Straight From Japan: Nissan R33 Skyline GT-R

Straight From Japan: Nissan R33 Skyline GT-R

by Alvin Miles Jr.


One of the greatest sports cars ever produced, particularly from Japan, is without a doubt the Skyline GT-R. This car changed lives all over the world! It really is the street-legal racecar that everyone has to drive whether they can afford one or not. The accolades that the GT-R has been collecting over the years are through the roof. It gained success in high-level racing events, like winning the Japanese Touring Car Championship in 1969, (which is the same year it was debuted to the public at the 15th annual Tokyo Motor Show) through 1972.

The GT-R then conquered the Australian Touring Car Championship from 1990 to 1992. Now with four more Skyline GT-R generations following the ‘69 PGC10/KPGC10, (depending if you had a sedan or coupe), the Skyline name has continued to rise to rarefied air amongst race fans and street fans.

As the GT-R began to constantly dominate every event that it was entered in, people from all over the world started to take notice of its stunning performance.

The Skyline GT-R made its first appearance on American soil to be used in the hit movie franchise which started produced in 2001, The Fast and The Furious. It is not arguably the best racing movie series of all time, but at least you can say its entertaining!

A lot of credit for the GT-R's inclusion in the series goes to Sean Morris of Top Rank Importers of Long Beach California for being one of the coordinators if not the coordinator that made it possible for the Skyline to make it to the silver screen. Paul Walker, being one of the stars in this series, was one the first to ever drive one of them in America. Ironically, he went from not knowing what a Skyline was, to owning his favorite generation, the fifth and final model with the chassis code (BNR34) aka the R34 GT-R. This model was released in 1999. 

As Paul’s legacy lives on through his films after his tragic passing, he was known as a person that gave people life through anything you can drive. In a sense, he introduced the GT-R to the American public, to where it ultimately became the fan favorite.


How do you own a Skyline GT-R in America- particularly California?

If you ask the question that to anyone in the car industry, a small amount won't say anything. Some will say you have to know the right person. The last will just say to buy a Nissan GT-R that’s already sold in America. A person who just has to have a Nissan Skyline wouldn’t necessarily want to hear that. If a person wants to know how to do it the right way, they need to do the research.

According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) the Skyline GT-R’s that were produced between January of 1996 and June of 1998 can be imported. MotoIQ contributor, Sean Morris is an expert on the subject; you can read what he wrote here to understand the full importation rules for more information. 

Despite all of the rules and regulations, according to Gary, the mysterious owner of our feature R33 GT-R, “If you want it, go get it. It’s that simple”.  Gary's determined attitude made him seek out the right people around him who were also into Skylines. He even worked on some of the cars with them. Because of that, it didn’t take very long for him to make a friend who entrusted him with his R33 Skyline that he could no longer keep.


Would you believe this car used to be an 8-second 1000 horsepower drag car before it was imported from Japan? With the car now in California, it holds an unique accolade. When the windows fog up, the driver can still see the 8-second recording time etched into the windshield as a memorabilia from the original markings from the drag strip. Hoping the windshield never cracks or breaks, that piece of history can never be unwritten. 


Keeping all memories alive. Gary decided to keep the car's old Japanese livery and race decals from the parts that it used to make its 1000 horsepower build, even though the engine and transmission were sold to Sean Morris after being imported.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *