My name is Kennet, from Norway, and a big fan of the Nissan Skyline GTRs. Im also a proud member of the gtr.oc.uk, being from Norway it limits the possibility to attend meetings and such in UK, but I was lucky enough to meet a few of you guys during this year’s trip to Tokyo.
Now, being a fan of this legendary car in Norway is not always easy, especially if you plan to ever own one! Im one off the lucky ones to have own a few, and now, as per a couple of weeks ago, my new pride and joy; a black -Black Edition- R35 GTR. But, before I get to that, a few words about how I came to love this car and how it is to be a fan in Norway, a country that not exactly encourage you
The racing scene in Norway has never been big (until recently), in fact; Rally was actually banned in Norway from 1972 to 1987, so there was not many places to look for Motor sport other then games and movies. Nor did we produce any great drivers or cars of that matter, until Petter Solberg won the WRC in 2003. So my love for the Skyline GTR started (as with many others in my generation I suppose) with the famous Gran Turismo game for Playstation back in 97/98. And off all the super cars the game had to offer, I remember falling in love with this “edgy and bulky” car named the: Nissan Skyline R32 GTR. I just loved the design, and the fact that you could get so much power out of it blew me away, so I started to read about the car and its history on the web. Now the R32 GTR remains even today for me, as the coolest one on the block, and it makes me smile every time I see one, and I still got my first! :)
So once I was old enough to own a car I started searching for the GTR´s and soon discovered to my disappointment that you could not get one on plates in Norway, as they where never intended for the European marked and therefore not up to the European standards and not road legal. So with this, and an unfortunately movie release in 2001 of “The Fast and the Furious”, making the Norwegian road government pretty much ban any JDM cars for ever coming in to Norway, it forced me into just forgetting about ever owning one. So I turned my head to the closest one in the Nissan family and ended up with a 200SX S14a, and that was the beginning of my tuning sickness and eventually lead me to where I am today.
I managed a reasonably 360WHP on the SR20DET engine in my S14a, which then again lead me to crash the car under a track weekend in Norway 2009, so I decided to go for a track car, instead of bashing up my road cars on the track.
At this point there was a few Skylines GTR´s that made it to Norway, mostly used as a “red plated” car (if the car was brought in to Norway and the GST was paid you could get daily test plates to move the car ect, but you could not get legal plates on it) So I scraped up the money I had left from selling my “partly fixed” S14a, and bought a LHD converted R32 GTR without an engine in 2009, I still have this one! And is actually not far away from getting its racing license, I tested it for the first time on the track last weekend during the track weekend on ACR (Arctic Circle Raceway) in northern Norway. It was by the way when I bought the R32, that I came across gtr.oc.uk, which has helped me many times during the build of my car.
As the GATEBIL culture grew in Norway, and the interest for JDM cars exploded after the Fast And The Furious movies, there where a growing interest and demand on these cars as well with the Supra RX7´s and so on, even tough you could not get plates on them, people loved to take them for a track weekend or racing. But there was a few Skylines GTR´s brought in to Norway that they managed to get “road legal”, using a law that stated the car as a vehicle with Motor Historic Value. Now, this rule does have some limitations like; you could only get so many of the same make and model, and the car must at all times be stock, you can’t even change the rims.
And I was able to get my hands on a R33 GTR V-Spec with these plates in 2010. At the moment there is 2x R34 GTR´s, about 5x R33 GTR´s and a couple of R32´s on these plates in Norway, sadly we want be seeing any more, as the limit for this rule is reached. So you could see I was over the top for this, and it was a great car.
I owned and enjoyed the R33 GTR for 2 years, but as always, you do want something new, and the likely hood of one off the two R34´s on plates in Norway coming for sale is close to….well scratch that, its zero! So the only way I could go, was the new and road legal R35 GT-R. Now I have been dreaming of the R35 GTR sense…..well Ill quote my friend from the other day: you have been dreaming of the car sense they started to draw the first lines on the drawing board at the Nissan design office, and that, might not even be a lie, lol :D
I still love the Skylines, don’t get me wrong, but by my opinion: they did with the R35 in 2008 what they did with the R32 in 1989, they changes everything! They changed the way people look at a super car; they proved once again that it is possible to make the best out of to worlds with no compromise. They did not just push the boundaries, they just went ahead and made new ones, so that engineers from the other car companies; (whom, at this time was probably sitting comfortably in there chair tweaking out one or two HP out of there engine and a degree in there suspension setup for the new model) to choke on there morning coffee as they fell out of the chair when the GTR lapped the Nurburgring in 7:26:7!
