Over the weekend a Nissan Fairlady Z432-R sold for ¥88.55 million, or $804,600 or so at current exchange rates. That makes it the most expensive S30 Z — and one of the most expensive Japanese cars, period — ever sold at auction. Given the history of the model, however, perhaps that shouldn’t be surprising.
Most know the Nissan Fairlady Z432 as a “Z with a Skyline GT-R engine,” and that is absolutely true. Equipped with the Prince-designed twin-cam, multivalve straight-six of the Hakosuka GT-R, the Z432 got its name from four valves per cylinder, triple carbs, and two overhead cams.
Nissan stuffed it with race equipment, like magnesium wheels, a 10,000 rpm tach, rally clock, and its trademark stacked dual exhaust tips. It cost double what the standard Fairlady Z did when the cars debuted in October of 1969 and was considered impossibly exotic to most Japanese at the time of release.
Remarkably, Nissan built an even more potent version for endurance racing. The Z432-R was a race homologation special, with windows made of lightweight acrylic, 0.2 mm thinner sheetmetal, and an FRP hood — satin black, of course, to reduce glare. The obsessive weight reduction techniques resulted in a mass approximately 100 kg (220 lb) lighter, bringing weight down to 855 kg (1,885 pounds).
Each car also came with a 100-liter (26.4 gallon) fuel tank, and amenities such as a heater and radio were deleted. Only between 30 and 50 were built to spec, with options such as a glove box or brake booster delete and fitted racing buckets.
Needless to say, they are incredibly rare, and typically trade hands among a close-knit group of Japanese enthusiasts and collectors. This particular car was offered for sale at the Tokyo Terrada BH Auction over the weekend, happening at the same time but across the bay from the Tokyo Auto Salon.
Reportedly, there were only three bids placed before the winner took their $800,000 prize. For comparison, non-R Z432 examples have sold for between $150,000 and $170,000 at US auctions, meaning the R models can command a $600,000-plus premium.
With this sale, the Z432R joins the ranks of the Toyota 2000GT, Lexus LFA Nürburgring Edition, and Nissan GT-R50 as the most expensive Japanese cars ever sold. If counting strictly classics, then the Z432R comes in third behind the LFA Nürburgring Edition ($918,500) and Toyota 2000GT ($1,155,000). No doubt about it, it’s a significant sale, and it may prompt other collectors to strike while the iron is hot.