This 1990 Skyline GTS-t Reminds Us There’s More to JDM Than The GT-R

Thanks to the 25-year import rule, a new Japanese automotive invasion of U.S. markets is definitely underway. And it’s only going to get better from here.
This 1990 Skyline GTS-t Reminds Us There’s More to JDM Than The GT-R

I know the global motoring community tends to scratch their heads at us crazy Americans getting all excited over average-ish cars like this week’s found in the classifieds. Wait a minute - did I just call the Skyline average? Yes I did, because ‘90s Skylines are pretty much the Japanese equivalent to ‘90s Mustangs in the States. They’re pretty cool and they can be plenty of fun, but they’re freaking everywhere.

Everywhere, that is, except the USA. Our 25-year import rule sucks, but in some ways it brings new life to cars that might not ordinarily get such spotlight. I think the non-GT-R Skylines like this 1990 GTS-t Type M for sale in Florida fall into that category. What’s not to like about an RB20DET and a five-speed manual turning the rear wheels on a Japanese sedan? I’ve always been one to look left when everyone is looking right, and right now all the JDM fans in America are all giggly over the R32 GT-R. This GTS-t has all kinds of fun factor, and since I’m not a GT-R fanboy, I’d take immense pleasure in turning this rear-wheel drive sedan into a GT-R killer.

This 1990 Skyline GTS-t Reminds Us There’s More to JDM Than The GT-R

I think the asking price is a bit steep at $13,900, but it’s not like you’re going to find another GTS-t at the dealership down the street. Plus it’s already my favourite shade of blue, and it’s a Type M which means five-lug wheels and better brakes. This one is also listed as having a limited slip diff, and it wears some GT-R body panels for a muscular look. It only has 31,000 miles, and per the walkaround video it sounds like it’s in good mechanical shape. Still, that’s little comfort because both the video and the ad leave much to be desired when it comes to condition. All the more reason for a healthy test drive.

Still, you might be thinking that $13,900 doesn’t sound steep for a GTS-t Type M with such low mileage and GT-R styling cues. Take a close at the photos however and you’ll see all kinds of paint blemishes, among them a driver-side rear door which appears to be flat blue. There’s some obvious damage on the driver side rear quarter panel as well, and my concerns extend to the interior. Clearly it has an aftermarket steering wheel so who knows how many opposite-lock episodes it may have endured in other cars. I’d guess a lot, because it looks terrifically worn, as does the handbrake.

This 1990 Skyline GTS-t Reminds Us There’s More to JDM Than The GT-R
This 1990 Skyline GTS-t Reminds Us There’s More to JDM Than The GT-R

Admittedly such things are hard to judge accurately through photos, but the interior wear combined with the exterior faults are cause for a bit of concern. For starters, it doesn’t look like a car with 31,000 miles. By no means am I suggesting the dealer is guilty of rolling back the odometer - I have no idea on the laws and regulations for such tampering in Japan, but this car was certainly purchased long-distance so I suppose anything is possible. Another possibility is that it was wrecked and rebuilt, but again, I don’t know the process for indicating such things on an import like this.

This 1990 Skyline GTS-t Reminds Us There’s More to JDM Than The GT-R

A third scenario - and I suspect this is the likely one - is that it just lived a hard life. The short YouTube video description does mention the car is “tastefully modded with drifting in mind.” Methinks this GTS-t might have been tastefully drifted from time to time, perhaps even tastefully drifted into something that required a new driver side rear door. Honestly, as long as it was looked after mechanically, I don’t mind such activity. Probably because I’d be doing the same thing as this car’s new owner.

This 1990 Skyline GTS-t Reminds Us There’s More to JDM Than The GT-R

If I were selling the car I’d spend the extra cash to mend the paint and body issues. They’re extremely rare here in the States, and I bet you could easily get the investment back plus a bit more. But if someone is looking at this as a potential drift car, I suppose such things are less important than scoring this car for a good price. And I gotta say, even with those exterior flaws I still quite like it.

This 1990 Skyline GTS-t Reminds Us There’s More to JDM Than The GT-R

GTS-ts are fairly common around the world, but if you could buy this car in America for $13,000, you’d have a cool, rare four-door JDM fun machine for a pretty reasonable price.



I’m happy for you Americans CTzens

03/13/2016 - 23:19 |
54 | 0

This one looks like a bit of a dog. Personally unless you can grab it for a bargain or can’t wait for a better one to come along, I’d pass.

03/14/2016 - 00:09 |
4 | 0
RomanianRacer Here you can find many skylines very cheap, they do an extremely well job at making them legal and safe to drive. Another plus (for me anyway) is that they’re like 30 min. away from where I live, and not to mention you can request any import car not just JDM cars.

03/14/2016 - 00:35 |
2 | 0

If we are talking GTS-T models, an R31 has an odd appeal.

03/14/2016 - 01:18 |
12 | 0
mitchell pickels

That’s for sale in my town

03/14/2016 - 01:32 |
0 | 0

But it IS a GT-R!

03/14/2016 - 02:08 |
0 | 6

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

It IS… not.

03/14/2016 - 03:30 |
6 | 0
Scott Groome

I’m sorry guys but the gtst is a pretty damn slow car. I know you’re all excited because you can import gtr’s and they’re different but don’t import a gtst…

03/14/2016 - 02:10 |
2 | 0

Even the GTR is overpriced. Yeah it’s a cool car but considering how many of them there are and considering its performance, $25,000 for a good example is pretty ridiculous…

03/14/2016 - 02:55 |
2 | 0

They are definitely not slow, also the handling is absolutely great and the tuning potential is infinite. It’s a shame the R32 still had the RB20, but a RB25 powered GTST is great. We have 2 R33 driftcars at work, one pushing well over 480 horses and it truly is the ultimate jdm drift machine

03/14/2016 - 10:09 |
2 | 0

If it was truly about having the fastest stock car, we would all be saving up for super and hypers cars. Still we buy bmws, nissans, toyotas and subies and have way more fun with those

03/14/2016 - 10:10 |
0 | 0

I saw that one in person, MontuMotors is only 90 minutes from my house

03/14/2016 - 03:59 |
0 | 0
Ashley Mulder

Japan History Check
Every japanese car needs a check every two years for registration where they record the odometer reading - these, along with the auction sheet with the listed kms at time of auction ARE available

03/14/2016 - 04:03 |
2 | 0
Pooft Lee

A slow POS is a slow POS regardless of how “uncommon” it is. Especially considering Canadians are picking up actually quick, clean skylines for less than this.

What are we looking at, 180hp and a glass transmission with multiple accidents? The whole JDM tax is out of hand. Japanese exporters are laughing all the way to the bank with the money we’ll pay for impound lot beaters

Sorry not sorry

03/14/2016 - 04:13 |
20 | 0

I agree with you completely! In Australia, the JDM tax is much less prominent than in the states, because it’s much easier to import cars from Japan. The same car here would probably set you back $5500-6500 AUD, which is close to $4200-4900 USD. Complere rip-off, to put it bluntly.

03/14/2016 - 08:35 |
6 | 0

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