Pursuing the Dragon – 400bhp Stagea GTR Estate !
At a glance… Probably one of the coolest estate cars ever existed. An exciting myriad of performance, presentation and practicality. Specifications include a R34 Skyline GT-R front-end conversion, full Skyline GT-R engine and running gear, front and rear big brake conversion, coilovers and adjustable uprated suspension arms, 10×18” wheels with R888 track tyres. Initial Power was 230 bhp, currently at 400 bhp. Torque was 333 Nm, but increased to 528 Nm. What we most fancy: appearance and performance.
Car prices tend to be exponentially high and tough to own without substantial budget. Definitely, there are cars that already satisfied three criteria of an ideal car – convenience, comfort and assurance, one such model would be the Bugatti Veyron. We need to arrive at a compromise as it is almost impossible to have all of it, which leaves us in a great dilemma – which of the three to choose? In order to deviate from the trend and prove critics wrong, Ross Juniper from legend of RX-7 tuning, Dragon Performance, has personally assembled a sensational hybrid model of a tuned Nissan GTR Skyline R34 with a large, inexpensive and practical estate car – The Nissan Stagea.
This car could only be imported and shares its basic underpinnings with the Nissan Skyline, as well as a common RS Four mode consisting of an RB25DET 2.5 litre turbo engine. Its engine originated from the Skyline GTS-T merge with a 4WD system. Unfortunately, the gear box is automatic transmission coupled with comfort focused suspensions.
However, it still lacks the Skyline’s exceptional looks which ironically causes it to be label as an unknown model. Sadly, Autech Stagea 260RS version is rare in the market and require a hefty amount of money. In terms of appearance, it is incomparable to its close relative, the Skyline. None of these Stagea models could satisfy Ross’s huge ambitions, hence, he device a plan.
Trivia time: The Stagea’s bloodline and the R34 Skyline GT-R share common similarities, even down to its chassis number (WGNC34 on the GT-Rs, rather than BNR34). This similarity has provided a mechanical advantage for Ross, which meant that the entire mechanical component of the GTR could be easily bolted on. Recognizing this advantage, Ross has transform this boring family wagon into a mean looking speed monster, capable of challenging the Audi RS.
Due to a full Masa R34 GT-R front-end conversion merged with a vented bonnet by Nismo, it looks completely similar to a R34 Skyline GTR from the front view and difficult to differentiate. Moreover, its side view portrays contrasting similarities to a traditional 4-door Nissan Skyline. Thereafter, a rear estate section would be implanted on it. Fun fact 101; GT-R Skylines have wider arches than previous models, which is a consideration that Ross had to take note in order to create a similar style. Achieving this style required the utilization of genuine GT-R front wings, followed by adding matching custom flare rear arches. Together with its 10 by 18 inch Rota Force wheels, it could sufficiently convince people that it is a genuine Skyline GT-R Estate.
This masterpiece might encompass the performance capability and appearance of a GT-R, but the real potential lies in its tuning abilities. Besides the engine, other areas that can potentially be upgraded are its suspensions and brakes. These parts have constantly been improved while fully retaining its drivability function on the roads. Shocks have been bolstered up with top quality coil overs from Racing Logic and suspension arms are improved with adjustable items from Ikeya Formula. The tuned RB26 engine was also unbelievable.
Although it was tuned to level below its usual standard, turbos have been boost to 1.1bar, which has elevated it as the revolutions increases. The sequence at which it flutters at light throttle causes impeccable excitement. Improvement in boost, breathing and ECU modifications gave this car a healthier and usable 400bhp.
Presenting to you, a capable estate car with stunning appearance and auditory, coupled with amazing handling and speed performances to challenge super cars anytime. There is just one small obstacle for the Stagea, which is its fuel consumption. Most drivers would not hold back in discovering the full potential of this car and indeed, there is a way around this set back. Constantly bear in mind the rule of thumb: Compromise.
