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How to Buy a 1957 to 2002 Nissan Skyline : Buyers Guide

Sean Morris Posted on January 28, 2019


Hakosuka R32 and R33 GT-R
KPG10(clone), R32, R33, R33 GT-R's

The Nissan Skyline GT-R is one of those iconic cars, because it was never really(other than in limited numbers) sold outside of Japan. Its something that a lot of people have seen on videos, played in video games, and seen in magazines. Now that the "modern" Nissan Skyline GT-R, the 1989 R32 turned 25 years old in 2014, there are more than a few out there on the roads of the USA. 

These JDM or Japanese domestic market cars are becoming more and more popular in the USA. Every year new and cool cars turn 25 years old. In 2020, the R33 GT-R will turn 25 years old, and be legal to import to the US. In 2024 the R34 GT-R version will turn 25 years old.  From finding one at a Japanese car auction, to storing it overseas, Toprank International Vehicle Importers can help to get your dream car. 

Check out a little bit of Nissan Skyline history and information about them. 


1957 Prince Skyline
1957 ALSID-1 Prince Skyline

The first "Skyline" was actually a Prince Skyline the ALSID-1 that debuted in April 1957. Nissan and Prince merged in 1966, with the first Nissan Skyline GT-R debuting in 1969.

PGC10 aka Hakosuka

Hakosuka Race car
The Hakosuka or "Box Skyline" had the 2.0 liter, 160 horsepower DOHC, S20 engine.  The PGC10 showed up in 1969. A total of 539 cars were sold. In 1970 293 cars were sold.

Its much more likely that you will come across a "GT-R clone"


Hakosuka Nissan Skyline in the USA Toprank Importers
KPGC10 Clone in the US
The KPCG10 was the 2 door version of the PGC10. In 1971 the KPGC10 hit the roads with 682 sold. 1972 had a total of 515 cars sold.

Driving the Legend from Edmunds.

Paint Codes

While doing some research I came across this chart. Not sure if its complete, or even correct.
Hakosuka Nissan Skyline Paint Codes

#905 - Red
#831 - White
#920 - Gold
#970 - Metallic Lavendar(?)
#913 - Metallic Brown
#700 - Silver

Some Z- Car Color codes. 
1972 Nissan Touch Up Color Codes



KPGC110 aka Ken and Mary or Kenmeri

Ken Meri Kenmary Kenmeri Nissan Skyline

The final year of the Nissan Skyline GT-R was 1973. Only 197 cars were made. Here is one that was for sale for 9.9 million yen, or almost $100,000. The last one we saw at auction (May 2015 was offered at nearly $280,000) The last of the Nissan Skyline GT-R until the 1989 R32 GT-R.


Group A Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 Taisan
Group A R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R

Buy-R.com for Nissan Skyline GT-R and GT-R parts.


R32 GT-R (early)
R33 GT-R (normal)
R34 GT-R (normal)
R35 GT-R (early)
4545 mm (178.9 in)
4675 mm (184.1 in)
4600 mm (181.1 in)
4650 mm (183.1 in)
1755 mm (69.1 in)
1780 mm (70.1 in)
1785 mm (70.3)
1900 mm (74.9 in)
1340 mm (52.8 in)
1360 mm (53.5 in)
1360 mm (53.5 in)
1370 mm (54 in)
1480 kg (3265 lbs)
1530 kg (3373 lbs)
1540 kg (3395 lbs)
1737 kg (3829 lbs)
2615 mm (103 in)
2720 mm (107.1 in)
2665 mm(104.9 in)
2780 mm (109.4 in)
Front track
1480 mm (58.3 in)
1480 mm (58.3 in)
1480 mm (58.3 in)
1590 mm (62.9 in)
Rear track
1480 mm (58.3 in)
1480 mm (58.3 in)
1490 mm (58.7 in)
1600 mm (63 in)



R32 GT-R in Japan by GT Channel
R32 GT-R covered by GT Channel
My personal favorite Nissan Skyline, is the R32 GT-R. Its the one that I saw when I went to Japan in 1991. It was the one that was destroying its contemporaries on the track. 

