Friday 24th August 2012


R34 Skyline revives memories for Dan, most of them happy ones...

So look at what I got to drive into the office this morning. Pretty special, eh? Really special in fact, this being Nissan’s heritage fleet R34, totally standard UK spec and with just over 23,000 miles on it. Doubtful there’s another like it – certainly all the R34s in the classifieds have felt the modder’s hand and boast suitably crazy horsepower figures.

Nothing wrong with that of course – the Skyline is famously a blank canvas in standard form and done properly the mods simply realise the potential laid down in the base package.

Exotic, unapologetic and totally cool
Exotic, unapologetic and totally cool
But it’s always nice to drive a car as its maker intended too, especially one like this. And it’s got particular resonance for me this car, it being the first seriously rapid car I ever drove. That was back in 2001 and … it didn’t go so well. That little anecdote Chris shared in his Tell Me I’m Wrong piece about a scary near miss at the ’ring in Nissan’s blue T4 GTR press car? I read that and laughed out loud, it being, word for word, pretty much what happened to me in the red one, T3 GTR, not long after. Only it didn’t end quite so well in my case.

This isn’t my first time back in an R34 since though. V16 SKY and I met a little while back for a buyer’s guide I was writing. But I only had a quick go and this time round I’ve actually got a couple of days to get reacquainted. And I was beaming all the way in this morning, as if an R34 in early morning M25 traffic didn’t stand out enough already!

A fresh-faced Dan and T3 GTR before the inevitable
A fresh-faced Dan and T3 GTR before the inevitable
I can understand Chris’s stance in his piece. And I’m happy to defer to his greater experience of R32s and 33s. But for me the 34 is the one, mainly because it was the first fast car I ever drove and, incredibly given what happened, provided me with a path from being a games journo to doing what I do today. Virtual to real, if you will. And that’s a neat analogy for what the R34 is to me and many like me – a car idolised and made legend through gaming as much as real-world exploits and still, to my eyes, amazing to see in the metal rather than pixellated form. A theme we’ll be exploring in more detail very soon…

Sure, it’s no looker by any rational measure. But I can’t take my eyes off it and every time I park up and walk away I have to stop, turn around and take it all in once again. I felt like that 11 years ago with T3 GTR. And it’s nice to know those feelings haven’t changed one bit.

Fancy sharing the love? I’ll be bringing this car to our Sunday Service at Silverstone this weekend so pop across and have a look yourself. V16 SKY will be driven with due deference but to get you in the mood here’s a little vid I found – one of many like it – of a Mine’s R34 being driven in true Banzai fashion. Enjoy! And if anyone else has any favourite Skyline videos let’s have ’em!


Author: Dan Trent
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