Jordan's Test Drive: Nissan R35 GTR

Editorial : August 12, 2008

This morning I pull up to see the normal crowd at National Speed prior to opening. Bobby (our head tech), informs me that one of our customers that’s at the shop for the first time has multiple R35 GTR’s, in town. I start asking about them, almost skeptical.

After talking for less than 30 seconds, the customer says to me, “Hell, let’s go get one, man.”

I drive him out to his house in the Type-R, and there it is…Godzilla, just sitting there like any other car would. It was surreal just looking at it. Unbeknownst to me, things were about to get a LOT more surreal.

As we walked up to it, he says, “How about this, I’ll drive your Integra back, you drive the Nissan.”

…Uhhh…okay…At this point I check to make sure I’m not still asleep.

Sitting in Godzilla for the first time, I was in awe. It may have the styling of your average Nissan interior, but once the beast wakes up and gets moving, its a VERY different feeling. Before we leave, our customer comes over and holds up a series of three different switches on the console, then mutters under his breath, “Let’s put this bad boy in race mode for ya.” And off we go.

On the way back to the shop, I’m following behind the Type-R (surprisingly comfortable), unsure if it would be a faux pas to get on it a bit. After a few miles of cruising, our customer waves me by enthusiastically… It’s on.

Three small flicks of my left hand on the shifter paddle, dropping into third gear, the engine starts to hum in anticipation, floating at mid-range RPM as I signal to move into the left lane… All is clear, and as I hammer the gas pedal, I note in my mind that the further I pushed the pedal down, the further my head is thrown back in the seat. The twin turbochargers come alive on command (courtesy of the 3.8 liters, and incredible flow of the VQ38), as all four wheels bite and rocket the car forward at breakneck speed. When the wastegates open, the expelled exhaust gas almost sounds to be screaming ‘MOOOVE!’ in an announcement to traffic up ahead. The response of this car is absolutely staggering, and unlike most responsive cars, does not die off in power at the top end.

The car kept pulling, and pulling, and pulling, gear after gear. Before long, halfway up the RPM range in fifth gear, I realized I was at a speed that would cut me some jail time. I let out, goosebumps all up and down my body. It was absolutely amazing.

Testing out the suspension, it’s absolutely amazing (I know I’ve mentioned this term multiple times in these paragraphs, but it’s the only therm that I can think of that properly describes this car’s attributes). The only cars I’ve ever driven that are this fast, or faster, are all top-end aimed with horrible handling. This car is the absolute best of both worlds.

Bottom line: No car I’ll ever drive will ever stack up to this car (in my mind, that is. I’m sure others will have opposing thoughts on the matter). R35 GTR is hands down the most well balanced, awesome car I’ve ever driven, or will ever drive. It’s not the fastest car I’ve ever driven, or been in for that matter, but to hell if it’s not the most well-balanced/responsive/fun car I’ve ever driven.

It is perfection. Simple perfection.

This was one Saturday that will be burned in my mind for a long time to come. I’m not looking forward to the drive home in the Type-R tonight…Depression is bound to set in halfway home. Oh well, time to step up and make it faster I suppose.