Rare Air: A Guide To Limited Edition R32 Skylines Part 2 of 2
In the first part of this article I talked about four limited edition Skylines that are the most well-known rare R32s. In this second half I'll tell you about two others that are far more obscure but are actually even fewer in number than the ones in the previous post.
The first is a regional variation – the ADM or Australian Direct Market R32. Australia was lucky to be the only market other than Japan where the R32 Skyline was sold officially. Before you say, "Nuh uh, Mr. Oliver, the UK got the Skyline too!" the Brits only started official importation of the Skyline with the R33. Nissan Australia wanted to capitalize on the success of the car in ATCC so 100 R32 GT-Rs were brought in and had certain changes made to conform to Australian standards of the time.
The mechanical bits were the same but certain aesthetic and functional changes were made:
- As part of making the cars Australia-compliant, side impact beams had to be engineered and installed in the Oz-bound GT-Rs. Starting in late 1991, side impact beams would also be included with JDM GT-Rs but it was Nissan Australia that engineered them first to get the ADM vehicles legalized. Nissan also had to go to the trouble of repeating the crash testing on the R32 because Japan standards tested with a 55kg test dummy while Oz required a bigger 68kg model.
- The rear plate mount had to be modified to accommodate the wider Australia plates so the reverse lights were removed and a new, wider mount put in place.
- Removing the reverse lights meant repurposing the rear lights. The turn signals on the JDM cars became where the reverse lights were. In exchange, the outer pair of the afterburner tail lights became turn signals with only the two inner brake lights remaining the same. A third brake light as required by Aussie law was also stuck inside the rear glass.
Here's the back of an ADM R32. Note the differences in the plate holder and the lights compared to the JDM one below. Image credits: Aussie_Delivered_R32_GTR from SAU
- Nissan Australia wanted the cars to reflect the corporate identity more so they binned the original “S” badge on the hood and swapped in the Nissan roundel.
The ADM cars got the Nissan "burger" symbol instead of the stylized JDM "S". Image credits: Aussie_Delivered_R32_GTR from SAU
- A new radio aerial was added on the roof to enhance reception and the windshield aerial on JDM cars wasn't present.
- Inside, the sunshades were covered in vinyl instead of the cloth of JDM cars.
Vinyl for Oz, cloth for Japan. Image credits: Aussie_Delivered_R32_GTR from SAU
- The instrument binnacle switches were slightly different with a dimmer switch taking the place of the fog lamp switch. The switch was a requirement of Australian law. The speedo was also exchanged for a 260kph one and the speed limiter on the JDM cars was removed. To go with this Z-rated tires were swapped in for the original V-rated ones.
ADM dimmer switch. Are you tired of me saying "Image credits: Aussie_Delivered_R32_GTR from SAU"? Well, I'm not.
- The most shocking difference to people who only know of the JDM R32s is that the ADM cars retailed for 107 thousand Australian dollars, more than double the Japanese market car's price and the cost of a decent house at the time. For comparison, a Porsche 968 cost AU$129K and a Ferrari 348 AU$224K. At least you had a choice of color: Red Wine Metallic, Black Pearl Metallic, or Jet Silver Metallic
At this point I'd like to thank Skylines Australia member Aussie_Delivered_R32_GTR a.k.a. Bob for graciously allowing me to use his pictures to illustrate the ADM car. His car is an amazingly well-kept example of an R32 by the way even disregarding it's rarity.
The second obscure R32 is something really unique, a limited edition 4-door sedan instead of a GT-R.
A lot of car junkies recognize Nismo as Nissan's motorsports and tuning arm but most, even those that are Nissan fans, don't realize that Nissan actually has another official tuning and motorsports subsidiary – Autech. If you follow Super GT racing you might recognize the name because they do the tuning for the race engines on the GT500 Nissan race cars. In addition to that though Autech makes specially tuned versions of regular Nissan production cars.
One of these special versions was the Nissan Skyline Autech GTS-4, of which only 188 were made in 1992! These were truly unique cars. Despite being based on the 4-door body they had some styling cues added from the 2-door GT-R including a slightly wider rear end. They also had a naturally aspirated version of the legendary RB26 – labeled as the RB26DE instead of DETT of course – that produced a healthy 217 hp. For comparison, the GTS-T coupes had the RB20DE with 212 hp while the GT-Rs had 276hp (though that was really BS because of the “gentleman’s agreement” between Japanese manufacturers back then. Actual power figures for the GT-R were in the 300+ range).
|It may look like a humble four-door but it's rarer than a Bugatti Veyron - much rarer!|
In addition they were AWD instead of RWD, hence the GTS-4 designation, and only came with a 4-speed automatic. They also had some cool little details like a special "S/S" logo embossed in the front bumper and attached to the intake plenum. The logo stands for Shinichiro Sakurai, the engineer that designed the very first Skyline. Like other limited edition Japanese R32s, the Autech only came in the greyish green seen in the pictures.
Given that most people want the GT-R and the 4-door R32 gets short shrift, your guess is as good as mine what these cars would be worth once eligible for the US – assuming you can find one! These cars are so esoteric that owning one in the States would be truly unique. You'd probably be more likely to see unicorn dung than an Autech GTS-4 here in the US. I think it would be an extremely cool car to own as a Skyline fan and it would be tempting to try and track one down if I didn't already have my Nismo GT-R.
|Image credit: Nissan|
And there you have it, a spotter's guide to the rarer breeds of Nissan's legendary R32 Skyline. If you've seen, or more amazingly, own one of these unique cars please shoot me a comment below. It'd be cool to hear your story.