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Nissan Skyline GT-R R32: Buying guide and review (1989-1994)

Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 buying guide Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 buying guide Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 buying guide Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 buying guide Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 buying guide
In 1989, Nissan re-wrote the performance car rulebook with the Skyline GT-R. The Japanese performance car was originally homologated for International Group A racing, to allow it to race against the likes of the Sierra Cosworth and BMW M3. Nobody, even Nissan themselves, could have quite predicted just how much of an impact it would go on to have all over the world. 
 
With a front-mounted, twin-turbo, in-line six-cylinder engine displacing 2.6 litres and mated to a mildly bonkers all-wheel-drive transmission and four-wheel steering, the Nissan was like a car from the future when it was launched in 1989. Back then, Nissan’s technologically advanced GT-R was a Far Eastern oddity denied to the UK market unless purchased as a personal ‘grey’ import. But with a racing pedigree every bit as impressive as that of the Porsche 911, and with a starring role in Playstation’s then-new Gran Turismo game, it had credibility and cult appeal in spades.
 
At the heart of its success was an electronically controlled four-wheel drive system, called ATTESA E-TS. This stands for Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All terrains and Electronic Torque Split. The system uses multiple sensors throughout the car and a powerful computer to work it all out and send the power to exactly where it’s needed. It endowed the car with almost unnatural levels of grip, delivering thrills like nothing else. 
 
The RB26 engine is superb, delivering brisk 300+bhp (officially 276bhp) performance from the factory. A few modifications can safely take power to over 400bhp, as a lot of R32s are now producing. 
 
Unlike a lot of high-performance four-wheel drive cars, the Skyline is primarily rear-wheel drive. Being engineered to go fast on a circuit, not the rally stage, means that the clever transmission only calls on the front wheels when it’s really necessary. Have no doubts, this is a true driver’s car. 
 
Which one to buy? 
 
The R32 Skyline GT-R was never officially brought into the UK, meaning that you will be looking at an import one way or another. There are advantages to buying a fresh import (such as a lack of rust), as well as a car that has lived in the UK (better value) – but it really depends on what you are looking for. 
 
The earliest cars are the lightest. In mid-1991 Nissan changed the headlight design, and added more side impact protection – increasing the weight. There are other various spec changes to look out for. V.spec special editions, built to celebrate the car’s motorsport success carry a hefty premium, but are worth seeking out if you want the very best. Although a lot of cars were upgraded with official NISMO parts, the extremely rare NISMO cars are also much more valuable, and rarely leave Japan. 
 
Many have been crashed or heavily modified (or both), which is a great shame as a sympathetically tweaked R32 is a hugely desirable car. As standard the car develops a claimed 276bhp (it makes closer to 300bhp in truth, but Japanese manufacturers had agreed not to engage in a horsepower war), but receptiveness to tuning is one of the beauties of turbocharged engines, and, as the Skyline’s RB26DETT motor is famous for delivering 1000bhp back in the days when 500bhp was supercar-type firepower, it’s no wonder most examples have been boosted to some extent. Stick to well-maintained cars that have been tickled to 350bhp or so and full-throttle use won’t feel like pulling the pin from an expensive six-cylinder grenade.
 
Performance and specs 
 
Engine 2568cc, straight-six 
Power 276bhp @ 6800rpm
Torque 260lb ft @ 4400rpm
Top speed 155mph
0-62mph 5.6sec
Fuel consumption 18.9mpg
Gearbox Five-speed manual
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2615mm
Length 4545mm
Width 1755mm
Height 1341mm
Kerb weight 1430kg
 
Common problems
 
• When looking at any GT-R, the engine should be your main priority, as this is generally where the value is. The standard oil pump was never quite up to the job leading to oil starvation at high revs. Listen for any noises coming from the engine. 
 
• Old coil packs can cause all manner of issues, mainly misfires. Recently replaced or upgraded items are a positive. 
 
• If you’re looking at a tuned car with an upgraded engine, then be sure there is proof to back it up. Many cars coming from Japan are highly tuned, but running on the standard engine internals. If this is the case then the life of the engine will be significantly shortened. 
 
• The standard turbo is fine when running sensible boost pressures, but can become fragile at higher pressures. Aftermarket turbos are no bad thing in this case. Check for blue exhaust smoke, which will likely be worn seals. 
 
