Home » You Can Buy A Nissan GT-R For The Price Of A New Chrysler Pacifica

You Can Buy A Nissan GT-R For The Price Of A New Chrysler Pacifica

Nissan Gtr Ts1
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Over the past few decades, the internet has played host to many automotive fevers. The Tesla Cybertruck is a buzzworthy vehicle, as was the Model 3, as was the C8 Chevrolet Corvette. However, for those of us who’ve been around the block once or twice, all of the initial discourse around the cars I’ve mentioned so far has seemed a bit familiar. A bit stale. Dare I say, a bit tame. If we want to talk about internet automotive frenzies, we need to go back to the end of Dubya’s second term, when Nissan rolled out a coupe adorned with three little letters: GT-R.

If those letters mean anything to you, you’ll know that the internet lost its collective shit. Purists railed against its dual-clutch transaxle and sophisticated gadgetry, bargain-hunting speed merchants raved at the price tag and the Nürburgring lap time of 7:29.03. For several months, every magazine, homepage, and TV show made everyone feel like the GT-R was the only car in the world. Top Gear featured it extensively in two episodes in the same season. From Evo to Automobile to Motor Trend, the GT-R racked up seven full-on Car of the Year awards. Not “performance car” or “sports car,” car. As in the car to end all other cars that year. To cap it all off, the GTR was named Evo magazine’s Car of the Decade. By comparison, the Tesla Cybertruck feels like a Toyota Yaris.

Vidframe Min Top
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More than 16 years after its debut, the first Nissan simply dubbed GT-R (no Skyline) is still a force to be reckoned with. It can still keep up with some of today’s greatest performance cars, and although there are ways to go faster in a straight line for the money, it’s still at the apex of low-six-figure turbocharged all-wheel-drive insanity machines. Then again, whoever said you had to buy a new one?

What Are We Looking At?

Silver Nissan GT-R Profile

If you were on the internet, reading magazines, or even watching TV in the late 2000s, you probably already know what we’re looking at. This was the car that caused Porsche to have an emergency code brown in its lederhosen. When the R35 Nissan GT-R launched, it provided Porsche 911 Turbo-rivaling performance for $70,475. Click, click, boom. With a 485-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 up front, a dual-clutch transaxle out back, drive to all four wheels and CRAY-tier computing, the Nissan GT-R was, and still is, a supercar for the PlayStation generation. It’s the car that gave Jeremy Clarkson whiplash, the car that broke the hierarchy, and the first car that made big headlines for being called impossible to tune. Yeah, funny, that. It’s not a car that handles delicately, yet it is ruthlessly effective. As Automobile magazine wrote:

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Going fast in the Nissan requires you to relearn the lessons taught in Race Driving 101. GT-R protocol calls for hammering the brakes and hurling the car into corners to cancel out its inherent understeer. Then, before reaching the apex, plant the throttle and let the computer figure out how to keep the car on the road by apportioning power among the four wheels. And while a 911 is teetering on the verge of slewing sideways and down a ravine, the GT-R is clawing ferociously out of the corner and rocketing down the next straightaway.

Needless to say, this level of pace and electronic sophistication made the R35 Nissan GT-R an instant icon, and it still finds new buyers after 16 years in production. Of course, you don’t have to spend $122,985 on a new GT-R to sample its speed. With more than a decade’s worth of examples already on American roads, the second-hand market is ripe for the picking.

How Cheap Are We Talking?

2010 Nissan Gt R Premium Bat 1

Would you believe that you can get into a Nissan GT-R for the price of a new Chrysler minivan? The range-topping Chrysler Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid Pinnacle stickers for $63,750 including freight, and beneath that price cap lies a wealth of turbocharged all-wheel-drive Japanese rocketry ripe for the picking. Take this 2010 Nissan GT-R Premium with just 16,000 miles on the clock for example. It sold on Bring A Trailer back in February for $60,501, and aside from the wheels, Swift lowering springs, a strut tower brace, and an aftermarket y-pipe, it’s completely stock. Best of all, the standard wheels and y-pipe are included, should you wish to return to a near-stock appearance.

2009 Nissan Gt R Red Cars And Bids 1

Of course, if you’re willing to put up with a few cosmetic flaws, higher mileage, some harder-to-reverse modifications, and a little extra effort on logistics, you can scoop up an R35 Nissan GT-R for much less than that. This 2009 GT-R Premium with Cobb and Dodson Motorsport goodies sold in November on Cars & Bids for $42,000. The catch? Other than having 91,900 miles on the clock, it’s a Canadian car. Thankfully, exporting a car younger than 25 years old from Canada is a largely trivial affair, so long as it was also sold in America. It will already have an EPA certification sticker and possibly even an FMVSS certification sticker. Should it lack the latter, all you’d need is a letter of compliance, along with a recall clearance letter, and it’s ready to be let into America.

