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Sep 13, 2014

Sport Compact Car Magazine - 2003 Ultimate Street Car Challenge 3

Sport Compact Car Magazine had a test, they called the Ultimate Street Car Challenge. It was supposed to take one of "our" tuner cars, and put it though a battery of tests, to see the overall winner. The first one was actually won by Fast and Furious technical adviser, Craig Lieberman, in his Toyota Supra. At Motorex, we got involved in the second contest, with Justins R33 GT-R. The third contest should have been with Danny's R33. So even though they call this the third one, it was actually the fourth. Maybe it was the third because it was in 2003? Looking at the dates of the photos we actually did the event the end of September 2002. 3 month lead times, plus the story spread over a couple issues, meant that it was well into 2003 by the time it was published.

The competitors listening to Josh Jacquot from Sport Compact Car Magaine

Introduction -

RB26 with a single turbo

Emissions and Base price -

Over All
Get used to this familiar phrase: The Skyline finished this contest in the lead. With its surprisingly clean emissions score, the Viper held on to second place, followed by Rich's flashy Supra. Let's see what Grandma has to say about that

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1350Z110Practically stock
2Toyota Supra (red)109"I normally keep my bypass open.”
3Nissan Skyline108"Yeah, me too."
4Toyota Supra (green)95"I couldn't find a bypass that would bolt on to the stock turbos.”
5Mitsu Eclipse (black)89Tuning your idle doesn't make power
6Mitsu Eclipse(silver)89"My eyedrops are in the glovebox."
7Dodge Viper89"Have I mentioned my dyno score?"
8Audi S476"This is a lot less smoke than we had on Tuesday.”
9Toyota MR262"Normally, I would have been the stinkiest.”
10Ultima GTR10"Wait, these cams aren't what I ordered!”
Base PricePrice Points
Mitsu. Eclipse (black)$19,029110
Mitsu. Eclipse (silver)$22,500103
Toyota MR2$23,000102
Nissan 350Z$27,60092
Ultima GTR$30,00087
Nissan Skyline$31,80083
Audi S4$37,90070
Toyota Supra (green)$39,90066
Toyota Supra (red)$43,90057
Dodge Viper$66,00010

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Full Gallery

The Grandma Test -

Tom Paulie was always a riot, dressed up as Grandma. He seriously stayed in character about the whole time.  Trust me, not offensive at all.

Over All
Grandma likes Skylines, apparently, even though she thought this one was a Sentra. She's not so keen on Vipers, though, even when they come with curtains, so the big snake slid to third, replaced by the television-wielding Supra. Next, we judge them from the driver's seat.

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Simple R32 interior. Stack dash, Power FC, R34 seats, Nismo steering wheel. 

1Toyota Supra (green)110So comfy, Grandma fell asleep
2Nissan 350Z104It's so yellow and makes so many toilet noises, Grandma peed in her Depends
3Toyota Supra(red)102"Golden Girls" was on the TV
4Nissan Skyline96Grandma got to meet Paul Walker's cousin!
5Mitsu Eclipse(black)88Rock and roll devil music on the radio!
6Ultima GTR77Was this the elevator in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"?
7Audi S477Grandma doesn't care if it's down 100 hp
8Mitsu Eclipse (silver)63Made Grandma's wig fall off on big bumps
9Dodge Viper49Hemmorhoidal relief cushion and rollbar curtains
10Toyota MR210Nice young man with a noisy car

Full Gallery
Dyno Test -

This was a little bit of a weird one for us. We had just had the car on the dyno, and it was around 580 horsepower to the wheels. Obviously we wanted to get the most power possible, had good gas in the car, opened the exhaust cutout. packed around the intercooler, collector, and air filter with ice. Closed the duty cycle down some. It was just going to be a single hard pull. We were shocked when the car did 661 horsepower to the wheels. We thought that maybe 600, but "seeing" that extra 60 horsepower was cool.  Third in overall power (by 10 hp), and 2nd in power delivery was pretty cool. I don't remember how high we revved the car, but 8500-8700 sounds about a number. 2.6 liter engine. Nothing crazy.

