I recently found a random gem of a book in a small dusty used bookstore in Los Angeles. Autobooks-Aerobooks in Burbank usually has a stock of weirdo stuff, but this really stood out. It’s an Australian publication by the name of Obekemono Downunder, and it chronicles the full, albeit short, history of Group A GT-R racing in Australia. It contains a race-by-race report from October 1989 to Bathhurst 1992, with extra bits of fun about homologation, race-specific parts, and setups across the few GT-R teams. I was intrigued.
Despite my efforts to research the origins of the book, I can’t find anything of significant substance. All I know is that it’s part of a larger document called The Sky Is The Limit, which is all about Skylines. It closes that document out, as a sort of final chapter, but I found Obekemono Downunder as a standalone bit of work.
Information about the author/compiler on the cover, Graeme Williams, is scarce too. At least, none of the Graeme Williams on Google have any sort of link to Australian Group A GT-Rs. But The Sky Is The Limit is downloadable right here, from the Scandinavian site Skyline.se:
Behind the cover with the mysterious author, the book is an impressive document. It’s a real blow-by-blow look at a small stratum of the global domination of the Group A R32 GT-R. Really cool info permeates the pages, stuff like specific differences in braking systems across teams, the amount of spares a Gr.A GT-R team takes with them to races, tire compounds, weight limits, and the gestation of the GT-R into a bonafide racing legend.
My favorite interaction in the book is how Australian teams adopted the GT-R when Nissan shipped them a few, and the adaptation to making parts for the cars locally. It’s a fascinating link to the Australian fascination with Godzilla — did I mention that this book specifically cites that Australia invented that nickname?
You see, Obakemono was the native Japanese nickname for the GT-R. It meant shapeshifter, demon, or shapeshifting demon. It never really stuck with western audiences. This book claims that Wheels magazine first used it in 1989, and race reports in 1990 popularized it.
I don’t have a link to the book on its own, but if you take a look here and scroll to page 51, you’ll find what I read. The rest of the document is also intensely cool, with pretty wild calculations on how much air a GT-R gulps through at 7,000rpm and the like. Give it a read, even if you don’t love GT-Rs. Maybe this will spark a new desire or interest for a car that is so beloved around the world.