GT-R. Godzilla. King of the mountain. All attributed to the R32 Nissan Skyline.
Not many vehicles can reside in books, games and the hearts of people all over the world quite like the R32 GT-R. The roar of the 2.6L engine freely revving out to its redline of 7,500 rpm (and beyond), gripping to the road by Nissans high tech ATTESSA-ETS 4wd system enabling manoeuvring through corners as if built on rails. Not many cars can match the finesse and engineering that has gone into the Nissan Skyline and 25 years on, lived through the small numbers that are registered to drive on Australian roads.
ON THE STREETS
Designed to dominate Group A racing, it’s easy to tell that being a road car was not high on priority lists at Nissan HQ.
however, The appeal of the badge will not leave any emptiness to anyone who drives. One is easily fulfilled by the stimulative acceleration that seems endless by the high-ratio 5 speed gearbox. The point and shoot of the steering and all-wheel-drive are raw, as in, not assisted by technology to ‘enhance’ one’s driving experience.
On this particular GT-R maximum boost was felt by around 3000-4000 rpm. I say this GT-R because many have upgraded turbo systems meaning boost will come on differently respective of the power and the owner’s desired power band.
Also fitted with a twin plate clutch; smooth first gear take offs were a bit disheartening but once the twin turbos started producing positive pressure, you forget everything.
Off boost, the vehicle seems quite sluggish with in-gear acceleration requiring above 3500 rpm, to stir any reaction from under the bonnet. During daily driving constant requiring may not be needed of the fun pedal and the vehicle is well up to the job to get you to and from work.
Whether you used it as a terms of regular transportation was up to you as the suspension is set up for response for the driver and harshness is felt over regular deformities in the road. Fitted from factory to all GT-R’s are the shallow bucket seats which try and hug you, unless you’re a regular sized human, then it becomes a tight fit. It’s sometimes forgotten that this car was created for the Japanese Domestic Market. Surprisingly the rear bucket-style seats may hold more than just luggage; an adult may find it somewhat comfortable in the rear as the roof line goes further back than most 2+2’s.
The dash set-up is a bit strange to new players, having only an indicator stalk off the steering column with everything else on the dash. Sitting in the cockpit, everything seems quite bland, with interior gadgets only there if they hold a purpose.
Visibility is excellent. The rear vision mirror is just enough to look over the rear spoiler. Shoulder checks aren’t impaired by chunky C pillars and the A pillars don’t distort much vision either; a quality lacking in some modern cars today, but for good reason.
In terms of safety, very few GT-R’s were fitted with airbags, leaving only a seat belt if an accident were to occur. The 94 model I drove came factory with an intrusion bar through the doors which were not featured on the earlier models.
When in the market for one, remember that the vehicle is 20 years old. The Japanese drove these cars just as much as any other car, if a vehicle has low kilometres question it.
In terms of the body, look for rust in the rear quarter panels, inside the guards and at the lower parts of the rear windscreen. As well as bolts that have paint removed, as that can be a sign of part removal – so question if it has been in an accident.
Mechanically wise, a lot can go wrong – set aside $10,000 for an appropriate engine and gearbox rebuild with a quality clutch around $1500. Check for service history. White smoke may mean oil burned by the turbos. New turbos start from just over $2000 for a pair. Suspension components wear so have a look around for worn boots and bushes.
Whether you’re in the market for a performance vehicle, a bit of nostalgia or even a way not to be late to work, the GT-R can accommodate. With an array of aftermarket products and forums such as Skylines Australia, it’s easy to find information on the Skyline and ways to make it your own.
The R32 developed 206 kW (276 hp) and 266 lb•ft of torque, it had a weight of 1,430 kg.