Just hit my 15th year of Nissan ownership this month. Felt like it was just yesterday when I was obsessing over the Nissan Skyline V35 and fortunately found a way to make it a reality. I attribute this dedication to my brother-in-laws continued gushing about Nissan and his grandfathers Maxima throughout my childhood.. He got his Maxima a few years before my V35 so we both had a blast sharing our modifications and the rest was history. In the last 15 years I have since infected my wife with that same passion for the hamburger (I am also fanatical about vegan hamburgers as well lol) and as you'll see develop, an odd pattern of owning two of the same model over time. Not only did I want to share my journey throughout my ownership, I'd also like to add in events with Nissan and other companies I've enjoyed along the way.
I will warn you, the evolution below is fun to see the progression and also hysterical to see what passed early on (both mods, photography and videography).
Kicking it off is the aforementioned V35 in 2005. Yes it's a USDM G35, but it was 2005, this was our first Skyline so I fully committed to that. Bare with me as I was 19 and 2 Fast 2 Furious / Tokyo Drift were dominating my headspace. I formed a small car club with a couple friends I dubbed SKYZLMT (Skyline, 350Z, 6MT). This was one of the first pictures I took in '06 with a digital camera my brother in law gave me (I've since stopped shooting in Applebees parking lots).
Vertical doors (cringe), Skyline/ GT-R Badging (semi-cringe, but this was before the R35 was a thing), Vortech Supercharger., red underbody lights (tastefully cringe). I still miss the Vortech/Greddy BOV dump flutter everyday.
G35 met it's demise on a very slipper day (RIP). Right around the time the V36 (USDM G37) had been announced and was nearing production so took a brief hiatus and dove in around 2008 with an early production unit.
2008 was a great year for me personally as I had met the future love of my life and she endured my incessant talking about purchasing the V36. I had matured a bit and the F&F impact had cooled off. There were R35 rumblings and the GT-R Proto on deck so felt like the Skyline rebadging would be retired in place of the classic Mt Fuji (more below on Fuji) Infiniti silhouette. The V36 only saw some short ram intakes and Stillen cat back.
I vividly recall listening to Nine Inch Nails opening song on Year Zero named "Hyperpower!" in 2010. After educating myself more on the meaning of the title and song I felt hyper would be heavily used in the next 5-10 years just like "epic" was at that time. I decided to ditch the SKYZLMT moniker (that plate was taken in SoCal so it was a bummer) and transitioned with a cheesy hype video recalling some puzzled feedback when I dropped that GT-R 2011 in there.
Enter the (first) Nissan GT-R in late 2011. My wife's beloved Toyota Corolla was a trooper lugging us up to a snowy Big Bear Mountain where I picked it up from the previous owner. Instagram was just starting to blow up so my newfound photography hobby consumed much of my free time running around with an iPhone, overkilling every edit with 6 filters and uploading 30 pictures at a time to Instagram (if you dig deep enough on my page @hyprpwr you'll find some gems).
Shortly after purchasing I dove headfirst into the SoCal GT-R group making some lifelong friendships in the making. Paul (@airforcegtr) was a pillar of that community. We went to neighboring high schools and graduated the same year. He was stationed at Edwards AFB who had quite the airplane parking lot. I just bought my first camera and was using my dads lenses trying to learn what the hell I was doing..
My overcooked iPhone filtering and bad edits using GIMP (I'm extremely cheap so no way I was paying for photoshop at the time) were taking over on instagram. With that respectable growth on social media, in the SoCal GT-R community and incessant nagging the Nissan USA instagram (lol) I connected with Max on the Nissan/Nismo Social team. SoCal owners had an impressive turnout for the meet and rally through Orange County and Long Beach. A few of our previous meets at the old Cars and Coffee pulled in 40-50 various GT-Rs.
Ebay was launching it's eBay Motors campaign by giving away an R35. This was one of the more fun collabs I took part in as an owner. The grassroots approach driving organic excitement was amazing..
My still soon to be wife, then fiancé, and I purchased a house and had the need for something slightly larger. Fortunately the '07 FX35 was an addition to the fleet and not a substitute for the V36. Since I was very familiar with the VQ35 platform as it was shared across many in the Nissan line, this was a no brainer.
Again peak iPhone filter editing
Late 2012 my wife's dream of rocket powering her Toyota Corolla was coming to an end (Should start calling her SHElon) and the Nissan infection was taking hold. I was gently trying to coax her into a 6MT, but she was hooked on a Magma Red 7AT. and she got her first taste of power.. Didn't take long before we started doing some light modifications. First up were Stillen long tube intakes.
Keeping with the hypr theme she, with the help of Top Gear branded it HYPRZED. We then linked up with the premiere Z exhaust and turbo kit manufacturer Fast Intentions in Simi Valley, CA for their unbelievable Carbon Fiber Exhaust.
This was around the time I made a concerted effort to push my photography quality and experimentation through practical effects. The behind the scenes and making of tidbits from movie extras are one of my favorite things and directors who still appreciate practical effects are ones I'm most interested in. This was a test shot before a Fast Intentions shoot with their shop R8 and customers Gallardo.
Then was able to acquire some Black Edition GT-R Wheels for it from a friend in the GT-R community with a touch of chameleon plasti dip.