But as I watched the launch of the new GTR late 2007/2008 I realized it was most likely always to be a dream car, once again because of the Norwegian government, but this time not as in it wasn’t road legal, but because of the tax system they use on cars.
To take the short version; you pay GST on the price you pay for the car when you bring it in to Norway, then you pay tax on HP, CO2 and finally the weight of the car. So to take on a new MY2012 GTR (550HP): It will set you back around 75.000EUR (without local GST) in Germany depending on colour equipment and so on. Then the Norwegian government wants its money to hand out a couple of steel plates for you to drive around with:
GST on the price: 18 811, – EUR
Tax on weight of the car: 16 927, – EUR
Tax on HP: 89 354, – EUR
Tax on Co2: 36 685, – EUR
Tax on Nox: 180, – EUR
TOT in tax: 161 957, – EUR
So the final price on the road in Norway will be 236 957, – EUR or close to 188 000, – pounds!!!!! Not actually a “give away” price tag on a Nissan, even if it is a GTR!
So with that, I was quite happy with my R32 (track use) and my R33 for the time being, but then I got a job opportunity trough my company to go working offshore in Africa, and Africa does not have a tax agreement with Norway. So this meant I could save some money, so I took the job hoping that someday I could afford the new R35 GTR.
I also went with gtr.oc.uk to Japan and Tokyo in Jan, and what a trip! I have to take my hat off for the itinerary and the work that John and Geetak had put down on this trip. It was absolutely a blast, and it boosted my interest in the Skyline GTR to new levels. I mean….its not actually a big Skyline GTR scene in Norway, and you need to look really hard to even find someone who are remotely interested enough to listen to me talk about new parts for my Skylines or even the new R35, so it was a blast to discover that I was not the “only nutcase” out there.
Now there is already a blog of the trip here, so I want be going in to that, but there was one moment I have to mention; and it was the turning point for me. The visit to Nissan HQ and the engine plant for the new VR38DETT, was fantastic. And shaking hand and talking to the actual workers building the new engine, and seeing how proud and devoted they where, was amazing. It was at this point I decided to get the new R35 GTR.
Returning back from Tokyo and to work; I sold my R33 GTR to a friend and work college and then bought an apartment in Sweden, so I could spend my free time outside the borders of Norway. Doing this, I was saving money on travelling, as it was my biggest expense sense I started the year before. But, as time passes and you are spending endless days and even weeks in an apartment where you almost don’t know anybody, trying to save money to pay down some mortgage and to get a new car. You realize you are sacrificing quite a few things, yes I am single and got no kids, but you don’t really meet anybody else in this kind of job, other then the people you work with. And the days do tend to get long when you on top of that are trying to save money, so you don’t really go out that much or doing anything else for that matter. I ended up spending a lot of time just question myself; what in the worlds name are you doing? And is it worth it?
And the answer was always: yes! I am proud (or stupid) enough to admit that the new GTR was the main reason for the whole deal, when I started in the beginning of last year, and what can I say? Im a huge and devoted fan, with a real passion for it, and if I see something that I want, and discovered a way to get it, Ill go for it! You could say Im quite purposeful when I want to, isn’t that why we do everything we do? Everybody needs a goal.
Anyway, it’s been close to 20 long months now, and having paid down some of my mortgage and having money to finally finance a second hand R35 GTR, I could not wait any longer. Im still abroad, and will be until I finished in Feb 2013, but after all these months working and living a “half life” in a small apartment in Sweden, I needed to boost my motivation. So this summer I contacted the only company I trust with GTR´s in Norway; Bjørnstad Bil. These are the same guys I bought my R33 of, and a lot of the parts for both my 200SX and R32. And after a few phone calls and a couple off meetings, they found a Black 2009.mod Black Edition in Netherlands, with 46 000km on the clock, full service book and one owner. Being the right colour combination and a good service history I could not resist, so I closed the deal, finally I was getting my own R35 GTR.
