Motoring enthusiasts of a certain age will be well acquainted with the R34- generation Nissan Skyline GT-R. If you didn’t ‘own’ a souped-up example on the video game Need For Speed, you certainly lusted after Paul Walker’s nitrous-equipped street racer from 2 Fast 2 Furious.
But out here in the real world, where neon lights are reserved for Piccadilly Circus and you don’t get bonus points for drifting, it’s the bone-stock, well-kept examples that command big money. You can but gawp at the towering rear wings and lurid decals that adorn the majority of 1999-2002 Skylines, which, for the most part, have been modified for drifting or excruciatingly detailed in preparation for the car show season.
Irrespective of any styling alterations, however, the R34 GT-R remains an instantly recognisable car, its blocky three-box silhouette setting it apart unmistakably from anything else on the road today, as it did in comparison to its swoopy Honda NSX, Toyota Supra and Mazda RX-7 rivals at the turn of the century.
Don’t be fooled by its nomenclature: the R34 is actually the fifth generation of the Skyline but is largely an evolution of the similarly legendary R33. Key differences, aside from the obviously shorter overhangs and revised interior, include candy red engine covers, improved aerodynamics and the addition of a 5.8in LCD screen that displays live telemetry.
The RB26 (that’s race-bred, 2.6-litre) straight-six motor was also carried over largely unchanged and pumps around 325bhp and 289lb ft to all four wheels by way of a six-speed manual gearbox and sucks air through a pair of whopping Garrett turbochargers. Despite the GT-R’s near-1600kg kerb weight, it’ll crack the 0-62mph sprint in around five seconds, hit 155mph and show a clean pair of heels to most contemporary Jags, Astons and Porsches around the Nürburgring.
In fact, the Green Hell played such a fundamental role in the GT-R’s development that Nissan was inspired to introduce the limited-run Nür edition in 2002. Just over 1000 examples were built, each packing larger turbos, gold cam covers and a speedo that went all the way up to 186mph. Don’t expect to pick one of these up for pennies, though. At the time of writing, there were two for sale in the UK, both priced at £120,000.