The R32 GT-R debuted in August 1989 and was sold though 1994. A new version of Nissan's RB inline 6 cylinder engine powered the car. Iron block, aluminum dual overhead cam head. Sodium filled exhaust valves. Solid lifters. Six throttle bodies. Twin turbo. Oil cooled pistons. 73mm stroke with an 86 mm piston giving the RB26 2568cc of displacement. Fitting right into the Group A formula for forced induction. Short stroke, low torque, high revving. Stock most of the engines had ceramic exhaust wheels on the turbochargers, and saw about 0.7 bar of boost(500 mmHG, 10psi).

Driving an R32 GT-R at Willow Springs
On track at Willow Springs around 1999.

Behind the RB26DETT sat a 5 speed transmission, with internals shared with the Fairlady(300ZX). On the back of the transmission was the ATTESA transfercase, or the all wheel drive magic that made the R32 GT-R into the track monster it was.  On the track for Group A, the RB26 was tuned to 550 horsepower, making it unbeatable in 29 of 29 races in Japan.

There were a total of 4555 cars sold in 1989 and 43934 cars over its whole production run.

Some areas of concern on a 1989 Nissan Skyline GT-R, if you are looking to import it to the US. First off, its a 25 year old car. Not everything is going to be in as new condition, unless you pay a ton of money for the car.  


Update: GT-R Registry has a full breakdown of colors and types. Check it out. They managed to get lots of the missing FAST info.

  • Color Codes or Paint Codes for Nissan Skyline GT-R 1989 to 1994
    • Some of these codes I haves seen in other years than listed. Have not seen an original white in an early car, but it might have been possible. the blue plate under the hood tells you the color code. 
    • Early 1989 to 1990 (NO white)
      • #KH2 - Gun Grey Metallic
        #KG1 - Jet Silver Metallic
        #TH1 - Dark Blue Pearl
        #AH3 - Red Pearl Metallic
        #732 - Black Pearl Metallic
        #KL0 - Spark Silver Metallic
        #BL0 - Greyish Blue Pearl (special order)
        #AN0 - Wine Red
    • Middle 1991 to 1992 (First white)
      • #KH2 - Gun Grey Metallic
        #KG1 - Jet Silver Metallic
        #TH1 - Dark Blue Pearl
        #AH3 - Red Pearl Metallic
        #732 - Black Pearl Metallic
        #326 - Cristal White
        #KL0 - Spark Silver Metallic
        #BL0 - Greyish Blue Pearl (special order)
        #AN0 - Wine Red
    • Late 1993 to 1994
      • #KH2 - Gun Grey Metallic
        #KG1 - Jet Silver Metallic
        #AH3 - Red Pearl Metallic
        #732 - Black Pearl Metallic
        #326 - Cristal White
        #KL0 - Spark Silver Metallic
        #AN0 - Wine Red
    • Rust. Japan gets it
      • Check around the rear fender area
Rusty Nissan Skyline R32 around wheel wells. Caution!
      • Check around the rear window
      • Open the trunk look under the spare tire for any water collecting
    • Fenders and hood are aluminum and a little fragile
      • No matter what she says she weighs, you shouldn't let her "Whitesnake it"
    • Windshields and glass are unique to the Skyline GT-R
    • Does it have an aftermarket exhaust?
    • How do the wheels/tires look?
    • How do the brake rotors look?
      • Original R32 brake rotors are cross drilled
      • Later N1 rotors are solid
    • The cars are all wheel drive, and the front driveshaft boots are often torn.
Broken axle boot Nissan Skyline
Torn CV boot right side outer

    • Dash around the vents can lift and bubble
    • Speedometer clusters
Factory 180 km/hr speedometer in a Nissan Skyline GT-R R32
Stock 180 km/hr speedometer
      • The cars came with a 180 km/hr speedometer
      • Lots of aftermarket speedometers exist. Always have to be suspect of mileage/km on an aftermarket speedo
      • Always use your best judgement on mileage/km
        • Look at shifter
        • Look at pedals
        • If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is
    • Generally cars have low mileage, but 200k km cars are not unheard of
    • Does it have a factory ECU?
      • Its located behind the passenger side kick panel
    • Does it have an aftermarket boost controller?
    • Does it have an aftermarket boost gage?
    • How about a huge monster tach?


