As a color choice, we don't generally see a lot of turquoise on tuner cars; it seems to be a hue favored more by bejeweled sun-loving grandmas with leathery skin rather than Japanese car fans. But the dazzling sheen on Jimmy Tu's Chrome Turquoise 2015 Nissan GT-R is kind of mesmerizing and possibly the perfect lure to draw people in to have a better look at the widebody R35. What they get on that closer inspection is both wild and understated - a little from column A and a little from column B.
Jimmy has been building cars since the late '90s, with an active imagination fueled by all the usual suspects: "I grew up watching Option 2 videos from Japan and reading every tuner magazine available, [including] Super Street!" Back then, his first project was a '98 Acura Integra GS-R that he worked two jobs for in order to save up to buy. Coming up in that period some two decades ago, Jimmy always challenged himself to stand out from the pack with his builds. "As the scene transitioned from crazy paint jobs, custom conversions, and crazy kits into the more subtle 'JDM'-inspired scene, I always found my having different elements of both. With all of my builds, you'll find a combination of crazy/custom elements with more subtle, rare Japanese-inspired detail."
Embarking on this particular Nissan endeavor at the tail end of '18, the now-fulltime real estate investor in the northern California Bay Area decided on the R35 platform because for a long time as he was growing up it seemed like owning one would always be out of reach. He was also attracted to the GT-R for its obvious strengths (who wouldn't be) - chief among them its 545hp twin-turbo 3.8L V6 and stout AWD - and the nearly endless amount of aftermarket parts options available, but Jimmy additionally viewed the project as a teaching tool for his son, to "allow him to experience the discipline, work, time, and gratification that comes with building a car."
Not Messing Around
Right out of the gate, things escalated quickly with a Version 1 Rocket Bunny widebody kit sporting among other features overfenders that famously add inches of girth and presence to the GT-R, installed by none other than LTMW in El Monte, Calif. The well-known SoCal shop has an ever-expanding portfolio of brow-raising thicc builds that you likely have seen, and no doubt impressed Jimmy up in NorCal, enough that he entrusted them to install the fairly complex TRA Kyoto first-gen. aero, as well as an Air Lift Performance 3P air suspension setup. LTMW is a retailer and installer of both brands, so executing the work came natch. To set it apart Jimmy ditched the Rocket Bunny wing for a Liberty Walk carbon duckbill trunk spoiler, and contrasting ZSPEC anodized gold fender hardware dot the exterior like stitches on a metallic Frankenstein.
While the R35 was in the bottom half of the Golden State, Jimmy also took it to SP Engineering, another SoCal tuning institution with a long and storied past of working on fast and powerful Japanese sports cars. SP set up the GT-R's VR38DETT to be able to burn E85 with one of the shop's SPE Flex Fuel packages and the conversion included dual 320LPH fuel pumps, Injector Dynamics ID1300x fuel injectors, and Titek intakes and downpipes. SP also performed the tune, and Jimmy capped off this stage of the build with some apropos shoes - for these photos, it was a set of 20-inch Rotiform BUC rims shod in Pirelli P Zero 295-wide front, 345-wide rear rubber, but he also has a foursome of 20-inch gold-faced LD97 Forged LD-09's on standby.
Back in NorCal, Jimmy took his prized Nissan to Auto Design Pro in Pittsburg (yes, there's a Pittsburg in Cali, spelled differently than the Pittsburgh in Pa.) where the last big piece of the exterior puzzle was put into place: the Chrome Turquoise super gloss wrap. As we mentioned at the start, the reflective skin is alluring, especially at night when the glow of shiny light blue comes out in the mirror finish, and Jimmy had to import the vinyl from France because he couldn't find enough of it in the US. The look is complemented by a headliner conversion in the cabin that turns the R35's ceiling into a 300-turquoise LED starry sky. Jimmy tells us he got the idea from seeing it in high-end luxury cars and Galaxi Designs (which is in the same shop as Auto Design Pro) handled the outfitting.
As the GT-R was getting wrapped, Jimmy had Finish Logic in Concord powder-coat a number of bolt-ons for the project, including an Ultra Racing front strut tower brace, a full complement of HKS intercooler charge piping and intakes, and an Agency Power harness bar finished in flaming candy gold. Jimmy also threw into the cabin a front row of Bride Gias reclinable bucket seats and some Takata four-point harnesses, as well as a handful of custom fabricated carbon-fiber pieces. The Nissan was then dropped off with Ed over at Mobile Solutions in Brentwood to have a custom T-Rex Tesla-type screen installed in the dash along with some sound tuning and car audio. When it comes to custom interiors, we tend to lean more toward the spare and functional, but the cabin of Jimmy's GT-R has us rethinking our entire approach to life.
Means to an End
Up to this point, there had been a decidedly California flavor to the build, even if some of the parts came from abroad. That changed somewhat with the custom exhaust system, which originated from HBP in Clearfield, Pa.; Shawn at HBP fabbed up a full four-inch titanium center-exit setup that finishes with dual (and not quad, like most GT-R exhausts) Linney Tuning burnt Titan tips. Once the exhaust and GReddy Type06 Intercoolers and piping were installed, the GT-R was then re-tuned by Ben Linney of Linney Tuning in Hertfordshire, England via Ecutek. While Jimmy does not have a recent power figure for the new upgrades and Linney tune, he reports that after the Flex Fuel upgrades earlier, the car was putting down around 700hp. His GT-R will see dyno time again once he fits the engine with a pair of HKS GT800 turbos and ShepTrans stage 2.5 gearbox, as well as some additional custom pieces in the works as we write this.
Surprisingly (or maybe not), Jimmy's Nissan GT-R is not a trailer queen; in fact, it gets driven, occasionally hard, seeing time as a show piece, commuter vehicle and even a track car. The owner has taken her out on Sonoma Raceway's hilly road course and has plans to do more in the future. Our own paranoia would likely eat us alive if we had an R35 as nice and unique as Jimmy's out on the racetrack, but then the buff and bold Godzilla may have good luck on its side with that brilliant color choice. After all, they say turquoise is a protector and bringer of good fortune, and at least in the case of Jimmy's GT-R, it looks like it's worked so far.