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2009 Nissan Gt R Silver 1

Gtr Interior Bat

However, if you aren’t a fan of paperwork, you can still scoop up a deal on a GT-R, you just might have to wait for the right one to come along. This 2009 Nissan GT-R with 59,000 miles on the clock sold on Bring A Trailer back in October for $52,500, and it’s rocking some tasty goodies. In addition to KW coilovers and SPL arms, it features a Cobb intake and tuner, DBA brake discs, Deatschwerks 255 lph fuel pumps, and Whiteline bushings. Oh, and it’s specced in the launch color, the extra-cost Super Silver Metallic. Sure, it may have a hit on its Carfax, but for $52,500, this is one seriously fast car.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Nissan Gt R Shifter E1711051250747 2

 

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If you’ve been interested in an early GT-R, you may have heard rumblings about transmission problems. While a TSB exists for a rattle from the bellhousing, reports of transmission failure on near-stock cars with minimal launch control use are somewhat overblown, and provided you aren’t chasing big power, a simple rebuild isn’t unreasonably expensive by the standards of major transmission refurbishment. Popular GT-R transaxle specialists ShepTrans will rebuild an early GT-R transaxle to stronger 2011 to 2016 spec for $4,345, including putting stronger selector rings and Viton piston seals in it. If you aren’t planning on putting more than 600 lb.-ft. of torque through the transaxle, this is a solid option should the worst happen.

Gtr Engine Bat

Another pricey potential issue is that ABS pumps can fail with age and well, they’re expensive. A brand new one carries an eye-watering MSRP of $3,177.01. Why the extra penny? Because they can, that’s why. On the plus side, Nissan GT-R experts Litchfield claim only two hours fitting time, so even though the part costs supercar money, the total labor cost should be fairly reasonable.

2010 Nissan Gt R Premium Bat Rear 1

Otherwise, the R35 Nissan GT-R is a remarkably sturdy car. Sure, now that early ones are 15 years old or more, general old car issues like worn bushings and minor leaks can happen, but especially by supercar standards, this thing’s reasonably stout. Then again, it would have to be if people were building them to have four figures worth of horsepower.

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Should You Buy A Nissan GT-R?

2009 Nissan GT-R Silver Rear

As for buying a Nissan GT-R, it really depends on what you’re looking for. There are a ton of great used performance cars out there for under $60,000, and some great new ones too. However, if you want something that feels close to a modern supercar for loaded Chrysler minivan money, this is your best bet. If you can set $10,000 aside in case the ABS pump and the transaxle both go to hell, I’d say go for it. Life’s short, and there are far worse ways to spend $60,000 than on 2008’s undisputed poster car.

(Photo credits: Bring A Trailer, Cars & Bids)

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EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
27 days ago

As resident poorly named Nissan aficionado. I used to love the GTR, then I drove a few and it became more of an appreciation. This car is the shining example of perfection being the enemy of good. Behind the wheel, there’s just nothing wrong with it. People say its too heavy, but I’ve never found that actually noticeable in the car. Everything it does from handling, acceleration, braking, whatever feels exactly how you expect it to be. And its fun for a bit, but it becomes frankly kinda boring. It’s oddly clinical, like high-end specialty hospital in car format. There’s this dedication of purpose in it. But it’s too driven, too Type A. And absolutely no character. Just zero room for fun outside of singular purpose of going fast. You really start to question if something can be too good at it’s own prime directive.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
27 days ago

While I admire it, it’s not something I aspire to own.
I’m not a track warrior and prefer to play with the limits of traction on low-friction surfaces

Beceen
Beceen
27 days ago

I’ve driven one on a track and fell in love. This car looks mean, is fast and and will kill you if you push this R button. Also, it has one of the most underwhelming interiors, but I can live with that. Pity that in Europe used ones are still prohibitively expensive (+ insurance).

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
27 days ago
Reply to  Beceen

Have a sit-down in a 996 if you’re into underwhelming interiors.

Logan King
Logan King
27 days ago

At least when the Pacifica is constantly broken it would be under warranty.

Zelda Bumperthumper
Zelda Bumperthumper
27 days ago

It’s hard to think of a more unsexy performance car. It’s like a robot programmed to touch your jubbly bits in the exact way Nissan engineers found to be most efficient. Thanks but no thanks for the robot handy, Nissan.

Last edited 27 days ago by Zelda Bumperthumper
No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
27 days ago

I’m not saying no.

Daniel Wheeler
Daniel Wheeler
27 days ago

I’m not taking away from the R35 or and GTR but the claim regarding the Nurburgring time is extremely misleading. Yes the time is accurate, but that GTR was tuned for the Nurburgring, not that prospective buyers are likely to have tackling the ring on their to do list.

Goblin
Goblin
27 days ago

All I get from this article is that the Pacifica has become real damn expensive…

Younork
Younork
27 days ago

$60k still feels like a lot for one of these, they’ve been on the market for like 15 years after all. However, I am a big fan of how the styling aged on these. It balances subtle, clean, exotic, and anonymous really well. A big difference from today’s over-styled monsters.

