Everyone has probably heard of the "gentleman's agreement" among auto makers in Japan during the early 90's. The story is that there was an unstated gentleman's agreement to not advertise a car above 300 horsepower for safety reasons. They were afraid people were going to go out and buy the "fastest" car on the market, crash it into a school, and kill everyone inside, not limited to women and children. Now, that might sounds as crazy as when Senators in the early 90's were blaming Final Fantasy 7 for school shootings, but hey, we've all been wrong before.
That being said, a bunch of auto manufacturers chose to say their cars had a power output of 276 horsepower. Was 286 too high? 299 seemed too conveniently close to 300? 275 seemed too low? We'll never know. What we do know is that Mazda claimed their FD RX-7 made 276, Mitsubishi claimed their GTO (3000GT in the USA) made 276, and Nissan claimed the R32 GTR made 276. What we also know is that these numbers are false. The 3000GT in the USA was advertised as making 320 wheel horsepower. So is the RB26DETT the same? Is the power understated?
There are a lot of claims that the R32 GTR truly did put down 276 horsepower, but once you remove the boost restrictor that power goes up above 300. People on forums (always a great source for information from their friend's dad's uncle who lived down the street) claim that Nissan installed the boost restrictor to keep the R32 under the agreed upon 300 horsepower. The 3000GT also has a stock boost restrictor, so it could be possible that the automakers really did engineer the cars to make under 300 horsepower. However, basic economics tells us that auto makers are in the industry of profit, and wouldn't dedicate the resources to over-engineer a car when they can say it's under 300 horsepower and no one is holding them to that.
Let's lay this one to rest.
We spent a few hours online compiling dyno sheets from stock GTRs and as-close-to-stock-as-we-could find GTRs. What we found was this:
A stock GTR does make over 276 horsepower. In fact, a stock GTR makes anywhere from 275 to 285 wheel horsepower. Some dynos that read a little high were giving figures close to 300. Now, keep in mind that factory power numbers are going to be stated at the crank. Once you transfer that energy through the drivetrain of the car, you lose a bit of power - about ten to fifteen percent. A car advertised to be making 276 at the crank should not be making 275 from a dyno measurement, which is done at the wheels. If we take the figure of 300 at the crank, and subtract fifteen percent, we should be looking at 255 to the wheels. Estimating 320 at the crank, we're making 272 at the wheels, a little lower than the average of the dyno sheets we compiled.
Some the other sheets are located below.