The R35 GT-R may be getting old, but Nissan’s supercar can still serve up serious speed. However, it’s no longer the only ‘Godzilla’ on the block. Its forbidden-fruit predecessors, the R32 and R33 Skyline GT-R, are now old enough to import. But in terms of the ultimate ‘can’t have it’ car, it’s tough to top the R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R. Still, does that really justify a $485,000 price tag?
The R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R might be the ultimate JDM performance icon
Then there was the Mk4 Toyota Supra, the original Fast and Furious hero car with its famously-overbuilt 2JZ engine. But the Supra was only in the first film. In every subsequent movie, an R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R was Brian O’Connor’s signature vehicle. And there were several very good reasons for that.
Like the earlier models, the 1999-2002 R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R has all-wheel drive and a twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine, Top Gear reports. Officially, the 2.6-liter engine makes 276 hp and 289 lb-ft, Evo reports, due to the ‘gentleman’s agreement’ amongst Japanese automakers at the time. As a result, with a 6-speed manual, it goes 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds, Motor1 reports.
The AWD system, though, isn’t the R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R’s only performance feature. It has an upgraded version of the R33’s rear-wheel steering as well as a limited-slip differential. Plus, it’s lighter and shorter than the R33, Hagerty reports.
But arguably the R34 Skyline GT-R’s most iconic feature is its configurable dash-mounted display. It doesn’t have navigation, but it does report information like boost pressure, g-force, and lap times. It can even be used to set up-shift points at various RPMs. In 1999, this was cutting-edge tech.
Even though it’s over 20 years old, the R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R still impresses, Road & Track reports. The shifter’s throws are solid, short, and quick, Evo reports, and the whole car is very well-balanced. The engine responds quickly, and the AWD means you never lack for grip. Then there’s the “beautifully judged” steering and communicative chassis, Top Gear reports. In short, the R34 has new-school electronics with an old-school spirit.
Why is an R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R listed for $485,000?
However, as good as the R34 Skyline GT-R is, why does JDM Expo have a 2002 model listed for $485,000?
Part of that is due to the mileage, Automobile reports; or rather, the lack of it. This R34 has the equivalent of 225 miles on its odometer. In other words, it’s practically brand new. It even has the delivery plastic covers on its seats, Motor Trend reports.
Compared to the standard car, it has larger and stronger turbos, multiple reinforced engine components, and upgraded oil and water pumps. But those are just the Nur-specific components. It also has the V-Spec II parts, which include a carbon-fiber hood with functional intake ducts, stiffer suspension, and larger brake rotors. In other words, it’s the ultimate version of the final Skyline GT-R.
Is it worth it?
As we previously discussed regarding the $50,000 Civic Si and $300,000 240Z, ‘worth’ is partially emotional. If someone wants this 2002 R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II Nur badly enough, $485k may seem like a bargain.
However, while the R34 has appreciated in value, that number is simply too high. JDM Expo has two other R34s listed as of this writing. One is a 1999 V-Spec, and the other is a 2002 V-Spec II; the former is listed at $165k, and the latter at $190k. That’s still a lot, but it’s less than half of the Nur’s asking price.
What’s worse is that even if you paid that much money, you still couldn’t drive the R34 Nur in the US. At least, not yet. The first R34s won’t be import-eligible until 2024, and this example won’t be until 2027.
Still, if you want to drive an R34 GT-R in the US, there are two alternatives. One is to go to Rent JDM in Las Vegas, which has, among other JDM cars, an R34. As to how said car is here before 2024, that’s related to the second alternative: a Motorex GT-R.
The Motorex story
Back in the early 2000s, an importer called Motorex imported and modified Skyline GT-Rs to meet EPA and NHTSA standards, DrivingLine explains. Initially, the company only worked on R33s, though it also wanted to bring in R32s and R34s. Unfortunately, that would’ve required expensive and time-consuming crash tests. So, Motorex claimed the R32 and R34 were ‘substantially similar’ to the R33 to try and avoid testing.
However, Motorex didn’t really modify the imported R34 GT-Rs before releasing them to their owners. As a result of that and several other bad business practices, it was shut down. But that still left several R34 owners with questionably-legal vehicles. The DOT, though, didn’t impound and crush them. Instead, it ruled that, since the owners thought they were buying US-legal cars, they could just keep them.
No one’s sure exactly how many Motorex R34 Nissan Skyline GT-Rs made it to the US. Some say 17, others say 14-16, GT-R Registry reports. But Rent JDM’s car is one of that handful.
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