This R32 Skyline GT-R Restomod Was Built by Legends

While the R33 Skyline GT-R improved on its design, the earlier, rawer R32 Skyline is arguably the more iconic car. By age or by status, Nissan’s AWD super sports car is a bonafide classic. And these days, classic cars are easier than ever to restomod—and R32s are no exception. The NISMO division, for instance, now restores them. But now, there’s another name getting into the R32 Skyline GT-R restomod game: Built by Legends.

Built by Legends brings together several iconic JDM names

A gray 1989 Nissan R32 Skyline GT-R
1989 Nissan R32 Skyline GT-R | Nissan

Built by Legends is a relatively new automotive business. However, the individuals behind it have a long history in the JDM world.

Anyone who’s watched Best Motoring or Hot Version is likely familiar with Masaharu Kuji and Katsu Takahashi, The Drive says. The duo created the car shows decades ago and later became the distributors for the dubbed versions overseas. Over the years of filming, Kuji and Takahashi made numerous connections throughout Japan, especially with tuners. So, when the duo wanted to make “the perfect Nissan Skyline GT-R restomod,” they knew who to call, SpeedHunters explains.

And the names attached to this R32 Skyline GT-R restomod build are a veritable who’s-who of JDM experts, SpeedHunters notes. Built by Legends brought in famed Skyline tuner Mine’s to tweak the engine and Garage Yoshida to handle the bodywork. The interior was done by Yoshi of Design Build Studio and Taenaka Pile, who sourced the first-gen Lexus LS’s interior fabrics. And NISMO collaborator Saito Kougyo did the upholstery.

Put all this talent together, and the result is, to paraphrase The Drive, a Singer-level R32 Skyline GT-R.

The BBL R32 Skyline GT-R restomod might be “the best R32 Skyline in the world,” The Drive says

On the drivetrain side, Mine’s bored out the R32 Skyline GT-R’s original RB26 2.6-liter turbocharged inline-six engine to 2.8 liters. The engine also has multiple new and strengthened components and upgraded turbos as well as a new exhaust. As a result, BBL estimates it now makes 500 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. That’s a considerable jump from the R32’s original (underrated) 276 hp. And while the original five-speed manual remains, it’s joined to a racing clutch.

To handle the power upgrade, BBL stripped the R32 down to the bare chassis and reinforced it. The team used as many new factory-original parts as possible, but some upgrades were made. For example, the restomod rides on Ohlins dampers with HYPERCO springs. It also has Brembo brakes, RAYS wheels, and modern Bridgestone tires. Other wheel options are available, though.

Also, this rebuilt R32 Skyline GT-R is 268 pounds lighter than the stock car, The Drive says. That’s through weight-saving measures like a carbon-fiber hood, rear spoiler, and front bumper. And one of the chassis reinforcements is a titanium strut brace.

A close-up look at the Built by Legends Nissan R32 Skyline GT-R restomod's Mine's handbrake, shifter, and center console
Built by Legends Nissan R32 Skyline GT-R restomod interior detail | Toprank Importers

Inside, BBL’s R32 Skyline GT-R retains its original seats, albeit re-upholstered. The Mine’s leather-and-Alcantara-trimmed steering wheel is new, though, as are the Mine’s shift knob and handbrake. So is the dashboard, Mine’s gauges, and Mine’s-designed center console. The aluminum pedals and rearview mirror are new GT-R parts, albeit from an R34. BBL even applied a black chrome finish to the door handles and steering-wheel switches.

Developing this R32 Skyline GT-R restomod took BBL over two years. But the labor was worth it, The Drive says. Behind the wheel, the car “just feels tight and right.” The bigger engine isn’t just more powerful; it almost feels naturally aspirated in how it responds. Those Ohlins dampers are firm, but the stable, planted feeling during fast road carving is worth it. And the steering is very communicative, SpeedHunters reports.

In short, it’s an R32 that’s almost better than factory-fresh.

How much will a Nissan R32 Skyline GT-R restomod like this cost?

BBL plans on building restomods of other cars, The Drive reports. One of the shop’s next projects is a Honda Civic built alongside famed tuner Spoon.

However, anyone can order a BBL R32. And you don’t even have to go to Japan to get one. California-based Nissan Skyline GT-R importer Toprank Imports has partnered with BBL to supply US customers with restomodded R32s.

Getting one, though, doesn’t come cheap. With the cost of the donor R32, a BBL restomod starts at roughly $380K, SpeedHunters says. That’s not far off the price of a NISMO-restored Skyline. But, to be fair, BBL’s restomod is legendary.

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