The history of the R34 GTR. #BlogPost

It may seem strange, but there were a few different variants of R34 GTR available between 1999 and 2002, and this article will include them all, as well as show where they’re different.

1. R34 GTR

Picture from HJA Imports.
Picture from HJA Imports.
The mighty RB26DETT. Picture from HJA Imports.
The mighty RB26DETT. Picture from HJA Imports.
Those iconic rear lights. Picture from HJA Imports.
Those iconic rear lights. Picture from HJA Imports.

This is your “basic” (if it is possible to use such a word to describe this car) R34 GTR. This variant was produced throughout the R34 GTR’s life span, from 1999 right up until its death in 2002. One of the characteristic features of the car was of course the RB26DETT engine it had inherited from its R32 and R33 GTR predecessors; painted in a cherry red rather than black, it’s as iconic as the car in which it sits.

The MFD from a V.Spec variant.
The MFD from a V.Spec variant.

Multifunction Display (MFD)

This is another key feature (of all variants) of the R34 GTR. The display, which in this case is one found on a V.Spec, was way ahead of its time back in 1999; the 5.8 inch display showed vital information such as water and oil temperature, as well as throttle position and boost pressure. It gave a total of 7 different readouts in its basic formats, although this changed as the variants evolved - we’ll discuss this as we go on. One Japanese use of the MFD was a TV (yes, a Television!); when the GTR wasn’t moving, you would be able to view NSTC channels through the MFD, although it would turn off the display and only continue the audio whilst driving.

2. R34 GTR V.Spec

Picture from sau.com.au
Picture from sau.com.au
Note the addition of a rear diffuser below the rear bumper. Picture from sau.com.au
Note the addition of a rear diffuser below the rear bumper. Picture from sau.com.au

Launched alongside the base R34 GTR back in January 1999, the V.Spec was a slightly upgraded version of its standard counterpart; instead of the standard, conventional mechanical differential and standard ATTESA E-TS system, the V.Spec had the upgraded ATTESA E-TS Pro system alongside an Active rear LSD. The V.spec also had stiffer suspension, a new front splitter and a rear diffuser. This car stayed in production until October 2000, when it was replaced by the V.Spec II.

3. R34 GTR V.Spec UK

Notice the asymmetrical bumper vent on the front bumper.
Notice the asymmetrical bumper vent on the front bumper.

This was a very similar variant to the V.Spec, only it had been revised by Middlehurst Motorsport after being imported; 80 R34 GTR V.Spec cars were beneficiaries to a revised ECU, a full Connolly leather interior over the standard cloth, stiffer suspension, underbody diffusers, an extra measurement displayed on the MFD and 3 additional oil coolers - the latter being evident in the asymmetrical front bumper, since there is a vent for cooling on only one side. It is apparent then that this car was set up more for UK roads rather than Japanese roads.

4. R34 GTR V.Spec N1

Picture from Torque GT.
Picture from Torque GT.

Ah, now we’re getting into the nitty gritty. This variant of the R34 GTR is a homologation special - it was stripped of all luxuries; gone was the air conditioning, the radio, the boot carpet, and the rear wiper, although the ABS system remained in place. The engine was an RB26DETT with an N1 block, and N1 turbochargers, all for higher and more reliable power. Only 45 were produced, most being bought by various garages and tuning companies - 12 were used by Nismo for Super Taikyu racing, so finding a standard example is pretty much impossible.

5. R34 GTR V.Spec II

Picture from Eurocrat Ltd.
Picture from Eurocrat Ltd.

This variant replaced the V.Spec in October 2000, and it was very similar; the only changes were stiffer suspension (yes, even stiffer than the V.spec), bigger rear brake rotors, and a new carbon fibre bonnet which was lighter than the aluminium bonnets found on other GTR variants, and it featured a NACA duct. The interior also featured some changes, mainly being aluminium pedals and an iridium centre console, as well as black cloth upholstery rather than the grey cloth used in earlier variants. The standard variant also received these upgrades, expect for the carbon fibre hood.

6. V.Spec II N1

Picture from 7tune.com
Picture from 7tune.com
An N1 with a Nismo R1 engine swap. Picture from 7tune.com
An N1 with a Nismo R1 engine swap. Picture from 7tune.com

Such a rare beast this car is, that I could only find one car that was standard enough to be considered “stock”. Only 18 were produced, and most ended up with tuning companies as with the V.Spec N1, so it’s considered impossible to find an example as original as this, even though this example has been modified. The V.Spec II N1 is focused purely on weight saving, so much so that the paint is substantially thinner than standard, and there is an unfinished carbon fibre bonnet where, according to 7Tune, “if you look closely at the reflection, you can see the thickly woven strands of precious material.” Mainly, this car is the same as the V.Spec N1, only a lot, lot, rarer and even more focused on weight saving.

