How does one begin an article on one of the most iconic cars of our generation? Do I start off by talking about how it’s considered a piece of art or with an overly general description about what this car represents? Maybe both, I don’t know, I’m just in awe that this thing exists. Ryan Jones’ 1999 Nissan Skyline R34 is not only a car that that is considered an automotive masterpiece, but is also a piece of history. Creating a car like this doesn’t happen with just a blank check, but rather a massive amount of passion, hard work, patience, and a lot of knowledge.
Chapter 1: The beginning
Let’s start with some history on the first chapter of this car. Ryan first started out in the skyline world with a R33. He later sold it and quickly regretted his decision. He searched for years before finally finding hope in a battered down and beat on R34 Skyline. What Ryan began to learn was that this was no ordinary R34, but instead one that was used in the 4th installment of the Fast and the Furious franchise. To put this into perspective this was the car that Paul Walker, among others mind you, had driven personally in the film. Ryan decided to make the purchase and began sourcing parts for the car. However, it was missing things everywhere. The paint was looking rough, interior pieces were missing, broken brakes, and much more. He began with bringing what he had back to life. Excellent buffing as well as basic body repair had the car looking sharp rather quickly. The car was taken to various shows and received a hefty amount of attention from onlookers, but Ryan always wanted to put the soul back into the car. It's tough to describe what I mean by soul, but allow me to give you an example. When you see a properly built car by an enthusiast, you can tell the car has soul. It speaks above and beyond than just what you see on the surface. The potential within the car built was maximized and now it's complete. Ryan wanted that.
Fun Fact #1: The R34 Dom spins out in the race for 1st place in the 4th film is this exact car.
Chapter 2: The Tragedy
Nearly 2 years ago as I write this is when the Paul Walker and Roger Rodas accident occurred. The automotive community mourned as it laid witness to a terrible tragedy. The community was always influenced by Paul Walker, but not many people know by how much. Paul's’ connection to the films as well as his personality related to hundreds of thousands of future enthusiasts. To many, this was not only the loss of an actor, but a fellow enthusiast and idol. As this unfolded, the story for this R34 became clear to Ryan: he would restore this car for Paul.
Fun Fact #2: This car is specifically called “Hero Car #2” | Set Car #8.1
Ryan began the overhaul on the R34 with sourcing nearly all his parts overseas. It wasn’t easy, he didn’t just want it to look good, he wanted it to look like an identical GT-R. What did this mean? Imagine getting your hands on an extremely rare car then building it from the frame forward. Ryan took this opportunity to bring this car from a simple “clone” to a real GT-R. Front and rear sub-frames, suspension, brakes, rear differential, as well as most of the body panels from a real R34 GT-R V spec. Things were looking pretty good for Ryan and the build was looking to be done within a few year
Chapter 3: Crunch Time
This is where things really get interesting. Ryan received a phone call from a company that goes by the name House of Kolor. They offered to re-create the genuine color code for the R34 as well as fully paint the vehicle with one small requirement: that they bring the car to SEMA. That turned this project into a deadline with only two months to make it all happen. Ryan immediately began researching everything done to the car within the film to clone it perfectly. Rotora brakes were used in the film which meant they needed to be on the car. After partnering with Rotora for the build Ryan was supplied 6 piston front brakes and 4 piston rear brakes with 2 piece floating rotors. He was also supplied with discounted tires courtesy of Toyo. Even with all the help and supplies he was receiving from his sponsors the outlook was looking grim. Damage existed throughout the car's body and Ryan simply didn’t have the tools or time to complete it. With only 4 weeks until SEMA the car was still nowhere close to done.
Fun Fact #4: The paint code did not exist prior to Ryan’s project. House of Kolor tested multiple samples until the color created matched the skyline color perfectly.
Chapter 4: *Player two has entered the game*
It pays to know people. Ryan’s neighboring shop Silver Lake Auto Body lent a helping hand with fixing the car properly. Hundreds of hours were put into this car within the month of October with less than a month until SEMA. What looked like a totaled skyline in September looked like a piece of art by the end of October. Ryan mentioned; “parts of the car were being painted with less than 48 hours until pick up. In the last 24 hours the car was assembled and started up for the first time. We even had a visit from the county sheriff who thought we were up to no good at 1 in the morning. He quickly learned what was going on and stuck around to talk for a bit and couldn’t leave until getting a couple quick pictures of the finished product.”
Fun Fact #5: Nearly the entire trunk of the car had to be cut and re-framed due to the extensive damage it received on set.
These are the fruits of everyone’s labor.
This is the story of a Skyline that was brought back through hard work, determination, love, and commitment. This story isn’t over for Ryan, who has huge plans for the motor and interior but this marks a significant point in his automotive career. I personally commend Ryan for his build with his family and friends by his side, it must have been hell. Ryan will be bringing the Skyline to WCEC’s Opening event on April 16th in Oconomowoc, as well as Wisconsin Modified on May 21st in the Dells. A special thanks to Ryan for creating such an iconic car for us enthusiasts to drool at. We should also thank House of Kolor, Rotora, Silver Lakes Auto Body, Toyo Tires, Full Race Motorsports, and Vindictive Vinyl for helping this dream come alive.
Written by: Alex Martinez
Edited By: Monte Hawkins
Editorial: www.theofficialwcec.com - Re-uploaded to Drive Tribe 11/13/16