1990 Nissan R32 GTR Group E Falken B12Hr
One of only 5 remaining Bathurst racer R32 GTR's from the period.
Nissan owned prototype and media car 1990 - 1992.
4th outright in 1993 Bathurst 12Hr.
Only 57K Km's and two private owners from new.
"You’re a pack of Arseholes…” and with that delightfully accurate summary, on live national television no less, the FIA Group A era ended in Australia with a very suitable bang. Many repeatedly state that the mighty R32 GT-R forced a rewrite of the CAMS rule book and while it certainly was a factor, it was Bathurst 1990 that killed the GT-R…
You might be thinking "HUH?";
It didn’t even make the Top Ten Shootout and it only finished 18th outright?
How could that lead to it being banned?
Because, young Padwan, the 1990 miracle Bathurst victory by Win and Gricey in the TWR / HRT VL Commodore was so incredibly popular with the punters, that the business heads in the ATCC scene could not help but take notice for the following reasons;
- Sponsors love popular winners.
- The sport needs happy sponsors.
- Imported, turbo-charged cars dominating the local products are not as popular.
- Therefore, let’s make a series purely of popular winners and everyone is happy…right?
So they eventually banned the turbo cars for the 1993 season, and when it looked likely that the mighty BMW M3 Sport Evolution was going to kick everyone’s butt, they hobbled the shit out of it, just prior to the 1993 ATCC. You reckon Frank Gardner was happy? Ouch.
CAMS Group 3A, 5 Litre Touring Cars, V8 Supercars and the current Supercars had a great run for a while there. It’s a shame the rule makers / business heads, did not foresee that letting everyone “eat cake” for a couple of decades can get a bit onerous on the punters. Anyway, it’s probably time to get off my soapbox…
It’s a well-known fact that the GT-R was very effective wherever it raced and in whatever category; An undefeated, 29 wins straight in the JTCC, winning the 1991 Spa 24 Hour by 19 laps and winning the 1990, 1991 and 1992 ATCC as well as the 1991 and 1992 Bathurst 1000, pays testimony to that fact. The road going variant was also quite the winner, with an astounding 43,937 of these twin-turbo, AWD, multi acronymed monsters being sold from 1989 to 1994. Of that total sum, only 106 were officially sold outside of Japan, with that select group of 106, making their way down to Australia.
Officially, only 100 were supposed to hit our shores, but prior to that batch arriving, 6 cars were imported for development, testing, ADR compliance and media purposes. These prototypes were August / September 1990 built cars, with chassis numbers about 4500+ cars before the 1st of the official “ADM” cars that were later imported. There were two KH2 grey cars, one AH3 red car, one KG1 Silver, one TH1 Blue and finally, one 732 Black Pearl Metallic which so happens to be this car we proudly have for sale here today.
Victorian registered EPX 118 and sporting chassis number 11268, this black GT-R, one of 31 imported new to Australia and 5667 made by Nissan, was destined to lead an extraordinary life. What it experienced between its 1990 build date and final “official” duty, at the 1993 Bathurst 12 Hour is remarkable, by any car’s standards. You could write a book with the very beneficial, expert help of all the journalists whose first experience in a Godzilla was with 11268. Rather than getting my Tolstoy on, a brief synopsis of 1990 -1993 might suffice, without sending anyone to sleep:
- She was a Nissan-owned prototype, for a global icon’s only market outside of Japan.
- Used for high speed testing and analysis.
- Photographs show it was likely the 1st R32 GT-R to get pulled over for speeding in Australia.
- A multitude of high-profile media tests, performance comparisons, cover shots and special features, including the prestigious Wheels Car of The Year (COTY) awards.
- Served as the official Pace Car at the infamous 1992 Tooheys 1000 at Bathurst.
- 1st car to get the chequered flag at the highly contentious 1992 Tooheys 1000 at Bathurst. Hah!
- Sold internally via Western Plains Dubbo Nissan, then Australia’s biggest Nissan dealer, for motorsport purposes, to Falken / OHTSU Tyres Australia.