Show or Display Nismo R32 GT-R RB26dett


    • RB26DETT have oiling issues
    • Check the oil level
    • Look for signs of leaks
      • Front main is often a cracked oil pump gear
      • Half moons at the back of the engine can get brittle and leak
RB26dett half moon oil seal
Half moon at the back of the engine. Hot side valve cover off
      • Turbos can leak
    • Rough idle can be a sign of a vacuum leak
      • 6 throttle bodies
      • Injectors
    • Check for a boost restrictor
    • Does the car have a factory airbox?
  • Does it have other aftermarket parts visible?
  • Car should start easily and settle into around 1000 rpm idle
  • Oil pressure at idle should be around the first hash mark, or about 30 psi
    • If its not, 10 psi per 1000 rpm is generally accepted, but can be concerning
    • Can be a sign of a bad sender, or leaky backing plate on the oil pump
  • 4th gear often grinds. Its a straight back pull, so guys don't let the synchros do their job, and hurt them. 
  • An all wheel drive car can put a hurting on a transmission. A modified GT-R often breaks 3rd gear. 
  • The car should make about 10 psi, or about the first hash mark on the factory boost gage that reads in mmHG. If it buries the gage, then its running about 14 psi. 
  • If its running 14 psi or more, with the factory turbos, then their days are numbered.  It might run for years, it might snap the exhaust wheel of next week. Detonate on the engine, or find the rev limiter a few too many times, and expect that life to greatly diminish. 

Production/Chassis codes are below. 
August 1989  BNR32-000054
September 1989 BNR32-001089
October 1989 BNR32-002089
November 1989 BNR32-003027
December 1989 BNR32-004027

Variations of models



R32 GT-R(43934 total) registration

1989-4555 1990-8426
1991-7081 1992-7961
1993-6204 1994-7465

Dates of Production and Prices 8-21-1989 to 2-14-1994 

1st model 8-21-1989 
4,445,000 yen Nismo 3-11-1990
4,441,000 yen 
2nd model 8-20-1991 
4,510,000 yen 
3rd model 2-3-1993
4,545,000 yen 
Vspec 2-3-1993
5,260,000 yen 
Vspec II 2-14-1994
5,260,000 yen 

First         BNR32-000051
Last          BNR32-314649
Last VSpec    BNR32-313609 (10/13/94)
Last Vspec II BNR32-313930 (10/20/94)
Nismo         BNR32-100000~100560

- 08/21/'89 BNR32 Shipped

- 02/22/'90 BNR32 NISMO Announced(03/11 Shipped)

Show or Display Nismo R32 GT-R
Air intake in front bumper
Sub rear spoiler added
Side protector modified
Protection net removed
Air guide for intercooler newly added
Special Turbine
Special exhaust manifold
No ABS, rear windshield wiper 
30kg lighter than standard R32
Only available gunmetal color(KH2)
Nismo R32 GT-R blueplates

- 07/19/'91 N1 BNR32 announced and shipped

With GT-R NISMO aero parts
No ABS, an Air Conditioner, rear windshield wiper or audio
No cross drilled rotors
brake cooling air guides attached to tension rods
light weight 2 headlight
# After 02/'92 metal turbine wheels

- 08/20/'91 Minor change. Middle model

Bar added in door (50kg weight increase)
Projector light modified(H3C->H1)
Driver's air bag optional
Oil pump drive widened
Cylinder block modified (reinforced partly and lighten)
Rear caliper seal modified
Interior partly changed

- 02/03/'93 Minor change Late model. V-spec added

Rear diff cover fin removed
Clutch modified (push -> pull)
Synchronizers modified
Brembo caliper added(V-spec)
ETS program modified(V-spec)
Tires changed (V-spec: 225/50-17)
BBS mesh special wheel (V-spec)
# N1 model gets to based on V-spec

- 02/14/'94 V-spec2 added

Tire changed 245/45-17
# N1 model gets based on V-spec2
Besides these, ECU, cylinder block and the size of turbine
had been modified some times without notice.
Spot welding is supposedly decreased after '94.

