By Jack Miller

When you take a look at the Australian car scene as a whole, the little city of Adelaide would barely come to mind (that is, of course, unless you live in Adelaide). Little would you know however, that the recently crowned ‘Car of the Show’ at the recent GT-R Festival in Sydney hails from South Australia’s humble capital.

Watching Rubens Sales’ R34 GT-R undergo one of the most dramatic transformations I’ve ever witnessed in such a short period of time has been truly inspiring. I first crossed paths with the car at the February ‘Slow Life’ meet, and to think that the car I’ve just spent the morning with is the same car is almost unbelievable.

Rubens fell in love with his GT-R four years ago. Long before owning the car, he considered Nissan’s flagship performance car to be his dream; telling me that he’s always been partial to the aggressive, perfectly-sculpted lines of the R34. The vehicle originally hailed from the Gold Coast (following importation to Australia), and once belonged to a good friend of Rubens. It all started with the two friends discussing Rubens’ interest in the GT-R, and it wasn’t long until he received a call saying that his dream car was up for sale. From there, it really was a tale of love at first sight.

As for this transformation? Well, let’s just start with the fact that when I last saw the car in February, it was silver.

The jaw-dropping pearlescent paint-job is a work of art in itself. Flipping between shades of gold, magenta and red; words can’t fully express the time, blood, sweat and tears invested to produce a finish which captures the gaze of anybody to grace its presence. Rubens selected this particular finish because he wanted something truly unique. Following his performance overhaul (don’t worry, this is coming), he figured that he may as well ‘go crazy’ on the cosmetics to complement the internals. The colour was chosen after seeing a similar finish on a car hailing from Dubai, which left Rubens driven to chase a pigment demanding just as much attention. Paired with the Z-Tune front end and a set of Volk Racing GT-Vs, the GT-R is simply stunning.

So by now, you’ll probably be wondering about this ‘performance overhaul’ I speak of. Well, where do I start?

Built by the humble Adelaide-based GT-R performance specialists Japanese Motorsport (or ‘JMS’), the RB26 motor leaves the factory specifications resembling something along the lines of a kitten in comparison to the vicious beast that JMS has forged.

Sporting iconic brands including (but not limited to) HKS, GReddy, Koyo and Haltech; the engine bay is adorned with goodies seen on the ‘want’ list of just about any GT-R enthusiast. The fully blueprinted block features a full billet counter-weighted crank stroker, JUN camshafts and an ATI balancer to withstand the boost that the mammoth HKS T62R turbocharger (the largest offered by the iconic brand) and manifold bestow upon the motor. The heat generated from such boost is handled by a combination of customised and Greddy parts, including a 150mm drag intercooler.

Haltech was the weapon of choice for the beast’s computer. A Platinum Pro ECU accompanied by Haltech’s expander module, flex sensor and boost controller saw numbers beyond comprehension laid down throughout dyno runs and tuning performed at Adelaide-based tuning specialist Graham West Workshop. As for the numbers themselves, well, they’re a mystery to anybody not directly involved with the build. However, Japanese Motorsport confirmed that the numbers exceed 1000 newton metres of torque; a figure not to be scoffed at.

The build saw its debut not in its city of origin, but at Sydney’s annual GT-R festival. Onlookers were beyond impressed with the build which was later crowned ‘Car of the Show’ and also received an award for ‘Top Bodykit or Custom Bodywork’. This wasn’t just a win for the GT-R – it was a win for South Australia. Not only was it a true testament to the artistry, attention to detail and passion behind the team at Japanese Motorsport, it highlighted the South Australian car modification scene on a national (and international) scale. To Rubens Sales, to Phil and the Japanese Motorsport team, to South Australia… This is our time to shine.

As for future plans for the car..? Well, Rubens doesn’t know. However, he’s simply left us with ‘whatever is more crazy really’.

God help us all.

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