Home » What’s The Deal With The R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R Auction Everyone Is Talking About?

What’s The Deal With The R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R Auction Everyone Is Talking About?

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The Nissan Skyline GT-R has always been lusted after, thanks in part to its forbidden fruit status courtesy of the 25-year rule. As the clock ticks away, more of these cars become available in America, and the coveted R34 generation is now hitting these shores. There’s a rather fetching example on Cars & Bids right now, but something doesn’t quite add up about this one.

The vehicle in question is a 1999 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec, listed in Gulfport, Mississippi by seller HBWholesales. It’s a desirable trim, and we’re told it’s got a clean Florida title and 56,200 km (~34,900 miles) on the clock. At the time of writing, the high bid sits at $100,000 with two days remaining. That’d be a steal, but you’d expect the price to go somewhat higher before the auction closes.

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Dive into the numbers, though, and things get a little curious. As noted by Facebook page Team Free Spirit, keying the VIN into Google brings up some irregularities.

The car is marked with a fresh VIN plate marked BNR34-001222. This shows up at a few places, chief among them being Classic.com. That site lists the current Cars and Bids auction page, but it also records a former attempted sale by Collecting Cars in September last year. At that point, the vehicle was listed in Malaysia with just 14,724 km (9,149 mi) on the clock, with the note that total mileage was unknown—suggesting the vehicle lacked an original cluster.

Dig deeper and you’ll find a more curious result. A car with the same VIN shows up on the @wheelsporn Instagram account, posted on November 1, 2023. At that time, the Indonesian account had listed the car with 72,000 km (~44,000 miles) on the clock. Interestingly, in the last 21 hours, the post has been edited to list the VIN as “BNR34-00xxx…”. The car also appears quite different in the details. The stereo, exterior lighting, and intercooler are all different, and under the hood, there’s a different cam cover, intake, and turbo setup at the very least. The mod list is quite different, too, with the engine apparently having an N1 block, forged HKS pistons and rings, a Trust intercooler, a GReddy radiator, and it relies on an HKS FCON ECU.

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You can go back and edit a November post in June, but Google remembers a little longer…

In contrast, Cars and Bids lists the car with quite a different array of modifications. We’re told it currently rocks a Tomei exhaust and titanium downpipe, an HKS blow-off valve, and a GReddy intercooler. It’s also got a Haltech 2500 ECU with a flex-fuel tune, though we’re not given any dyno charts to indicate how much additional power these mods might be making. In any case, few to none of the parts match the Instagram post, and there’s no mention of an N1 block or forged internals at all. Oh, and the car is apparently running a Volcan battery… most commonly seen in the UAE.

Of course, none of this is to say that the car on Cars and Bids is necessarily not what it claims to be. It’s entirely possible that clerical errors are to blame, or the posts from Indonesia and Malaysia are themselves false. The car could have also been legitimately purchased and modified this year; some of the original lights that are included with the Cars and Bids sale support this idea. The seller claims to have purchased the car earlier this year.

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Regardless, the irregularity has raised questions about the vehicle’s legal status in the US. That’s in part because not every R34 GT-R is yet legal for import to the US. If indeed this vehicle is BNR34-001222, it was built in January 1999 according to GT-R Registry. That’s now over 25 years in the past, so it could have been legitimately imported stateside. Commenters on the auction page have called for documentation to verify the matter.

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The original VIN plate, contrasted with the plate as it appears in the sale listing.

On the seller’s part, HBWholesales has been doing its part to answer questions on the auction page. As noted by Team Free Spirit, the Cars and Bids photos show a VIN plate that doesn’t appear to be a genuine article, with typos and a different font to a factory example. This contrasts to an earlier photo shared by the seller of a worn and damaged VIN plate. The current seller also notes that they have contacted the original importer for more details on the car’s status and import approval. The seller posted an import invoice dated 10/25/2023 for the VIN in question from one Method Auto Group in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

“The seller has been unusually diligent and responsive in working with us and trying to figure out what’s going on. He’s still looking into it,” site founder Doug Demuro told us in a text. “If we don’t come to a positive conclusion before the auction ends, obviously we’ll just cancel it for the benefit of our bidders — but we have a few days, and given the seller’s positive attitude and legitimate efforts in trying to learn more, we’re inclined to give him a bit more time to due diligence.”

