An R34 buying guide covering the different models, updates, features and things to look for.
R34 Buying guide – Launch and Evolution
The R34 was released in January of 1999 with a stated 276bhp from the now legendary RB26DETT motor, although the actual power output was closer to 320bhp.
The Skyline used a developed version of the HICAS 4 wheel steer system. Braking was taken care of by Brembo with aerodynamics consisting of carbon fibre underbody fins and a large rear spoiler. 60mph was reached in 4.6seconds and 100mph in 10.8seconds.
The R34 Skyline was imported into the UK from August 1999 all of which were the top of the range V-Spec versions which were equipped with 3 additional oil coolers, revised ECU map, full Connelly leather interior, underbody diffusers, stiffer suspension, active rear limited slip differential, extra display feature on the in car display and were available solely from Middlehurst Nissan in Lancashire.
The Japanese market JDM had a variety of specifications to choose from. V Spec II with carbon fibre bonnet, a stripped out GT-R N1 with blueprinted engine, V Spec Nur and V-Spec Nur II, GT-R Z Tune, NISMO S-Tune and NISMO R-Tune and M-Spec which was slightly more civilised suspension with any handling compromises and different colour options. Production of the R34 ceased in 2002.
R34 Skyline Buying Tips
Finding an unmodified Skyline is next to impossible so don’t let light modification put you off, for cars which have substantial modifications check receipts to ensure the tuning has been carried out by a reputable and experienced company. Most Skylines are cherished by their owners and as such will probably come with a thick wad of receipts, this is especially true for official UK cars, JDM cars usually come with little or no receipts from Japan so expect less history for these cars.
In general the Skyline R34 GTR is such a specialist and complicated car it is well worth having it checked by a specialist but I’ve listed below some basic things which can be looked at to determine whether it is worth paying a specialist to check the car more thoroughly. As a side note its well worth buying a car which has already been SVA approved, unless of course you are experienced in this process.
As with all Nissan engines, if they are serviced regularly and looked after they are reliable however as power goes up through modifications, it is natural that reliability will decrease.
Checkpoints on the engine:
Make sure the engine is cold and listen for any unusual noises on start-up, when the engine has warmed check the oil breather pipes (centre of cam cover) for excessive oil mist and listen for any other noises which appear out of place. Next give the engine a light rev and switch it off (this is not a recommended way of turning off a turbo engine and should be done here for inspection purposes only) to listen to the turbos spooling down, if they are noisy then the bearings may be warn.
The car has a dual mass flywheel which can be noisy at idle but this is not a problem. Also check for high oil pressures above 4000rpm.
Brakes are sufficient for all but the most extreme circumstances, for the demanding driver a simple pad upgrade should prove to be more than adequate.
Rust is unheard on the R34 so if you see any take a closer look for the cause. As with all cars check every panel for straightness and the uniformity of the panel gaps this should give a good idea of whether the car has been involved in any accidents.
V-Spec models should have a lower front lip spoiler and a carbon fibre rear diffuser. For a small fee you can request Nissan put it on their FAST system to confirm whether or not the car is a genuine V-Spec.
Should be silky but the usual checks for oil/fluid leaks and that joints are in good condition.
Wheels and Tyres
18inch light-weight forged wheels should be fitted to the GT-R, as always check for curbing. Standard tyre size is 245/40-R18. Car comes with a space saver, check its present.
The rev counter on the V-Spec models is compressed up to 3000rpm. Rest of the interior should be in absolute mint condition and modified examples may have a few additions, boost gauge for example. Japanese imports should have been converted to a MPH speedo and have an odometer which counts in miles.
Standard suspension is good but many cars have been fitted with adjustable suspension check that it is in good condition and that it has been fitted properly, check the receipts.
V-Spec cars come with a finned rear diff. Check the clutch biting point, if its close to the top then the clutch is more than likely on its last legs. Gearbox should be quiet and engage all gears without a problem, needless to say on such an advanced system rebuilds and repairs can be quite pricey. Traction should be excellent in all conditions if individual wheels are spinning up, this could point to problems.
The UK Skyline GT-R owners club has a massive and passionate membership with no less than Hiroshi Tamura being the honoree club president. Events include trackdays (UK & Europe), BBQs, dyno shoot outs. Group buys are also available.
Skyline GT-R V-Spec Specs
Engine Capacity: 2568cc
Compression Ratio: 8.5:1
Max Power: 276bhp @ 7000rpm
Max Torque: 289lbs/ft @ 4400rpm
Transmission: 6 Speed Getrag Manual with ATTESA-ETS PRO
Steering Lock to Lock: 2.9
Brake Discs Front: 324mm
Brake Discs Rear: 300mm
Alloy Wheels: Forged 18inch
LCD Display: Boost, Throttle Position, Injector Pressure, Oil & Water Temp, Lateral & Longitudinal G Force and more..
Max Speed: 155mph (Limited)
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