The Nissan Skyline is perhaps the most legendary of all Japanese “icon” cars of the 1990s/early 2000s.
It can be argued that only the Toyota Supra comes close, but even then we think that the Skyline (at least in GT-R form) is the more desirable car for many – despite the car being practically illegal in the USA.
If you’ve been following classic car prices at all in recent years – and especially in the past 12 months – then you’ll know that the prices of Nissan Skylines have gone to the stratosphere, particularly Skyline GT-Rs.
For example, we recently posted about this R34 GT-R for sale with low mileage that was listed for over $350,000.
If you’ve read our article on how much the Skyline R34 GT-R cost new, then you’ll know that while these cars weren’t cheap, they also weren’t that crazy expensive.
Therefore, in this article we attempt to answer the question “why is the Nissan Skyline so expensive?”
Just how is it that the Skyline has soared to such heights in terms of price and desirability?
Let’s look at the key reasons why Skylines are now so expensive.
NB: We are focused primarily on the Nissan Skyline GT-R (R32/R33/R34) in this article, but the same ideas/principles apply to “lesser” versions of the Skyline such as the GTS-T, GTS etc. If you’ve been following these other Skylines, you will see that they have also been soaring price-wise recently as well.
Why Is The Nissan Skyline So Expensive These Days?
In our view, there are a few key reasons why the Skyline has become so pricey:
Age Is Taking Its Toll On Availability
As time marches on, age takes its toll on the Skyline fleet. Some are left to rot away, some suffer mechanical failure that is not affordable for the owner to fix, others are crashed.
Basically, as the “population” of Skylines decreases (but the demand grows – or even stays the same!) the price inherently increases.
This is supply and demand economics 101.
Nissan isn’t making new Skylines, and as they become rarer and rarer, they will probably continue to rise in price due to that supply and demand effect.
Classic Car Market “Rising Tide” Is Lifting All Boats
The classic car market in general is going gangbusters at the moment (in fact, even prices for “normal” second hand cars are going crazy).
For various reasons, classic cars are going up rapidly in price and even common cars are holding value or sometimes even increasing in price.
Just look at this chart of used car price increases in the United States. This is for all used cars, not just desirable classics:
If Toyota Camry prices are soaring, it stands to reason that highly desirable classics like the Skyline GT-R will climb as well.
There are articles in newspapers and websites, and feature pieces on TV news in many countries at the moment about just how rapidly many classic car prices are exploding.
Even “affordable” classics like the Mazda MX-5/Miata (read our Miata buyer’s guide here) have been skyrocketing in price of late.
Due to its desirable nature, the Skyline is inherently caught up in this process.
A Flood Of Liquidity Needs A Place To Call Home
Related to the point above is that the massive amounts of liquidity pumped in to the economies of the world in order to minimise the economic impacts of Covid seem to have resulted in any “everything bubble”.
Shares/stocks, properties, crypto currencies and even classic cars – the flood of money in the system wants to find a place to go, and it seems that people are keen to purchase assets (or anything that conceivably passes for an asset) in order to protect their purchasing power from the rapidly accelerating signs of inflation that seem to be pervading the economy.
We aren’t economists, but it seems clear to us and many others that one of the unintended (or perhaps even intended) consequences of all this money printing and distribution is inflating the prices of assets, including classic cars like Nissan Skylines.
Near-Legal Status In The United States Makes Skylines More Desirable To A Large Market
One of the most read articles on this site is our guide to why the Nissan Skyline is illegal in the United States – we recommend you take the time to read it if you haven’t done so already.
The 25 year rule means that some earlier Skylines are now legal to import/drive in the United States, and the “mac daddy” (R34 GT-R) is closing in fast on being 25 years old. In 2024, you will legally be able to import and drive the earliest of the R34 GT-Rs in the United States.
The American market has always had a peculiar fascination with the Nissan Skyline, particularly Skyline GT-Rs. Now that these are approaching the point where they can be imported, complied, and driven legally without jumping through all kinds of loopholes, this opens them up to another market altogether.
Once again, this means more demand pressuring a reducing supply – prices go up!
Conclusion – Why Is The Nissan Skyline So Expensive?
To recap, there are several key reasons why Skyline prices have been soaring:
- They were not particularly cheap cars when new to begin with (read our guides here to the R33 GT-R cost new and the R34 GT-R cost new for more information).
- Demand is shrinking due to the increasing age of the Skyline “fleet”.
- Classic car prices are rising across the board.
- A flood of liquidity globally is resulting in asset prices soaring.
- Skylines are rapidly becoming legal to drive in the United States, making them more desirable to one of the largest markets in the world. Don’t forget to read why Nissan Skylines are illegal in the United States for more information on this topic.
As such, you had best be prepared to shell out big bucks if you want a Skyline! Whether the classic car bubble continues or fizzles out, it seems unlikely that Skyline prices will decrease much due to just how desirable these cars are.
Because of this it’s critical that you get a good Skyline if you’re considering buying one. Read our Skyline buyer’s guides for more information on how to buy a great example without getting burned.