Why the R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R has “doubled” in price

8419_Nissan Skyline R32 GTR

According to several Japanese car importing businesses, prices of the R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R have doubled in Japan. This is not surprising, as the R32 is one of the most sought-after cars from the tuner era and it is now federally legal to import to the US, after officially turning 25 last year. It’s also because Japan’s stocks are pretty well depleted at this point.

Nissan Skyline R32 GTR V-Spec

The history of Godzilla’s export exploits began almost as soon as the cars were new. Australia was the first to receive them, with 100 official units sold through Nissan Australia in 1990.

The first significant numbers of JDM R32s to leave Japan would have been in 1993, when they became legal for import into Australia.The UK was the other early adopter of the R32, and began gray-market imports in the mid 1990s. Still, they were fairly expensive and thus out of reach for most.

By 1996, however, the R32 had reached that six-year mark where used cars in Japan take a nosedive in value. The R33 had been launched and the timing happened to coincide with favorable currency rates that made it even more appealing for Aussies to import one, and thus created the first wave of R32 exports.

For many years, neighbor New Zealand had been lenient on imports, but in 1998 the country removed all import tariffs, opening the floodgates for Japanese imports. It was in this era of the late 90s that interest in JDM cars was reaching an all-time high, and the R32 led the way for those who wanted the ultimate in wow-factor.

Nissan Skyline R32 GTR NISMO

This interest in everything JDM kicked into overdrive in the mid-2000s, creating the second wave of export. Countries in the Middle East, Russia, Southeast Asia, and even our neighbors in Canada — all of which have fairly lax import laws — caught the JDM bug and with newfound wealth began to pluck their dream cars from the motherland.

Now, thanks to our famously strict 25-years-or-older rules, the US is last to the finish line. Over two decades of international buyers scouring Japan for R32s have passed since the car went on sale.

8425_Nissan Skyline R32 GTR

Many of them have already left Japan, and what remains can be put into two categories. The first are cars that are either junkyard bound, and therefore not even in the pool of exportable examples. Those are now fetching anywhere from half to ¥1 million (about USD$8,100).

Then there are the truly prime examples that have been held by devoted owners. Those in the latter category were ones that were previously not financially feasible to export, and they are buoying the prices of exportable specimens. Those typically go for ¥3.5 million on the Japanese market and have fewer than 50,000 km.

Everything else goes for about 2.5 times the reserve prices. Sure, it still might be possible to find a deal, but it isn’t so much as that the demand is growing, it’s that the demand is growing while the supplies have dwindled after 25 years of being picked over.

Special thanks to Kevin San.

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13 Responses to Why the R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R has “doubled” in price

  1. Nigel said:

    I see an R32 a few times a week in the summer, and even in the winter when the weather is good. So we have many here in the great white north. (A few for sale maybe).

  2. Censport said:

    During my May visit, I spent some time with a friend who is an exporter. It’s not just the R32 values going up, the Hakosuka and Kenmeri are also climbing fast. Finding a clean original example of them is getting more difficult and expensive. Which makes the run we made out to Daikoku in a pristine R32 GT-R just that much more special.

  3. Okiera29 said:

    Meh, still want a yonmeri or iron mask. not to mention a nice GX71… There are three or four R32s and an R33 here in Oklahoma already.

    • Censport said:

      I know of a seriously nice iron mask in Maryland. One of the nicest I’ve seen in the U.S. or Japan. The price is realistic, but you have to provide a good home for it. He won’t sell it to anyone he thinks will trash it. I can put you in touch with the guy if you’re in the market.

  4. cesariojpn said:

    One thing that doesn’t get mentioned is that the importation rules EXPLICITLY says the car needs to be BONE STOCK. No heavily modded 1000BHP Trailer Queens, no “Racecars,” just as they left the Nissan Factory. Which makes finding clean examples much more frustrating.

  5. Michael said:

    R32 GTR prices have been pretty much the same in Australia for the last 10 years. Some people dream and ask silly money, but there’s always quite a few in the low-mid $20k price range, and even under $20k. Maybe with the US dollar being strong to ours people should start importing them from Aus.

  6. Rayson said:

    R32 GTR prices here in Toronto are rather flat too (Except a few dealers that are trying to dream silly money). Mainly because it is quite hard to get insurance locally for a JDM imports now days. (Majority of the companies pretty much shut the door to right hand drive / JDM imports in the Toronto area) unless you got hook up to a broker that is willing to assist you with the paperwork.

  7. Jova said:

    In Puerto Rico we not have a R32 yet, but have R33 and 2 R34 totally legal.

  8. Power Tryp said:

    This isn’t terribly surprising. Between the rest of the world getting there first and a growing market for vintage J-tin I’d be more shocked if prices in Japan stayed flat or went down.

  9. Felipe said:

    You forgot South America!! Over here the JDM fever has been catching up like 5 o more years ago to the point that having a skyline R32 is no big deal among drifters and highway warriors.

    Now we´ve LOTS of subarus and Mitsubishis Imprezas and Evos, R32, R33 in all flavors, and now with the S2000 and Silvias.

  10. wantyerknobbies said:

    had a chance to buy a bnr32 from a friend but declined. here’s why: one off parts expensive or impossible to find. difficult maintenance. something always breaking. cops target and hassle you. plus some law enforcement undoubtedly won’t get the message the cars are dot exempt now and still want to impound it. car also gets way too much attention from the import crowd for my comfort

  11. michael said:

    they are a plenty for sale in Australia as cheap as $4k AUD but they would of been played about a lot buy back yard modders sadly.

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