Everything you need to know about Autech #blog

Mercedes-Benz has AMG, Fiat has Abarth, Ford has FPV and Dodge has Mopar.
These are the marques that turn ordinary vehicles off the production line into blistering fast performance vehicles.
Nissan on the other hand has a lesser-known marque called AuTech (Automobile Technology).

One could try to argue that NisMo (Nissan Motorsports) is Nissan’s performance vehicle brand, however Nismo is a sector of the Nissan brand much like Audi’s RS class.

The Beginning

Autech was established in October of 1986 when Shinichiro Sakurai (inventor of the Prince Skyline) was discharged from hospital. Upon his return to work, Nissan president Kume Kitano created the Autech company and assigned Sakurai as the head of it. Two years later, Autech had finalised a couple designs and was ready to take on the local market.

The first models created by Autech were the Autech Silvia Convertible based on the S13 K’s (limited in Japan but mass-produced as a 240SX in the United States) and the Autech Skyline GTS based on the HR31 GTS-X (limited to 200 units).
The Autech Silvia featured a CA18DET engine with 129kW (180HP) only available with a 4-speed automatic (KA24 for the U.S), while the Skyline GTS had an RB20DET tuned to 154kW (225HP) paired with a 5-speed manual. The GTS was only available in Olive Green; the signature colour of Autech, which was also used in their intake manifolds branded with the Autech logo.

Autech Becomes its own Brand

By 1988 Autech was already planning its own standalone vehicles.
With the help of Italian coachbuilding company and design-house Zagato, Autech released two vehicles; the Stelvio and Gavia.

Both vehicles were based on the F31 chassis (known in the U.S for the Infiniti M30, and in Japan for the Nissan Leopard) and like the Leopard, were powered by the VG engine.

Autech took the VG30DET (single turbo) found in the Leopard Ultima, added their signature intake manifold and throttle bodies, and tuned it to 206kW (280HP) and 402nm - the twin turbo Fairlady Z had 388nm of torque so it’s safe to assume that the Autech-Zagato brothers made well over 206kW.

The Stelvio was handmade from aluminium and featured a carbon-fibre bonnet with rear-view mirrors integrated into the “wings” for aerodynamics, while the interior was derived from the Nissan Leopard and shared the gear-selector and dashboard. Unfortunately it was only available with a 4-speed automatic transmission.
The rear of both the Gavia and Stelvio are very boxy - almost like an ALFA Romeo 155.

Production of the Stelvio vehicles was limited to 200, however there is one for sale with an asking price around $35,000.

Autech goes back to tuning Nissans

In 1990 Autech took an A31 Cefiro (Maxima if you live in the Middle-East) and tuned the RB20DET to 167kW and upgraded the stereo and added Connolly leather seats and mag wheels. The buyer had an option of a 4-speed auto or a 5-speed manual.

Two years later, they pulled 200 R32 GTS-4 sedans off Nissan’s assembly line and went to town on them in what they called the Autech GT.
The RB20DET was replaced by an RB26DE with 164kW (220HP) and 248nm of torque - this was literally an RB26DETT with the turbos removed.
Autech then added a GT-R bonnet and grille with their own designed front-bumper with the Autech logo embossed on one side, and pumped out the rear-guards to match those found on the GT-R. The GT badges were replaced with Autech oval badges while on the bootlid sat the distinctive Skyline26 badge.
The brakes were upgraded to the GT-R Brembo calipers paired with drilled and slotted rotors.
Only 200 were produced and all were sold as 4-speed automatics, and all were Olive Green.

These cars were known for having the engine taken out to install in other builds; there are a few around in Japan however many have had the twin-turbo setup added and have been manual-converted.

Nissans - badged as Autech Version

As time went on, the ties between Nissan and Autech grew closer. Autech was becoming less of an independent brand as the first Autech Version badges started appearing.

Two of Autech’s tuned vehicles that deserve a mention are the Pulsar and Lucino twins. They were almost identical aside from the front grille.

S-Chassis fanboys bow down to the SR20VET - an SR20DET with variable valve timing and lift which produced more power than the RB25DET.
More impressive than that, the Pulsar and Lucino were fitted with an SR16VE which made 147kW (200HP) at 7800RPM - that is the same output as the RB25DE-NEO and Autech S15’s SR20DE.
Being serious race-going N1 versions, both vehicles were paired with 5-speed manual transmissions and as a bit of a show-off move, have their power figures displaying across the doors, and were only available in Black or White.

A year later in 1997, the Nissan Silvia Autech Version K’s was released.
The most distinctive feature of this Silvia is the rear spoiler rising as high as the roofline like that found on the Plymouth Roadrunner, while inside it had a Momo steering wheel and a turbo cluster like that in the R32 GT-R.
The SR20DET was tuned to produce 184kW (250HP) - the same as the RB25DET from the same-year R33 Skyline.

Also released in 1997 was the Nissan Stagea Autech Version 260RS, which famously had the running gear of the R33 GT-R. A year later it was re-released with a facelift. It weighed 1740Kg - 200Kg more than the R33 GT-R.
The Stagea was the precursor for the vehicle released by Autech in the following year:

1998 marked the 40th anniversary of the Skyline; as such Autech took a handful of R33 GTS-4 sedans off the production line and did the GT-R treatment to them. Unlike most other Autech-tuned Nissans, the 40th Anniversary GT-R had almost no Autech badging or branding on it. Instead it received the engine, drivetrain, brakes, wheels and front bonnet and bumper from the R33 GT-R. The rear guards were pumped out, and on the bootlid sat a small sticker saying “Autech Version”.

