Built by Legends Mine’s Nissan Skyline GT-R Is the Ultimate R32

Built by Legends Mine’s R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R article highlights:

  • The Built by Legends R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R brings together multiple well-known Japanese tuners to make a better-than-factory R32
  • With new suspension, an upgraded interior, and an RB26 modified by experts at Mine’s, the BBL R32 amplifies everything good about the original without sacrificing daily drivability
  • The $450,000 sticker makes it an expensive restomod, though NISMO charges a similar amount for its restoration service

Some cars transcend mere icon status for ‘legend’ appellations, and the Nissan Skyline GT-R is one of them. But while the R34 and R33 have their fans, their legends exist because of the R32 Skyline GT-R. The OG AWD JDM supercar is still running laps and tearing up streets in no small part thanks to a thriving aftermarket scene. So, what happens when some of the best-known tuners make an R32 better than the factory ever could? You get the Built by Legends Mine’s R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R.

Meet the Mine’s R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R restomod homage literally built by tuning legends

A front overhead view of a white Built by Legends Mine's R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R in a red studio
Built by Legends Mine’s R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R overhead | Built by Legends

Plenty of tuners have taken a shot at modifying the R32 Skyline GT-R, including Nissan’s NISMO racing and tuning department. But the biggest name in Skyline tuning is arguably Mine’s, a Japanese shop famous for its engine builds. Mine’s makes parts and engines for JDM performance cars, but its Skyline work is, well, legendary. So, it’s appropriate that its latest work lies at the heart of the Built by Legends R32 Skyline GT-R.

Although Built by Legends is technically a restomod company, it works differently than companies like Singer or Russel Built. It’s not trying to make a ‘Greatest Hits’ version of the R32, though there are certainly enough variations to choose from. Instead, the shop is going “for an OEM+++ look,” SpeedHunters explains.

Basically, its R32 is meant to look stock and factory fresh, but feel better, handle sharper, and go faster. And Mine’s is just one of several ‘legends’ that helped Built by Legends do just that.

How Built by Legends makes the R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R even more super

Built by Legends Mine’s R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R1989-1994 R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R
Engine2.8-liter ‘RB26DETT’ twin-turbocharged inline-six2.6-liter ‘RB26DETT’ twin-turbocharged inline-six
HorsepowerMB5: 493+ hp
MB6: 592+ hp
MB7: 641+ hp
276 hp (claimed)
TorqueMB5: 362 lb-ft
MB6: 434 lb-ft
MB7: 470 lb-ft
260 lb-ft (claimed)
TransmissionFive-speed manualFive-speed manual
Curb weight2991 lbs3153 lbs (1989-1991)
3261 lbs (1992-1994)

When Nissan unleashed the R32 Skyline GT-R upon the world, it was a technological tour de force. However, while its AWD system, hydraulic rear-wheel steering, and ridiculously-stout RB26 engine left a big impact, even Nissan had some manufacturing constraints. Also, the infamous ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ meant Nissan under-rated the RB26 at 276 hp. But today, over 30 years later, Built by Legends is free to flex its engineering mastery.

The flexing starts at Garage Yoshida, which strips the donor R32 Skyline GT-R to bare metal, reinforces and spot-welds the chassis, and applies a five-layer paint job. The shop also powder-coats much of the hardware for extra protection.

While that’s happening, Mine’s bores the original RB26 out to 2.8 liters and installs a custom ECU, titanium exhaust, titanium headers, and upgraded fuel piping. The engine also gets new fuel injectors and airflow meters from the current R35 GT-R. Oh, and did I mention Mine’s Master Engine Builder Toshikazu Nakayama does this work by hand? In addition, the transmission gets a new clutch.

