You can now restore your Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 down to the last bolt

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For various and completely justified reasons, most cars from the 1980s and 1990s don’t enjoy the collectible status of their counterparts from the 1960s and 1970s. But some cars from the period have become increasingly more popular since 2000, especially Japanese models like the Toyota Supra, Nissan Skyline GT-R, and Honda NSX.

Some carmakers took notice of this trend and Honda started a restoration program for the NSX in Japan. Now, Nissan is doing the same for the iconic R32 Skyline, with the Nismo division handling a restoration program that will turn a beat-up car into a brand-new one.

Restoring the iconic Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 down to the last bolt

NISMO Will Make your R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R As Good As New (Literally)
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Nissan just announced a new restoration program through Nismo’s Japanese website and it’s one of the most ambitious yet. It covers everything from small repairs to overhauling full assemblies, but Nismo will also do a complete restoration, no matter the state of your R32. The latter operation will earn the vehicle a "Nismo Restored Car" designation and a numbered plaque. Needless to say, that’s something that will increase the value of the car should you opt to auction it.

The full restoration includes a thorough assessment of the car and the parts that need to be fixed or replaced.

Nismo will manufacture every part needed based on the original blueprints. Both the engine and the body will be dismantled and cleaned. All parts are inspected and adjusted or replaced accordingly. Once the engine is reassembled, it will go through a complex testing phase that ensures it’s working properly and that power output is similar to the R32’s original rating. Nismo also says that you can choose to retune the engine for extra power or for track use.

NISMO Will Make your R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R As Good As New (Literally)
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The possibilities are practically endless, but restoring an R32 down to the last bolt won’t be cheap. There’s no pricing information available yet, but this operation will most definitely set you back at least $50,000 or even beyond $100,000 if there’s a lot of work to be done.

But if your R32 is still in good shape, you can opt for simpler and more affordable operations, including body measurement and repair, repainting, torsional rigidity measurement, performance assessment, electrical system repairs, and interior restoration. But if you need an interior overhaul you should know this is the only section where Nismo can’t do a perfect restoration. That’s because fabrics used in the original R32 are not available due to current safety regulations that require all materials to be fire-retardant. Nismo says that it will use materials found in the current Nissan GT-R R35 instead.

Will this program come to the U.S.?

NISMO Will Make your R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R As Good As New (Literally)
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The R32 restoration program may remain restricted to the Japanese market. The main reason is that Nissan built only a little over 43,000 units and most of them were sold locally. The Skyline GT-R R32 wasn’t sold in the U.S. for the simple reason that it was illegal. In 1988, one year before the R32 was launched, the Motor Vehicle Safety Compliance Act went into effect and put an end to grey market imports, turning the Skyline GT-R into forbidden fruit for North America. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t any R32s in the U.S. right now.

NISMO Will Make your R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R As Good As New (Literally)
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Another law passed in 1998 allowed imports of vehicles over 25 years of age, which means that the R32 became legal for U.S. import in the mid-2000s. As of 2020, you can important any Nissan Skyline GT-R that was built in or before 1995, including all model years of the R32 generation. But the number of R32s on U.S. roads is slim, so a comprehensive restoration program doesn’t make much sense. Acura recently announced that a restoration program for the NSX will become available Stateside, but that specific Japanese sports car is much more common in U.S. If you need an R32 restored, your best bet is to take it to Japan.

Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 history

NISMO Will Make your R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R As Good As New (Literally)
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Introduced in 1989, the R32 is the third-generation version of the Skyline GT-R. The R32 was the first GT-R in 16 years, after Nissan cancelled the program back in 1973. Based on the eighth-generation Skyline, the GT-R R32 was the first turbocharged model of its kind, featuring a twin-turbo, 2.6-liter inline-six engine, as well as the first one fitted with an AWD system. Just like its predecessor, it also featured an aerodynamic body kit that made it suitable for track racing. The six-cylinder engine was rated at 276 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, but many claim that its output was actually higher. Until late 1994, when production ended with 43,937 units built, Nissan also developed a few special-edition models, including the GT-R Nismo, V-Spec, V-Spec II, and N1. The later is the rarest of them all with just 245 examples built.

Engine twin-turbo, 2.6-liter inline-six
Horsepower 276 HP
Torque 260 LB-FT

The R32 became iconic due to its performance on the track. Thanks to a powerful inline-six engine that was good for up to 500 horsepower, the AWD system, and the solid engineering and reliability, the GT-R R32 became the car to beat in Group A racing. Its dominance in racing series in Japan and Australia earned it the nickname "Godzilla" and brought the Skyline GT-R international fame. Although the following R33 and R34 models delivered better performance due to new tech and advancements, the R32 remains the quintessential Skyline for many enthusiasts.

Source: Nismo Japan

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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