The R33 Nissan Skyline GT-R was very nearly never officially imported into the UK. Nissan didn't strike a deal with Middlehurst Motorsport, the eventual sole Skyline dealer for the country, until the model was two years old - and even then, only 100 ever made it over. Plenty more were imported via other means and have been in the two decades that have followed, but by and large, the R33 remains a rare sight on UK roads.
These days, car collectors and investors would find such a combination of rarity and performance impossible to ignore, leaving many cars set for a life of low mileage and sheltered storage. But back in the 1990s buying a car like this and overhauling it to suit your personal taste was not nearly as sacrilegious; in fact, it was practically encouraged.
The Fast and Furious franchise was only around the corner, waiting to convince many that the standard R33 was merely a base for heavy modification. The result was a market of significantly modified cars, some with extremely large outputs - see the 850hp car here - and garish aftermarket bodykits. Only a slim few slipped through the net and remained in factory specification.
This is no bad state to be in, though. With a twin-turbocharged 2.6-litre six-cylinder engine producing a gentleman's agreement 280hp (although the suspicion is they made quite a bit more), the R33 could sprint from 0-60mph in five seconds, meaning it was just three tenths behind the lighter and far pricier Ferrari F355. With the advantage of an ultra-complex (for the time) all-wheel drive system, the Nissan was actually quicker than many supercars in the real world.
A standard R33 is no bad thing at all, then. In fact, in 2018, it's definitely the preferred choice on the used market. Unless you're looking for your next drift car or you believe paying a few thousand pounds for a decal kit is worthwhile... One stands out amongst the crowd thanks to its minuscule modifications list, which comprises just two changes. The first is a big bore cat back exhaust, obvs, and the second is a set of Bilstein dampers. But the rest of this 56,000-mile-old R33 is completely standard. It's a fresh import from Japan too, so it's avoided the underside destruction caused by salted winter roads, while also being of well-equipped Series 3 form.
At a fiver short of £26k it may not be cheap, but remember, only last year we found a similarly healthy R33 for close to ten grand less.
SPECIFICATION - NISSAN SKYLINE GT-R (R33)
Engine: 2,568cc, twin-turbo straight six
Transmission: 5-speed manual, all-wheel drive
Torque(lb ft): 271@4,400rpm
First registered: 1997
Recorded mileage: 56,000
Price new: £50,000 (for official UK imports)
Yours for: £25,995
See the original advert here.