UK-supplied Skyline GT-R (R33) for sale03/09/2022
The UK Nissan Skyline story began 25 years ago – here's one of the first official cars
By Matt Bird / Wednesday, March 9, 2022 / Loading comments
As many a Gran Turismo 7 player is now being reminded of in glorious detail, the 1990s were a great time to love the Japanese fast car. The Subaru Impreza Turbo redefined accessible performance, the Celica GT-Four gave the Escort Cosworth a run for its money, the Honda Type Rs were fantastic and the Mitsubishi Evo unbelievable for a four-door car.
The Nissan Skyline GT-R was, of course, part of the golden period, because little else had quite the impact of the R32 in 1989. Aware of that, and the rise in popularity of private imports during the 1990s, Nissan brought over official versions of the R33 GT-R in 1997, two years after its release in Japan. They were all V-Spec cars, prepared by Middlehurst Nissan in St Helens (with more cooling, a UK speedo and so on), then sold to the eager public. Only trouble being they were £50k, which was an awful lot for anything on four wheels 25 years ago, let alone one with niche appeal. The GT-R (and Gran Turismo, come to think of it), just didn’t have the influence and reverence that it does today. Which it was going to need at almost Porsche 911 money.
As the years passed, the R33 came to be seen as the least desirable of the GT-R family: it wasn’t the original R32 nor the end-of-an-era R34, and the R35 was a completely different animal (though didn’t cost much more when it arrived 10 years later). As such, they weren’t worth as much, so more could be imported and modified. It still had the same engine and chassis technology, so why not?
The popularity of modifying an R33 GT-R, plus the time that’s now passed since they were new, means finding anything like a standard car is rare. But we’ve gone one better, because here’s a standard UK-supplied V-Spec, one of those original hundred from 1997. Well, almost standard; from new it was fitted with what’s been called a ‘Middlehurst 400 pack’, which upgraded the famed RB26 straight-six and explains the HKS exhaust. Some will grumble, but as modifications go, a kit from the selling dealer that’s been installed for 25 years seems hard to take much issue with.
Especially as the rest of this Skyline is just sensationally good. It’s a one-owner car from the 1990s to now, garaged from new and with a stack of history from both Middlehurst and other specialists. It’s being sold with its original bill of sale, two keys and even the standard steering wheel (seemingly straight from a Primera) taking pride of place. We don’t like to say ‘find another’, because they keep seeming to turn up, but what an example of a GT-R.
The asking price now isn’t far off what it would have been all those years ago, at £46,995. But as a reflection of the R33’s place in the family, that’s still a fairly affordable way into GT-R ownership. There were UK R34s, too, albeit only 80 (presumably in response to the R33’s reception), and one of those might now cost £100,000 more than this earlier GT-R. For a one-owner, unmodified R32, you’re also looking at six figures as well. Yes, seriously – they’re bonafide classics, these days. Those of us obsessed with Gran Turismo as kids have always wanted our own Skyline, which is why a 1997 Nissan can command the best part of £50k. And just when we thought we were over it, the new game comes out – those saved searches aren’t going anywhere…
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