The annual Canadian R’s Meeting was upon us again but with a slight twist. A new home, if you will, but with the same amazing machinery. And some new friends.

Of course being the end of the season for us up north, this wasn’t the only event I attended on Sunday. The final Cars & Coffee Toronto was held a few minutes away in the morning and brought out the usual spectacle of automobiles, both exotics and classics alike. As per usual the full album for both events are already up on Flickr for your viewing pleasure.

This was not my first Skymeet, as I had written about it previously, but the new venue was a shock to me. Despite the smaller real estate, the organization behind GTA GTR Club always manages to bring out a high number of RHD vehicles from around the country, and sometimes beyond.

Advertisement

Unfortunately September 17th turned out to be a less than ideal of a date as no less than a half dozen events conflicted, sending members all over the province and unable to attend. Nevertheless skylines have always held a soft in my heart ever since the days of GTR Canada, the namesake from which the event originates.

Advertisement

I was absolutely delighted (as odd as that may sound) to have seen a Figaro, one of the few cars that instantly caught my eye the first time I attended Skymeet East back in 2013 when it was hosted at Japanese importer RightDrive. Rather fittingly it was parked up across a brand new GTR, a car that epitomizes the progress of Nissan over the 25 years between these two.

Advertisement

Speaking of unicorns of the retro kind, I almost missed this Pulsar GTiR partly because it was hidden entirely by the NV2500 at the gate and partly because nobody expects a sneaky hot hatch from this era. The N14, whose claim to fame was Group A WRC rally and rallycross in the early 90s, is an incredibly rare piece of history in these parts.

Advertisement

One can’t speak of JDM unicorns without daydreaming uncontrollably of the Stagea, namely the Autech versions that carry the driveline of the legendary R34 GTR. This WC34 260RS Autech Version, without the R34 front end that so many owners opt for, is one heck of a sleeper daily. Apart from the noise that eminates from the back of this family wagon, there’s little to no indication that there is a twin turbo RB26 motor under that hood.

No Skymeet is complete without a scattering of R35s, but we’ll come back to those later.

Advertisement

One interesting observation I had was that the number of R32s present has dropped drastically, whether as a result of the calendar clash or that all of them have been sold to the US over the course of a year. What R32s did show up were immaculate and extremely well kept, with a doubling in R33 numbers to compliment them. It’s not uncommon for R32s to show up from the west coast either, as both British Columbia and Alberta have always been safe havens for these cars.

Advertisement

There were a few friendly faces present, whether from the club’s season opener or from other meets over the years. Apart from the splattering of stickers (or lack thereof) little has changed for these thoroughbred machines.

Advertisement

For some owners, the priority for 2017 was minor cosmetic upgrades. A bit of carbon here, new aero there, a fresh coating to ward off any unfriendly weather or nature.

Advertisement

Here is a photo of the two Bayside Blue cars from last year for reference.

Advertisement

It’s not until you get both years of R35 Nismos side by side that you get a sense of how aggressively they refined the aerodynamic performance of the car. Corporate grills aside, all the additional carbon, flow shaping, and cooling holes make the 2017 Nismo a lot more appealing although the 2016 remains the definitive shape of the R35.

What is a Skyline meet without a few R34s thrown around here and there? The beauty of these platforms is that they are the perfect canvas for owners to express themselves, whether through the track focused (or stance) body mod additions or the restrained but mature factory-oriented Z-Tune look.

Advertisement

Which also begs the question: with the way prices are further escalating into madness, is it more worthwhile to find a nice GTT or roll back a generation for a GTR that is, for all intents and purposes, still an incredible performance proposition.

Advertisement

At the heart of all these cars is still the legendary RB26DETT (unless you opt for an earlier RB20/RB25 model) with near universal modifications between generations and a whole wealth of knowledge available on the internet. Like the Speedhunters’ Dino, whose R34 GTR has become as much of an idol as himself: focusing on the handling of the chassis with light modifications for power and reliability can reap magnitudes more enjoyment than an immediate jump to four figure power levels.

Advertisement

The beauty of Skymeet attendees, much like any JDM meet, is there is always something for attendees to admire; whether it be the go-fast bits in the engine bay or the style and rarity of some of the wheels on display. Check out those (vintage?) LMGT2s, a staple for any Skyline otaku familiar with Nismo’s motorsports endeavours.

Advertisement

Of course despite the implications of the name, Skymeet is not limited exclusively to Skylines. Fairladys, Z-cars, Infinitis - all are welcome and the community is generally extremely friendly.

Advertisement

While there were no Pandem/Rocket Bunny GTRs present (which I presume opted to go to other events like CSCS), it was still nice to see the Kamikaze GTR from Varis - a kit that gets little appreciation in the general media apart from Speedhunters, who covered the Bulletproof Automotive build of the car.

Advertisement

There’s no hiding from the fact that the GT-R is now long in the tooth, approaching a decade in the public eye now, but at least styling-wise it still appears modern enough. I’m sure the Blaze Orange Metallic helps with that too, however.

Advertisement

One thing I loved about the Nismos is the way they put their carbon work on display, something not typically expected from the Japanese economy brands (as also exhibited on the new Civic Type-R). Big air dams, iconic six-spoke Rays wheels from Super GT origins, the overall aero package - stuff to die for (although I would love to see a N-Attack car some day).

Advertisement

Nismo booty as far as the eye can see, though the family is missing one member. But for good reason! One of the earliest first-year R35 Nismos I ever shot, currently in California at Bulletproof Automotive getting the full compliment of Overtake carbon bodywork. Absolutely cannot wait for this car to make its way home when it’s complete.

Advertisement

What better way to end off another amazing year of Skymeet than with Nextmod’s BenSopra GT-R, a car that has gone through numerous iterations and one of the most photographed car in our car scene. Like many of the cars in the group, it’s been amazing to see how the club evolves and how incredible the sense of community here is. Best wishes as everybody inevitably goes into winter hibernation, but I am looking forward to what may be in store next year.

Editors note: I somehow forgot to include the Micra Cup car! It would be irresponsible for me to leave out this incredibly lovable car. A spec series at its core with all the cars built by the same shop (Motorsports in Action, who also runs McLaren 570S GT4s in CTSC) is a battleground for talent of all ages. As the cars are built in Quebec, it’s not surprising a lot of the teams and drivers are also Quebecois but there are the occassional Anglophones who take their chances here.

Advertisement

The racing is always tight and fast, something you wouldn’t expect for a car that is essentially a street car barring the obvious safety upgrades. The series goes to some of the best tracks between Ontario and Quebec, and races are usually always a hoot - as one auto journalist Brian Makse (whom I had the pleasure of meeting a year ago) found out the one year driving through half the field crashing.

That’s a wrap! Follow me on Instagram for the most up-to-date content as I finish up my shooting season and head into a four month winter break. Long overdue break, if I may add.

Advertisement