Import One of the Best High, High Performance Cars Ever, Ever Made
“I can now import a used R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R to the USA. Yeehaw!” These are sweet words that our customers in America can now say to themselves. And they can say more: “I can now buy and import one the most potent Japanese supercars ever made.” Check it out:
Zero to sixty in well under five seconds and a top speed that scares me even to think about, but that is somewhere quite on the high side of 250kph (155mph). A 2.6 liter straight six that has dual overhead cams, four valves per cylinder and twin turbochargers that pumps out an official 280ps (a figure I do not believe; it’s rather higher than that, I think) and 40kgm of torque (a figure I do believe). This is the mighty RB26DETT. An engine that is very tunable and has good after market support. But why would you tune a motor like that? It’s like tuning a Federation Dreadnaught
or a Mig-25 Foxbat.
What’s the point?
Well, actually, maybe there could be a point in putting a bit of tuning dollars into a car like a Skyline. Let me tell you about my first experience in a Nissan Skyline GT-R and you can judge for yourself.
I Ride the Skyline Rocket
Back in the mid nineties, not long after I arrived in Japan, a guy in my company (let’s call him “Takanori”) very generously decided to introduce me and my girlfriend (she’s now my wife) to his Skyline and his girlfriend (she’s now his wife). His car was a 1992 Nissan R32 Skyline GT-R and, next to his girlfriend (who was intensely attractive and whom I’ll call “Miki”), it was his pride and joy. It looked something like this one here:
Yes, the car was also intensely attractive, especially to a guy like me who was a mindless speed demon at the time; 0-60 was everything to me.
I met the car in the company parking lot one Sunday morning and got an over/under static tour. Going under, I found serious suspension and brake modifications down there and very wide, high grip tyres. In the cockpit there were more meters than I could shake a stick at and, under the bonnet, a beauty to set me drooling. (It was something like this:)
He’d had it recently dyno’d at exactly, precisely, preeeeeecisely 538.6ps. He kept the dyno print out graph (framed!) on top of his television set, sitting between the two original turbines, which he no longer needed since he had had two big mega turbos installed to give the motor that 538,6ps. He loved to talk about the work he’d done on that RB26DETT and I think that nearly everybody in the company knew that Taka’s Skyline GT-R put out 538.6ps. Exactly.
As we were puttering around the car that morning, he fired up the engine for me. What a deep rumble at idle! Blip the throttle and the exhaust note turned into an aggressive snarl; kind of like the last thing you hear when you’ve pissed off a tiger.
Then we went for a drive up on the back roads here on Mount Fuji, not far from where I now live, amazingly enough. And what a drive it was!
Was it a “drive” or was it a thrill or was it sheer terror? I’d never been in a car so fast. It set my heart pounding. Truly. And it made me into even more of a speed demon when I realized that such powerful, all wheel drive, turbo charged machines like that Skyline GT-R were actually accessible for a guy like me. For me. it opened the door to the whole world of Japanese “attainable supercars.” These are among the best deals in used cars that we export from Japan and it is always a delight for us at JCD to source and export good used super cars, from Skyline GT-Rs, to Lamborghinis (here’s one we recently exported), and from Supras to Ferraris (check out this one). All potent dream machines.
Now Taka had a track license and later he took us to Fuji Speedway on an open day. No racing was allowed, of course, but a driver could wind his car out and let it stretch its legs a bit more than was possible (or safe) on a public road. I sure remember those track runs: Taka behind the wheel, me in the front passenger seat, my girlfriend and Miki in the back.
Coming up through the final corner to take the straight,
Taka would start to lower the throttle and the world outside the car would whoosh by and Miki in the back seat there would start to scream. Literally scream. I think Taka liked that better than trying to top 200kph before having to slow down, waaaaaay down, for first corner. She did have a kind of fetching scream, I’ll admit. And she seemed to be able to do it without breathing. Once we were going what she thought was TOO FAST, she would scream all the way until Taka slowed down again; never once taking a breath as far as I could tell. (They are a happily married, middle aged, couple now; can you believe it?)
