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Godzilla, the Nismo Way | David Oden’s 1996 Nissan Skyline R33 LM Limited

For many of us, ‘The Fast and the Furious’ franchise changed our lives and recruited some to join the automotive lifestyle. When we first asked David Oden why he ended up choosing an R33, it was more or less about the Fast & Furious fanboy angle and a much longer Motorex story in the late 90’s. He decided to tell us the Fast & Furious story.

Vehicle: 1996 Nissan Skyline R33 LM Limited
Owner: David Oden
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Engine: RB26DETT
Power: 562 whp / 472 lb/ft TQ
Social : Instagram

After watching the first installment in the series, the yellow right-hand drive Nissan driven by Leon from Dominic Toretto’s clan of street racing entourage, caught his eye. Piquing his curiosity, David began his research on “Big Bird” to figure out what kind of car it was and why it was so special. He soon realized the 1995 Nissan Skyline GTR R33 Leon drove in the movie was a “forbidden fruit” here in the United States.

“Everyone wants what they can’t have and I made it my mission to get one!”
– David

Thus the research on laws, importations, customs, titling, part replacement, and every other aspect of owning a GTR state-side began. Before finally owning the R33 LM, David did purchase a 1995 Nissan Skyline R33 GTR back in 2006. This wasn’t his first car that he owned bringing him into the car scene, but as David explains to us there isn’t enough room in the feature for all the cars he has modified. The 2001 Honda Prelude start off his list of highlights from over the years, purchased new which he then turbocharged followed by blowing the engine and then selling the car.  Next up is the 2005 Infiniti G35 Coupe with the twin turbo set-up and full custom audio that he sold as well. Now we are caught up to the 1995 Nissan Skyline R33 GTR that was purchased in 2006.

Photos: Audra Oden

Shortly after acquiring the GTR, larger turbos were fitted, pushing 574 hp to the wheel. After that, David was officially part of the cult following that worships the “GTR” badge. During his quest for more power with plans to for 1,100 hp in the GTR, David went through upgrading the turbos followed by blowing up the motor. And it didn’t stop there: He rebuilt the motor and blew the turbo cartridge, then he fixed that and blew another turbo so he built a custom top mount GT35R 1,100 hp Setup. At this time he was contacted by a good friend importing vehicles through Florida which changed his plans. His friend came across the extremely rare 1996 R33 GTR LM limited from a private buyer in Japan, knowing how rare the car was he immediately sold the 1995 R33 GTR to purchase the 1996 GTR LM Limited.

The combination of the RB26DETT motor with the ATTESA AWD system in the GTR is the reason why David chose this platform. David believes both were decades ahead of the times and both have stood the test of time as a platform that makes incredible power more reliably than others. With an extremely strong cast iron block, it’s able to withstand serious amounts of heat and boost pressure fed by a twin turbocharger setup.

“Most high horsepower platforms use turbochargers to increase the amount of power without making larger motor and the RB26DETT does it all in a 2.6L inline 6 cylinder package. What’s not to love!”
– David

For many of us in the car scene, it’s a lifestyle and this goes for David as well. He loves accelerating like he’s on a roller coaster which is what brought him into building in the first place. Once he got into sprint racing and realizing how fun driving on the track was, he knew he wouldn’t stop building cars for “show” and “go”.

It wasn’t all fun and games as one of the biggest challenges David faced was importation. Under VCP32, the official law where the 1996-1998 Nissan Skyline R33 passenger car entered the country, the GTR must be brought into compliance with all applicable United States FMVSS, DOT, EPA and NHTSA guidelines. At the time there was only one registered importer, JK Technologies in Baltimore, Maryland. The process isn’t for the faint of heart or those without deep pockets as it will cost you for the magic formula to get them stateside.

The compliance package cost as much as the purchase price and it came with a complicated process to boot. Trouble came up when the technicians put the GTR on the dynamometer for testing and discovered the motor was damaged. A bearing on the motor had worn completely causing a tapping noise … “rod knock.” This brought the process to a halt and because of the mess, lawyers had to get involved to determine the next steps. By law the car must complete the required compliance testing with the original motor it was imported with, which meant the tests had to continue with a damaged motor.

After that fiasco was sorted out the GTR completed the testing and was sent to Alamo Autosports in Arlington, TX. Once it arrived, the motor was pulled out to begin the rebuild process. Two years after the date of purchase, the GTR finally arrived to Houston in December of 2015.

David’s favorite aspect of the build is the rarity of the car, with only 98 in the entire world and only 2 of them in the United States; this is a rare beast. David guarantees us you will never see another one of these cars in your life.  The second favorite aspect of his build is how close he kept the car to Nismo specs. He could’ve opted for more powerful or higher quality parts for the build, but that’s not the route he wanted to go for.

“I wanted to build ‘The car Nismo would have wanted.’ ”
– David

The intentions for the GTR was to own a piece of Nissan history and create a highly valuable asset using only NIsmo parts. Well, his goal was achieved.  David followed his build plan all the way through and never strayed. Once he was done with the build, he took the GTR out to Motorsport Ranch Cresson, TX and Circuit of the Americas Austin, TX for some fun runs. Now David is tempted to give the car more power and much better brakes than the factory offered but for now he plans to hold off as he’s in the progress of building two race prepped R32 GTR’s and the first 1999 R34 GTR V-SPEC Early Edition in the United States which is on its way. That’s not the only GTR in the stables, he also has an daily driven R35 so he is occupied with those for now.

“Like I said, I joined the ‘GTR’ badge cult haha!”
– David

Modification List

  • Championship Blue paint color (code BT2)
  • Carbon Fiber Rear Wing Blade
  • N1 Front Brake Cooling Ducts
  • N1 Bonnet Lip
  • Commemorative GT-R Decals on C-Pillars
  • Nismo 320kph Speedometer
  • Nismo Secondary Guages
  • Nismo Shift Knob
  • Nismo Floormat Set
  • Nismo LM GT1 18×10 114.3×5
  • Michelin Pilot Sport 275/35/ZR18
  • Nismo S – Tune Coilovers
  • Nismo Sway bars
  • Nismo Under chassis bracing
  • Nismo Suspension bushings
  • Nismo Strut tower bar front & Rear
  • Nismo N1 Crankshaft
  • Nismo N1 Pistons
  • Manley Rods
  • Nismo Bearings
  • NIsmo Gaskets
  • Nismo N1 Oil Pump
  • Tomei Poncams Type B
  • Ferrea Valves
  • Ferrea Valve Springs & Retainers
  • ARP Bolts
  • Nismo Oil Separator
  • Nismo Intake Manifold
  • Nismo Air Box
  • Nismo Intercooler
  • Nismo Hardpiping kit
  • Ported Exhaust manifolds
  • Twin Garrett 2860-5 Turbochargers
  • Haltec Platinum Pro
  • Splitfire Coilpacks
  • NGK Iridium Spark Plugs
  • Tomei Downpipe
  • Tomei Exhaust
  • Innovate PowerSafe Boost Controller
  • Nismo Air Flow Meters
  • Nismo Twin Copper Mix Clutch
  • Nismo Lightweight flywheel
  • Nismo 1.5 way LSD
  • Greddy Front Differential Cooler
Alex Ventura

I grew up around american muscle working on cars with my dad, but by the time they were ready to get me a car, they wanted something reliable and good on gas. Picked up my first civic and started modded years back which introduced to the import scene. I still have a soft spot for some old school american muscle.
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