GT-R, which pretty much includes everyone who loves cars. Apparently, every R35 owner needs to sign a contract that implicates a void of warranty should any aftermarket modifications be made. Any minor modifications can throw the codes in the ECU; the car is also limited to 180 kph (112 mph). The most disturbing factoid is that a data logger is located somewhere in the vehicle; it stores speed, rpm, distance and other potentially pertinent information-similar to an airplane’s black box.

As of yet, none of the information was confirmed by Nissan and we’re not sure if the same rules would apply to USDM versions, but if true, it would only mean that every tuner shop would be hiring the best nerds out there to hack into this system. If anyone can make a fool out of Nissan by getting inside that impenetrable ECU, it would be Top Secret. After all, if they can make this GT-R so nice on the outside, they can make it equally fresh on the inside. Top Secret is known for turning supercars into very super-major rides with all the toppings, and a side order of coffee. It’s really amazing, the horsepower they’ve managed to pull out of cars like the Toyota Supra and the early model Nissan Skylines. It’s even equally amazing how sexy they make all their cars look.

The body kit used on this GT-R is made by Top Secret, featuring a carbon-fiber front lip, carbon-fiber front grille and an aero catch. These aero modifications may be trivial to any other stock car, but on a car that’s already producing 525 hp at 6,500 rpm out of the box, these changes can make a huge difference at high speeds. The only engine modifications that Top Secret managed to put in their GT-R was their own Super Premium exhaust system and an HKS EVC, which surprisingly, didn’t force the factory ECU into shutdown mode. They lowered the car using a combined set of Top Secret dampers and Swift springs. This system rides on top of a set of 20-inch Volk Racing GT-C wheels, wrapped in Bridgestone RE070 tires. The only upgrade inside are the Takata harnesses, which look somewhat weird resting on the factory seats. But it seems the overall interior doesn’t need much modifying, unless you plan to make it a full-out race car.

It’s for these reasons that we call this ride subtle. The GT-R’s signature technology and overall high-performance attitude is still noticeable, and with the inclusion of some Top Secret science and style, the potential of the GT-R has never been more captivating. It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for this car, and we’re sure that Nissan’s restrictions are mere speed bumps on the road ahead.

2008 Nissan GT-R
Output 525 hp at 6,500 rpm
Engine Top Secret Super Premium exhaust system, HKS EVC
Drivetrain Stock
Suspension Top Secret Grade Damper, Swift springs
Wheels/Tires 20×9.5 and 20×10.5 Volk Racing GT-C with Bridgestone RE070 tires 255/45-20 and 285/40-20
Brakes Stock
Exterior Top Secret carbon-fiber front lip, front grille, and aero catch
Interior Takata harnesses

Top Secret

Old Enough To Be Your Uncle

Tokyo, Japan

Tuner Shop

Currently Attempting To Figure Out The New Nissan Gt-R

Build Time.
In Progress



~ by bestbooter on March 27, 2009.

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