Ian Kneeshaw - Nissan Skyline R33 GTS-t
In comparison to some people, I know my car history is definitely quality over quantity, venturing into the modified car scene I started with an Mk1 VW Golf Cabriolet GTi before moving onto forced induction (and never looking back).
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Nissan Skyline R33 GTS-t ‘Laura-Jill’
Location and Shoot: CM Events Official
Hi, my name is Ian Kneeshaw, 48 years old and from Taunton in Somerset. Currently, I work for Airbus UK in the Procurement team (fuel systems and landing gear) but no I do not actually build the planes; I just make sure the bits they are made out of are correct.
Being a car enthusiast I think in my case is definitely genetic, both of my parents appreciate their cars and my mum even owns an Alfa so guaranteed petrolhead. One of my earliest memories is being sat in the back of my dad’s Mk2 Ford Cortina Savage (3.0l V6 transplant), looking it up as it's a very cool car, asking him to go faster or chase that Porsche. Although one of my favourite stories was from one of my friends, not knowing that my mum had borrowed my Celica GT4 they tried racing it only to have her downshift and accelerate. On confronting my mum with this information she simply stated ‘goes well doesn’t it. This genetic predisposition to fast cars even extends to my brother, who has settled on his halo car, a Saab 9-3 Turbo-X after many cars.
In comparison to some people, I know my car history is definitely quality over quantity, venturing into the modified car scene I started with an Mk1 VW Golf Cabriolet GTi before moving onto forced induction (and never looking back). Next up was a VW Corrado G60, and that supercharger made the best noise. After an incident involving a sheep, it was time to move on and so I bought an Audi S2 in factory pearl white, and someone that became a good friend hated me for forgetting that car. Next up I swapped from VAG to JDM (just as all my friends were going the other way) and got myself a Toyota Celica GT4 ST205 which has been the best b-road car I have ever owned.
After playing the Gran Turismo games when they first came out, I always wanted a Skyline, so the GT4 was sold to make way for a white R33 GTS-t Spec2 in white (nicknamed the Exxon Valdez for the amount of fuel it checked out of the exhaust). It had all the right parts but just wasn’t put together that well. That car was also sold due to a girlfriend at the time, but after escaping, I really wanted another Skyline after considering an S14.
After much searching for a dark grey R33 (I have a thing about alternating car colors between light and dark) I found my current car in Macclesfield, owned by the guy who had imported it. Unusually it was very unmolested in only having an HKS exhaust and Advan tri-spoke wheels changed from how it left the factory. That was over 10 years ago and in the time I have owned the car a lot has changed, but also it has introduced me to new friends and gone on some epic adventures. I am not sure how many other Skylines have been driven to the Stelvio pass in Italy or around the street circuit in Monaco, blasting through the tunnel was a definite bucket list moment!
So she is now sitting on her 4th set of wheels, pretty much all of the suspension has been replaced, lots of interior modifications, new seats, and lots of work in the engine bay but these were not the biggest changes and I can legitimately say I have ‘overnight parts from Japan’ after buying a short boss kit for a new steering wheel!
The car’s current incarnation is mainly due to an accident I had about 4 years ago, a cold November day on rubbish tyres and a psychopathic boost spike that led to the front end hitting a signpost. Fortunately, Stu Clark at SC Performance in Taunton said she could be saved, so the process of restoration was started. He may have regretted that decision as the work required was extensive, usual old JDM car rust issues, as while the car was designated ‘Project33’ he affectionately called her ‘the problem child’. Although that is probably nicer than the rest of my friends who call her the ‘Datsun Mondeo’.
While in for repairs I had asked that Nismo 400R style arches be added to the front to match the rear, so therefore side skirts would be required and then rear spats to make the lines flow. But the key detail I had been looking for for 5 years was the infill boot lid, and what did Stu have in his collection of goodies was none other than the boot lid I had been looking for. This had to be negotiated from him but for me, this makes the car for me, while at the same time being a very ‘Marmite’ mod as it seems to split opinion between perfect and needs a BGW. There was also a whole load of other small details that Stu did while the car was with him that were above and beyond what was required.
- Full glass out respray in factory KH2 Dark Grey Metallic,
- Ceramic coated with Wax Is Dead protection
- MaxxECU Street ECU,
- Mapped by PVE making 360bhp which is limited by the OE injector capacity
- Nismo 400R style arches,
- Impul side skirts,
- Top secret style rear spats,
- C-West headlight eyebrows,
- Infill drag spoiler,
- OE GTR style grill (was a factory option),
- Aerial delete,
- Smoked lights and OE front fog lights
- Japan Racing JR32 wheels,
- 18x8.5J front & 18x9.5J rear, wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres
- BC Racing coilovers,
- Driftworks camber control & lower control arms,
- Tie rod ends and HICAS delete kit,
- Upper & lower front and rear strut braces,
- B-pillar Do-Luck strut brace
- Front brake callipers spaced to allow GTR size brake disc,
- Driftworks braided brake lines
- Japspeed turbo elbow & 3” downpipe,
- Custom 3” stainless steel exhaust to an HKS backbox
- Turbo Dynamics hybrid turbo, with a ball bearing core,
- Forge BOV and A’Pexi induction kit
- Plenty of stainless-steel bolts,
- Heatshields and decals in the engine bay
- Air-con deleted (it was beyond repair),
- Front mount intercooler
- Plazmaman forward-facing inlet plenum,
- Candy fire red rocker covers & Mishimoto oil catch can
- Hermfab custom aluminium radiator,
- GK Tech radiator fan
- Vertex ‘Racing’ deep-dish steering wheel,
- Works Bell short steering wheel boss,
- Japspeed short-shift kit,
- Driftworks gear knob,
- GK Tech handbrake sleeve,
- Recaro premier edition Type-R seats on Nisuba bases
- 60mm A’Pexi boost gauge
- All interior switch bulbs swapped to red LEDs,
- Alpine double-DIN head unit,
- JL Audio amp & speakers
It is an ever-evolving thing but freeing up a little more horsepower will be the next big job as that will mean a metal head gasket and larger capacity injectors.
Thank you to;
Ken & Andy at Nut & Bolt garage services (Taunton) for the years of servicing and fitting of various parts to the car, their expertise and knowledge has been invaluable. Honestly, the car would not be running without them.
Stu at SC Performance (Taunton) for all the welding and the quality paint finish, and also for suggesting the under-glow kit as it is a 90’s car after all.
Steve at Performance Vehicle Engineering (PVE) (near Taunton) for the ECU installation and mapping plus the continued support
Gareth at Xceed Detailing & Valeting (Taunton) for the polishing and ceramic coating, still looks amazing now.
Andy at ATJ Fine Blast Engine Services (Barnstaple) for the powder coating
And also the great suppliers for the many shiny things that the car needs; JDM Garage, Driftworks, AutoExtreme. Nengun Performance, RHD Japan
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