This is my Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R. There is none other like it. It’s modified to the hilt with some very fine and very rare Japanese aftermarket parts, and with nearly 400bhp, it goes like a wild-rocket. But there is a problem.
It has a super-rare VeilSide aftermarket exhaust on it. This is a good thing as its 3-inch bore from the turbos back really lets the engine breathe; it’s extremely well-made, looks great and is much lighter than the original factory system. Most of the time the noise that comes out of its 5-inch, mini-dustbin tailpipe is pure automotive-soundtrack-poetry. Unless you’re at 3,000rpm, in 5th gear, at 70mph. Motorway cruising speed, basically. At this regularly used engine performance-point the exhaust noise reverberates through the cabin like there’s a jackhammer revving hard in the boot!
This didn’t majorly bother me initially – I’ve owned plenty of ‘tuner car’; cars tuned for power and performance and usually Japanese and turbocharged – during my years of being a writer for the famous Max Power tuning magazine. But, one night while relaxing in bed, I heard a problem. Like a swarm of particularly miffed gnats dive-bombing my bonce, there was a rather loud, high-pitched ‘zing’ in my ears. The kind of ringing you get after a night at a rock gig with loud music and mates shouting in your ears.
Firstly, I put it down to all the nightclubs I used to go to as a young buck. But that was 15 years ago – why is it only starting to bite me back now? So, as the gnats continued to swarm, I tried to work out what was going on. I’d just got back from a very long drive in the Skyline and I remembered thinking that the exhaust was about the most droning and reverberating I’ve ever heard, and I’ve hard a few.
Could it be that the car had given me tinnitus? I’d not stuck my head in any speaker stacks for years, so the answer to that question had to be, yes. Great. My new car, that I love so much, is trying to make me deaf. This is pretty serious, as along with the GT-R’s searing four-wheel drive performance and stunning wide arch (Yanaka wide arches from Japan) and deeply delicious body kit (Do-Luck lightweight fibreglass from Japan), it’s the noise of the thing that I love. It’s a menacing burble at tickover that turns to a growl and them a banshee-like howl as the revs near the heady 8,000rpm redline. It’s what makes the car what it is – that unmistakable RB26DETT, straight-6 engine’s incredible sound.
So, what are my options at this point? Well, I could have a new, full exhaust system fitted from another manufacturer, at a probable cost of around £1,000, for the kind of quality kit to match the VeilSide deaf-making system. It has to be good gear to match the rest of the quality kit on the car and handle the super-heated gases rushing back from the turbos. But, at all other revs the VeilSide system sounds amazing; it’s only at motorway cruise when it’s destroying eardrums. And, this VeilSide system is very rare and suits my GT-R perfectly. Do I really want to break up this dream team of rare Japanese tuning parts?
I could chop the 5-inch bore VeilSide back box off and weld on a quieter box from another maker, but that’s like chopping the spoiler off to let the car fit into an automatic car wash. I’d rather toil and sweat and wash the car myself. And so, I’ve come to a decision, and I think it’s a bit of a blinder. I’m going to wear earplugs! The type you see motorcycle racers cramming into their ears to defend against screaming engines and rushing wind. I’ve bought a pack and every time I hit the motorway I’ll have a pair of them in place. Is this normal behaviour? I think so, but everyone else I’ve told about my problem and solution has looked back at me like I’m speaking tongues and wearing a Man-kini! I guess they’re just not petrol-heads!
By Dan Anslow