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1993 HKS Zero-R: Fast Car History Lesson

By Chris Thompson, 08 Jul 2020 Features

1993 HKS Zero-R: Fast Car History Lesson

Think you know the R32 Skyline? Then you must know the ultimate version of it.

There’s rare, and then there’s rare. Versions of the Nissan R32 Skyline GT-R such as the R-Tune or R400 are the former, but the HKS Zero-R is most certainly the latter. With only four in the whole world, the tuning company’s ultimate vision for the BNR32 platform is considered by many to be the holy grail of Skyline. Even though it’s not 'officially' a Skyline anymore.

When HKS tore down four of Nissan’s BNR32s, only to build them back up again in its own vision, HKS changed just about everything, even if only slightly in some cases. There’s not a Nissan badge in sight. Because of this HKS would have to crash test the cars, which were set to cost more than 10 million yen each. Today, 10 million yen is roughly AU$135,000.

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The project was abandoned and the Zero-Rs sat unregistrable and neglected, except for one which was sold to the Sultan of Brunei to become part of his collection… and likely remain unregistrable and neglected.

1993 HKS Zero-R V-Spec Melbourne

Pic: V-Spec Performance

In the mid-2000s, however, HKS realised the cars were more easily able to be made road-legal though the eyes of the law, and set to work rebuilding the three cars it had left to be even better.

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Obviously, this being HKS, the engine is where we should start. After years of tuning Nissan engines and helping the brand become a motorsport dominator, HKS was in a perfect position to create an epic powerplant using Nissan’s RB26DETT as a basis.

1993 HKS Zero-R R32 Skyline engine

Now 2.8-litres and pumping out upwards of 441kW thanks to a HKS-developed turbo upgrade, as well as the block itself being of proper Nismo motorsport pedigree, the engine is hooked up to a six-speed manual from an R32.

Plenty of Nismo parts also found their way into the suspension, but the shocks themselves are HKS’s own, tuned specifically to the Zero-R.

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On the outside, its reworked panels are clearly R32, but with subtle changes that mean they can’t just be switched out for stock parts if damaged. Perhaps its most notable difference is the twin-exhaust setup at the rear. Although, the ‘Zero-R’ moulded into the rear bar gives it away a tad.

Inside the R32 Zero-R are two seats, with the fuel tank located where the rear seats were. The front of the cabin is a custom interior.

If you’re in Melbourne and want to see for yourself, the team at V-Spec Performance are the custodians of the pictured Zero-R, after having purchased it for a reasonable AU$212,000 at the BH Auction sale during the 2019 Tokyo Auto Salon.