- Prepared in Brisbane, tested and developed at Lakeside Raceway.
- Raced by Keith Carling, Bill Gillespie and Graeme Neilsen in the 1993 Bathurst 12 Hour. With a commendable 4th outright and 3rd in class.
- Direct assistance - via race team personnel and parts - by the 1991 and 1992 Group N1 “Super Taikyu” Championship winning Falken / OHTSU tyres team from Japan.
- Retained by OHTSU tyres, for Falken Tyres promotional work in Australia.
After a whirlwind first few years, the GT-R’s life became much more conventional following the 1993 Bathurst 12 Hour. She was to become a humble promotional car, for Falken Tyres Australia. She went from Falken Tyre dealership, to dealership, all over Eastern Australia. In about 2004, a turbo failed and Falken Tyres decided it was no longer a “cool” promo car and it was put up for private sale, via its tyre distributors. It was snapped up by a young Brendan Kennedy, who was to be 11268’s first private owner. Mr Kennedy cherished the car for 10 years and always knew, despite some knockers, that he owned a very special piece of Australian motoring history. An R34 GT-R engine was installed to replace a very tired R32 engine (this engine is a replacement from period, it's in pieces and included with the car, minus the head.) In 2014, the second private owner, Chris Bowden, AKA Me, purchased the car from Mr Kennedy and the very original GT-R underwent a sympathetic mechanical restoration, only where needed, which included:
- New front and rear diffs installed.
- New MCA struts, springs and shocks installed.
- New gearbox installed, but retaining the original ADM case.
- Both standard turbos rebuilt.
- Original CAMS logbooks located.
- Key personnel from team located.
The GT-R, as it sits today, is very nice to drive and looks fantastic in its original Bathurst 12 Hour Falken livery. A close inspection shows the original paint under the decals from 1993, with the #732 Black Pearl Metallic popping through where stone chips and marks appear – something historians like myself get a kick out of. The R34 engine in the car does not leak or blow smoke and performs well. It has never had high boost run through it, so should hang in there with that RB26 reliability, for a very long time. The bolt in roll-cage has been removed - so I can legally do the school run – but comes with the car. After getting her very healthy and looking loved, my future intentions with #11268, were to locate parts used for the Bathurst 12 Hour race that were removed, including:
- Original race seat (average condition standard one currently fitted).
- Group A style “twin filler”, dry break fuel system (with one cap modified for pump fuel).
- Locating the missing aftermarket EGT gauge.
- Modifying the engine tune to a similar state used for the Bathurst 12 Hour.
- Locating the missing pit radio system.
However, house renovations have become a priority and reality (AKA Wifey) says something has to go. About 50% of the people who have admired #11268 think she would be best represented back in black, as the 1992 Tooheys 1000 pace car, which I only 49% agree with. The Tooheys 1000, along with the Wheels COTY award are all aspects of what makes chassis #11268 so very special, but, please think about this:
- She is still wearing her original, globally renowned Falken livery. You only get that once.
- She wore that livery when racing at the iconic Mount Panorama, Bathurst race track.
- On debut, after 1535KM's flat out, she came 4th outright, in the globally renowned Bathurst 12 Hour.
- She has only had two, enthusiast owners since then and looks loved, but original.
The above facts tell me she should stay in Falken livery, for as long as possible, but I can see the temptation to get her back in black! ;-)
#11268 comes with a large selection of spares, including the original, roll cage, disassembled engine and gearbox and original CAMS logbooks. She has also gathered quite a few promotional pieces from the Bathurst 12 Hour assault, which will also accompany the car. We are very experienced and happy to organise sea or air freight, anywhere in the world.
I would like to thank Mark Newton, Mark Dodd, Keith Carling, Barry Nielsen, John McLean, Chris Waters, David Blanch from AUTOPICS.COM and Brendan Kennedy, for helping me piece together the fascinating history, of what has to be one of Australia’s most significant ADM R32 GT-Rs; #11268.