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Compounding this issue is the fact that, while cars generally need correct import paperwork to get a title,  not all state DMVs will return that documentation with the title. If you’re buying a PT Cruiser from your buddy that probably doesn’t matter, but for cars on the edge of 25 years it’s a much bigger deal.

[Mercedes’ Note: Luke from Team Free Spirit does comprehensive dives on an imported vehicle’s history so that buyers don’t get screwed. The poor quality VIN plate, which is in a font not used by Nissan and has a bad typo in the engine/transmission area, makes you question the rest of the vehicle. There was no mention of a restoration on the vehicle until the VIN plate discrepancy came up. The question also remains if this vehicle is a 1999 or later, which would impact its importation status. Thankfully, the seller appears to be working hard to figure all of this out. – MS]

Overall, it’s a nice-looking R34. However, until its status is confirmed in greater detail, you might want to tread carefully. Importing cars like these involves grand sums of money, and you always want to make sure you’re getting what you paid for.

Image credits: Cars and Bids

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Anoos
Anoos
21 days ago

It is terrible that I feel less than protective of someone buying a six figure GTR?

Importing these things has been a shyteshow scamfest forever. Hell, wasn’t the Motorex mess almost 20 years ago?

If you’re shopping for a Skyline, you know you’re wading in a cesspool. If you believe otherwise, that’s entirely on you and I don’t feel too badly when things take a negative turn.

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
21 days ago

I knew a few people that would restore cars like this. Take shells of norm spec models and make them special. They even went so far as to re-stamp numbers on trans housings and rear ends. But, they would never mess with the VIN and they would sell them as “tribute” cars. They were a VIN swap away from being a forgery.

This one smells like someone else wasn’t so honest.

Anoos
Anoos
21 days ago

Stamping numbers on driveline components is a step or two beyond ‘tribute.’

That’s essentially selling someone the block of metal and telling them not to drill these two holes with this included drill bit because then that would become a firearm.

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
21 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

Sort of. They were the same parts, just a different PN because they were for a Chevy and not a Pontiac. It was more a function of my friend’s meticulous nature. he was like that on all the things he restored (mostly juke boxes and old arcade machines).

Now, not saying that some future buyer didn’t do something to take it the next step. But finding a VIN from a scrapped car and then applying that VIN to all the right parts of the car and falsifying the paper trail is a little more than drilling two holes. It’s also not firearms, and has nothing to do with function, just cosmetic.

Mikan
Mikan
22 days ago

Yeah nah, that VIN plate is a total forgery and calls into doubt the provenance of the whole car.

The Japanese word for ‘engine’ is エンジン but on that plate it’s written エノッシ, and ‘transmission, axle’ should be ミッション, アクスル but it’s written ミションアクスル.

Given that the round marks below the plate are completely different between the photos of the ‘original’ and ‘restored’ VIN plates, I’d wager that the original plate (that someone photographed) is still attached to the real BNR-001222 living out its days in South-East Asia, and the American car is a written-off or stolen bodyshell that got rebirthed with a poorly forged VIN plate.

Aprtur
Aprtur
21 days ago
Reply to  Mikan

Tie in the battery note above linking UAE, and you have a screaming red flag to look into the history extremely closely. The Middle East is a flaming hell hole for stolen Japanese cars escaping the country in containers, and even that slight nod would have me extremely skeptical. Nissan stamped the VIN in other places on the chassis – curious if one of the other stampings is legitimate, potentially leading to recovery of some poor Japanese enthusiast’s stolen car.

Mark Hughes
Mark Hughes
22 days ago

I wonder what happened to the original Vin plate?, I have a 1994 R33 and it has 160,000 KM on it and my vin plate is like new. Seems like this one has somehow got some bad corrosion there and it also looks like it was taped over and has black overspray on it, maybe the blue came off with the tape ?