My 2009 R35 was amazing. Full bolt on (by Master GT-R Tech in SoCal, Chris Heimburg) and tuned by the wizard Jon Drenas at 5150 Racing. Then Nissan has to go ahead and announce a Midnight Opal special edition for MY14. I had never purchased a new car before (again with the frugalness), but it being limited to 50 upped my sense of urgency (I'm a sucker for anything limited) so put all my eggs in that basket and made it happen right after SEMA 2013. After hearing through the grapevine that the HYPER Titanium wheels were not available if damaged so they were preserved immediately in storage in place of some SSR Wheels with an LMGT4 vibe.
My wife loves to Easter egg herself into many photos (below)
Can't forget to mention our first baby as a married couple. This is Nizmo as a baby. Nizmo is special. That is all
Right around the Midnight Opal being announced, Tamura-San was taking over the reins from Mizuno-San and was invited by the Skyline encyclopedia himself, THE Sean Morris, to dinner while Tamura-San along with other members from his team were stopping in LA on their way to NA HQ... Naturally it was the one day a year it rained in SoCal so didn't get the chance to completely gush about my excitement in the parking lot so we chatted over some amazing Japanese food near Nissan's old HQ in Torrance, CA. Before we departed I had to get a keepsake to document the night. Tamura-San was gracious enough to sign the VIN plate cover in gold, to match the Opal specific VIN plate.
Early in 2015 I was asked to move East for work in Atlanta. We decided it was a good opportunity and jumped on it. We still kick around if it was a good idea or not often, but as time goes on, we feel it was. We made new friends and one of them was crazy enough to let me use his flamethrower (shoutout Do It with Dan). My wife had a destructive themed 30th birthday so it was only natural to borrow it for that. I snuck out in the early morning hours to get some pics.
Yes, that's me holding a flamethrower with a gallon of gas in it with one hand while firing the trigger for the camera with the other while not destroying my car. It made it through unscathed. Gave the above the Atomic Breath Godzilla treatment while going full Dracarys on the below (that's also one of our newer cats names).
One of the more exciting aspects to living in North Georgia is we are four hours away from the mothership HQ. . Doesn't hurt when you get your next cat "Waffles" from nearby and the greatest Vegan Bakery on the planet is also in Nashville... Here's Waffles (momma to Drogon and Dracarys) when we got her.
Our FX35 was approaching 200k miles and after experiencing the magic that is cooled seats in my fellow Nissan loving brother-in-law's QX56, it was time to upgrade the daily. Enter the Iridium Blue FX37 (very similar to the R35 DBA Deep Blue Pearl).
We were still getting settled in GA and was a bit down, not shooting much so 2016 was a low point for output/creativity. My wife was using her Magma 370Z 7AT as if it was a manual car so I knew it was time to throw her in the deep end with a manual. After our first Tail of the Dragon run for ZDayz, we found a smoking deal on a 2015 370Z Nismo 6MT with the revised facelift in Charlotte. She did trust me enough to validate its mechanical soundness, the trade in went smooth and I happily made the three hour drive home.
Craving her own identity she retired the HYPRZED title and converted over to NIZME0W with a fresh GA plate.. We converted over her Fast Intentions Carbon Fiber exhaust, intakes and GT-R wheels to the new Nismo. I removed the chameleon plasti-dip and we opted for the traditional machined lip w/ Black Edition GT-R wheels. With an insane used car market and the Z proto upcoming we have recently sold her precious Nismo and eagerly await the new Z release date!
The FX37 left some excitement to be desired as a daily driver so decided to stay in the family with a Nissan Juke RS 6MT. After years of looking (only 6-10 6MT Nismo RS available at any given time) I finally got a deal on a '15 in Tampa. A fun 6 hour road trip later and I was back in ATL. Just finished DIY epoxy garage floors so wedged it in the garage for this shot. To this day it is still the best bang for the buck daily I've seen. 6MT, Turbo, Recaro Race Seats, storage, easily tunable.
Similar to Fast Intentions in SoCal, I happened to live close to another premiere specialist for our latest toy. 2J Racing are the nationwide go-to for the Sentra/Juke platforms offering a wide variety of branded parts. Joe and the best shop cat ever, Basil, made my poor mans Juke-R come to life.. Need to get some shots with my 370z sport brake package upgrade (gold paint, JUKE-R branding, obnoxious as expected).
Karakuri House wide fenders, RSR coilers and 2J side exit exhaust for the added performance (20" R35 wheels surprisingly aren't that obnoxious).
Had a golf trip with the boys to Hilton Head February '21 so got some shots around Savannah and HHI with my new Nismo carbon wing. One doesn't go to Savannah and not take creepy, Spanish Moss, graveyard pics.
I sat in this infinity edge pool for hours and never saw a single car on this damn boardwalk. Of course as soon as I start running around for sunset pictures, I had a lively discussion with a retiree who made it their life's mission to police that particular section of wood (THINK OF THE CHILDREN). I did not see a single car on that boardwalk for the remainder of the trip...
If you've followed me on IG long enough, you know I love me some baby car pictures.
That concludes my rabid love for the Nissan brand family. More additions planned on the horizon both past and future.. Feel free to check out my other blog posts (Japan, Photography and upcoming Cali Trip entry).