• There is also a lot to go wrong with the ATTESA four-wheel drive system, which can be expensive. Check the computer for fault codes, as well as a warning on the dash. There’s a lot of specialist knowledge though, and a lot of minor faults can be fixed easily if diagnosed correctly. 
 
• Due to the complexity of the HICAS rear-wheel steering system, problems are not uncommon at this age. It’s not unusual for the system to have been removed, especially on modified cars, so it’s best to find out if you want originality. 
 
• The five-speed gearbox is generally fine, although the synchromesh on fourth gear can wear. Listen out for any whines and noises from the diffs, although they are a little noisy and uncivilised at low speed anyway. 
 
• Rust is a big issue, especially if the car has lived in the UK for more than a few years, although don’t automatically expect a fresh import to be rust-free. 
 
• Most common areas are the sills, where the car has been incorrectly jacked up, as well as the rear wheel arches, thanks to dirt and mud collecting behind the rear arch spats. Check the whole underside if you can, especially the chassis rails and bulkhead, as well as suspension mounting points. 
 
• Suspension components wear out quickly if the car is driven hard, so prepare to change lots of bushes on higher mileage cars. 
 
• No-frills interior is hard-wearing, although the seats can suffer from bolster wear at higher mileages. 
 
Model history 
 
August 1989: Standard R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R goes on sale 
February 1990: Uprated Nismo edition introduced, with aerodynamic changes required for Group A homologation. 500 produced in total. 
July 1991: Stripped-out GT-R N1 model for racing introduced. Just 228 built. 
February 1993: Bigger Brembo brakes, 17-inch BBS alloys and recalibrated four-wheel drive system mark out the new V.spec model 
February 1994: V.spec II model introduced, with wider 245 tyres 
January 1995: R33 Skyline GT-R goes on sale
 
Summary and prices 
 
There were over 40,000 R32s produced, meaning that prices have remained reasonable for some time now, especially when compared with similar European performance cars of the same era. Prices have slowly been creeping up though, and thanks to the fact early cars can now be legally imported into the USA has had a big impact on prices of cars in Japan. 
 
In the UK, prices can vary from £3500 for a project probably in need of welding and engine work, to £15,000 for one of the best. The absolute best low-mileage and completely original cars sought by collectors will change hands for considerably more.
Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 buying guide Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 buying guide Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 buying guide Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 buying guide Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 buying guide
Last updated: 2nd Aug 2016
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Nissan Skyline cars for sale

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Nissan Skyline
5995 245000 GBP
  • Nissan Skyline

    £5,995 £5,995

    Nissan Skyline GT350,mettalic silver,5 speed semi auto/manual gearbox, LOW mileage 54000 miles{86000km}(guaranteed), privately imported from Japan, 18"alloys, leather trim,BOSE audio system,;powerful 280HP bullet proof 3500cc engine, with 3 optional driving mode(sport, normal, snow),privacy factory fitted glass, electric seats,A/C,electric mirrors,xenon lights,central /remote locking,folding mirrors,sport exhaust,TV,Navi System( UK software require ), one year MOT, VGC, clean car,drive superb,Please read more specs from:http://www.carfolio.com/specifications/models/car/?car=278377 Any inspection welcome, open for offers!! Collection from, Woodford ,Essex IG8.Please call for viewing and more details 07957363944

    • Year: 2003
    • Mileage: 55000 mi
    • Engine size: 3.5
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    Mirek Wl
    7957363944 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • Nissan Skyline

    £9,495 £9,495

    Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Half Leather, Powered Folding Mirrors, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Remote Central Locking, Folding Rear Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Power Steering, Trip Computer, ABS, Twin Air Bags, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, CD Player, Stereo, 17'' Alloys Only 8,800 Miles From New.Half Leather InteriorProfessionally Refurbished Alloy Wheels

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  • Nissan Skyline

    £8,495 £8,495

    Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Powered Folding Mirrors, Xenon Headlamps, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Remote Central Locking, Folding Rear Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Power Steering, Trip Computer, ABS, Twin Air Bags, Auto Lighting, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, CD Player, Stereo, 18'' Alloys Original Nissan Rear Spoiler FittedBrand New Tyres18'' Black After Market Alloy Wheels FittedNissan Colour Coded Mud Guard Set FittedFront Spoiler Fitted

