Sneaky Six Change: Barra-powered Nissan R32

Looks Can Be Deceiving

You might be forgiven for thinking this is just another nicely done, street registered 1992 R32 GTS-t as it left Japan with a little RB20DET pushing it along.

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But pop the bonnet and your little Nissan fanboi heart will tremble in agony upon seeing this outrageous sacrilege of all things holy. 

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The R32, put together by Dennis O’Malley (or Grim as he is also known)  at his Northern Sydney-based workshop, Grim Performance has twice the displacement, thanks to a turbocharged Ford Barra 4.0-litre six. While it is sure to get the import elitists furious, the Barra is capable of amazing things, and it has the killer advantage of all that extra cubes over the original RB20.

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The BF FPV F6 engine was rebuilt by Mick’s Motorsports. Even though the F6 was a great deal heavier than the R32, it was in no way what you could call ‘underpowered’.

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However, Dennis was not content with the stock power and upped the boost with a Precision 6767 turbocharger, 6boost manifold, and twin external wastegates.  

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A Plazmaman intake manifold, throttle body, and intercooler take care of the cold side. All the custom fabrication was performed by Dennis himself. The engine package is good for 978hp (730kW) at the rear wheels on 32PSI of boost, which I’m sure we can all agree is “enough” for a street car. 

Something Old, Something New

Not a whole lot has been done with the interior – It looks, feels (and smells) like a 25-year-old Nissan cabin but… yeah, okay, it is a 25-year-old Nissan cabin. With a Ford gear stick. That’s because the engine is mated to a factory Ford gearbox.

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That’s right, this 978hp engine runs through a factory stick shift transmission which, we should add, handles it with relative ease.

Barra’s Big Brain

To control his beast Dennis opted for the top-of-the-line Elite 2500 ECU which is a perfect match for the high horsepower, turbocharged Barra.

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This is the magical box that makes everything work. Ignition? You got it. Injection? Sure thing. Variable Cam Control? Also not an issue for the Haltech Elite 2500.

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On the outside, the GTS-t has benefited from genuine Nissan R32 GT-R front and rear guards, and a striking metallic brown paint job, plus some slick carbon items from JSAI Aero.

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The number plate gives a cheeky hint at what lies under the hood.

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Dennis competed in last year’s Flying 500 at World Time Attack Challenge, having only just completed the car.  

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It struggled for traction all the way up the main straight at Sydney Motorsport Park. Which is unsurprising given the power this beast is making! 

Well thought out, clean and tidy, reliable and not short on power, Dennis’ project is a great, if unconventional, example of a clever engine swap.


Bonus images:

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