In October 1999 the Autech Silvia was released which featured an SR20DE tuned to 147kW (just 25HP shy of the Spec R with the SR20DET), while in July 2000 the Autech Varietta was released in time for summer. The Varietta was a hardtop convertible only available as an automatic with the standard SR20DE found in the Spec S.

In October of 2000 Autech came up with a restyled Silvia called the Style A with design cues from Ferrari. The interior was a beige leather reminiscent of the Stelvio, while the SR20DET engine had the same tune as the Spec R. It was available with a 4-speed automatic or 6-speed manual.

There were many other vehicles, such as the Primera, Avenir Salut, Cedric and Gloria that had been plucked from the production line to have the Autech treatment during the 90’s - this can be expected since they work alongside Nissan and Nismo, just like Yamaha does with Toyota and TRD.

Axis and Rider

The merger between Nissan and Renault saw the end of the Skyline GT-R as the companies now aimed towards profitability rather than performance.
Autech was caught in the crossfire; as such their aim went towards making luxury vehicles.
The typical changes Autech makes in the Axis series are chrome grille, larger wheels and leather/upgraded interior.

Despite the new aim and the lack of engine tuning, Autech still produced a few performance variants.
The M35 Stagea came with three choices of engine: the VQ25DD, VQ25DDT and VQ30DD.
Autech decided that it wasn’t enough and offered the VQ35DD which had been rated at 206kW and 363nm in the Nissan Stagea Rider.

The Rider series are slightly sportier than the Nissan models they are based upon with tuned engines and suspension, chrome grilles, upgraded exhaust systems and alloy wheels.

The other face of Autech

Most of you would know Autech for being the company that made the Stagea 260RS with the RB26DETT.
In Japan, Autech isn’t just that company, they are also the company that make convenience cars like the Avenir Resort Express above.

Like the Subaru Impreza Gravel Express, the Avenir Resort Express does have the extended bumpers with metal inserts and foglamps. Unlike the Gravel Express, it doesn’t have a turbocharger and makes between 91HP and 145HP.

Variations of Nissan vehicles like these have been around since the late 80’s and include versions such as the Atlas, Caravan and Homy with a built-in awning, table and sink for those camping trips and kitakatsune and kids versions of Basara, Presage and Liberty people-movers which consist of cartoon fox pictures on the seats and exterior (kitakatsune) or bright coloured interior trim and seats, inbuilt entertainment systems and easy-to-clean surfaces (kids version).

A few of the lesser-known versions are offroad versions of the Navara, Terrano and Cube with heavy-duty steel wheels, fog lamps, bullbars and rollbars and pumped guards.

The third face of Autech that I won’t go into is specialty vehicles; mobility and work vehicles such as tippers and hydraulic lift modifications.
You can imagine what those are like.



I didn’t know there where 4door Skyline GTR’s until this point

09/05/2017 - 08:52 |
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They are called GTS-T 😂

09/05/2017 - 09:03 |
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they sold quite well actually, mostly as commuter cars like the BMW 3 Series

09/05/2017 - 11:02 |
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That terrano is pretty nice tbh

09/05/2017 - 09:56 |
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Ooooh that stelvio looks nice (Im weird)

09/05/2017 - 10:32 |
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In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

That was a bad picture of it - makes bonnet look small and the windows look big. Look at photos of it online hint fujicars.co.jp >classics and it looks like a boxy version of the Gavia

09/05/2017 - 10:59 |
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David 27

And Autech Silvia S15 with SR20VE is also B-)

09/05/2017 - 11:01 |
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Both got a small mention.

09/05/2017 - 11:15 |
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“cartoon fox pictures on the seats and exterior” why am I excited all of a sudden?

09/05/2017 - 11:04 |
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hummerinator (Suzuki samurai, lada niva & iveco daily lover)

Did i readed…. offroad version of nissan cube???

09/05/2017 - 12:46 |
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More like a crossover

09/05/2017 - 18:35 |
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Rider bodykits are very popular in Japan, I see them on cubes and Nissan minivans

09/05/2017 - 13:29 |
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We get a lot of them imported to nz. Tiida Axis are everywhere in the city.

09/05/2017 - 18:35 |
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I remember one ctzen had a autech stagea

Dont know if he is comfortable tagging him, bcuz he quit ct

09/06/2017 - 08:47 |
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Meh. I’ve seen a couple around and a friend knows one owner.

09/06/2017 - 08:48 |
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Andrew G.

Wow, how rare are some of these cars? I assume its quite hard to get your hands on one.

09/09/2017 - 14:23 |
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Axis and Rider can be found in any used car dealer in NZ or Japan, but the Autech Version were mostly limited to 200. I have seen about 6 R33’s listed for sale in Japan, 2 R32’s, 1 S14 and 1 Stelvio. S15 (SR20DE tune), Varietta and Stagea actually pop up frequently so I suspect they were not as llimited. I”ve also seen an Autech Primera wagon driving around in my hometown, along with a couple VZ-R’s.

09/09/2017 - 20:11 |
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Can explain about Autech Primera P11 and B14 Autech ?

12/01/2017 - 20:32 |
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In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

The Primera was a homologation special like a Pulsar and Lucino. It had a tuned SR20DE making 180hp and has a cool wing. P12 has the SR20VE which is a common P11 swap in NZ - I mentioned it in one of my videos. I can look into the sentra later.

12/01/2017 - 21:10 |
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