In all, this year's dyno performance was staggering. The average peak power was 518 hp. One would expect the Viper to leave the dyno cell in the lead, but it was not to be. Thanks to a last-place finish in the base-price scoring, dominating the dyno still only put the Viper in second. The Skyline still held the lead. Barely. Thanks to that healthy power delivery score, Esterer's Ultima held on to third place in spite of his seventh-place power score. Ok, enough chest pounding. Time for the emissions test.

Read more:
RankCarPeak PowerPointsPeanut Gallery
1Dodge Viper842.5110Left burn marks on the floor and on some spectators’ legs
2Toyota Supra (red)671.076And you thought it was a show car
3Nissan Skyline661.974This would have won last year
4Mitsu Eclipse (silver)545.551Only Roy Narvaez would be disappointed with this
5Toyota MR2483.038All this with a serious misfire
6Toyota Supra (green)449.132Stock engine, stock turbos, basic bolt-ons
7Mitsu Eclipse (black)41926Yeah, but he drives it to work every day
8Ultima GTR408.623V12s are good, but turbos are better
9Audi S4354.413100 hp less than last week. Engine fires are bad
10Nissan 350Z341.210Yeah, but the emissions are clean
Power Delivery
RankCarPointsPeanut Gallery
1Dodge Viper110Really, what did you expect?
2Nissan Skyline74More revs means a moreflexible powerband
3Toyota Supra (red)60Less lag than the Skyline, but you have to shift sooner
4Toyota MR2419800 rpm makes everything better
5Ultima GTR35Maybe V12s are good after all
6Mitsu Eclipse (black)30Gotta be flexible on that drive to work, you know
7Toyota Supra (green)29Dude, an Eclipse out-flexibilitied you
8Mitsu Eclipse (silver)22Still want the biggest, baddest turbo ever made?
9Audi S419This was probably better before the fire, too
10Nissan 350Z10In the real world, this is a powerful, flexible car

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Road Course -

So this was the end of our dominating day.

By now, many competitors resigned themselves to their finishing position-accepting the Skyline's inevitable victory with only minor struggles for one or two other positions. Expectations were that Jay Esterer's Ultima would clean up. After all, it was the most focused car in the field when measured in this arena.

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Then the big guns rolled out. Nick Wong's Skyline was driven by Steve Mitchell, who piloted the second-place GT-R in last year's contest. The Skyline boys were well on their way to a USCC win and they certainly weren't going to let victory on the road course go to anyone else. Mitchell came out of the hot pit, hell bent on laying down a screaming lap and the Skyline was delivering-until just before the finish line. With about 700 feet to go, the boosted RB26 ventilated its crankcase in spectacular fashion, leaving a trail of oil, vapor and shrapnel in its wake. Mitchell coasted the rest of the track to record an 80.75-second time, which was still fast enough for sixth place. The failure? A pair of rod bearings that suffered oil starvation during hard cornering. But, most importantly, the car that dominated the contest thus far was finished.

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During the skidpad, we were creating so much grip, that we uncovered the oil pickup. This feed #2 bearing air. The combination of a hot day, hard running, and big grip caused us to ventilate the block in a big way.

With a piece of Nicks rod in my mouth. Connecting rod you dirty mind. 
Before it let go
We removed it the next day. Notice around #1-2 cylinder. The block isn't supposed to be see though
Bearings were trashed
Some parts missing
The Carillo rod really did a number on the block
Probably not repairable
Also took the oil pan out
Another part for recycling

Buy USA Legal R32 Skylines at! for Nissan Skyline GT-R and GT-R parts.

Pistons and rods had seen better days

Adam, aka "Paul Walkers cousin" We dubbed him that at a car show in San Diego. Gave him lots of people to talk to
Matt Andrews Supra. RB Motoring sponsored him a couple things.

James Chen and his 350Z
James has a thing for yellow

Over All
This is the last time you'll read about the Skyline's lead. Honestly, even a DNF would have left the Skyline tied for first, but as it is, the big Nissan retired with a strong lead. Tied for second were the Viper and come-from-behind 350Z. Get ready for a shakeup on the dragstrip

Read more:
1Mitsu Eclipse (silver)76.14110Drag car wins road course!
2Nissan 350Z76.94103Good driver, good setup
3Ultima GTR77.5198Should have won
4Toyota Supra (green)79.8277Good driving
5Audi S480.5170Wounded, but still works
6Nissan Skyline80.7568Kaboom!
7Mitsu Eclipse(black)83.7141No boost
8Dodge Viper84.8931Brains over brawn (this time)
9Toyota Supra (red)87.1710Too many TVs?
10Toyota MR2DNS0Blown head gasket