    • Mileage: 41000 mi
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    £10,495 £10,495

    Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Powered Folding Mirrors, Central Locking, Remote Central Locking, Immobiliser, Folding Rear Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Power Steering, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Twin Air Bags, Auto Lighting, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, CD Player, Stereo, Bluetooth, Aux/USB Inputs, 18'' Alloys Rare 6 Speed Manual GearboxFactory Fitted Upgraded Brembo BrakesOriginal Nissan Rear Spoiler FittedUK Pioneer Bluetooth Head Unit FittedProfessionally Refurbished Alloy Wheels

    • Mileage: 50000 mi
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  • Nissan Skyline

    £9,495 £9,495

    Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Powered Folding Mirrors, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Remote Central Locking, Folding Rear Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Power Steering, Trip Computer, ABS, Twin Air Bags, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, CD Player, Stereo, 18'' Alloys Rare 6 Speed Manual GearboxFactory Fitted Upgraded Brembo BrakesProfessionally Refurbished Alloy Wheels

    • Mileage: 59000 mi
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  • 1972 Nissan Skyline GT-R Hakosuka

    $245,000(£200,238.50) $245,000(£200,238.50)

    1972 Nissan Skyline GT-R Hakosuka s/n KPGC10-001443, engine no. S20 000212 Light Platinum Metallic with Black Interior Although the Skyline, particularly the racing-derived GT-R variant, exploded into the consciousness of American and European collectors relatively recently, the cars have always been deeply revered in Japan. The Skyline story dates back to 1957, when Prince Motor Company introduced what was for postwar Japan, a large and luxurious car with obviously American influenced styling. With 60hp or so, it was far from sporting, and it was not until 1964 when the car gained, in a very big way, serious sporting credibility. In 1964, by combining a lengthened Skyline body with the larger Gloria’s 6-cylinder powerplant, the car proved itself at the Japanese Grand Prix sweeping 2nd through 6th behind a Porsche 904. The car continued on to be a successful race car, nearing 50 consecutive wins in the 18 months it was actively campaigned. Thus began a performance dynasty and a legendary nameplate which continues to this day. In 1966, Prince Motor Company merged with Nissan and the next generation Skyline, which was already in development, was badged as a Nissan when it appeared in

    • Year: 1972
    • Mileage: 82740 mi
    For sale
  • Nissan Skyline

    £9,495 £9,495

    Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Dual Climate Zones, Half Leather, Powered Folding Mirrors, Xenon Headlamps, Alarm, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Remote Central Locking, Folding Rear Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Power Steering, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Twin Air Bags, Auto Lighting, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, CD Player, Stereo, Bose, 20'' Alloys Rare 6-Speed Manual GearboxFactory Fitted Upgraded Brembo BrakesClean 20'' Chrome Alloy Wheels FittedHalf Leather Interior

    • Mileage: 53000 mi
    • Engine size: 3500
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  • Nissan Skyline

    £8,495 £8,495

    Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Powered Folding Mirrors, Full Leather, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Remote Central Locking, Electric Seats, Folding Rear Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Parking Camera, Power Steering, Trip Computer, ABS, Twin Air Bags, Front Fog Lamps, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, CD Player, Bose, Stereo, 18'' Alloys Rare Infinity G35 SpecFull Leather InteriorFront And Rear Parking CamerasProfessionally Refurbished Alloy Wheels

    • Mileage: 47000 mi
    • Engine size: 3500
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  • Nissan Skyline

    £7,995 £7,995

    Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Powered Folding Mirrors, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Remote Central Locking, Folding Rear Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Power Steering, Trip Computer, ABS, Twin Air Bags, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, CD Player, Stereo, 17'' Alloys Black Vinyl Wrapped RoofProfessionally Refurbished Black Alloy Wheels

    • Mileage: 41000 mi
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  • Nissan Skyline

    £7,495 £7,495

    Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Powered Folding Mirrors, Full Leather, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Remote Central Locking, Front Centre Armrest, Height Adjustable Seat, Heated Seats, Head Restraints, Electric Seats, Folding Rear Seats, Rear Headrests, Adjustable Steering Column, Power Steering, Trip Computer, ABS, Twin Air Bags, Auto Lighting, Front Fog Lamps, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, CD Player, Stereo, 17'' Alloys Half Leather InteriorProfessionally Refurbished Alloy Wheels

