Sound amplifies into a ubiquitous boom as we suddenly plunge into another tunnel and the speedometer sweeps relentlessly through 200 kilometers an hour. With my right hand clenched in a sweaty fist and left hand grasping the door handle hard enough to wonder if it will break clean off, doing the mph conversion right now is out of the question. We're canyon bound in the world's fastest street car at a couple ticks before midnight, Xenon ripping a hole through the empty blackness and exhaust ricocheting 9000rpm of tuned RB26DETT across towering rock walls.
Aerodynamic drag just isn't a factor at this speed, or any other speed, for that matter. The twin HKS GT2530 turbochargers aren't even thinking about running out of steam. With each new gear, the tachometer needle whips ever more violently to redline. The pull is ruthless to the point where you wonder if it could even be physically possible. But there's no need to pinch yourself when your head swings radically, zapping you to consciousness as the giant car digs into the asphalt for another hairpin right, before bombing down the next section of road.
This is the car that legends are made of. It is very possibly the most viewed Japanese car on YouTube and the no-brainer choice on Gran Turismo or Forza Motorsport. It's a record holder in a country full of record breakers. It is the Mine's R34 Skyline GT-R.
And to be perfectly frank, it doesn't look much different than a run-of-the-mill GT-R. It takes an extremely trained eye to spot this as the 620hp monster that dominates every Best Motoring video circling the Internet today. There are quad canards on the front bumper and a hood from Nissan's own tweaked R34, the vaunted GT-R Z-Tune. The trunk is carbon fiber and there's a decklid spoiler in addition to the carbon-fiber full main wing. But other than that, it's your run-of-the-mill R34, which, while rare here in America, is one of thousands in Japan.
So where does this car get all the aggression it's noted for? You'd think the clear answer would appear when the hood is popped. Like any wickedly fast car, the go-juice pieces must be denoted in chrome, right? But the reason for speed is even less clear with the hood open. It looks bone stock, with no evidence of even the turbocharger change. Heck, the R34 even retains the factory up-pipe. The only faint clue that the Mine's R34 is anything less than stock might be the carbon-fiber air inlet sitting atop the radiator mount. It's a modified car owner's dream if you're worried about passing an emissions test. That is, if you can get it past customs and the DMV in the first place.
Like they say about a good person, it's what's inside that counts. But it's actually true in this case, not just an empty expression a girl uses to describe her "nice" best friend. This R34 packs an un-buyable "stage three" engine, which employs Mine's Super Camshaft with a 260-degree rotation and such trick pieces as Triple Flow Cam Cover Baffle Plates, which are designed to keep the oil from blowing out of the head when the car is pulling the ridiculous g-forces it's famous for. The stock intake has been replaced by a Mine's unit and the fuel injection system has been reworked along with the mass airflow sensor. Finally, the absurd power is channeled through an 8.5-inch Carbon Twin clutch along with a carbon propeller shaft.
At full boil, the R34 sounds menacing. But it doesn't sound irritating. That's because Mine's makes a big deal of building cars that are genuinely streetable. The company admits to having used the simple band-aid of big turbo kits and loud exhausts in the past, but this is a new era of tuner in Japan. If Mine's is to be at the head of the pack, it must design an all-new, all-reasonable exhaust system.