There’s no denying the fabled history behind the Nissan Skyline. The turbocharged all-wheel drive monsters are commonly referred to as “Godzillas” for their ability to act like “monsters” and dominate the competition in Group A racing. Starting in 1989, the R32 GT-R won 29 straight JTCC races, and took the championship every year during the R32 production cycle from 1989 to 1993.
In order to be legal for the Group A competition, several production changes are needed to the aero and valvetrain and produced in a quantity of at least 500. Nissan produced 560 “Nismo” editions, withholding 60 for racing purposes and making 500 available to the public in Japan. Fortunately for the U.S., this limited production run and significant historical background has made the Nismo version of the R32 a likely candidate for the “Show or Display” exemption for importation. And, these two R32 cars you see here are the first two cars to be imported legally under this exemption.
In the U.S., all imported cars must meet both Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency regulations unless they are either 25-years-old (DOT standard) or 21-years-old (EPA standard), or exempted by one of a few exemptions.
The “Show or Display” exemption allows cars with historical or technological significance to be requested for importation for the purpose of showcasing said significance to the general public without being brought up to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards required by the DOT. Cars imported under this exemption can only be driven up to 2,500 miles per year, and generally seen to be produced in limited supply, generally 500 or fewer. The Show or Display exemption for the R32 Nismo edition was originally applied for in early 2011 by Sean Morris, and was granted in September 2012.
Shortly after the exemption was granted, Morris secured these two cars, and began the lengthy process to import them. Chassis BNR32-100383 was found initially, and had been lightly modified with LED taillights, an aftermarket steering wheel, dash-mounted tachometer, blue racing seat, blue Willans harnesses and a set of aftermarket wheels. The gunmetal paint, which is standard for all Nismo edition R32s has seen its share of road time, but is still in good condition given the age of the vehicle. Out back, the trademark Nismo wing was removed by a previous owner, but the hood diffuser, bumper ducts and side skirt add-ons that came from the factory on the Nismo edition are still in place. Under the hood, the factory metal-bladed turbos are still in great shape, which is almost as rare as an unmodified FD RX-7 these days, although the exhaust has been replaced with an aftermarket unit.
Chassis BNR32-100500 was a special find for Morris given the significance of the 500 units available to the public, and was located shortly after BNR32-100383 was purchased. This chassis was in much better condition overall, and nearly stock in all aspects. Both the OEM rear spoiler and special Nismo edition trunk diffuser are still intact, and the interior still retains both the OEM seats and steering wheel. For commuting purposes, Morris added an OEM Nismo shift knob as well as a Pioneer DEH3400 head unit (Japanese head units operate on different bands as North American stations). The car also came equipped with a special Kenwood “N’FIT” dealer-installed stereo option. Unfortunately, the 20-year old speakers had seen better days, and Morris replaced them with six-inch Polk speakers in the front door, and four-inch three-way Pioneer speakers in the rear deck. The car is otherwise stock all the way down to the five-star wheels and even the air box under the hood. Several bids were actually placed on this car at auction, and although Morris’ bid was a winning bid, the owner at the time had set the reserve higher and didn’t want to let it go. After some careful negotiation, Morris was able to secure the car for a fair price and import it to the U.S. under the Show or Display exemption.
These two cars are the first two to be legally imported to the U.S., and are legal to drive on the road up to the 2,500 mile annual limit without any further modifications. While chassis number BNR32-100383 has been sold since it arrived on U.S. shores, Morris is still holding on to BNR32-100500 for the time being. It holds a special place in his heart as the first GT-R he has owned, which is interesting since he worked for Motorex for many years. That said, everything is for sale... for the right price!