In a week with rumors swirling of a $142 million Mercedes, it’s hard to pay attention to much else on the collector car market. But rumors, however titillating they might be, are one thing. Confirmed sales are another, and a few caught our eye this week. Bring a Trailer sold its most expensive ever car (again) with a $5.37M LaFerrari, Mecum’s gargantuan sale in Indianapolis got underway, and both Bonhams and RM Sotheby’s are holding glitzy auctions in Monaco. The JDM nerds at Hagerty, meanwhile, had eyes on this Nissan Skyline GT-R. Like the surprisingly pricy VW Rabbit that we featured last week, the Nissan is a far from perfect car that sold for enough money to make us go “hmmm.”
Sold on Cars & Bids, the car in question is an R34-generation Skyline GT-R built in 2000. Despite its V-Spec disguise (body kit and badges), it’s a less speedy and less expensive base model. It’s in tidy but visibly used condition, the color isn’t the most desirable, and the instrument cluster has been replaced, so there were questions about the 83,700 km (52,000 miles) on the odometer. A Japanese-spec model, it has also had a conversion to left-hand drive. That’ll make it easier to drive on our roads, sure, but it will also be a turnoff to the purists out there.
And speaking of “our roads,” it won’t be hitting U.S. pavement for another three years, and was offered for sale from Montréal, Quebec. JDM cars like the R34 Skyline have to be 25 years old before Uncle Sam lets them in. This GT-R is just 22, and it’s not one of the two versions (M-Spec Nür and Midnight Purple II V-Spec) that are allowed in early under the “Show and Display” rule.
Yet even with all those caveats, $129,500 is what it brought. For that kind of money, you could buy an R32 (1989-94) GT-R in excellent condition then drive it anywhere you wanted, legally, and have plenty of money left over. So why the six-figure result?
First off, the R34-generation GT-R, partly because it’s still forbidden fruit for folks in the US of A, is near the top of any dream car list for anyone into JDM cars, played any Gran Turismo game, saw 2 Fast 2 Furious in the theater, or picked up a copy of Sport Compact Car. It’s also the most developed and the best-looking of the original “Godzillas” that revolutionized high-performance and made Skylines a symbol of tuner culture. “This is the car that JDM fans aspire to own,” says our resident GT-R genius (and Editor of the Hagerty Price Guide) Greg Ingold. “They have a global audience and with 11,578 produced, there’s a lot of competition to get your hands on one.”
And if that means buying an R34 abroad and parking it there until it’s legal, so be it, at least according to quite a few American buyers and importers already. “This goes to show that any halfway decent R34 GT-R is a six-figure vehicle and where it resides hardly matters. The R34 market is already hot and the U.S. isn’t even a major player yet,” says Ingold.
Once the U.S. market does fully open up to these six-figure Skylines, however, expect even more demand from American buyers who have been lusting after one since Gran Turismo 2. Who knows, come 2025 this sale might even look cheap.