Rocket Forward to the R34
Yeah, that R32 was sure something, and it had the handling and braking to deal with all that power. And now, finally, we can export the even more amazing Nissan R34 Skylines to America because the first cars in the R34 series (including the ER34 25GT and 25GT Turbo) are beginning to turn 25 years old, and that means easy import to the USA.
Let’s have a second “yeehaw” for that:
YEEHAW!! (And now you can guess my age, because I still use this good old cowboy expression.)
You can check out the used car import rules to America on our Japan Car Direct website here. Australia also has a “25 year rule,” and for the speed demons in Oz, you’ll find the Australian used car import rules here. For our other major markets, the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, Germany, and the UAE, you don’t have to wait for a used car to be twenty-five years old before you can import it direct from Japan. To know the rules for these countries, just click on the country name above. And here at JCD we help you with the paperwork and the shipping and all that so that the whole process is smooth. It’s all laid out in our How To Buy section here.
Now, when we are looking at the Nissan Skyline GT-R, the R34 Skyline differs in a number of ways from that R32 that gave me such a thrill. A car like Taka’s R32 weighs in at something over 1,400kgs while the R34 is more than 100kgs heavier. Compared to the R32, the R34 is longer, by five and a half centimeters, wider, by three centimeters, and taller, by two centimeters. So an R34 GT-R is not massively heavier or larger, but he’s definitely beefier than the first R32 GT-Rs, although he’s a touch shorter than the R33.
The engine, the legendary among high output motors, RB26DETT
is the same in terms of capacity, at 2,568cc, but stock power is quite up. Yeah, it’s still 280ps officially, but I just ignore that and look at the boost up in torque: from a nice 36kgm in the stock R32 to a very potent 40kgm in the R34. No wonder these things accelerate like there’s no tomorrow! And to put all that power to the four drive wheels, the R34 Skyline GT-R has a six-speed manual in place of the 32’s five-speed box. Off the top of my head, I can’t recall ever seeing an automatic R32, R33, or R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R. They are kind of like my old Celica GT-4:
The makers just didn’t offer an automatic transmission option. Perhaps for safety reasons. It was the same with the Toyota MR2 turbo, no auto box; but Toyota did let buyers have an auto trans in the super powerful twin turbo Supra 80
…..but was that wise? That’s a discussion for another day. Let’s stick with R34 Skylines.
There were other changes, beyond the brute power figures and the six-speed trans, when Nissan brought out the 34s. The cockpit info is rather more comprehensive. Compare the instrument cluster in an R32
with what you get in an R34:
With the 32 you’ve got your main instruments in the main cluster, all the needed meters for a super car: tach, speedo, oil pressure, you know; and then in the center console cluster you’ve got meters for oil temperature, a turbo boost meter, and a voltmeter. All happy and rather understated for such a warp speed capable machine on four wheels. Now when it comes to the R34, the same general understated atmosphere is still there, but you’ve now got this impressive multi-function display at the top of your center console, giving you what those three little center console analogue meters were giving you in the R32, and more.
And there were a number of special spec packages available as well, offering things like bigger brake discs, stiffer suspension, even a carbon fiber hood (bonnet). In fact, all the all wheel drive Skylines, R32, R33, and R34 had special performance grades offered: V-spec, Nissmo, Autech, the LM for Group-C, an M-Spec…..Gosh! I get lost in a bucket of “specs” and start to hyper ventilate.
So let’s calm down and have a look at some of the Skylines (and not only GT-Rs) that we at Japan Car Direct have exported from Japan.
A Little Gallery of JCD Exported Skylines For You
First up, this beautiful black 1991 R32 GT-R.
Just sitting there, this car puts the feeling of power into your body and mind! Taka’s car was like that. And if you want aftermarket meters, this car is a dream come true.
You’ll find him on our main website here.
A very fine R34 Skyline, this time an ER-34 that we recently exported. is The Muscle Man:
Read more about him here and learn more, and see more, about the ER-34 Skylines that we have exported to the UK and Canada.
