To most people, indeed to quite a few people, this is just another modified Nissan Skyline. Some blue stripes and nitrous away from the full Paul Walker homage, right? Except it isn't. To those in the know, this R34 GT-R is up there as one of the most sell-your-soul desirable vehicles to ever leave Japan. Perhaps just ever.
Block from a race car, tested at the 'ring... Proper!
Because this Nissan Skyline is a NISMO Z-Tune. Yes, a real one! A brief reminder of what makes the Z-Tune so special to start, or rather an opportunity to geek out on the details. Back in 2000 NISMO was celebrating its 15th anniversary and the R34 GT-R had already proved itself a fearsome competitor in motorsport. Bring the two together and you get the 600hp NISMO Z-Tune concept. The engine was subsequently tweaked and detuned, plonked in a race car that came 5th at the Nurburgring 24-hour, then NISMO decided it was going to build a few. 20 cars for the 20th anniversary seemed like a nice thing to do.
By that time it's 2005 though, and R34 production had ended three years previously. So NISMO had to source cars; all had to be V-Spec R34s with less than 30,000km and able to meet the exacting condition standards NISMO stipulated. Apparently 12 were purchased, with the remaining eight 'donated' by fans. This is car number nine.
Then NISMO set about rebuilding, by hand, the Skylines to Z-Tune spec. In its own words, NISMO created the "Top of GT-R". There are full details on the fabulous microsite created for the car but highlights include a 'Z2' spec of the RB26DETT engine (using the GT500 race block, stroked to 2.8-litres) with over 500hp and very fancy internals, adjustable Sachs dampers, newly developed Brembo brakes, CFRP body parts, a chassis reinforced with new spot welds and forged Rays wheels. That's very, very far from it, but should give you some idea of how intensive the overhaul was. When the microsite mentions details like the weight saving of a carbon propshaft (it's 5.26kg, a standard one is 12.52kg), you know this is some very serious (and expensive) modifying.
Strong brand collaboration
Those lucky enough to have driven one in 2005 were understandably gushing in their praise. It wasn't some wild lunatic either, thanks to recalibration of the 4WD system and differentials. "So forceful is the Nissan's punch, so fluent its mastery of curves, that you don't want roads to end" was
, the whole story well worth a read if you have a few minutes. Back then NISMO claimed a 10.06 quarter-mile time too...
It goes to show how perceptions of value change too, as the Z-Tune's £84,500 price was described as a "nasty number" just 11 years ago. This at a time when an Aston DB9 would have cost you £100,000 (!). Today it's, well, considerably more than that. Last year the first R34 Z-Tune was going to auction with a £400,000 estimate, for example. It's been suggested that when this car - still with just 3,000km recorded - first appeared on the dealer's Facebook page (weirdly it's only recently surfaced on the PH classifieds) the price was in excess of $500,000. You're going to need a lot, put it that way.
Still no looker, but are you bothered?
Does this perhaps mark a point where Japanese cars are as in demand as European equivalents? Of course the Toyota 2000GT has been tremendously valuable for a long time now, but the notion of a $500,000 Skyline would have seemed lunacy just a few years ago. Or maybe it's just indicative of rising classic car values generally. One to discuss...
Whatever the case, Skylines come no more spectacular than this. Finally, should you be in the position to afford the Z-Tune and have a penchant for JDM exotica, this Hong Kong dealer has an NSX-R for sale as well. We are not worthy!
NISSAN SKYLINE GT-R (R34) Z-TUNE
Engine: 2,771cc, twin-turbo inline straight-six
Transmission: Six-speed manual, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 'more than 500'@N/A rpm
Torque (lb ft): 398@N/A rpm
MPG: Who cares?
CO2: See above
First registered: 2005
Recorded mileage: 3,118km
Price then: £84,500
Price now: POA (lots, most likely)
See the original advert here