Mrbrown89
Mrbrown89
28 days ago

Same reliability as a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid …

Raptor
Raptor
28 days ago

I’ve ridden in one of these at extra legal speeds, driven and owned by my older neighbor. I loved this car when it came out, but I’ll admit to being underwhelmed. It just didn’t feel or sound special, although it was fast.

For $60k, I would rather have a Mustang GT or a used C8 or frankly any number of other cars.

Jj
Jj
28 days ago

I had heard that regular maintenance on these is quite expensive also. This was when they first came out, so maybe things have settled down. But I don’t think there’s much access to anything mechanical from under the car because of the undercar aero.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
28 days ago

This is a car that you either get or you don’t get and I think there are pretty firm generation lines. This was a definite poster car for my fellow millennials and I and if you grew up when the Fast series wasn’t a shambling late stage capitalist reanimated corpse/tuner culture became mainstream you’ve lusted after one of these. It’s really that simple.

On the other hand folks who didn’t often see this as a big, needlessly heavy, ridiculous looking…Nissan. I see both sides but it’s always been a dream car for me personally and you’d be shocked how many non car people will quickly point out a GTR when they see one. It’s one of those cars that’s a household name.

I go back and forth on owning one. I’ve mentioned the fact that I had a chance to buy one in the mid 40s back when they were giving cars away early in COVID and chose not to because it would’ve been a stretch purchase at that time. I regret that. It’s definitely a car that got away to an extent.

However, these are big, heavy, impractical, they absolutely chug gas, as you mention several parts are supercar levels of expensive to replace, and I’d imagine owning one would be miserable for an introvert like me. People will try to race you literally every single day. Folks will approach you and want to talk about your car constantly.

There are certain expectations when you own a car like this, and frankly it deserves to be driven as god intended at 10/10ths, preferably on a track. I love and admire godzilla (one of the coolest car nicknames ever don’t @ me) for how ridiculous it is and the fact that it’s an example of engineers from a regular ass car company chasing the greats and beating them at their own game with something that has the classic “thrown together in a secret barn by your drunk uncle” vibe.

That’s cool as hell and not dissimilar to countless American sports cars. But would I actually want to own one? Definitely not as a daily, and if I had $60,000+ to spend on a track/fun car I don’t think this would be the direction I’d go in personally. But I love and respect the GTR and everything it stands for.

Toecutter
Toecutter
28 days ago

This car would have been a lot better at about 5/6th scale, assuming the same engine and transmission could be retained. Imagine what it would do if it were under 3,000 lbs!

What I like about it is that it uses widely available Nissan parts for most of its construction which are shared with other models, it’s been in production for nearly 2 decades, and thus replacement parts are relatively inexpensive and widely available. As it should be. Keeping it on the road 20 years into the future probably won’t break the bank. I wish there were more exotics and supercars designed like that. Corvettes are another good choice in this regard.

It’s just too damned big and heavy.

Now if they made a RWD Altima with that engine and sold them to buyers with a 350 credit score…

Last edited 28 days ago by Toecutter
Cryptoenologist
Cryptoenologist
27 days ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Isn’t that almost what a used Infiniti G35 is? Or was that your point…

Toecutter
Toecutter
27 days ago

Kind of. The G35 is much heavier and loaded with more features than an Altima though. Plus it’s not as stigmatized as the Altima, when I want that package in a nameplate everyone seems to hate the drivers of!

Cryptoenologist
Cryptoenologist
27 days ago
Reply to  Toecutter

G35 has its own set of stereotypes. I have a soft spot for that car. Like a Chrysler 300 but even better.

Dude Dudster
Dude Dudster
28 days ago

60 grand for a Nissan?
LOL, I will pass.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
28 days ago

It’s cool & fast, but I’ve never been interested. Maybe because they’ve been making this car since before Marco Polo set sail. Maybe because it’s fat (I mean Orca Fat). Maybe because it’s more complicated than long division. I hate long division. All the same, it’s cool & fast.

Pisco Sour
Pisco Sour
28 days ago

This just confirms that minivans are too damned expensive now.

V10omous
V10omous
28 days ago

It’s hard to imagine a car I’d want less to buy used.

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
27 days ago
Reply to  V10omous

Charger
V6 Altima
Lexus IS(mumble mumble, no one really knows Lexus model numbers)
Challenger
Dodge Journey/Caliber
A lifted pickup
Any Civic with an Instagram sticker
Any car with an Instagram sticker

It’s not really bingo if I’m just shouting out everything, I know, but I’m having fun!

V10omous
V10omous
27 days ago
Reply to  Mechjaz

I would without a doubt own any of those cars used before a GTR, if for no other reason than fixing the previous owner’s mistakes will be cheaper.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
28 days ago

Buy the Pacifica. You’ll be happier overall. 🙂

Toecutter
Toecutter
28 days ago

The GTR weighs almost as much as a Chrysler Pacifica, too. 2 tons. Woof.

To its credit, it has a surprisingly low 0.26 drag coefficient.

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