In the Passenger Seat: Joschin, Turning Heads With His Nissan Skyline R34s

Published by on . Updated on 12 Jun 2021

Itps Joschin Nissan Skyline R34 Featured(Photo Credit: @william_tqw)

The Nissan Skyline is a JDM classic that needs no introduction. It's hard to come by the R32, R33 and R34 models nowadays. In this episode of In The Passenger Seat, we have Joschin (otherwise known as @chinstiangrey) sharing his passion for R34s.

Joschin's Nissan Skyline GTT ER34 painted in Bayside Blue colour scheme pays homage to the Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 featured in the Fast and Furious franchise film. That's probably a huge reason why his car is a head-turner for the JDM fans when he pulls up in it.

We're delighted to have Joschin here to share his journey of how he got into cars by meeting other Nissan Skyline owners, as well as his opinions on the two R34s that his dad and himself currently drive.

Without further ado, let's get into it.

First of all, what’s your name, age and what do you do?

Itps Joschin Nissan Skyline R34 1 (Photo Credit: @william_tqw)

Hi friends, my name is Foong Joschin. I am 26 years old, and I work at 833 Motor selling pre-owned cars.

For the people who don’t know, what car/cars are you driving now, and what’s the story behind choosing it?

(Video Credit: @ji4nli)

Currently, I am driving a Nissan Skyline GTT ER34, while my dad drives a Nissan Skyline GT HR34.

I used to own and ride a Yamaha R15 V2 motorcycle to school. My mother was always concerned about my safety. Before going to bed, she would wait for me to return home. I felt bad about putting her in that situation, so I sold my motorcycle and made the responsible decision to take public transportation instead.

Itps Joschin Nissan Skyline R34 17 (Photo Credit: @cpixls)

One of my favourite things to do as a car enthusiast is to browse through car listings online.

I noticed the HR34 was on sale for a very reasonable price on one of the used car listing platforms. The following day, my father and I made the purchase. It wasn't until after I bought the HR34 that I met other car enthusiasts who shared similar interests. Eventually, I was given the opportunity of purchasing the ER34 that I am currently driving.

When you finally got the keys to your “Godzilla” and took it out for its initial spin, what thoughts were running through your mind?

Itps Joschin Nissan Skyline R34 4 (Photo Credit: @william_tqw)

Is it possible to replace the term "Godzilla" with "car"? My GTT, in my opinion, does not deserve the moniker "Godzilla." The term "Godzilla" is frequently used to refer to the R32 GTR.

The first time I drove the ER34 was to go out with other Skyline owners for dinner. Because I was not a seasoned manual driver, the stiffness of the racing clutch and high biting point distracted me; it was a nerve-wracking but thrilling experience.

For those that don’t know, what’s the difference between the HR34 and ER34? Which do you personally prefer?

Itps Joschin Nissan Skyline R34 5 (Photo Credit: @william_tqw)

The HR34 has a naturally aspirated RB20 2.0L engine, while the ER34 has a turbocharged RB25 2.5L engine. Because the R34 chassis is so heavy, I'll prefer a turbocharged engine to increase horsepower, thus the ER34.

How did you get into cars, and what was your earliest memory of it?

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(Photo Credit: @chinstiangrey)

I've had a fascination with automobiles since I was a child. Under my father's guidance, I honed my ability to distinguish between various brands and models quickly.

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(Photo Credit: @chinstiangrey)

As I recall, in my school journal titled "My Dream Life," I have always wished for a car that I could drive - a Porsche, to be precise.

From your Instagram, I see that you have pictures of outings with other Skyline owners. How did you guys meet?

Itps Joschin Nissan Skyline R34 6 (Photo Credit: @darrenleongvisuals)

We got together at Carros Centre during a car meet. Most of these Skyline owners have had their cars for decades, and I respect them for keeping them in such mint condition over the years.
Over the years, the prices of popular JDMs like the Skyline have increased due to their rarity and demand. What are your thoughts on it?

