Prices of 1990s Nissan GT-Rs starting to rise as new market opens up for classic Skylines
Last year marked the 25th anniversary of the launch of the R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R, meaning that the earliest cars are now eligible for importation into the US. thish is because at 25 years they are officially deemed to be ‘classic’, so are allowed to sidestep US safety regs.
As a result, Japanese auction prices for the best examples have already risen by around 25 per cent as dealers leap on the Skyline bandwagon in the hope of meeting a pent-up demand from US speed freaks who, until now, had to content themselves with the virtual Godzilla experience.
Florida-based import firm Montu Motors celebrated the newfound legality of the R32 GT-R by driving one across the border from Canada at the stroke of midnight on August 2.
The good news for us outside the US is that the R32’s substantial five-year production run means that plenty of later examples that are not yet US-eligible should still be available, so now is probably the time to buy – or look further ahead for an R33.
Prices in the UK currently range from around £7000 to £20,000 and there is no shortage of cars on the market. The problem, of course, is finding a good one. Those that have been in this country for most of their lives frequently suffer corrosion and, given that the R32 was always intended to be driven hard, most of them have been.
The main difficulty, however, lies in buying one in standard condition, as the tuning potential of the legendary RB26DETT engine is both immense and easy to realise. Brake, suspension, wheel and exhaust upgrades are all common, too. But hunt down a low-mileage, unmolested R32 and keep it stock, and you can expect its value to rise almost as quickly as you can clock up the miles.
Subaru WRX Type RA - Arriving in the same era as the R32, Subaru’s WRX made a similar impact in the world of rallying as the Nissan did in circuit racing. Stripped-out ‘RA’ versions are rare.
Toyota Celica GT-Four - Toyota’s WRC homologation special featured turbocharging and four-wheel drive. Late, ST205 WRC limited editions are the ones to go for.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution I/II - Mitsubishi’s four-wheel-drive sports saloon became as famous among the PlayStation generation as the GT-R. Good, early models are becoming extremely hard to come by, but are worth seeking out.
Words: evo magazine/Simon de Burton