By Scott Deeley, Contributor
Video games get a lot of kids into cars. For me, it was Need For Speed Underground 2 that sparked my passion for the import scene. For Wade Longstaff, it was Gran Turismo and soon after he started playing it, his love for imports – more specifically, Skyline GT-Rs – began to deepen.
I was never a Playstation kid, going from N64 to Game Cube to the original Xbox, so I completely missed out on the earlier Gran Turismo games. But don’t worry, I grew up, my brain developed more and I bought a Playstation 3. Needless to say, I have been a huge fan of the Gran Turismo series ever since.
As Wade got older, he moved his way through the JDM ranks. Having owned multiple JDM cars, including a couple Fairlady Z’s (one of which was caged, had a HKS twin turbo setup that made 500HP and huge Brembo brakes), a 180SX he picked up to drift, an Aristo with abnormally low km’s, a 1JZ-swapped 180SX and a Silvia, he decided it was time for things to get serious. So he started looking for the car he’d always wanted: a GT-R.
After looking, he decided an R34 just wasn’t justified for the price tag. But it wasn’t like Wade had to settle for any R33 – it’s a GT-R at the end of the day and it’s a car you rarely see, even more rarely in the super limited LeMans Champion Blue. For a car guy, nothing could be cooler than attaining an iconic car that’s been in your consciousness since you were 10 years old.
Once Wade was ready to pull the trigger and put bids in on the car, a big headache was in store. Winning the bid on the car was the easy part; after that, he had to find someone willing to ship the car due to the ride height and this took a painfully long time. Then, once it arrived in beautiful BC from across the Pacific, the car blew the belts and created yet another hurdle for Wade to jump over. He had to hire a mechanic to drive to the car, put new belts on and remove the front lip before it could be loaded onto the train to make the trip from Vancouver to Edmonton. And after arriving in Edmonton, the guys in the rail yard fouled a 200 dollar set of spark plugs trying to get the GTR started in minus 35 degree weather. At long last, Wade drove up, pulled the car onto his trailer with a ratchet strap and trucked it back to Saskatchewan.
As much as I want to say it was smooth sailing from then on, it isn’t true. The blown belts were replaced, only to find out the car had a huge misfire issue. After roughly two days of diagnosing the issue, Jesse at EXCEED Automotive Specialties in Saskatoon fixed the backwards wiring of the coil packs and got it running in tip-top shape. Wade suspects someone in Japan gave up on the car and decided to sell it only to pass all the headache of wiring issues onto him. But after all that, it hasn’t skipped a beat since!
Wade tells me he bought the car to sort of resto-mod it and not do a lot of crazy performance enhancing mods to keep the reliability. For now, he wants to keep it as a collectible, but we all know how that goes… He loves the way it drives as it sits right now and takes every chance he can to get behind the wheel. “It’s the difference between walking across the street for milk or driving across the city for it, just so I have an excuse to drive it,” says Wade. If you live in Saskatoon and don’t live under a rock, you’ve probably seen the GT-R on the streets sometime or another.
Wade’s Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R spec list is as follows:
Bee*R turbo elbows
Titanium cat-back exhaust
Upgraded front mount intercooler
Works Engineering fuel pressure regulator
Innovate wideband and LC2 system
Zeal coilovers w/ Swift springs
Cusco sway bars and end links
Nismo strut tower bars
BBS LM wheels measuring 18×10.5 +5 offset
Toyo Proxes R1R
Nismo N1 front bumper
Custom one-off dry carbon hood w/ Aero Catch latches
Series 3 Zenon projectors
Jun carbon front lip
Autoselect carbon spoiler blade
Lemans Limited Champion blue
Rays Engineering titanium shift knob
Nardi twin steering wheel