As I was offshore, I had time to search the web and talk to a few people about the R35 and there “lessons learned” (Thanks to Roger for some of the advises by the way). And I have always been into tuning, ever sense I got the S14a, so the road to tuning the new GTR was short, but saying that it “needs” tuning is a bit strong, it is a fantastic car the way it is delivered. But after talking to a few people, and other owner’s opinion on the forum, I quickly discovered that an upgrade of the gearbox software from the 2009mod was a must, and then I might as well do the complete Stage-1 while I was at it. I ended up going with the COBB Access Port with TCM and COBB Y-pipe, that was ordered even before I got the car, the reason for choosing COBB was that it had good feedback and it was the make that my dealer uses. Also during one of the time I was at the dealer they had a GTR sitting outside with HR lowering springs and spacer’s fitted…..It looked so wide and low, just right, so even before I tried the car for the very first time, and had it delivered I had it tuned! It was fitted with 20mm lowered HR springs, 20mm spacers in back and 15mm spacers in the front, and it looks awesome!
In addition to the COBB Access Port with TCM (running stage-2) and LC4, and the HR springs and spacer I have the ZELE 4light kit which lights up all 4 tail lights (which I think is mandatory on a GTR).
The delivery day I will not forget! Sitting in Sweden waiting for the car to get ready was just torture; I could not get a proper night sleep for days. Just thinking about that I was days and even hrs away to get my dream car, after almost 5 years of dreaming and working was unreal.
After I got to the dealer and all the formalities was done, I finally hit the red START button, and oh my!……talk about goose bumps. My friend took a picture just before I fired it up, and you can’t fake a smile like the one I had on that day! :D The rest of the day is a blur of impressions and emotions, my friends calling me absolutely crazy (but in a good way) to have spent that much money on a car, people on the streets stopping to take photos, giving you the thumbs up as you drive by, kids almost crashing in to lamp posts on there bikes when they see you arriving around the corner. But then again, the majority of the people don’t even notice you, it is only the people who knows about the GTR, people who knows what kind of history it has, and the extreme performance it is capable of. And that’s why I love it so much; it is a car that people who knows it gives you the thumbs up for, instead of flipping you the finger because they think you are a spoiled rich kid showing off in a new Ferrari.
And as I had my first beer late that night at my friends place (which btw cost almost the same as I paid for the car), I did get a bit emotional, and I did shear a tear holding my new GTR key in my hand, not because of all the money I had spent to get it, or the fact and the irony that Norway just got back all the tax money I got back from them in the first place, only in place of tax on a car. Which by the way ended up at around 140 000,- pounds (and that is a second hand MY09!!) But because looking back while holding my new car key, only I knew how many hrs I have worked and invested for this moment, how many weeks and months spent in a apartment in Sweden or anybody else but Norway, while my friends where having drinks on the weekends or going on holidays, all the time spent waiting and dreaming of this car, and now I finally had my own.
But it also shows that dreams do come true, some off us tough, just needs to work extra hard for it, and I did that, and this is my reward! And Im damn proud off it as well. Every time I get in to my car and push that red START button, all my worries disappear, and every time I push that throttle to the floor and pull that paddle making the double clutch gear box feed me another gear so quick and seamless that the power from the 3.8l V6 Twin Turbo engine pushes me back into the seat, I can’t help but smile. And thinking back on the hrs of work that have been put down for this moment, not only by me to afford the car, but also by the engineers who design the car, and not at least the devotion and pride of the few workers in that little over pressurized room in Tokyo whom we met, that built my engine, by hand, I cant help to feel a bit emotional, how could you not? It is just a fantastic peace of machinery.
So, thank you!
And to whoever said that money can’t by happiness, they clearly haven’t been driving a GTR! Because the only feeling I get when driving the GTR is; happy! You forget everything else and are totally focused on the moment you are in and the car, and isn’t that what it is all about? That special tingly feeling you get that makes you forget everything else but the car. To me that is true driving happiness, and you know what, I did buy it! I actually did…