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So that was it. We were done.  The 0-60, quarter mile,braking, and gross display of horsepower were left. Events we expected to do well in.  We asked if we could push the GT-R down the quarter mile, but they wouldn't let us. . Loaded it up on the trailer.
The Ultimate Street Car - on a trailer. Sad Panda

Acceleration -

Nothing super fast because you only got 1-2 passes. The surface sucked, so no one faster than a 12.1. I had been 11.1@127 mph in the R32 on P Zeros, but means little as day to day, track to track is real life. This video is an 11.5@124 mph pass, where I tried to run it though the traps in 3rd gear, so it was on the limiter for a bit. 

1Ultima GTR12.12 @ 122.62110Shifting like a madman
2Mitsu Eclipse (silver)12.40 @ 121.28105Exxon Valdez
3Dodge Viper12.54 @ 126.30103Missed the 2-3 shift
4Audi S413.08 @ 108.9594Much faster than stock
5Toyota Supra (red)13.40 @ 119.3289Big second gear rubber
6Toyota Supra (green)13.59 @ 112.6786Big burnouts
7Nissan 350Z14.23 @ 101.3575Slower than stock
8Mitsu Eclipse(black)18.15 @ 75.0410Limp mode
9Nissan SkylineDNS0Went boom
10Toyota MR2DNS0Went home

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1Ultima GTR4.58110No traction, still fast
2Audi S44.83107Thanks to AWD
3Mitsu Eclipse (silver)4.86106Thanks to AWD
4Dodge Viper5.04104843 hp, no traction
5Toyota Supra (red)6.0090Driving Miss Daisy was on TV
6Nissan 350Z6.2687He called it a strategy
7Toyota Supra(green)6.3585No traction
8Mitsu Eclipse(black)11.7710Blown turbo
9Nissan SkylineDNS0On the trailer
10Toyota MR2DNS0On its way home

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Braking -

Over All
Modern ABS launched the 350Z into the lead, followed by the all-manual foot action of Narvaez's Eclipse and the stock brakes of Eager's Supra. With more than a 25-point lead, Chen had it locked up, so to speak, after the brake test, but second could still go with the Gross Display of Horsepower.

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1Nissan 350Z103.9 ft.110
2Toyota Supra (green)109.2 ft.98
3Toyota Supra (red)122.3 ft.70
3Ultima GTR122.3 ft.70
5Mitsubishi Eclipse (silver)125.5 ft.63
6Mitsubishi Eclipse (black)128.8 ft.55
7Audi S4132.0 ft.48
8Dodge Viper137.5 ft.36
9Toyota MR2DNS0
10Nissan SkylineDNS0

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Mani getting it in James 350Z.
Gross Display of Horsepower -

Matt Andrews and James Chen both called on last year's Gross Display winner Mani Jayasinghe to do their dirty work in the Gross Display, and it paid off. Jayasinghe brought Andrew's car home in fourth with some classic controlled sideways drifts, then jumped into Chen's Z and brilliantly destroyed its rear rubber. The Z's performance was good enough for second place.
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The Winner -

Any discussion of the winner wouldn't be complete without giving credit to the Skyline boys from RB Motoring. They were a full 100 points ahead of the nearest competitor when their car's engine failed in spectacular fashion on the road course. Sooner or later a Skyline will win USCC.

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1Nissan 350Z1074Consistency wins. Again
2Mitsu Eclipse(silver)1030Not bad for a drag car
3Toyota Supra (green)1025So good, so stock
4Ultima GTR1007Not your typical kit car
5Dodge Viper948Power, power everywhere
6Toyota Supra(red)922Street tires don't help
7Nissan Skyline844So close, so far away
8Audi S4800Fire sucks
9Mitsu Eclipse(black)779No boost costs dearly
10Toyota MR2399Blown head gasket

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Even though we blew up, it was a ton of fun. Met lots of people that I still keep in contact with today. A diverse bunch of people with the common interest of cars. I think I was involved with the USCC four years. Two R33, and Nicks R32 twice.  The bullshit stops when everyone meets up at a common place, and puts their cars though the paces. It would be cool to revive the USCC. What you say - MotoIQ? 

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