The Dangers of Winning a Modified Classic

I want to preface this by saying that this is not in any way a sleight on 7 Days Performance (or any raffle company).

I was lucky enough to win my R34 GTR from 7 Days Performance, in October, 2022 and it was a dream come true, because in my youth, I went down the Toyota Supra route, not down the Skyline route. Winning the car was incredible, and the team from 7 Days were awesome from start to finish. But, after 18 months of ownership and reflection, would I have taken the money? Yes. And here’s why.

Thankfully, I’m in a very fortunate position. I have a very good job, good salary, and that affords me the ability to modify my cars properly. The R34 was done to a price, not a standard – not how I do things. Let’s take things in turn.


The car came with no history, no service record, no mileage validation, just a couple of receipts for some minor work, an ECU installation (which we’ll cover later) and the alarm codes.

Engine / Drivetrain

The engine itself was solid, but the sensors in it were not. Stock oil pressure sender was reading extremely low. Thankfully, a mechanical gauge verified the engine pressure was good. So a new sender was bought from Nissan and that fixed the readings and saved a coronary!

The breather system was just using what looked like transparent garden hose, it wasn’t pretty.

The turbos themselves were the biggest issue, on boost they were weeping oil, quite a lot of it, and after around 1000 miles, they needed a rebuild – but they couldn’t be rebuilt. I’ve referenced it here, but they weren’t GT2530 turbos, they weren’t even HKS, they were Trust T517Z turbos. That would have been £1500 to £2000 to rebuild properly.

When we removed the turbos to go single turbo, we inspected everything – and thankfully we did. The clutch was on it’s last legs. A replacement wouldn’t be possible as it was discontinued. So, we needed to buy another clutch …

The rear differential. A full service and inspection also constitutes a fluid change. The rear differential wasn’t standard. We didn’t know what it was. Suffice to say, the 75W140 fluid we used as a replacement caused the previous fine operation to be somewhat awful. It was dragging, clunking. Thankfully, the ever helpful team at Opie Oils advised on another oil. Straight 90W. That worked well and continues to do so.


The Link G4+ ECU was fitted without any additional sensors, no wideband, no oil pressure, no fuel pressure. Just thrown in. The map was very rich, the timing was very retarded. On boost, the car chugged black smoke, there’s rich and there’s rich. On looking at the date of the receipt, I saw it was recent and downloaded the Link G4X software and bought the tuning cable. Nothing. On looking closer, it was a Link G4+ not the G4X, so it was new old stock. I contacted the previous tuner to ask if we could unlock the map to add some sensors and tweak the map, they were less than interested. So, I asked SRD Tuning to start it from scratch, and we put a plan together to put everything to a standard. The first issue was the fuelling. The 800cc injectors weren’t flowing what was expected, so they were pulled out and found to be old 660cc units. On boost, the fuel pressure was dropping, the fuel pump was dying. That needed to be replaced.

Fast forward a few weeks, the car was running much better. Wideband was in, the safety trips were in – and we found more power on less boost with less fuel. I think I can safely get another 30 miles per tank on a run now. A car like this should not be skimped on. Ever.


The car came equipped with Ohlins, set on the near stiffest setting, the car was very skittish on bumps and was prone to tramlining. I went to my local 3D alignment place, we softened the damping, and aligned it. It was red across the board – camber and toe were all out. We rectified this, put a good alignment on it, added a half degree of negative camber on the front. It is still stiff, but it drives a lot nicer now, less skittish, a little more compliant. Better, but not perfect – yet.


This is minor, but annoying. The radio was all in Japanese (which is fine) but nothing worked. I changed the radio for a UK supplied one but we had no radio reception. Double checked the wiring for the built in antenna in the rear screen – all good. Still no radio. Verified the radio in another car – fine. Traced the aerial, all good – but the fuse had blown. So, a replacement 10A went in and it was now working. It’s not amazing reception, but that’s an R34 trait – so we’re good.


Finally, the interior. The supplied seats were not built for a man of my stature! The Bride seats are so lovely, but quite narrow. So I’ve had to buy some regular sized seats. Thankfully, Corbeau came to the rescue and helped me out with some great advice.

The climate control has been a bit of a nightmare. At 18 degrees, the AC was cold, like ice. Great on a summers day. At 18.5 degrees, it was like lava, nothing in between. Some searching narrowed me down to two options, an issue with the PCB inside the temperature controller, or a broken internal temperature sensor. I pulled the underside of the dash out, and there was the temperature sensor, hanging down. I plugged it back in and we had normal temperature control. Finally.


So I have a great car, much better now than when I took ownership. But what has it cost me? Approximately £17,000 for:

  • First remap
  • Pressure Sensors
  • Wideband
  • Fuel Pump
  • Alignment
  • Single turbo conversion
  • Injectors
  • Clutch
  • Radio

Would it have cost less if I’d cut some corners? Yes, we could have possibly got it closer to £12,000 with some lesser brands and a lower standard, but that’s not what a Skyline GTR deserves.

So, should you enter these competitions for older classics? Yes. But be prepared to spend money – or at least have a contingency fund ready for the unforeseen.