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Captured Kaira

A rare Tommy Kaira R32 Skyline GT-R with a fistful of mods!

Words by Michael Knowling, Pix by Julian Edgar

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At a glance...

  • Tommy Kaira R32 Skyline GT-R
  • Custom turbos, A'PEXi Power FC and more
  • House of Colour pearl paint
  • Cred at the highest level!
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The name Tommy Kaira isn’t widely recognised in Australia but in Japan it’s the stuff of legends - it’s the Japanese version of TWR or Corsa.

In Japan, Tommy Kaira established itself as one of the first major aftermarket tuners and manufacturer of tuned cars. In the late 1980s the company released its first tuned vehicle package, which was based on the R31 Nissan Skyline. Today, their latest offering is a tuned version of the current Nissan Zed.

But, as far as we’re aware, there’s only one genuine Tommy Kaira vehicle in Australia – and it’s this immaculate R32 GT-R owned by Scott X of Queensland.

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Scott has owned this car since late ‘04 (after purchasing it from the guitarist of Matchbox 20!) and, while some of the mods are obvious, there’s probably a whole bunch that are yet to be discovered.

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We can tell you Tommy Kaira endowed the car with a bar-and-plate front-mount intercooler, high-flow exhaust and intake. Scott says their might also be some aftermarket engine internals – perhaps a set of forged pistons – but we can’t be certain.

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Inside, Tommy K fitted Recaro seats (featuring Tommy Kaira embroidery), a 300 km/h instrument cluster and a replacement set of centre console gauges. These display boost pressure, oil temperature and exhaust gas temperature. The body is set off by an attractive body kit comprising a front bumper, side skirts and deleted rear wing. Aftermarket strut braces stiffen the chassis.

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These are the mods we can see but it appears that the Tommy Kaira R32 GT-Rs were also equipped with upgrade turbos, a rewritten chip and an upgrade clutch. Scott’s car arrived from Japan also carrying an aftermarket aluminium radiator, HKS remote oil filter kit and oil cooler.

Whatever the case, Scott has since taken the car far beyond original Tommy Kaira specs.

Scott has fitted a pair of custom Garrett ball-bearing turbochargers, a steel head gasket (after the existing gasket blew), a 3½ inch HKS exhaust with high-flow dump pipe, twin HKS pod filters and a A’PEXi AVC-R boost controller. A set of 680cc HKS injectors, an upgraded fuel pump and a plug-in A’PEXi Power FC programmable ECU keep the engine running safely within its boundaries.

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Scott says the existing airflow meters are reaching their peak load signal with the engine running less than 10 psi booost. Still, with just 9 psi of boost, the car has run 268kW (359hp) at the wheels on a Dyno Dynamics chassis dyno. A pair of Z32 airflow meters was on their way for fitment after our photo shoot. With these fitted, tuned and with boost pressure cranked-up, Scott is expecting around 373kW (500hp) at the wheels.

Not surprisingly, Scott has installed an Exedy twin-plate clutch in anticipation of this big whack. The suspension has also been upgraded to adjustable HD System coil-overs.

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The car was originally silver but a car yard that previously held the car decided to get it re-sprayed green. Scott says it’s a House of Colour candy green with gold pearl. Whatever it is, we reckon the bright colour, not-too-heavy body kit and removal of the factory rear wing gives the R32 a much more attractive look. Wheels are OZ Racing 17s with 225/40 rubbers.

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Inside, all of the original Tommy Kaira good gear remains – the seats, 300 km/h cluster and triple gauge console. Scott has also added a Sony Xplod head unit with a pair of MTX amps, 6 inch Kenwoods front and rear, and a 12 inch Sony sub. High quality power cables, RCAs and speaker wires are used throughout the system. Oh, and you’ll also find the A’PEXi AVC-R and auto timer (which serves as a turbo timer and air-fuel ratio meter).

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Once Scott has the twin Z32 airflow meters fitted and tuned and the engine putting out his desired target figure, he admits he’ll probably be selling the car. And the price? Well, given the mods, gorgeous paint and uniqueness of a Tommy Kaira, Scott can ask pretty well whatever he wants...

But he’ll settle for offers around AUD$55,000.

If you want a GT-R to stand out among the rest of ‘em you can contact Scott through us at michael@autospeed.com

Thanks

Scott would like to thank Rob and Tom from AutoZone (in Toowoomba) as well as Suicide Racing – a car club formed with a few of his mates.

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