Performance icons all, the Nissan Skyline GT-R needs no introduction – apart from to your bank manager, perhaps. The price of entry goes R33, R32 and R34 – in that order. With the earliest four-wheel drive GT-Rs now legal in the USA, prices can only go up
For years, the Nissan Skyline GT-R was a dimly understood legend, a piece of import exotica driven via joypad or glimpsed through badly subtitles episodes of Best Motoring International.
R32 SKYLINE GT-R (1989-1994): £17,995 to £65,000
Wishing to re-enter international motorsport, Nissan decided to adopt a four-wheel drive configuration for its early Nineties Skyline GT-R, known internally as the R32.
Inspired by the all-wheel drive,twin- turbocharged, six-cylinder Porsche 959, the R32 was to serve as a performance road car flagship and take the Nissan back to the race track. As new decade dawned, the BNR32 GT-R ended the reign of the Ford Sierra RS500 in Australia; traditional touring cars simply couldn’t keep up.
Computer control was the GT-R’s advantage – and Nissan would develop its system (and carry on augmenting it) right up until the present day; that the GT-R could apportion power to the most expedient wheel (on road or on track) created a drivers’ car unlike any other.
Road car production began in earnest in late 1989 – and, as per the rule for GT-R production, various homologation and limited editions appeared over the course of the R32’s career, all of which influence asking prices. Beyond the standard GT-R, Nissan’s motorsport division NISMO lent its name to 560 cars built in compliance with FIA Group A homologation rules; N1 models (for domestic racing purposes) followed, along with Victory Specification (V Spec) cars with two iterations (V Spec I and II) to celebrate race successes in Group A and Group N categories. These cars were quicker than previous generations, being able to feed power from side-to-side as well as front-to-back as and when needed. V Spec models continued into subsequent iterations of GT-R.
With The Market’s data incomplete, we compared prices on PistonHeads classifieds: at time of writing, we found 14 cars listed, either as current or legacy adverts. Modifications are common in GT-R circles, simply because of how well their mechanicals respond to tuning. Original cars are rare, and can fetch a premium to the right buyer. Asking prices vary on specification: the cheapest we found was a vanilla GT-R with a few add-ons for £17,995, rising to a non-V Spec N1 (one of 118 built) at £69,995. Given most became Group N race cars in their homeland, that this particular example exists at all is something of a miracle.
R33 SKYLINE GT-R (1995-1998): £15,985 to £27,995
The GT-R’s legend continued into the Nineties; buoyed by appearances in Sony Computer Entertainment Europe’s Gran Turismo series, young car enthusiasts suddenly had their defining super car. Having retained the R32’s 2.6-litre twin engine with a few mechanical improvements, engineers continued to improve the car’s four-wheel drive system and shell to up cornering speeds and handling potential.
All R32s were grey imports, and while this tradition continued with the R33, a Nissan dealer turned specialist, Middlehurst, rose to prominence in the cars it prepared and SVA tested.
R33s remain the middle child in GT-R circles, and among the most affordable. Like its predecessor, slower rear wheel drive models (GT-S, GTS-T, GTS25t and GTS-4) can be had for varying four figure sums; many end up with GT-R engines and body kits.
According to data from Pistonheads Classifieds (from which 27 cars were found), R33 GT-Rs start at £15,985, rising to £27,995 for a low mileage V Spec. NISMO badged variants (particularly the scarce and sought after 400R) command far larger sums.
R34 SKYLINE GT-R (£47,995-£94,995)
The last of the straight-six Skyline GT-Rs was the fastest of the lot; a handful were even imported officially by Middlehurst Nissan.
Pistonheads Classifieds found 15 cars – with £47,995 the bottom rung. £94,995 is currently asked for a V Spec II Nür (for Nürburgring), in effect a limited edition of a limited edition, rare even in Japan.
Nissan’s limited edition craze hit its zenith with the R34: in time, Nismo R Tune, S Tune and Z Tune variants would appear, each scarcer and more honed than the last.