Vehicle : Nissan Stagea
Power : 400 bhp
Torque : 333 Nm
Workshop : Dragon Performance
Country : United Kingdom
Nissan Skyline GT-R RB26DETT 2.6L Straight Six Twin Turbo Conversion / HKS Exhaust Full System / HKS Intercooler Hard Pipes / HKS Induction Kit / GT-R Intercooler / Blitz Mechanical & A’PEXi AVCR Electronic Boost Controllers / A’PEXi Oil Cooler Kit / A’PEXi SAFC Air & Fuel Controller / Remapped ECU
Full Masa Motorsports R34 Skyline GT-R Front-End Conversion Consisting of R34 GT-R Front Bumper, Grille, Wings & Headlamps / Nismo R34 GT-R Bonnet / Masa Side Skirts, Rear Bumper & Rear Wing / Customised Flared Rear Arches / Autech 260RS Rear Lights / Rear Wiper Removed
Full R33 Skyline GTR Transmission Gearbox Conversion with Front, Centre & Rear differential / Relocated 6-pot Front and 2-pot Rear Calipers / Customized Larger Front & Rear Brake Discs / ABS Removed / Racing Logic Coilovers / Uprated Top Mounts / Ikeya Formula Rose Jointed Adjustable Front Suspension Arms / 10×18” Rota Boost Wheels in 255/35 R18 / Toyo R888 Tyres x4
R33 GT-R V-spec Front Seats / Nismo Gear knob / Momo Steering Wheel
Sony MDC-CS400 4x50W Headunit
[ Click picture to enlarge ]
Extra – Super Estates
As the Dragon Stagea shows, performance and load lugging capability can go hand in hand, and we show you some affordable options… There are plenty of performance estates around these days, from the original super estate the Audi RS2, to the monstrous Mercedes C63 AMG. Unfortunately these and a lot of the other famous super wagons have one prohibitive thing in common – a massive price tag. Thankfully there are a lot of much more affordable fast estates just ripe for tuning to huge levels, and these are our pick of the bunch. From common official UK cars, to rare Japanese imports, they are all well worth hunting down.
We won’t beat about the bush, this is the sensible and obvious choice for a tuned estate, as Audi got it right from the start. Not the most exclusive car around, but owning an Audi S4 is something to be quite proud of, and with its all round ability, reliability, and hugely tunable 2.7ltr twin turbo V6 means you can go chasing Ferraris with the dog in the back !
Popularised as a fast car by the police of all people, the T5-R is the odd one out from this bunch as it is front-wheel drive rather than four-wheel drive, but don’t let that put you off, as the T5-R has huge potential. It can be turned into quite a weapon on track, as its BTCC success has shown, and with 500bhp+ available when tuned, this is a real bargain.
To describe this car is simple, imagine an Evo IX, but with an estate rear end. No watering down or softening up due to it being an estate, this is just as much a weapon as the Evo IX saloons we all know and love, but in estate form. Rare even in Japan, if you want one, you will need to import one, but it’s more than worth it!
The Imprezas’ forgotten sister, the Legacy shares the same basic running gear as the legendary rally weapon, but with a more roomy boot and interestingly, a twin turbo engine. Surprisingly common in the UK, as they are far from sought after and are shockingly cheap for what you get. Well worth a look if you are on a budget.
Often overlooked due to its granddad image, the VR4 is very cheap for its age, and with four-wheel drive and a 2.5ltr twin turbo engine, you have to wonder why. It’s said that standard internals can take 500bhp when tuned well, but due to a very small VR-4 tuning scene in the UK it will take far more research to tune than most other cars.
Very rare in the UK, the Caldina GT-4 is closely based on the legendary Celica GT-4; sharing the same two litre turbo engine and four-wheel drive, but hidden under a sleek estate bodyshell. With 260bhp as standard, it does 60 in 5.5sec and goes on to over 150mph, but is only available with sports automatic ‘box. The 3S-GTE engine is highly tunable and the transmission is based on the strong Celica GT-4 setup so should be very reliable.
Text & Photos By Redline magazine Singapore