The world was introduced to the Skyline GT-R back in 1969; the first generation was a four door sedan that was later released as a coupe, but it wasn’t until 1989 that things started getting really interesting.
Nissan brought back the Skyline after a notable absence of several years; a third generation named the R32, which featured a 2.6 litre straight six producing 280bhp.
The all-wheel drive, twin-turbocharged GT-R quickly racked up a host of motorsport accomplishments, and with demand surging Nissan ended up producing just shy of 44,000 units of what was originally supposed to be a limited-run racer.
After the success of the R32, the fourth generation (R33) was released in 1995 and featured the same engine layout and power output, with a 0-60 time of five seconds.
Nissan improved the Skyline in almost every department, and impressively the R33 was the fastest production car to lap the Nurburgring at the time, posting a record of 00:08:01.
In 1999 Nissan released their fifth generation, the R34, and this time the technological advances were astounding. The same 2.6 litre twin-turbo remained, but torque was increased and turbo-lag was eradicated, meaning instantaneous power delivery.
A new six-speed gearbox replaced the old five-speed, and the stiffer body and much improved aerodynamics meant that on the track the R34 provided some serious competition when pitted against the much more expensive European supercars of the day.
For a detailed look at the car’s history, check out the Brooklands Books Skyline GT-R Ultimate Portfolio on Amazon.
As a born and bred racer, GT-Rs were predictably popular amongst modders and today many of those on sale feature a wealth of performance-enhancing upgrades. Nissan and Nismo themselves also produced a number of special editions throughout the car’s lifetime.
As well as featuring prominently in video games such as Need for Speed and Gran Turismo, the Skyline’s place was cemented in pop-culture history when a number of heavily-modified GT-Rs appeared in The Fast and the Furious film franchise, being driven by the late Paul Walker.
Overall there were around 72,000 R32/R33/R34s sold over 13 years of production, but only a handful of them were officially imported into the UK, and it wasn’t until 1997 that Nissan gave the go-ahead to sell directly to the UK market.
The R34 saw the end of the Skyline name, but the GT-R range was continued in 2007 with the R35. The R35 is based on the same platform as the Skyline, albeit an entirely new car.
Will it be a future classic?
Nowadays there are only around 800 remaining on the roads in the UK after a huge decline over the last few years, and it’s getting more and more difficult to find them up for sale.
Its grandiose appearance has always ensured it’s a head-turner. A huge spoiler, low nose and distinctive rear lights; everything you need to stand out amongst the bland and tedious cars that fill the roads today.
As most of these were imported and many of them have been on the track, it’s imperative that you take great care when buying. Basic maintenance costs aren’t too bad, but they’re technically very complex cars so if something does go wrong you’ll need to be prepared to stump up.
They are fairly easy to work on, so if you know what you’re doing you’ll save a lot of money in the long run. These cars clearly weren’t built for economy, so don’t expect much more than a 20 mpg average!
Price When New
The R34 cost around £55k when it was released. That’s a lot, but when you consider that you could have paid double that for cars of a similar power, it suddenly seems like a pretty good deal!
The R32 was certainly a game-changer for Nissan. No sooner had it launched, it was clear that they had produced something special from the recognition it received from the motoring press and the general public alike.
It paved the way for future generations, including the current GT-R on sale today. It was a technological masterpiece, and deserved all of the praise it received.
Absolutely. In fact, of all the cars we’ve reviewed here at The Car Investor, it’s safe to say the GT-R has one of the biggest followings. The internet is awash with Skyline owner clubs and forums from across the world.
Time to Buy?
We’ve already seen huge increases in demand over the last few years, and with that values have skyrocketed. The R34 had the lowest production run with around 11,500 built, and many asking prices are now exceeding the original list prices.
There are still some out there for less than £30k, but if this has always been your dream car then it may well be time to start looking.
Once upon a time you could pick these up for an absolute steal. In recent years the world has woken up, and now demand is starting to outstrip supply which is reflected in the rising asking prices we’re seeing.
We think the popularity and global appeal will continue that trend so it’s likely there’s still money to be made, and whether you’re going for an R32, R33 or an R34, just make sure you pick a nice, clean example.