This is a 1995 Nissan GT-R, known to fans by its internal R33 generational code. The car furthered the high tech turbo all-wheel drive concept that started with its R32 predecessor and continues with the R35 today. In a sense, the R33 was a beautifully refined and updated car. If you looked at it another way, it didn’t really bring anything new to the table that the R32 before it didn’t do already.
And Nissan recognized that concern when they debuted the car, and tried to show that the R33 was quite a bit better than the GT-R it replaced. To do so, they proved the car at the Nürburgring.
The R33 lapped the benchmark test circuit 21 seconds faster than the R32, breaking the eight-minute barrier with a 7:59 lap. As Car and Driver notes, Nissan promoted “The Story Of 21 Seconds” as an ad campaign for the car in its home Japanese market. I couldn’t find that ad campaign, though I did find a reference to the importance of those 21 seconds in this book on the GT-R.
And Nissan brought out the very car that set the 7:59 lap to the New York Auto Show, complete with a somewhat sketchy roll cage cut into the interior.
What I could not quite explain was the little red switch my coworker Mike Ballaban discovered hiding under the center arm rest.
Does it mess with the active rear differential? Does it switch the car from its gentleman’s-agreement-mandated 276 horsepower to FULL BOOST MODE? Does it deploy a thin spray of superglue onto the tires for added traction? I just don’t know.
Leave your best guess as to what this switch does below. If you actually know what it does, feel free to mention that as well.