Tom Ford, associate editor, Top Gear magazine
GT-R. Possibly the most evocative three letters from my colourful youth, always the car I aspired to own while driving various dilapidated - and viciously slow - old sheds. I ran an R35 GT-R for six months a while back, a car pampered to within an inch of its life until its gearbox suspiciously ‘failed’ (blew up) in the hands of Charles Turner and Oliver Marriage - both of whom shall remain nameless. I’ve driven standard R32s, an R32 with a big single turbo running monster boost and the AWD disabled so that I could drift it around an LA port. I’ve punted a drag-spec R33, hoiked R35s around ice lakes on spikes, got confused about NISMO designations…
And yet the one I’ll always remember is my first: an R34 GT-R in Bayside Blue. Being the office junior at the time (on another UK car mag), I had to pick it up from a famous comedian who had been writing about it. I duly trotted off on the train, to find the car very dirty, with all four wheels curbed, a selection of parking tickets/fines in the glovebox and dog poo in the passenger footwell.
And yet. And yet it was spectacular. A hard ride, yes, but everything I hoped it might be. And scary as hell when it wanted to be. But the best bit was the fact that even when I had duly cleaned it, it was still a little whiffy, and the only people who would drive it were me, and a certain Charlie Turner (who was a designer on the same mag at the time). Our own GT-R for three weeks. We thought we’d made it at the time. Still do.