Next, BBL fits the R32 Skyline GT-R with Ohlins DFV coilovers, Hyperco springs, new sway bars, fresh stock bushings, Brembo slotted disc brakes, and Rays wheels wrapped in Bridgestone RE-71 RS tires. The car also gets a titanium front strut-tower brace with custom BBL graphics as well as a carbon-fiber hood, rear spoiler, and front bumper. And to save even more weight, BBL ditches the sometimes-problematic hydraulic rear-wheel steering system.

Built by Legends doesn’t skimp on the interior

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Plus, the shop installs new wipers, including a non-factory rear one that’s actually an R34 part, SH says. But that’s not the only R34 item in this Mine’s homage. BBL’s ultimate R32 also has an R34 rearview mirror and aluminum pedals.

The seats, though, are stock R32 units, albeit re-upholstered in Alcantara and custom Mt. Fuji cloth inserts. The Garage Yoshida-supplied headliner is Alcantara, too, while the handbrake grip is Nappa leather. But while the steering wheel is trimmed in leather and Alcantara, it’s basically a stock R32 part as well. And that’s deliberate, because as ‘Mr. GT-R’ and 2023 Z lead Hiroshi Tamura discovered many consider the R32 wheel perfect.

Furthermore, although the rest of the interior looks fairly stock, the BBL R32 Skyline GT-R has a new dashboard as well as black-chrome switchgear and door handles. The ITO Jidosha-restored interior panels also feature modern sound-insulating material. And the rear speakers aren’t gone—instead, they’re concealed behind panels.

In addition, the shifter and parking lever have neoprene boots. The shifter also has a handmade shift knob made by the interior upholsterer, Saito Kougyo. Plus, BBL even took the time to make a special new key for the car.

And as it happens, the car is special enough to deserve that key.

It’s an ‘OEM-plus’ classic supercar that feels oh-so modern and oh-so fast

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As noted earlier, while the R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R blew the doors off its contemporary competitors, its on-paper performance looks tamer these days. But the numbers, as always, rarely tell the whole story. Behind the wheel, the R32 pulls and turns like a significantly newer car, Hagerty reports. So, what happens when tuning legends get ahold of it? Make it extraordinary.

Mine’s didn’t want the RB26 to make “crazy power,” but rather have “a brilliant response,” The Smoking Tire says; mission accomplished. Yet it’s not just that the BBL R32 Skyline GT-R responds more eagerly to your right foot. That RB26 never feels or sounds coarse: it’s all smooth linear power and great low-end torque. It’s a breeze to modulate, and lives to rev as much as any Porsche 911 engine, TST reports. And the perfectly-placed pedals and excellent shifter make rowing through the gears a delight.

“I love Skylines, and this is the best one!”

matt farah, The smoking tire

The new shocks and springs are a bit firm, SH notes, and large bumps can disturb the car slightly. But it’s never uncomfortable because again, BBL is aiming for that ‘OEM-plus’ feeling. Furthermore, the chassis tweaks and suspension upgrades, combined with the AWD system, make this an utterly fluid car to drive, TST says. In addition, the steering is extremely precise, the brakes are more than strong enough on the street or track, and the seats hold you well without being uncomfortable.

To quote TST, BBL’s R32 is “f*cking delightful.”

Is the Built by Legends Mine’s R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R really worth $450,000?

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Unfortunately, those delights don’t come cheap: a Built by Legends R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R build starts at $450,000. Admittedly, you don’t have to provide your own donor car, because BBL will find one for you. But while R32s have appreciated in recent years, the average good-condition example is at most a $60,000 car, Hagerty claims.

However, it’s worth noting that NISMO’s R32 restoration service costs $430,000. And that doesn’t include the donor car or the cost of shipping it to Japan. In addition, $450K is on the cheaper side of the restomod world. In addition, this isn’t some sketchy tuner car, but a complete, turn-key build that feels better than new.

As of this writing, TST claims that five customers have already put down deposits at Toprank Importers for BBL R32 builds. So, at least a few people think it’s worth it. And it’s rather fitting that a legend has a legendary price.

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