Nissan Skyline R34 Turbo (1998-2002) - Buyers Guide

By: Cliff Chambers, Photography by: Unique Cars Archives/Nissan

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nissan skyline r34 6 nissan skyline r34 6

Hicas all-wheel steering is shared with the GTR and makes them nimble for a biggish car

 

Nissan Skyline R34 Turbo

The R33 version of Nissan’s Skyline sold well in spite of bulbous looks, but couldn’t do that forever. By 1997 the Skyline needed a makeover and the rehaped R34 was a car that reset the game for Nissan.

R34s with their shorter wheelbase and chunky shape were greeted with acclamation from enthusiasts and the motoring media. To maximise its market appeal, the R34 sold in non-turbo, 2.0 or 2.5-litre GT versions and as a single-turbo 2.5. The car designated GT-T was offered as a sedan or coupe with 209kW and manual or automatic transmission.

The non-turbo 2.5 was also shipped to Australia in decent numbers and even 20 years later they remain popular with young buyers who want the kudos of Skyline ownership without breaching any ‘No Turbos For P Platers’ rules.

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Four-door versions of the GT-T go well but look a little drab when parked alongside the coupe but they are appreciably cheaper. In addition to a discrepancy in the number of doors the most obvious difference between the R34s lies with the coupe’s more pronounced guard flares and ‘boxed’ rear wheel-panels which it shares with the very desirable and much more costly GTR.

Stock 17-inch alloys were okay for Japanese domestic consumption, however a lot of cars upon arrival in Australia were gifted bigger rims including stylish Nismo alloys.

| 2019 Market Review: Nissan Skyline GTR

Except for the scarce all-wheel-drive GT-T and twin-turbo GTR, R34s are rear-wheel drive with coil springs front and rear and ventilated, ABS-equipped discs all round. Turbo cars come with a viscous limited-slip differential and heavy-duty gear clusters. HICAS all-wheel steering is shared with the GTR and makes them nimble for a biggish car.

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Cruise around town without venturing beyond 4500rpm and the GT-T delivers pleasant performance without revealing its true character. Two-stage boost is the culprit – 5psi is the maximum at up to 4500rpm when the full 7psi arrives and hangs about until the 7000rpm cutout. Maximum torque is generated at 3200prm which is handy for a turbo-car.

Overseas road tests recorded 7.2 seconds for 0-100km/h and cars that have had some use will be a tad quicker. A 0-400 metre time of 14.9 seconds seems a little slow for a car of this calibre and could be improved if you’re prepared to launch at 4500prm.

| Buyers Guide: Nissan Skyline GTR R32

With Tiptronic selected, the four-speed GT-T can be driven like a conventional automatic or shifted using thumb-activated buttons. While they look to be a little cumbersome, the buttons are easier and faster to use than the lumpy shifter in the manual car.

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Asking prices for some GT Turbo coupes have climbed to very ambitious levels, however $25,000 should currently buy an excellent car. Sedans on a good day cost $10,000 less and unless you’re concerned about how cool you look they offer as much fun with an edge in practicality.

VALUE RANGE: Nissan Skyline (R34 GT-T Coupe)

Fair: $6500
Good: $14,000
Excellent: $23,000
(Note: exceptional cars will demand more)

BUYER'S CHECKLIST

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Body & Chassis

Any R34 that’s showing signs of rust or paint deterioration needs to be avoided. They aren’t so rare that you need to be buying a car in need of expensive bodywork. Check panel gaps and that the long coupe doors close easily and bumpers aren’t loose or cracked. The front air-dam is vulnerable to gutter strikes but complete repro bars have been seen for sale at $240-320. The rear spoiler adds weight to the boot so check that the hinges keep the lid up even in a wind. Headlights discolour and frost their covers and new ones cost more than $500 per pair. Check the tail-lights as well because clear-lens replacements cost $300 per side.

Engine & transmission

Excessive boost kills these engines and cars with a boost adjuster and signs of ‘go faster’ additions under the bonnet demand suspicion. Also close inspection by a mechanic familiar with turbo cars. Smoke of any kind from the exhaust is a major danger signal. Misfiring under load could signify a coil pack on the brink of failure but six after-market packs were seen selling for $125. The cooling system must be maintained because bursting a hose can cost an engine. Make sure the thermo-fan triggers once the engine is warm. Clutches can suffer quite incredible abuse but don’t last forever. Shudder or a low pedal are warnings and quality replacements are expensive - heavy-duty single-plate units cost around $1000 plus fitting.

Suspension & brakes

Brakes that don’t deliver straight. rapid stops without juddering or squealing are due for replacement. Gently-used rotors can last 60-80,000 kilometres but check for scoring and discolouration. Basic brake rotors cost less than $140 each – better quality units around $350 – with pads sets from $100. Check on a quiet road that the ABS is working. Soft front suspension due to soggy shocks can usually be rectified by strut replacement. If not a full suspension overhaul with new springs, struts, control arms and a reconditioned power steering unit will cost close to $3500. Check the wheels for kerb damage and have someone watch when parking that the all-wheel steering is working.

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Interior & electrical

R34 interiors are hard-wearing and cars showing 160,000km or so should not be displaying serious trim damage. Check that the driver’s power window switch doesn’t operate with the ignition off – it should have been modified when the car was complied. Headlining might by now be starting to sag or tear above the rear window. New linings cost $500-700. Test the air-conditioning and especially make sure that control buttons when pushed stay on. Power windows suffer age-related issues and may just need some spray-lube to fix sluggish operation or squeaking.

1998-2002 Nissan Skyline R34 Turbo

NUMBER MADE: N/A
BODY: steel/alloy integrated body/chassis; two-door coupe
ENGINE: 1998cc or 2498cc in-line six-cylinder with double overhead camshafts & fuel injection. turbocharger on some
POWER & TORQUE: 209kW @ 6400rpm, 343Nm @ 3200rpm (GT-T)
PERFORMANCE: 0-100km/h – 7.2 seconds, 0-400m 14.9 seconds (GT-T manual)
TRANSMISSION: five-speed manual or four-speed automatic
SUSPENSION: Independent with wishbones, coil springs, struts and ant-roll bar (f) Independent with multi-link location, coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers and anti-roll bar (r)
BRAKES: disc (f) disc (r) four-wheel, power assisted, ABS on Turbo models
TYRES: 225/45ZR17 radial (GT-T)

 

From Unique Cars #443, Aug 2020

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