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  • Nissan Skyline

    £7,495 £7,495

    Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Powered Folding Mirrors, Central Locking, Remote Central Locking, Front Centre Armrest, Electric Seats, Head Restraints, Rear Headrests, Adjustable Steering Column, Parking Camera, Power Steering, Trip Computer, ABS, Twin Air Bags, Auto Lighting, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, CD Player, Stereo, 17'' Alloys

    • Mileage: 64000 mi
    • Engine size: 3500
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  • Nissan Skyline

    £7,995 £7,995

    Air Conditioning, Bluetooth, Climate Control, Colour SatNav, Dual Climate Zones, Full Leather, iPod Connectivity, Powered Folding Mirrors, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Remote Central Locking, Electric Seats, Front Centre Armrest, Head Restraints, Heated Seats, Height Adjustable Seat, Rear Headrests, Adjustable Steering Column, Parking Camera, Power Steering, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Twin Air Bags, Auto Lighting, Front Fog Lamps, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, CD Player, Stereo, Steering Wheel Audio Controls, 17'' Alloys Full Leather InteriorUK Sat Nav Bluetooth Stereo FittedProfessionally Refurbished Alloys FittedRear Parking Camera

    • Mileage: 41000 mi
    • Engine size: 3500
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  • Nissan Skyline

    £9,995 £9,995

    Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Dual Climate Zones, Half Leather, Powered Folding Mirrors, Xenon Headlamps, Alarm, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Remote Central Locking, Folding Rear Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Power Steering, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Twin Air Bags, Auto Lighting, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, CD Player, Stereo, Bose, 20'' Alloys Rare 6-Speed Manual Gearbox

    • Mileage: 53000 mi
    • Engine size: 3500
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  • Nissan Skyline

    £8,995 £8,995

    Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Powered Folding Mirrors, Full Leather, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Remote Central Locking, Electric Seats, Folding Rear Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Parking Camera, Power Steering, Trip Computer, ABS, Twin Air Bags, Front Fog Lamps, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, CD Player, Bose, Stereo, 18'' Alloys

    • Mileage: 47000 mi
    • Engine size: 3500
    For sale
  • Nissan Skyline

    £7,995 £7,995

    Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Powered Folding Mirrors, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Remote Central Locking, Folding Rear Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Power Steering, Trip Computer, ABS, Twin Air Bags, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, CD Player, Stereo, 16'' Alloys

    • Mileage: 41000 mi
    • Engine size: 3500
    For sale
  • Nissan Skyline

    £7,995 £7,995

    Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Powered Folding Mirrors, Full Leather, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Remote Central Locking, Front Centre Armrest, Height Adjustable Seat, Heated Seats, Head Restraints, Electric Seats, Folding Rear Seats, Rear Headrests, Adjustable Steering Column, Power Steering, Trip Computer, ABS, Twin Air Bags, Auto Lighting, Front Fog Lamps, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, CD Player, Stereo, 17'' Alloys

    • Mileage: 31000 mi
    • Engine size: 3500
    For sale
  • Nissan Skyline

    £7,495 £7,495

    Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Powered Folding Mirrors, Central Locking, Remote Central Locking, Front Centre Armrest, Electric Seats, Head Restraints, Rear Headrests, Adjustable Steering Column, Parking Camera, Power Steering, Trip Computer, ABS, Twin Air Bags, Auto Lighting, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, CD Player, Stereo, 17'' Alloys

    • Mileage: 64000 mi
    • Engine size: 3500
    For sale
  • Nissan Skyline

    £8,495 £8,495

    Air Conditioning, Bluetooth, Climate Control, Colour SatNav, Dual Climate Zones, Full Leather, iPod Connectivity, Powered Folding Mirrors, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Remote Central Locking, Electric Seats, Front Centre Armrest, Head Restraints, Heated Seats, Height Adjustable Seat, Rear Headrests, Adjustable Steering Column, Parking Camera, Power Steering, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Twin Air Bags, Auto Lighting, Front Fog Lamps, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, CD Player, Stereo, Steering Wheel Audio Controls, 17'' Alloys

    • Mileage: 41000 mi
    • Engine size: 3500
    For sale
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