Finding, Buying, Exporting, Importing, Clearing, Titling, Insuring, and Registering your Nissan Skyline GT-R

That is a long title. Lots of information. Not just specific to the R32 GT-R, but it fits here for now.
Buying - International Vehicle Importers have many vehicles in stock in Japan, and will be on the way to the US once they turn 25 years old.Check out IVI on Facebook for updates on available cars.  The first R32 were made in August. A total of 4555 cars were produced in 1989. 
VIN Information - Do not let a state assign a VIN to your car. The chassis number is the equivalent of a VIN. The NHTSA says to more or less not fuck with it. So don't do it. It is a federal offense to do it, you have been warned.  http://www.gtrusablog.com/2012/05/vin-number-and-chassis-number-education.html

Right Hand Drive -Is it legal to drive a right hand drive car in the US?  The short answer is yes.The long answer is here. http://www.gtrusablog.com/2014/04/is-it-legal-to-drive-right-hand-drive.html

How to Title and Register A Nissan Skyline GT-R in the USA.  -  If you are looking to either import, or buy a Nissan Skyline there are a few things you should know about the title and registration process. In the United States vehicles over twenty five years old are Department of Transportation (DOT) exempt from meeting Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards(FMVSS). At over twenty one years old cars are Environmental Protection Agency(EPA)exempt in original configuration.  If the car is newer than 25 years old, it still might be possible to import it under the Show or Display exemption, but check out that page for more information.To meet California direct import requirements, the car must be older than 1975. To have a newer car meet California requirements, it is very expensive, and sometimes near impossible to comply. More information - http://www.gtrusablog.com/2014/04/how-to-title-and-register-1989-nissan.html

Two Nismo brought to the US in 2012 by Show or Display exemption
Why have one, when you can have two? 
R32 on Mickey Thompson tires from ShoworDisplay.com
NISMO R32 GT-R with NISMO option wheels.
Convertible R32 - or 240SX that looks like an R32 GT-R
Not an R32 GT-R. 


Two white R32 GT-R one orange R33 GT-R
R33, R33, R33
The R33 GT-R debuted in 1995, and is probably the most popular body style in the US. Well at least it was back in 1998 until the R34 debuted for 1999. Its a larger, heavier car than the R32. The biggest GT-R, it is a bit of an odd one out. It is reported to be the first production car to run under 8 minutes at the Nurburgring.
R33 with Xenon headlights and Nismo wheels at MotoRex
Early R33 with 97 up headlights and Nismo Wheels
From 1995-1998 there were 16,674 R33 GT-R's produced. About 1/3 the number of R32's.  There are three distinct versions of the R33. The Series 1, Series 2, and Series 3.   Series 1 are 1995. Series 2 are 1996. Series 3 are 1997-1998. 
The R33's RB26 had a few changes from the R32 engine, but overall near the same. It ran a little more boost. You would see about 11-12 psi peak. 
Series 1 Normal -5050
Series 1 Vspec - 4095
Series 2 Normal - 2291
Series 2 Vspec - 1203
Series 3 Normal - 1958
Series 3 Vspec - 1270
GT-R LM - 86
GT-R LM Vspec- 102
Total N1- 86
Autech GT-R - 416
Vspec (GB version) - 103
GT-R Magazine Registrations
1995- 8446
1996- 4093
1998 -1175
MotoRex R33 GT-R sold by Toprank Importers
Last R33's, chassis number and colors
Normal     BCNR33-043740(11-9-98) QM1
Vspec       BCNR33-043743(11-9-98) KH3
Vspec N1 BCNR33-043012(2-20-98) QM1
Blue R33 GT-R Deep Marine Blue color

First Date of Production

  • 1st model 1-6-1995
  • Vspec 1-6-1995
  • 2nd model 1-22-1996
  • LM Limited5-21-1996
  • 3rd model 2-3-1997
  • Autech 40th Anniversary12-8-1997
  • Last regular R33 - BCNR33-043740 (QM1 ) 11-9-1998
  • Last Vspec R33 - BCNR33-043743 (KH3) 11-9-1998
  • Last Vspec R33 N1- BCNR33-043012 (QM1) 2-20-1998