Here’s a beautiful blue R34 that is going to Baltimore.
This guy has the normally aspirated RB25DE straight six, one of Nissan’s “Neo” class of engines.
And here’s an ECR-33
with the same 2.5 liter motor now in its turbo form, the RB25DET. Just look at that intake piping! (That’s where your power comes from.)
This guy went to the UK via the port of Newcastle. He is The Machine.
The Two Wheel Drive Performance Skylines
O.K., have we calmed down yet or am I just powering you up all the more with this little gallery of JCD-exported Nissan Skylines here?
Now while that black R32 GT-R brings me right back to my time with Taka and his GT-R (with its exactly 538.6ps, dyno tested, and Miki screaming at the Speedway), these wonderful ER-34s and ER-33s here bring us onto the whole topic of the two wheel drive high performance Skylines.
When it comes to high performance and sports motoring, all wheel drive (AWD) is not for everyone. I’ve had two AWD Japanese supercars, a Subaru Impreza WRX STi (Version III, he was), and a Toyota Celica GT-Four. Fast cars, the both of them. I’ve also had powerful two wheel drive machines.
Guys who are now saying: “I want to import a used R34 Skyline to the USA,” are going to be thinking hard about whether to go All Wheel Drive or Two Wheel Drive (which means front engine, rear wheel drive when it comes to Skyline, of course).
You might think that the AWD GT-R overshadows its “humbler” 2WD brothers, and we did open this blog post looking at the GT-R, but don’t be fooled by specs and numbers; when it comes to performance motoring fun, both layouts are beyond excellent, and the RB series of Nisssan straight six engines are very good platforms for power tuning. You are going to win big time by importing any clean used R34, R33, or R32 Skyline direct from Japan, whether we source it for you at the Japanese used car auctions or from the used car dealers here that we partner with.
But, speaking from my own personal experience in high powered cars. I can say that, yes, AWD wins on straight, brutal acceleration, zero to sixty miles an hour. Traction is simply superior when I’ve got all four wheels putting the power to the pavement. But I know a guy, a much more experienced and better driver than me, who strongly disagrees with me that AWD is always better 0-60; and he’s got timed runs in his power tuned Nissan Silvia S15 R-Spec to prove it. So skill level (low in my case) is a factor here.
When it comes to handling, AWD drive has some disadvantage due to an unavoidable increase in weight, but that is offset by its ability to power through corners better (generally) than 2WD.
But in terms of vibration, I find that 2WD does give, to my feeling at least, less overall vibration and makes for a better long distance cruiser. It’s also cheaper to maintain as the car gets older.
But is it more fun? AWD turbo power to the pavement is FUN! But lighter, chuckable 2WD performance cars are also FUN! And you can DRIFT in them, too. (Have a peek here for a look at the drift king cars of Japan that we can source for you for export to the USA.)
Aaaaah! As you can see, my take on the AWD vs 2WD debate is……..ambivalent. I’d be happy to hear what you guys think. Let us have your comments and experiences. I’d really like to know what other folks think about this whole question.
By the way, you might be wondering what happened to Taka’s 1992 R32 GT-R with its 538.6 ps (dyno tested) motor. Did he just ride off into the sunset with his beautiful wife? Well, actually, he got transferred to America in the late 90s and could not take his car with him because it was not then over 25 years old! (But he could take Miki, though. Whew!) If he’s still there in America these days (time of writing, high summer 2023), he can import that GT-R to the USA now. Here at Japan Car Direct we can set it all up for him, arrange the documents and shipping and get it all over to him pretty quick. And we can do the same for you. Just register here and we’ll get you into a nice clean Nissan Skyline.
Quiz Time: Without scrolling back in this article, answer me this question: What was the exact horse power output, in PS, of Taka’s 1992 Nissan Skyline GT-R? Send us your answer when you register to import your own good used R34, R33, or R32 from Japan today. Cheers!