Robert Runyon
Robert Runyon
22 days ago

I don’t get the Skyline thing. My son was bonkers over his, ’till he wasn’t, after about one year of ownership. A complete waste of money when compared to modern sports sedans for equal bucks. But Hey, it’s a manual.

Fatallightning
Fatallightning
20 days ago
Reply to  Robert Runyon

I think the lore was created when a GT-R could be had for say, a 1/3rd the price of a 911 Turbo and be a faster car. Now that valuations are off the chart, it doesn’t really make sense to a half rational buyer. I had looked at R32s years ago when a nice GTR was 25ish and a GTT was still 4 digits. Makes sense at those figures. I don’t think I’d cross shop with a modern sport sedan though, most people looking at 90s imports probably are looking for a more stripped down analog experience. I ended going the Brit route with an S1 Elise and TVR Chimera. I had rally homologation cars like the ST205 Celica GT-4 and early GC WRXs pretty high up on my list too.

DadBod
DadBod
20 days ago
Reply to  Robert Runyon

Bro do you even Fast and Furious?

TXJeepGuy
TXJeepGuy
22 days ago

Stuff like this was part of why I decided against buying a Skyline when I was looking a few months ago. There are plenty of good importers but spending 30k for a lower end example R32 and still having a ton of potential unknowns was a turn off.

Fatallightning
Fatallightning
20 days ago
Reply to  TXJeepGuy

GTR market is really scraping the bottom of the barrel for whatever can be found and cheaply resprayed and kicked out the door right now.

Tartpop
Tartpop
22 days ago

If I were looking to spend that kind of cash, I wouldn’t be bidding on something like this without being 100% sure everything is legit.

Turbotictac
Turbotictac
22 days ago
Reply to  Tartpop

To be fair though a lot of people dropping this amount on essentially a toy are probably much less concerned about this sort of amount.

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
22 days ago
Reply to  Turbotictac

to be faaiirrrrr

Otter
Otter
21 days ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

Just here to say that Shoresy Season 3 has been even better than I hoped.

EVDesigner
EVDesigner
22 days ago

Imported car that lives in Florida, purchased earlier this year and currently being put back on the market? It’s a recipe for problems.

Aprtur
Aprtur
21 days ago
Reply to  EVDesigner

Florida and “legitimate title” seem to rarely go hand-in-hand when it comes to Skylines, for a lot of obvious reasons….they would title an oxcart if you asked them to.

EVDesigner
EVDesigner
21 days ago
Reply to  Aprtur

Florida would probably give the Titanic a title if it were out of the sea

Bob
Bob
22 days ago

It’s a good story, but lets remember that this is a money story, not a car story.

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
22 days ago

“‘The seller has been unusually dilligent and responsive in working with us and trying to figure out what’s going on. He’s still looking into it,’ says Doug. ‘If we don’t come to a positive conclusion before the auction ends, obviously we’ll just cancel it for the benefit of our bidders'”
Given that this auction site is owned by Doug DeMuro, his persona is such that one does cynically wonder if this listing isn’t just clickbait intentionally for drumming up publicity for his website. So this article could be considered tantamount to being free advertising for his business *eye roll*

Last edited 22 days ago by Collegiate Autodidact
Alexk98
Alexk98
22 days ago

The reality of auction sites like these is there is only so much time and energy the website can dedicate to each individual vehicle in order for the website to be profitable, and they cannot possibly be Subject Matter Experts on every vehicle. It’s also in their interest to get marketable and hot cars onto the site because that does drive traffic, engagement, and higher sales, which does make money, as it is a business overall.

What Cars and Bids does do really well, especially compared to BaT and similar sites, is transparency. When a problem occurs, C&B flat out bans people in violation and clearly states what happens. To add to this, the comment flagging system is helpful, in that it doesn’t permanently block comments like BaT, which means no seller or bidder can abuse the system to hide comments they do not like.

Finally, of course Doug has an incentive to comment on this situation, for multiple reasons. One, The Autopian and C&B (and Doug) have a history together, and have a symbiotic relationship of cross-promoting each other, as is good business and something you would do for your friends in a similar position. But secondly, if Doug has a chance to make a statement in advance and be transparent, he can maintain trust, rather than try to sweep things under the rug, or try to hide from it after something blows up.

