Big Bird. Not exactly a name which evokes images of ferocious power and 10-second, quarter-mile runs. Motorex's R33 Skyline GT-R is, however, "big, yellow and everyone loves it." One of the first Skylines to arrive in this country and definitely the most widely seen, this car was originally white and appeared in our magazine in 1999 in the context of its excellent performance in the Pikes Peak Hillclimb. With hotshoe Rhys Millen at the helm, this car set a then-record time of 12:14.47 for Showroom Stock Class.
Chances are you've seen in this car in advertisements for companies like HKS, Speedoptions.com, Racing Hart and XS Engineering. Many American car magazines had their first flog of a Skyline in this car; therefore, most of the rave reviews written elsewhere were about this car.
Most likely, you saw the car in "The Fast and the Furious," which explains the car's current bright yellow paint job. When Motorex took the car to auditions for the movie, the producers thoroughly dug it and wanted to give the car a more central role. Motorex could not provide a sufficient number of R33s for diamond-plate heroics in time for the shooting, however, and thus, it had the smaller cameo.
Following the car's brief stardom, the boys at Motorex decided to take the car drag racing. Sean Morris, who is responsible for and drives the car, turned a 12.1 at 110 mph the first time out at Carlsbad Raceway, running 1 bar of boost on pump gas. Speaking of gas (and skipping discussions of SCC staffers' gastrointestinal talents), Motorex later hooked up with Holley/NOS and famed Hot Rod shop, SoCal Speed Shop, to install a 150-hp, direct-port nitrous system. A host of fuel upgrades were necessary to deal with the extra fuel demands. An HKS fuel pressure regulator and fuel rail, 550cc injectors, and Nismo in-tank pump were installed for off-the-bottle use; a Nismo fuel pressure regulator and Bosch external fuel pump were installed for use with the nitrous. To help the egress of massive amounts of cool air into the engine, an HKS GT intercooler and piping kit were installed along with twin 300ZX TT mass airflow sensors. The stock exhaust manifolds were Swain coated and hand ported, speeding flow into an Auto Select downpipe and HKS exhaust, producing one of the better sounding Skylines we've heard.
An A'pexi Power FC, tuned by XS Engineering, takes over fuel and air tuning from the stock ECU. A B&M New Volt ignition booster, used usually in combination with #8 heat range plugs, handles increased demands on spark. The large boost numbers seen by the engine are controlled with an HKS EVC EZ.
All was loud and happy until Motorex received the car DOA after it loaned it to a company for the Consumer Electronics Show. ("It had just stopped running.") XS Engineering pulled the head and discovered 12 bent exhaust valves and nice divots in the pistons. With an IDRC race in Palmdale approaching, Sean replaced the engine with another stock RB26 (despite having started work on a stroked 2.8L). Shooting for faster times, Motorex pulled some weight out of the portly R33 and switched the heavy 18-inch wheels and street tires for 17-inch wheels and sticky BFG drag radials. While the car was still wearing HKS GT 2530 turbos, Sean ran a best time of 10.717 at 1137.5 mph with a 1.611 60-foot time; not bad for a still-porky car with completely stock internals. A tech inspector asked whether Sean had a scattershield, as he is running faster than 12.0. It was then decreed the car needed driveshaft loops on all the drive axles, totaling 7.
Since the last trip to the strip, the turbos have been swapped out for larger HKS 2540s. Motorex plans on making all the necessary modifications to make the car NHRA legal. A single-turbo setup is being worked out, with, of course, plans for more boost, nitrous and power.
|Motorex "Big Bird" R33 Skyline GTR|
|0-30 mph:|| 2.7 sec.|
|0-60 mph:|| 6.2 sec.|
|30-50 mph:|| 1.9 sec.|
|50-70 mph:|| 2.4 sec.|
|Quarter Mile:|| 14.1 sec. @ 104 mph|
|Lateral grip (200ft skidpad):|| 0.90 g|
|Slalom Speed (700 ft slalom):|| 65.2 mph|
|60-0 stopping distance:|| 125 ft|