GIRRAWEEN, Australia — In 1994 I lived in Surry Hills, a suburb of Sydney, Australia. Back then, Surry Hills was artsy, edgy, and most important, cheap. One day I looked out my bedroom window and saw, parked in front of an office, a dark gray coupe. This lead-hued peril lurked behind a passing stream of subcompacts, utes, and round-edged Holden Commodores and Ford Falcons like a barracuda among the cast of "Finding Nemo." I had no idea what it was. I called my Australian roommate over to make a positive ID. He chuckled and said, "That? That's Godzilla," then walked away. I'd met the R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R — "Gran Turismo Racer."
Australia's Wheels magazine had christened the Skyline GT-R "Godzilla" in the July 1989 issue, after the Japanese had already taken to calling the car obakemono, meaning "monster." In 1990, Nissan Motorsport Australia (NMA) entered one of the all-wheel-drive, twin-turbo howlers in the Australian Touring Car Championship. The R32 won one race.