While cynicism has it’s place on the internet, I genuinely do not believe it should be towards those conducting business transparently, especially when other news sites and forums do not give the aggrieved a chance to explain their position. FWIW I have no affiliation with Cars and Bids, this is just my $.02.

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
22 days ago
Reply to  Alexk98

Ah, okay, good to know about the transparency issues with C&B and BaT, et al. That does indeed tend to tip the scales towards C&B. Yeah, since DeMuro is friends with some of the Autopian staff and associates I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt given the integrity I’ve seen from the Autopian staff. Just that in his YouTube videos over the years DeMuro does tend to come across as a bit of a huckster so I still have some reservations.

Alexk98
Alexk98
22 days ago

Fair enough, I think there’s a very tough line to manage when it comes to starting a business like C&B between promotion and shilling. I give him the benefit of the doubt generally since the site’s conduct as a whole has proven to be trustworthy as far as I can tell, and proactive where possible, whereas BaT sometimes sweeps things under the rug where convenient, or uses their massive sales volume to drown out the problems.

The NSX Was Only in Development for 4 Years
The NSX Was Only in Development for 4 Years
22 days ago
Reply to  Alexk98

The ideal situation is to not list cars with extremely questionable pasts in the first place. C&B did something similar not too long ago with that ‘ute that was advertised as a converted G8 when it was quite clearly a VIN-swapped Holden or something. I feel like C&B is more in the business of just posting whatever and letting the community decide if the car is problematic.

Alexk98
Alexk98
22 days ago

Yeah that one was just pointless to let onto the site, it was listed as a “conversion” and had a US title, which I guess is enough to get through the initial process. It was also 3 years ago, and it seems like their process for vetting cars has been stricter since then. I think no matter what, illegal or fraudulent stuff will slip through, but it’s the reaction to that info being brought up that’s most important.

Still wish that Ute was actually US legal though… I’d drive the hell out of a Ute.

The World of Vee
The World of Vee
21 days ago
Reply to  Alexk98

There was a company in Denver that did ute conversions, I thought at first that must have been it but alas

Alexk98
Alexk98
21 days ago

Smyth Utes may be the one you’re thinking of, but I don’t think they do G8/SS conversions. There was another one I heard of that would do the fab/body swap on G8/SS but I’m sure thats way more expensive. The fact that the cancelled auction “caprice” was RHD is the biggest giveaway it’s just an illegal import.

The World of Vee
The World of Vee
21 days ago
Reply to  Alexk98

nah it was https://lefthandutes.com/

But their site hasn’t been updated in years

Alexk98
Alexk98
21 days ago

Oh yeah that was the one I was thinking about! Wonder if they’re actually still in business or not. builds looked quality but I’m sure they weren’t cheap

Mercedes Streeter
Mercedes Streeter
22 days ago

As always, any sponsored content is marked as such! I found this listing over the weekend and thought it was just one big headache worth reporting on. I mean, someone might spend six figures on a vehicle with unknown history.

I passed it to Lewin since I’m out today fighting tickets for a vehicle I sold four years ago. Doug gets nothing out of this story. If anything, it doesn’t reflect well on C&B if this vehicle isn’t kosher.

Jerry Thomas
Jerry Thomas
22 days ago

Goodluck on your fight! Would love to hear the story

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
22 days ago

My apologies if I might have besmirched the Autopian’s good name, as that wasn’t my intention. Yeah, I’ve noticed how you all do indeed specify when a post is sponsored or done in partnership, like with DT’s posts about his experiences with EXPEL Paint Protection Film. Yeah, kudos to you all.
The subject matter is indeed newsworthy, just that some of the quotes came across as having an element of self-promotion, at least based on my perceptions of the auction site’s proprietor from having watched a good number of his YouTube videos over the years where he’s engaged in quite a bit of self-promotion. Hence my cynicism. One would think that something so dubious or sketchy would make for bad publicity and not reflect well but some hucksters do tend to have the attitude that any publicity is good publicity, regardless of whether it’s actually good or bad. I do have some reservations about the proprietor but I’m willing to try giving the benefit of doubt even as I do think it would’ve been better and certainly much more kosher to hold off on posting a listing until its veracity could indeed be determined rather than just posting it and then issuing a statement that they were looking into determining the veracity thereof. One might be inclined to be at least a little cynical about the timing of posting such a listing, especially since the statement came across as a bit overly placatory. In any case, it’ll be interesting to see how it all turns out.
And good luck with the tickets! Best wishes for a good outcome, especially after having read about your past (& current, gah) legal travails borne of stolen license plates and horrible neighbors.

