I Went on Vacation, Part 1: the 9.00 sec. E85 Nissan GTR


Earlier this month, the (relatively) new wife and I set off a road trip from Chicago to New England. “We’re leaf peeping!” she said, more than once. Along the way, we stopped off at Oberlin, Ohio and paid a visit to my friends at Switzer Performance.

As one of the world’s premier tuning shops and flex-fuel/ethanol performance specialists, the Switzer boys always have some sort of high-horsepower, turbocharged goodness on-hand. Today, the ride of choice was a super-silver Nissan GTR, which had recently been fitted with one of Switzer’s 1000 hp “Ultimate Street Edition” flex-fuel engine packages and the latest Switzer/Syvecs ECU to keep everything running right.

Just hours before I arrived, Tym Switzer and his crew had taken the car out to Michigan’s Milan dragway to verify that everything in the car was working right before sending it home to its new owner in New York. With more than double the original horsepower the car came with from the factory and a few hundred new components that need to be fit, tightened, and tested “just so”, this kind of “real-world” verification is a serious part of Switzer’s quality control process.

At the track, the car performed flawlessly, ripping off a 1/4 mile pass in just 9.00 seconds at more than 160 mph …

9.00 timeslip

… just the thing, in other words, to clear my head after a morning filled with 350-odd miles of flat, featureless I-80 driving across Northern Indiana.

Sliding into the car, I found the Nissan GTR to be utterly familiar territory – as it should be! Switzer was my 9-5 for several years, so this was hardly my first high-powered Nissan GTR rodeo. Neil Switzer got into the car (to make sure I brought it back, I assume) and I pressed the start button, heard the Switzer-built engine roar to life, and started slowly pulling out of the garage.

The Switzer “Ultimate Street Edition” Nissan GTR drives just like a regular GTR. That’s both good and bad, because there is none of the thrill or drama that you’d expect from a blistering-fast supercar. Driving the car on the usual test loop up Lorian Rd. towards 20, the car was docile. Quiet. A little bit plain-Jane. “It’s supposed to be like that,” says Neil, in test-drive auto-pilot mode now. “It’s not a race car, it’s a street car. It’s got to be able to drive to work and then pick up the kids-”

“Neil,” I interrupted. “you and I wrote that script together like, a year ago.”

Neil seemed to think on that, but responded with “We should get some coffees.”

“The ultimate test of real-world drivability!”


Accelerating onto 20 was- well, I don’t want to get everyone I’ve ever known arrested, so I’ll just say that, when you put your right foot down the extreme levels performance available from these cars becomes readily apparent. It’s there. It’s real. It’s fast. 0-60 mph in 2 seconds seems conservative. Then, you get to your exit. You ease off. You slow down. All of a sudden, this Nissan GTR thrill ride could be a Camry or a Sentra. It’s as smooth. As quiet. On readily-available (in Ohio) E85, it even gets about 20 MPG.

Unlike other supercars with this level of performance (there aren’t many), the McDrive-thru girl had no problem hearing our order over the exhaust, and we got our sugar-free vanilla iced coffees without issue.

“I love these cars,” said Neil, as we pulled back into the shop’s parking lot.

What’s not to love?


Original content from Gas 2, w/o notes. Quotes/order of events are hazy memories.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.