Prices have been soaring in Japan.
Due to US regulations, you can only import a non-compliant car 25 years after it was produced. Cars like the original R32 generation Nissan Skyline GT-R have been eligible for a few years now and for the first time in 2020, the R33 GT-R will be eligible as well. There are many cool cars from Japan and Europe that we'd love to import but the one everyone seems to be waiting for is the R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R.
Of all the GT-R models that have been nicknamed 'Godzilla' over the years, the R34 was the ultimate poster car. Not only was it the best-performing Skyline, but it was also prominently featured in the 'Fast & Furious' film franchise, further increasing its legendary status. The R34 GT-R didn't enter production until January 1999, meaning if you want to import one into the US, you will have to wait until at least 2024. That date is fastly approaching but you may not be able to afford one by then.
We became huge fans of the R34 GT-R after getting a rare opportunity to drive one here in the US and have kept close tabs on prices in case we ever wanted to buy one. After checking several Japanese auction websites and consulting with JDM import experts, we've discovered that GT-R prices have exploded in recent years.
The R32's availability in the US has created high demand, driving up prices in Japan. Whereas you used to be able to nab an R32 in the US for less than $30,000, prices are now well over the $40,000 mark. This is the first year the R33 GT-R will be available in the US, so we'll have to wait to see where the prices sit when the cars start arriving stateside. But after checking prices in Japan, it appears that R33 values have already increased dramatically over the past year in anticipation of their US import eligibility.
Last year, the average price of an R33 GT-R in Japan was a little over 3.25 million yen (around $30,000). Now, these cars are selling for closer to 4.35 million yen (around $40,000). But the R33 was the least loved of the Skyline generations and we expect the R34 cars to go for much more when they reach eligibility.
With four years left until the first R34 GT-R becomes legal, prices have already gone up in the past year from around 7.5 million yen (around $70,000) to over 8.7 million yen (around $80,000). If you want a rare version in excellent condition, expect to pay over 25 million yen (around $230,000).
Before you start saving up for a car, just remember these are Japanese prices and do not include the considerable cost of importing into the US. We estimate that by the time the R34 GT-R is legal in the US, it will cost over $150,000 to get one delivered stateside. That may seem like an insane price to pay for a Japanese classic, even one as legendary as the GT-R. So if you want a taste of JDM life but can't afford these prices, maybe check out a lesser model like a Skyline GTS-t.