7. R34 GTR M-Spec

The history of the R34 GTR. #BlogPost - Nissan Skyline Forum

This is considered the ‘luxury’ version of the R34 GTR, since it has a leather interior with heated front seats in place of the standard cloth fabric seats found in the other variants - it was very similar to the V.spec UK. It also had “Ripple Control” dampers and a stiffer rear sway bar. The ‘M’ in ‘M-Spec’ stands for Mizuno, after Kazutoshi Mizuno, the “father of the GTR”.

8. R34 GTR V.Spec II nür & R34 GTR M-Spec nür

V.Spec II nür - picture from sau.com.au
V.Spec II nür - picture from sau.com.au
M-Spec nür
M-Spec nür

This was Nissan’s swan song for the R34 GTR; a final run of 1000 (which ended up being 1002) cars to commemorate the end of both the R34 GTR and the RB26DETT. As a result, both variants received N1 versions of the RB26DETT, which included larger turbos running higher boost, therefore power was increased to around 330hp from factory, even though Nissan stated that the engine produced 276hp due to the gentleman’s agreement. The only other differences that the nor versions had compared to the variants they were based on (V.Spec II & M-Spec) was that the cam cover colour changed from Cherry Red to Millennium Jade, the speedometer was changed for a 300kph (186mph) unit over the 180kph unit, and the stitching for the interior trim was a different colour. 717 of the 1002 cars were V.Spec II nür examples and 285 were M-Spec nür examples.

Nismo R34 GTR Z-Tune

The history of the R34 GTR. #BlogPost - Nissan Skyline Forum
The history of the R34 GTR. #BlogPost - Nissan Skyline Forum
The history of the R34 GTR. #BlogPost - Nissan Skyline Forum

Now this was Nismo’s swan song to the GTR. This was the last ever variant of the R34 GTR. Conceived by Nismo back in 2002, the Z-Tune was based on technology the firm had developed through its years in GT500 and Le Mans GT2 racing. The original prototype, based on a used V.Spec II, was built in 2003, and was given an all new concept RB26DETT, called the ‘Z1’. This engine was bored out to 2.8l, and it included a strengthened block and a stroked crankshaft.

Nissan officially gave Nismo permission to build 20 customer cars in order to celebrate Nismo’s anniversary; 20 used V.Spec cars were purchased, all with less than 18,000 miles on the clock, and were completely stripped, right down to a bare shell. Gismo then resprayed the cars in an iconic ‘Z-Tune Silver’. The engine was swapped for an evolved version of the prototype’s Z1 - the ‘Z2’. With this engine, the rev limiter was a high 8000rpm, and the turbos were supplied by IHI; all this allowed the car to achieved an advertised 500hp.

The bodywork remained very similar to the original R34 GTR, only while the car was being rebuilt from the chassis up Nismo replaced the standard front bumper, fenders and bonnet with iconic Z-Tune specific items. Another iconic feature are the Nismo LMGT4 wheels, which the car sits lower on thanks to a suspension revision by Sachs.

All in all only 19 Z-Tunes were ever made, and that figure includes the 2 prototypes, so there’s no surprise that prices have been known to be in the many hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Honourable Mentions:

The V.Spec variant was not only sold in Japan, but was also sold in New Zealand (NZ, 5 sold), Hong Kong (HK, 10 sold) and Singapore (10 sold). These variants were no different to the standard JDM V.Spec and therefore aren’t a designated model unlike the UK V.Spec.

New Zealand also received the V.Spec II, and once again this was no different to the JDM variant.

These cars are counted under the JDM V.Spec and V.Spec II figures.

So, how many R34 GTRs were built during its lifespan?

According to GTR-Registry.com - a website that records and groups individual Skyline GTR chassis and VIN numbers to keep track of them all - there were 11577 R34 GTRs built between January 1999 and August 2002:

Massive thanks to GTR-Registry.com for the figures!
Massive thanks to GTR-Registry.com for the figures!

As you can see, the V.Spec was by far the most popular variant, with the “base” GTR in a close second (combining both series).

What colours could you select for the R34 GTR?*

Many of you will have heard of the iconic R34-exclusive ‘Bayside Blue’, however there were several other colours you could specify for the BNR34, as these charts show:

A clearer view of the colour choices.
A clearer view of the colour choices.
A more in-depth look at those figures, with the model breakdown showing how many of which variant were painted in the colours. Once again many thanks to GTR-Registry.com for the figures!
A more in-depth look at those figures, with the model breakdown showing how many of which variant were painted in the colours. Once again many thanks to GTR-Registry.com for the figures!

As you can see, Bayside Blue was not the most popular colour - it seems more people liked the BNR34 in QM1 White!

Once again, thank you so much to GTR Registry for all the figures and statistics, go check them out at GTR-Registry.com now for more Skyline GTR information! They also have an in-depth track of R32 and R33 GTRs!

What’s your favourite variant? Let me know in the comments!

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