DadBod
DadBod
20 days ago

WTF on those tickets, what a waste of your time

R53 Lifer
R53 Lifer
22 days ago

Thank GOD for regulations. Can you IMAGINE what ill might befall this country if 23 or 24 year old imports were allowed to freely roam the streets?!

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
22 days ago
Reply to  R53 Lifer

Spreading capitalism beyond America.

Non-Americans can profit on their vehicles by holding onto them and then selling them once they’ve matured – or buying them up cheap and reselling. Like wine, or whisky.

D-dub
D-dub
22 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

I wish I had a Canadian cousin to partner up with to buy high-value imports under their 15 year rule and warehouse them for a couple years to flip here when they hit 25.

Dogapult
Dogapult
22 days ago
Reply to  D-dub

I wish I had a Canadian cousin ~10 years ago…

TXJeepGuy
TXJeepGuy
22 days ago
Reply to  R53 Lifer

cats and dogs living together, pure anarchy

D-dub
D-dub
22 days ago

If the seller is an honest broker and just needs some time to get clarification/documentation, it’s in their best interest to cancel the auction now and relist when they have everything ironed out. Having a cloud over the car’s legal status can only negatively impact the price they get for it.

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
22 days ago
Reply to  D-dub

Yes and no, I agree with how C&B is handling it for now, take a beat, see if they can get to the bottom of it, and if not they’ll pull it. No harm in giving the seller a couple days to try to figure it out before just knee jerk reacting and pulling an auction for what could be a real car. If they can’t back up the fact that it’s legit, then yes, pull it. But give the seller some time first.

Tbird
Tbird
22 days ago
Reply to  Brandon Forbes

Can’t argue with your nuanced position.

D-dub
D-dub
22 days ago
Reply to  Brandon Forbes

I’m not saying the site should pull it, I’m saying it’s in the seller’s interest to pull it because they’re guaranteed to get less for it while it’s under suspicion. Then relist when it’s all clear and legit and get top dollar.

Unless they’re a scammer (narrator: they are a scammer). In that case they’ll let it run and take whatever they can get.

Last edited 22 days ago by D-dub
Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
22 days ago
Reply to  D-dub

Yeah I disagree. The publicity they are getting will likely drive the price higher if they can clear everything up with enough time left.

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
22 days ago

There’s a R33 in my area. I see it maybe every month or so on the freeway. It’s pretty nice looking.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
22 days ago

The parking garage at my place had an R32 for a time; it even had some sort of very JDM-looking CRT tv screen mounted in it.

Turbotictac
Turbotictac
22 days ago

I live near a Marine base where a LOT of imported cars come to since a lot of them are stationed in Japan and buy the cars while overseas then bring it back with them. I see a lot of R32 and fewer but still regularly R33. So far I have seen 3 R34s but one was well before they were legal and could have been a faceswapped older model or, I suspect given the Florida plates, a straight up illegal import. Still cool seeing them though.

Jason Smith
Jason Smith
22 days ago
Reply to  Turbotictac

I saw my first R34 GTR a few weeks ago at a car show, it was a very nice example. My 6yo son about lost his mind (he LOVES Skylines).

Last edited 22 days ago by Jason Smith
Turbotictac
Turbotictac
21 days ago
Reply to  Jason Smith

One of the ones I saw was when I used to work at a speed shop. It was a R34 V Spec in midnight purple II and only had 15k miles. It was the one from this listing: https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1999-nissan-skyline-gt-r-5/

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