We expected this rare Nissan R34 GT-R to sell for a lot more. Here’s why it didn’t

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Oh, Nür—that’s not quite what we expected.

The digi-dust has settled in the high-profile sale—and our accompanying Bid is Right Contest—of Bring a Trailer’s rare 2002 Nissan Skyline GT-R M-Spec Nür, and despite the hefty $460,000 final ticket price, we’re left a smidge underwhelmed at what we expected to be a big, big sale that stretched toward the seven-figure waterline, especially as bidding reached the $450,000 baseline just one day into the 12-day sale. Is the market cooling faster than we anticipated? Is this a nasty portent of future deflation?

Nissan R34 GT-R M-Spec Nur side profile
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Not really. Just as sky-high outlier sales don’t have a lasting effect on our market outlay, so it goes for surprise dips or flat-spots. According to Hagerty’s Valuation Tool, BaT’s example sold a skosh under the Condition #3 (Good) $470,000 predicted value for the breed, but based on photos from the sale, we’d categorize the presentation of this car as well into Condition #2 (Excellent), a categorization we value at $690,000.

This means the BaT M-Spec missed our Price Guide mark by a whopping $240,000. Ouch.

The market is in a period of sustained cooling, but there’s nothing to suggest it’s that dramatic—particularly considering average values of Skylines spiked 37 percent in 2022. We turned to Hagerty Price Guide Editor and resident Japanese collector car expert Greg Ingold for some deeper insight on this M-Spec. “I think there are a couple things that may have hindered interest,” he began. “First, it has light modifications. Granted, they’re all [genuine] NISMO parts installed at Omori Factory per the seller, which is the ideal situation.”

Nissan R34 GT-R M-Spec Nur rear three quarter
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From a valuation sense, modifications are far, far more tolerated on Japanese collector cars than they are on other cars, but a collector capable of this investment might be interested only in the most original examples. Genuine and easily reversible NISMO upgrades are hardly equivalent to an eBay turbo, but even in the JDM world, it’s the cleanest museum-grade cars that get the biggest price tags.

Second, and likely more impactful, is the importation red tape. On age alone, this GT-R isn’t qualified for legal importation to the U.S., but as an M-Spec confirmed by the seller, this particular M-Spec Nür is one of the very few R34-generation GT-Rs eligible for the U.S.’ esoteric Show and Display exemption. So it’s eligible for entry, but each car needs its own application under Show or Display. “It’s also in Australia, so you face the ‘hassle’ of jumping through hoops to have it accepted under the Show or Display exemption,” Ingold continues. “Granted, you have reputable importer/exporter firms that can do the heavy lifting, but then you have to pay their bill to get it done. We live in a society of convenience, and that might have scared a few people.”

Nissan R34 GT-R M-Spec Nur interior
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Nissan R34 GT-R M-Spec Nur engine bay
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According to Ingold, this isn’t always the shortest or easiest process. “I think if it were in the U.S. under a Show/Display registration already, it might have brought more,” he explains. “By the time the car [legally] hits U.S. soil, the new owner will easily have $500,000 wrapped up in it between purchase, shipping, taxes, and such.”

Of course, when the car does make landfall here in Burgerland, the new owner could potentially see a strong return on their investment, especially as values of the M-Spec Nür is up some 61% since the start of 2022 at the time of this writing.

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