May 28, 2024

Linkage Mag

Geared for the Automotive Life

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Striking Twice with the Skyline

Last year, RM Sotheby’s offered a 1995 Nissan Skyline GT-R as the last lot of its Monterey auction. The no-reserve R33 featured just 46k kilometers from new and had just been imported to the US in 2020 — as a ’95, it was only just legal to bring it over due to the rolling 25-year rule. RM Sotheby’s had a $120k high estimate on the car before the sale, but it did better than that. A lot better. It sold for a whopping $235,200, reflecting the market’s hunger for the just-legal R33 in this country.

The final slot in any auction is a challenging place to be, as the excitement of the sale is usually over by the time that lot rolls under the lights. That wasn’t the case in 2021 with that R33, and the market — and the auction company — took note of it. As I noted in my coverage of the sale in Linkage #005 last year, “It’s hard to say if this price is speculation on a market that collectors think will mature in the future, or if this is a snapshot of a market already maturing, with tech-trade 30-somethings chasing down their chance to own the icon.” 

One year later and tend to believe that it’s a market already maturing — but however you see it, we’re about to get another look at this particular segment.

RM Sotheby’s is presenting a huge group of high-end cars at this year’s Monterey sale in August. In among the racing Ferraris, rare Porsches and Full Classics that will be in the headlines both before and after the sale, they’ve also consigned three Skylines — all RHD, turbocharged and AWD missiles designed for domination in Japanese and Australian touring car series racing, and adored among the Youngtimer set for both performance potential and exclusivity.

1989 Nissan Skyline GT-R. Image: RM Sotheby’s
1989 Nissan Skyline GT-R. Image: RM Sotheby’s

The first car is a 1989 Skyline GT-R, s/n BNR32-000667, offered from the first year of R32 GT-R production. This car is said to be remarkably preserved and unmodified, other than bolt-ons such as aftermarket wheels and a performance exhaust system. It shows under 20,000 kilometers from new.

1995 Nissan Skyline GT-R. Image: RM Sotheby’s
1995 Nissan Skyline GT-R. Image: RM Sotheby’s

The second car is a 1995 Skyline GT-R, s/n BNR33-000234, with less than 1,600 kilometers from new. This R33 is completely stock, as-delivered, and finished in Midnight Purple over two-tone gray. 

The third car is an R32 built by Hasemi Motorsport in association with NISMO for the 1994 Japan Grand Touring Championship (JGTCC-GT1). It was driven to second place by Masahiro Hasemi in that season’s driver’s championship, and took an overall victory at the 1994 24 Hours of Tokachi — it’s the only R32 to win a domestic 24-hour endurance race. It’s still in race spec, featuring its RB26DETT engine and Xtrac 6-speed sequential transmission.

Hasemi Motorsport Skyline R32. Image: RM Sotheby’s

Now, part of what made last year’s R33 so appealing to buyers was the fact that it was an R33 in a market that only just gained access to the model — but the low miles and generally stock condition of the street-spec R32 at this year’s auction will be a draw for collectors. The low miles R33 will undoubtedly be expensive this year, too — likely outdoing expectations alongside the race-spec R32. All three will help to shed light on the shape of the current market for these Youngtimer favorites.

RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction takes place August 19 and 20 in Monterey, CA. See the consignment list here.