Nissan Skyline GT-R R33 prices when new

  • GT-R    4,7850,000 yen
  • Vspec   5,290,000  yen
  • N1        5,990,000 yen 
  • GT-R    4,825,000 yen
  • Vspec   5,330,000  yen
  • N1        5,990,000 yen 
  • LM Limited    4,998,000 yen
  • Vspec LM Limited   5,503,000  yen
  • GT-R        4,885,000 yen
  • Vspec       5,390,000 yen
  • N1            5,998,000 yen
  • 4 door Sedan  4,985,000 yen


TV2 or Bayside Blue R34 GT-R
Bayside Blue R34 GT-R
The R34 GT-R. To many of the younger generation, its not an R34, then its not a Skyline. The R34 is a little smaller than the R33, but has a few additional improvements with a 6 speed Getrag V160 transmission, MFD, and aerodynamic improvements. Official power stayed at 280 PS/HP/Chipmunk power, but boost had been raised to about 1 bar peak. The RB26 doesn't make the same power at 10 psi as it does at 14 psi. 
R34 super taikyu or race car
A couple of the 56 R34 N1's. Automotiveforums.com
There were 11577 R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R produced 1999-2003. Although in 2003 there were only 2 cars produced.   There has been some wrong information floating around for years from GT-R Magazine. Same information we used. However the 12,175 number was wrong.  GT-R Registry to the rescue with some real numbers pulled from multiple sources. 

These are registrations, and adds up to : 11577 cars

Normal(Series I and II)  - 3977
Vspec - 4192
Vspec N1 - 38
GB - 80
Singapore -10
Vspec II - 1855
Vspec II N1 - 18
NZ Vspec II - 2
M-Spec- 366
Vspec II Nur - 717
Mspec Nur - 285

BNR34 Color or Paint Codes 
TV2 or Bayside Blue R34 GT-R
TV2- Bayside Blue

The campaign color of the R34 Skyline GT-R was the popular TV2 - Bayside Blue. Its named Bayside, for the popular roads near the bayside of Tokyo.

EV1 or Lightning Yellow R34 GT-R
EV1 - Lightning Yellow

TV2 - Bayside Blue
QM1 - White 
KR4 - Sonic Silver 
KV2 - Athlete Silver 
GV1 - Black Pearl
AR2 - Active Red

AR2 or Active Red R34 GT-R
AR2- Active Red
EV1 - Lightning Yellow
LV4 - Midnight Purple II(Only 300 produced)
LX0 - Midnight Purple III 

  • Why is the color called Midnight purple? Check the link out for the most likely answer.

WV2 - Sparkling Silver 
QX1 - White Pearl 
EY0 - Silica Breath 

Millenium Jade R34 GT-R
JWO- Millennium Jade

JW0 - Millennium Jade

Last R34 Chassis numbers and colors
Vspec II  BNR34-404495(8-29-02) WV2
Mspec    BNR34-404483(8-29-02)EY0

Hakosuka and Nismo R32 GT-R

There were several different versions of the R34 Skyline GTR. From the early edition first produced in 1999, to the Z-Tune from Nismo in 2005, there were 10 different versions.  There were 750 Vspec II Nur's produced, and 250 Mspec Nurs produced right at the end of the production run in 2002.

* Early 

* Late 
* Vspec 
* Vspec N1 
* Vspec II 
* Vspec II N1 
* Mspec 
* Vspec II Nur 
* Mspec Nur 

* Z-Tune 

Nissan Skyline GT-R prices when new 


* GT-R 4,998,000 yen 
* Vspec 5,598,000 yen 
* N1 5,998,000 yen 

1-8-1999 Midnight purple II (300) 

* GT-R 5,298,000 yen 
* Vspec 5,898,000 yen 

1-7-2000 Midnight purple III 

* GT-R 5,148,000 yen 
* Vspec 5,748,000 yen 


* GT-R 5,048,000 yen 
* Vspec II 5,748,000 yen 
* N1 6,098,000 yen 


* Mspec 5,950,000 yen 

Suspension and Alignment settings for Nissan Skyline GT-R. R32, R33, and R34. 

R32 GT-R Specifications and Production Information

R33 GT-R Specifications and Production Information
R34 GT-R Specifications and Production Information
RB26DETT Information
ATTESA Information
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