James Hibbert's 1999 Nissan Skyline r34 GTT
by James Preston
Do you remember the first time you watched 2 Fast 2 Furious? The first time you seen that silver and blue Nissan GTR parting through the crowds? The first time you seen NOS purging out the front bumper of something? The first time you realised you wanted to bathe in that blue neon glow that shone inside and out? James Hibbert does, it was the day that changed his dreams forever.
So why isn't this a feature on an R34 GTR? Well...
Like all good car histories should begin, James started things off with a good hot hatch. Two days before his 17th birthday, his Dad surprised him with a Citroën Saxo VTR. (I'm actually kind of jealous, all I ever wanted was a VTR) In the world of R plates you could beat pretty much anything in you came up against. James managed a whole 2 days before giving in a modifying it. Working in Halfords at the time, he took full advantage of the staff discounts and poured all his earnings into it. It got the works: coilovers, exhaust, alloys, TV headunit, subwoofer and induction kit. That was the start of the modified car history.
The modified cars didn't stop there, he had two S15 Silvias, a 600bhp rb30 GTR, a Supra and of course the dream car.
In 2015 James finally took the plunge and bought everything he’d always dreamed of. A black 2000 Nissan GTR. The dream didn’t last long though. James ended up being too scared to do anything to it himself, he didn’t want to park it anywhere and even ended up not wanting to drive it hard to due to the value of it. It completely sucked the fun out of modifying cars. Plus the fact he couldn’t drift it.
So after much deliberation, it finally went up for sale. Then came a message asking if James would be interested in a part ex for a GTT. James told us: "It caught my eye straight away as it was low mileage, tasty basic mods and mint shell so within a week it was mine. The R34 GTR is and always will be the best looking car in my opinion, so original plan was to make a ztune replica that I didn’t mind drifting and breaking. With me everything always gets out of hand so it’s been a non stop project for the 5years I’ve owned it, always mixing it up and changing parts."
What James has created with the GTT is something that was never possible with the GTR. It's the perfect all rounder. He can take it to shows, the occasional drift day, do the weekly shop and just general driving around. It's not tucked up in the garage out of harms way.
"Everything I’m able to do myself I have but obviously had help from people along the way. Leon at ep racing has been a massive help with the style of the build and if it wasn’t for him, it wouldn’t look as aggressive as it does. Luckily the car has been very reliable since I’ve had it, Only parts that have failed are the diff and gearbox but they are easy enough to replace and improve!"
I think we can all agree that this Skyline looks fucking mean. And I guess that's down to the Sunline Racing kit. The kit makes it 12cm wider at the rear and 10cm wider at the front from the original GTT. James told us that as soon as the kit came up for sale, we went and bought it there and then.
For most people, the logical next step probably would have been a GTR brought bumper. For James though, that wasn't merely big or aggressive enough. Luckily JUN had the answer to that.
"Once the kit was on I felt it looked a bit unfinished at the rear, but I was persuaded to buy a big country labs wing. I must say I’m glad I gave in, as it’s finished the rear off nicely. I have managed to keep a piece of the ztune kit as I love the vented bonnet. Finally purple has always been my favourite colour so it was a no brainer. I would love to have the rear quarters blended but as I do the occasional drift day, I wanted to keep the parts easy to repair/replace if I ever crashed. There isn’t anything I would change currently."
James' future plans for the car are a top mount turbo with more power. It currently stands at 450bhp but that 550bhp is a lot more appealing.
I'm not entirely sure what the moral of the story is here, but I think there is one. Maybe you shouldn't meet your heros?
Words by: James Preston
Photos by: Connor Flanigan