Itps Joschin Nissan Skyline R34 7 (Photo Credit: @darrenleongvisuals)

Yes, the prices of JDM vehicles are constantly rising. I believe the value of these cars stems from the discontinuation of production, which may be the allure to most buyers because it is not a car that is easily obtained.

From your Instagram, you’re also a car photographer. How did that interest start?

Itps Joschin Nissan Skyline R34 8 (Photo Credit: @william_tqw)

I think my @chinstiangrey page is more of a feature page. I began by showcasing nice cars that my friends drove. I would connect them with photographers interested in photographing their vehicles and organising a photoshoot session for them.

Itps Joschin Nissan Skyline R34 9 (Photo Credit: @william_tqw)

I, too, can take photos, but not as well as the other photographers. I'm extremely grateful to all of my friends who allowed me to photograph their cars, as well as all of the photographers who collaborated with me to make these shoots a reality.

Before your current two Skyline R34s, were you driving any other cars? If so, what are the differences between them?

Itps Joschin Nissan Skyline R34 10 (Photo Credit: @cpixls)

Previously, I had the opportunity to drive other cars owned by my family, such as the Audi S4, Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG, a Porsche 911 Carrera (991.1), etc.

Itps Joschin Nissan Skyline R34 11 (Photo Credit: @william_tqw)

From the factory, these "intelligent" and relatively powerful cars do not require as much effort or skill to drive as the ER34. The ER34 is less forgiving and more of a driver's car, requiring you to comprehend and immerse yourself in the full driving experience.

What do you think about the R34? Is it all just hype, or does it deserve its reputation?

Itps Joschin Nissan Skyline R34 12 (Photo Credit: @william_tqw)

I feel that the R34 is a great car overall, and it was definitely built ahead of its time. Its reputation and hype probably came from being featured in various big movie franchises, such as Fast and Furious.

Did you do any mods for your cars? If so, could you list it out for us?

Itps Joschin Nissan Skyline R34 13 (Photo Credit: @william_tqw)

My HR34 is mostly in its original condition. The ER34 was done up by the previous owner, who had it for 14 years. The whole project took nine months to complete at 833 Motorsports.

Itps Joschin Nissan Skyline R34 14 (Photo Credit: @chinstiangrey)

To name a few mods: OS Giken Custom Built Gearbox, RB25DET Custom Built Engine, Tommy Kaira 25R Digital Meter Cluster, Mine’s Skyline Titanium Tower Bar, SSR Professor SP1 Rims, Full Nismo Reinforced Mount Bush, MoonFace Super Lap links/RCA, HKS Hi-Power Exhaust and many more.

All credit goes to the team at 833 Motorsports for fabricating and customising so many things to give it its current look today.

Although your Skyline is any JDM lovers dream, would you consider buying another car in the future? If so, what would it be?

Itps Joschin Nissan Skyline R34 15 (Photo Credit: @darrenleongvisuals)

Of course, owning a BNR34 GTR is the dream. As previously stated, the prices are constantly rising, and I doubt we will ever be able to stretch our budget that far to obtain one. Perhaps I'll get an R35 GTR in the near future so that I can own a GT, GTT, and GTR.
What are your thoughts on the car scene in Singapore?

Itps Joschin Nissan Skyline R34 16 (Photo Credit: @william_tqw)

Everyone is entitled to their preferences, so I believe we should all enjoy the Singapore car scene with an open mind, be it JDM, Exotic or Continental etc. With the upcoming EV trend, there may be no more petrol cars on the roads one day.

I've had the pleasure of meeting and making many new friends in the automotive community. I hope to continue making friends with other petrol heads, so please give me a follow on TikTok and Instagram!

It was very lovely to hear about Joschin's experiences with Nissan Skyline GTT ER34 and GT HR34. You can catch up with more of his adventures on his social media pages!

*This interview has been edited and condensed.

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