We all know that NISMO is to Nissan what M is to BMW, STI is to Subaru and so on. As is the case with all the best performance divisions, most are grounded in decades worth of motorsport activity. For NISMO, that includes a smattering of Group C racers, silhouettes and touring cars, along with a handful of road-going projects jam-packed with racing knowhow that were only ever available to Nissan’s most affluent and loyal customers.
So while NISMO versions of the 370Z and R35 GT-R are special in their own right, examples from the performance arm’s time as a proper skunkworks division are on a whole other level of coolness. If anything, NISMO operated more like a conventional tuning firm, taking existing models of Silvias and Skylines before upgrading them – by hand – with some of the finest performance parts on planet Earth. The company has a continuation service where you can buy old parts and retrofit them yourself, but nothing beats a proper, Omori-built car with its own NISMO-built number plaque – just like this Skyline GT-R R34 S-Tune.
If you know your S-Tunes from your R and Zs, you’ll know this isn’t NISMO’s meanest, gnarliest iteration of the R34. It is, however, the one you’ll probably get the most out of on a desolate touge (or, now that it’s over here, a good old British B-road). The S-Tune, or Street Tune, was NISMO’s first proper stab at upgrading the already very rapid R34 Skyline, featuring a host of upgrades that were tailored towards on-road performance over outright lap time. Funny, really, because even the ‘light’ upgrades that came bundled in with the S1 trim seen here raised the power from 280hp (always a conservative estimate anyway) to 400hp. Just goes to show just how much potential there is in that RB26 engine.
NISMO didn’t just slap on an induction kit and call it a day, either. Each engine was stripped and pored over by an engineer to see if any improvements could be made by tweaking the stock internals. Then, during the reassembly, new camshafts, turbos and ECU were fitted, resulting in a 120hp uptick in power. That’s not all, as NISMO fitted its own S-Tune-spec suspension, designed to soak up lumps in the road so drivers could enjoy their improved R34 without their lumbar being smashed to pieces. Small revisions were made to the bumpers and skirts, too. It’s not known whether they provide any sort of aerodynamic benefit, but they look darn good – as do the one-piece LMGT4 forged wheels that were especially designed for NISMO nutcases.
Of course, it wasn’t long before more hardcore models came along. R-Tune cars were the R34’s GT3 RS equivalent, while the Z-Tune saw customer cars stripped to the bare metal and rebuilt with top-shelf NISMO parts. Only 19 Zs were produced and 25-30 (jury’s still out) R-Tunes. The S-Tune? Just 14 which, according to the ad, makes it “the rarest official numbered car ever released by the company.”
So, if you thought R34s were getting expensive, you’ll probably want to be sitting down when enquiring about this one. For reference, one example was listed for $200,000 in 2019, while another had an estimate of $350,000 last year. Given that this is chassis #2, is a Japanese auction grade 4.5A (so it’s darn near immaculate) and has only covered 9,000 miles, it’s probably best to have a figure in mind somewhere in the half-a-million ballpark before picking up the phone. What’s even more painful is that all 14 models are listed on GT-R Registry and, apparently, this one sold for about £32,000 when new. Then again, a Ferrari 250 GTO could be had for peanuts many, many years ago, too - and look where they are now.
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