If you needed more proof that the next-gen classic car market is alive, well and growing, take note.
Just this month, Bonhams presented the 2000 Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R that Paul Walker used in 2009’s “Fast and Furious.” The car, s/n BNR34-400109, is finished in Bayside Blue and wears all the modifications from its film appearance, including those mods chosen by Walker himself.
At a special single-car online auction hosted in Brussels from April 28 to May 5, the car sold for $1,357,000. That’s a new world record for any Skyline at auction, more than doubling the last high-water R34 sale set last year. But this wasn’t just any Skyline.
“This is an incredible result, well-deserved for such an iconic car,” said Maarten Ten Holder, Managing Director, Bonhams Collector Cars. “Not only one of the most famous contemporary automotive film stars from one of the world’s biggest movie franchises, but the ultimate example of the mighty ‘Godzilla’. This is a genuine piece of cinematic and modern motoring history.”
Every R34 GT-R is special — these are the poster cars of a new generation, with scalding performance to back up their appeal. That said, this is the only authentic R34 used by Walker from the film. Prior to its appearance on screen, it was modified by Daryl Alison of Kaizon Industries per Walker’s suggestions, which included removing the car’s vinyl stickers, the installation of a large dash screen, and fresh OMP custom racing buckets. The auction house pointed out that those seats are still in the late actor’s fixed seating position.
Other modifications included a Turbonetics front-mount intercooler, Nismo lowering springs, a custom roll cage, ARC titanium strut brace, Volk Racing RE30 wheels, Rotora brake conversion with upgraded calipers, rear seat delete East Bear hood and Nismo Version II bumper, Nismo NE-1 exhaust and more.
Earlier this year, R34s came up when the Linkage team was talking about future collectibles at a seminar at Barrett-Jackson. As we pointed out then, these, alongside twin-turbo Toyota Supras, are akin to the Countaches of the 1980s in terms of young gearhead appeal — and these actually have the performance and reliability to back up their looks.
Under the hood is an RB26 2.6-liter twin-turbo straight six that made 276 horsepower in stock configuration, paired to a Getrag 6-speed manual. While that may not seem like much, remember that it drives all four wheels in the Skyline GT-R thanks to the ATTESA E-TS all-wheel drive system. It’s a perfect marriage of tech and grunt, with the end result being a well-balanced driver’s car that’s capable of punching well above its class. And that’s before you turn up the boost. In this car’s case, the modded exhaust and intercooler allowed pressure to be cranked up enough for the six to make 550 horses.
This car is one of a small number that Kaizo Industries brought into the U.S. for DOT certification. The goal was to add enhancements that would make the cars legal for use on American roads, but the company wasn’t successful in making that happen. As part of the process, this car was brought into California without an engine and was titled as a kit (or a 2007 Kaizo) before the film.
After filming wrapped, the car was reportedly seized by the feds, which prompted a long legal battle that surrounded its importation and registration in the U.S. In 2012, it was released from impound and sent to Germany, where it’s been since. To come back to the U.S., it would require either Show and Display exemption, or to wait until it’s 25 years old — which isn’t until 2025. Even so, Bonhams’ catalog mentioned that this particular car may not be allowed back into the U.S. even after the 25-year mark due to its history. Interested parties were directed to make their own inquiries prior to bidding — an asterisk that should have had some impact on the car’s value, considering its role in an American film and the number of American clients that were likely interested in the car both here and potentially in the future.
Regardless of all that, we’ve now got a new world record price for any R34 at auction — and it’s equal parts car swagger and star power that got us there.
If this is the new high water mark — and deservedly so if you subscribe to the thought that Paul Walker is a new Steve McQueen in the collector car market. But what do you think all this means for other R34s that are soon to enter the U.S. legally?