75-Year-Old Man Fulfills His Life-Long Dream of Going Faster Than 200 MPH

Over 50 years ago in England, Barry Bigwood saw a Porsche 911 racing past him and left such a mark on him, that his entire life was shaped by that very moment. Why else would someone own a 1,200-hp Nissan GT-R (R35) at 75? 
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Photo: Screenshot from Stefan Kotze Media YouTube Channel
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Fifty years ago, that car he saw could have been the 1972 Porsche 911 Carrera RS (901). The 911 had a five-speed manual transmission, a 2.7-liter engine, capable of producing 210 hp (213 ps) and 188 lb.-ft. (255 Nm) of torque. It also had a top speed of 152 mph (245 km/h) and did 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in 5.5 seconds.

Now circling back to the man the Porsche impressed, he now lives in Gauteng, which is the smallest province by land in South Africa. On a daily basis, he usually drives what looks like a 1995 3-door Honda Civic. When he steps out of it, he painfully gets around by using a cane.

At first glance, Barry is the embodiment of the sweet elder next door that always smiles and waves whenever he sees his neighbors. However, hidden away in darkness within his garage, lies a beast, waiting to roar and pounce with every opportunity it gets.

I’m talking about his heavily modified 2012 Nissan GT-R (R35). When he bought it over nine years ago, it was the DBA model with the V6 3.8-liter engine producing 530 hp (537 ps) and 451 lb-ft (612 Nm) of torque.

He liked it in the begging, but two years in, it wasn't fulfilling his need for speed anymore. So he had it shipped overseas to a custom tuning shop where it sat on the operating table for over six months. When it came back to him, it was a completely different monster.

It had a 4.1-liter engine, they changed the rods, pistons, the valve springs as well, the gearbox was completely overhauled, and the list goes on. Barry claims that the car tops out at around 1,200 hp, but the tuning company told him it could even handle 2,000 hp.

All that power had to be unleashed somewhere, so Barry could check the 200 mph (322 km/h) drive off his bucket list. He couldn’t have picked a better place for it.

The Upington International Airport in South Africa. The runway he chose is one of the biggest in the world, measuring 3 miles (4.9 km) in length. To get a general idea, your usual garden variety runway length starts at 1.14mi (1.83 km). The Upington runway is at least four times that.

The conditions that day were perfect. It all seemed like a Hollywood director scripted it, but there’s no fiction in this story. At 75 years of age, Barry Bigwood got in his 1,200-hp Nissan GT-R (R35) and floored it like never before in his entire life. He didn't just get to 200 mph (322 km/h), but he reached a blazing 218 mph (351 km/h) top speed. Way to go Barry!

After fulfilling his dream, there were no tears on his face, no big dramatic scene shot in slow motion. Only Barry with the sun in his eyes saying, “not bad, now next thing, we’ll probably try this in a Bugatti.

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About the author: Codrin Spiridon
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Codrin just loves American classics, from the 1940s and ‘50s, all the way to the muscle cars of the '60s and '70s. In his perfect world, we'll still see Hudsons and Road Runners roaming the streets for years to come (even in EV form, if that's what it takes to keep the aesthetic alive).
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