Nissan Skyline GT-R (R33) V-Spec N1 | Spotted

The JDM does a brilliant job of keeping things under a bushel. This 1 of 87 N1 is a perfect example…

By Cam Tait / Tuesday, 16 August 2022 / Loading comments

Hunting for a hot Japanese performance car can be a little daunting Unless you’re a hardcore JDM fan and know the differences between a Nissan Skyline GT-R M-Spec and V-Spec. For example, a quick search for an R33 GT-R on the classifieds reveals a bunch of cars that all look roughly the same, with the cheapest going for a little over £30,000 while the priciest commands an extra £130,000. This is why people think the JDM market is mad.

But the car we have here is arguably the biggest head-scratcher of the lot. At first blush, the GT-R V-Spec N1 looks like the Tesco Value equivalent of the R33 Skyline. It’s finished in the usual JDM gloss white, wears the same bog-standard 17-inch wheels as the regular GT-R and has a hilariously basic interior that does a great job at tricking you into thinking the N1 was some kind of budget Skyline.

Look a little closer though and things start to become a little more interesting. The adjustable centre section of the rear wing is made from carbon fibre, there’s a small spoiler at the base of the bonnet and if you raised the car up you’d spot a carbon fibre undertray. Poke around the very 90s cabin and you’ll also find there’s no air con or sound system. That’s because the N1 wasn’t some back-to-basics version of the Skyline, rather it’s a lightweight homologation special aimed at making the R33 eligible for GT racing.

Okay, so the R33 was always known as being a tad bit on the heavy side, especially compared to the old R32. But Nissan was able to ditch 30kg on the N1 version over the base R33, bringing the kerb weight down to 1,500kg – not too bad for a then-highly advanced all-wheel drive performance car. And because the racing version didn’t require ABS, Nissan ditched the system in the N1 to keep weight down. Better get some cadence braking practice in, then.

But the piece de resistance can be found under the bonnet. The race-developed 2.6-litre twin-turbo straight-six is based around the legendary RB26 motor, albeit with a bunch of updates from Nismo. Revised turbochargers were fitted, with the unreliable ceramic turbines replaced with tougher steel equivalents. Boost was, er, boosted from 0.75 to 0.85 bar, while the camshafts and pistons also underwent some serious work. And yet, N1 engines developed the same ‘official’ 280hp power outputs as the regular RB26. But Nismo wasn’t aiming for extra performance, it needed an engine that could an survive endurance race at full chat.

That all means the N1 is a bit of a sleeper. Despite its unassuming looks, N1 editions were the most expensive versions of their respective GT-R lines (not including any of the Nismo specials, which now go for silly money). Only 87 examples were produced for the R33 generation, making it one of the rarest variants of the Skyline GT-R.

Being a limited-run JDM machine means the N1 doesn’t come cheap at £99,995. That seems like crazy money for a car which, ultimately, doesn’t look massively different – and will likely drive the same as – a regular R33 GT-R. But homologation special GT-Rs rarely come up, especially those that have somehow managed to remain completely stock over the past 26 years. Leave it that way and keep it far away from salty roads. The N1 is a real hidden gem and it won’t be long before values go the way of the R34.

SPECIFICATION | Nissan Skyline (R33) GT-R V-Spec N1

Engine: 2,560cc, twin-turbo straight-six
Transmission: five-speed manual, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],800rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],400
CO2: N/A
Year registered: 1996
Recorded mileage: 73,000
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £99,995

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