Nissan seems to understand the importance of preserving important Skyline models, like the R32-generation one seen here, before it’s too late. That’s why the company recently launched an extensive restoration program through its NISMO division, as was first spotted by Japanese Nostalgic Car. Extensive enough to justify the cost, which is a few hundred thousand dollars? Let’s take a closer look and see.
Remember, not too long ago Nissan announced it was putting some hard-to-find parts for R32 Skyline GT-Rs back into production. And the prices of Skyline GT-Rs are hitting new heights, too. This seems like the next logical step, producing like-new versions of classic Skylines replete with special build plates and an impeccable pedigree, for a suitable sum. And it’s not too dissimilar from Honda’s NSX Refresh Plan in Japan—leveraging the company’s incomparable expertise to make the end result as correct as it could possibly be. While that program may eventually come to America, it doesn’t seem like Nissan’s will. That said, any American owner with the kind of scratch to afford a restoration like this could probably afford to ship a car to Japan and back.
NISMO begins the process by examining the car. It must be a suitable candidate, or it can’t receive the highest level of restoration. The customer then decides if they want to restore it back to the original shape, or to change the specification—if it’s possible, you could change to a trim such as V-Spec, although the VIN would still indicate the original specification. The car is then completely disassembled, inspected, and—if necessary—the frame is carefully returned to spec. Any body panels that need repair are fixed or replaced. After that, the body is taken down to the bare metal and then dipped in an electroplating bath for corrosion protection, and the body and any parts that need a coating are painted—and again, there’s an opportunity for the owner to choose the original color or repaint it in a different shade.
Meanwhile, the engine is fully disassembled and essentially remanufactured. All wear parts are replaced, and everything else is machined or corrected as necessary. If the owner wants, NISMO can reassemble the engine in a higher state of tune, too. The engine then heads to a dyno for a check-up, and the full driveline is similarly disassembled and remanufactured as necessary.
While all that is fairly standard full restoration stuff, the level of detail beyond that is unreal. All the electronics are inspected and, if necessary, replaced. The original wiring harness is reused but any degraded connectors are redone. Once the entire car is put back together, an extensive test drive program is run with a NISMO test driver, to make sure it performs as expected, and also that there are no rattles, squeaks, or unusual vibrations.
But if you were hoping that NISMO would recover the interior in original fabrics and leathers, you’re out of luck. Due to modern fire retardant requirements, NISMO can’t legally refinish the interior in OE materials. An owner can either ask for the innards to be cleaned as much as possible, or they can work with the company to use fabrics from the modern R35 GT-R. Presumably, a third-party shop could install NOS interior materials if you can source them, but NISMO won’t. It’s a minor (and understandable) downside to the otherwise extensive restoration.
At today’s exchange rates, the full “Restored by NISMO” treatment will set you back about $432,000. There are lower levels of restoration at lower prices. But given the end product (as you can see in the gallery), for the right buyer, this might be worth it. At a minimum, Nismo now has the experience (and rare parts back in production) to restore the most important Skylines out there—and whatever the price, that’s going to be important to preserve the company’s heritage.