Looking for a GT-R? Then scrolling through Global Auto‘s ever-changing stock list is probably a daily ritual for you.
Or, if you are like me, you’re just curious to check out how the market is moving and what cars are out there.
If you’ve been doing this for a while, you might have noticed a change. That is, a lack of asking prices. At Global Auto’s GT-R candy shop in Sakai City, Osaka, those hard-to-decipher JDM price boards that you once had to add four zeros to for a BNR34 don’t exist now either.
These days, you have to “ASK” to get a quote, and that quote will vary from day to day as GT-R values continue to rise. This goes for all GT-Rs – except the R35, which remains a performance bargain in Japan.
It’s the ’89 to ’02 GT-Rs that people want, and as we’ve been seeing for a while now, there are no shortage of overseas buyers willing to fork out the sort of money that would have been deemed farcical a decade ago.
Many say that it’s an unsustainable trend, and that it will all come crashing down at some point. But there hasn’t been anything to sustain that opinion – yet.
If you’re already a GT-R owner, then you’re probably feeling pretty good right now – especially if you picked your car up prior the market going nuts. If you’re a reseller, you’re probably doing rather well too – provided you stockpiled cars in advance and have reliable wholesale sources for fresh inventory.
As I walked through the rows of tightly-parked GT-Rs of every generation that Global Auto have on display, my mind boggled at the thought of the combined value of these cars.
But you know what? As a BNR34 owner and a massive Skyline GT-R fan since I first laid eyes on a BNR32 when I arrived in Japan back in 1993, the market going crazy has also put me off a little.
Don’t get me wrong, the cars themselves continue to tantalize my mind and I feel lucky that I’ve enjoyed owning one for 22 years now, but the opportunism that has spanned from this GT-R boom leaves a sour taste in my mouth.
To me, the GT-R was always an affordable sports car that you could personalize in many different ways. In fact, it’s still very much that in my mind, but the reality has shifted.
After the R35 GT-R hit the scene in 2007, Nissan evolved and perfected it, in the process creating an absolute supercar slayer. Fifteen years on, Nismo versions of the R35 – like the 2020 model year car above that Global Auto recently acquired – sell for three to four times what R32, R33 and R34 GT-Rs sold for back in the day.
I call it brand inflation, and a rightly earned one, but this of course has trickled down to the older models too.
I try to pick up bits and pieces from Nissan and Nismo to keep my soon-to-be-vintage R34 in the best condition it can be, but am constantly left open-mouthed when I see parts prices being doubled if not tripled. But I digress…
Visiting Global Auto, it was amazing to be surrounded by so many GT-Rs, and to see just how Yasui-san has cemented himself as the go-to guy for these cars. If there’s a specific spec you’re after, there’s a good chance he can help you out.
While his roots may be in VIP as one of the founders of Junction Produce, GT-Rs have always been in Yasui-san’s heart. It was awesome to see that he still has the wild time attack BNR34 that he built years back, and which I featured an eternity ago, or at least what feels like one.
The consensus in Japan within GT-R circles is that once the United States’ ’25-year rule’ starts to allow R34s to be legally imported (the 1999 cars will be eligible in 2024), there will be one final big price push and then values will stabilize.
That would make a lot of sense, but what I really hope is that Nissan and Nismo keep the support going. By that I mean that they start remaking parts to allow owners to maintain their now highly-collectible cars. I understand that prices of re-manufactured parts need to be higher to cover low-volume production costs, but they shouldn’t be ridiculous. After all, it’s in a manufacturer’s best interest to support those keeping their legendary cars on the road.
With Project 964, I’m noticing just how well Porsche and third-party parts manufacturers do it.
On that note, it’s not just the GT-Rs that are commanding big money; the used parts market is on fire too. Looking through the two workshop areas at Global Auto instantly made me regret selling bits and pieces off my GT-R. Getting rid of the stock wheels for so little was perhaps my biggest mistake, as these are worth a lot now. Hindsight is a wonderful thing…
Global Auto is not only about GT-Rs; they keep an eye out for anything performance-related from 1990s. A lot of more modern stuff on the yard are cars that customers have traded in.
After much pondering and reminiscing while walking through an inventory that GT-R dreams are made of, things got a little more interesting…
Yasui-san asked me if I wanted to see the secret place where Global Auto keeps its really special cars.
To see what that’s all about make sure you tune back in later in the week, but the meantime I’d really like to hear from GT-R owners around the world, and see what their take is on all this Skyline craziness.
Dino Dalle Carbonare