What’s the Fascination with JDM Nissan Skyline GT-R?

It’s no secret that the Nissan Skyline GT-R is one of America’s most beloved cars. It’s been featured in the Fast and Furious movie series – at least in 5 of the blockbuster films. An R32 made a cameo appearance in the sixth installment of the saga. It’s a prized car in the Need For Speed video game series to boot.

The American affinity for the Skyline is a bit of a mystery. The Skyline GT-R is a Japanese car built for the Japanese domestic market (JDM). Where did this affection come from for a vehicle that isn’t meant to be driven on this side of the pond?

In short, these cars are awesome! Especially in their heyday, the Skyline GT-R was a complete beast. It had the nickname Godzilla because it could chew up and spit out anything else that thought it could compete with it. Even now with technology advanced 25 years, the Skyline is still an amazing piece of machinery.

The Skyline GT-R R32 sports an all-wheel drive powertrain mated to a 2.6-liter six-cylinder engine that produced an impressive stock 280 horsepower. Keep in mind this is in the late eighties and early nineties when the Corvette only pushed 230 ponies from its stock V8.

The Nissan Skyline GT-R is immensely diverse and customizable. Users on Reddit and elsewhere boast power increases on the stock engine internals beyond 600 horsepower, and some Australian reports show GT-R’s with power in excess of 1000 hp.

The problem with the Nissan Skyline GT-R is their lack of availability. The American Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) has regulations in place that must be met in order for a vehicle to be driven on American soil which include emissions controls, passable crash safety ratings, and other ‘small’ issues. One of these ‘small’ issues is the fact that American cars are supposed to have steering wheels on the left side of the car. That’s a small problem.

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Skyline lovers, rejoice! The FMVSS has a loophole – one that allows vehicles over 25 years old to be imported with wanton abandon. The Skyline GT-R R32 was produced beginning in 1989 meaning it is eligible for import now, and doesn’t have to fall in line with the standards imposed on newer vehicles. That’s great, especially since the JDM Skyline R32 doesn’t have the same emissions control systems as American vehicles require.

Finding yourself a Nissan Skyline GT-R isn’t easy though. The process of importing vehicles from Japan is difficult at best and can be quite cost prohibitive for a private citizen. Then there’s the issue of making sure your particular car is eligible to come across on a boat. And other boring details that make your eyes glaze over. Only a select few actually perform the task of importing JDM cars, like Montu Motors in Florida, who specialize in importing JDM vehicles. Check out this JDM Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 they have:

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What makes the Skyline GT-R so desirable is their lack of availability combined with their status. According to GearHeads Automotive News, Paul Walker, the late star of the Fast and Furious films, reportedly had a soft spot for the amazing Nissan models and owned several Skylines including an R32 and a number of R33’s and R34’s.


Written by Lewis Shaw

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