The History of a Legend Tuned to Perfection: Tommykaira R

The Tommykaira R stands out among the tuned Skylines. This is the story of how they came to be.

6w ago
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Tommykaira is a tuning company founded in 1986 by Yoshikazu Tomita and Kikuo Kaira. The tuning company initially unveiled their tuned Mercedes-Benz 190E with the name ''M19.'' Since then, they've put effort on many models such as Subaru Impreza, but their popularity has spread with their tuned Nissan Skyline models, sold as M20 or M30 and later as Tommykaira R.

The 1989 Tommykaira M30, based on the BNR31 generation.

The 1989 Tommykaira M30, based on the BNR31 generation.

The company worked on four generations of Skyline models ranging from R31 to R34, but they released a body kit for the R35 generation as well. The first two models, named M20 and M30, were unveiled in 1988. These cars were based on the GTS-R (R31) model, and they were the first ever Japanese tuned cars Tommykaira made available. To spice things up, the 2.0L Turbocharged engine in the GTS-R was replaced with the 3.0L naturally aspirated Nissan RB30DE engine, tuned by Tommykaira which delivers 216 HP (M20) and 236 HP (M30) respectively. As a result of the engine swap, the M30 (1410 kg) was 70 kg heavier than the GTS-R (1340 kg), but the naturally aspirated engine made the TK tuned versions more engaging and responsive. With the M30, Tommykaira sought to be one of the established Japanese tuner brands, and they grew ever more ambitious with their success, which would drive them to keep making Skylines better.

The first Tommykaira R model, based on the BNR32 generation.

The first Tommykaira R model, based on the BNR32 generation.

Tommykaira unveiled the next generation TK Skyline model in 1992, which was based on the new BNR32 platform. Tommykaira simply named the car ''R'', but the name is probably the only simple thing about this beast. The R featured Tommykaira ECU to turn up the volume to eleven. The new R kept the 2.6 DOHC I6 engine (RB26DETT) of the original GT-R, but it was tuned to produce 345 HP, 69 HP more than the standard GT-R (276 HP). The driving feel of the R is reported to be opulent with the new Bilstein suspension kit by TK, combined with the 4WD system Nissan introduced for the GT-R. Apart from the power gain and suspension upgrade, the R was fitted an original bodykit and spoiler, three-piece alloy wheels, Recaro seats and floormats with Tommykaira logos and a new steering wheel, which can illustrate the attention to detail and passion Tommykaira has put in the ''Godzilla''. The R models can be identified by their ''Tommykaira'' logos on their doors as well. Tommykaira produced 95 R32 generation R models in total, which makes it one of the rarest tuned Skylines ever.

Tommykaira R model of the BNR33 generation.

Tommykaira R model of the BNR33 generation.

The enthusiasm of Tommykaira only grew larger and larger as Nissan introduced the BNR33 generation of Skyline GT-R's, and it was only a moment until the tuning company got their hands on them. The next generation 1995 Tommykaira R, based on the R33 generation, was upgraded to perfection, yet keeping the same recipe of upgrades, ranging from a six-piece bodykit with large front intakes to an RB26DETT engine that is tuned all the way to a massive 411 HP, which is 66 HP more than the previous generation R and 135 HP more than the R33 GT-R. The R was given TEIN springs for even better ride quality. It was fitted with a big rear spoiler and carbon fiber materials around the taillights giving it a very aggressive rear end. This generation also had the new seats, floor mats, steering wheel and other new interior gatgets by Tommykaira, among which the new gear knob was popular for being slightly heavier than the standard model, which made gear changing more engaging and fun. The original R's were only offered with two colors, Silver and White, and they were given Tommykaira side logos. The fame of this generation R was spread with the PlayStation game Gran Turismo 2 and I'm sure you've had memories with it as well, if you're a kid from that generation. This gen was even rarer than the BNR32 one, as only 50 were made, but it is reported that Tommykaira also made a few through commission in the early 2000's.

The Tommykaira R, based on the BNR34 generation.

The Tommykaira R, based on the BNR34 generation.

Tommykaira kept on making GT-R's better and better, and with the arrival of the R34 generation, Tommykaira rolled up their sleeves once more to perfect the new model, which resulted in three separate models, 1999 R, RS and RZ. The R was a lighter tuned version whereas the RS and RZ models are the ones that engineers let their hair down. The R produced a more modest 365 HP compared to the RS' output of 419 HP, which is also few if you compare it to the most powerful Skyline Tommykaira has ever made, the RZ, which boasts a monstrous 530 HP, all from the same 2.7L I6 DOHC turbocharged engine. Besides the mechanical advancements, the R34 generation was fitted with yet another aggressive bodykit that allowed for more air intake and wide canards for more aero, gold coloured rims and an almost touring-car sized rear spoiler that completes the whole savage look of this brute. This generation kept housing the custom interior features that were put in the previous generations, progressively making the R faster and better while keeping the attention to detail intact. This generation R was the last Skyline generation that Tommykaira has worked on so much to the point of separating it from the standard GT-R's. This gen also inspired Tommykaira to build a new prototype named ZZ II, which never came to life due to financial problems of the time.

Hope you enjoyed reading about the evolution of this beautifully tuned Skyline model! Do you like the Tommykaira R? Would you prefer a tuned version from another company? Do you think Tommykaira perfected the GT-R or they could've done better? Let us discuss in the comments below! You can also join the poll about these beauties below!

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Comments (8)

  • Tommykaira were bonkers when it came to the GT-R, Lovely read and filled with useful information! Thanks for making this articles

      1 month ago
  • 😎👍

      1 month ago
  • Also if you wish to read the story as I managed to gather it, there's an article called Tommykaira the Phantom Sportscar

      1 month ago
  • Nice piece! From what I understood, the GTS-R predecessor (called Nismo Early Version) and the M30 have an ancestor in common, which is the GTS in European Collection trim. On that car were working the two Tommy kaira founders. He was also commissioned to build an Hartge version which later became the M30.

      1 month ago
  • The R33 looks amazing.

      1 month ago
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