This is the first GTS-R on Classic Register, one of a small batch of 800 built, representing an extremely desirable model in the R31 Skyline range. The GTS-R was produced to satisfy Japanese Touring Car Championship (JTCC) Group A homologation rules, and was highly successful in international Group A touring car championships well beyond Japan’s borders. The R31 GTS-R took out the 1989 JTCC as well as the 1990 Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC), whilst also competing in European touring car championships through Nissan Motorsport Europe. The GTS-R represents a very significant achievement for Nissan Australia in particular, as it was the first Nissan to ever win the ATCC, a victory which would be followed by two more consecutive wins thanks to the R32 GTR.
Despite their low production numbers, we’ve seen quite a few of these cars come up for sale as they’ve changed hands between enthusiasts around the world. In particular, we’ve seen a few for sale on US sites, where they’ve been a popular choice for a while as the closest legal thing to the R32 GTR. Now that the US market is distracted by the recently legalised R32s, this might just be the perfect time to secure one of these modern classics at a reasonable price in Japan. We have full confidence that this particular model represents a very safe investment based not only on its performance merits and low production numbers, but in particular due to its historic motorsport achievements - all essential and proven elements for highly collectible cars.
This particular car is currently advertised on the US import site ‘JDM-Expo.com’ and resides in Japan awaiting its new owner with an asking price of $17,700 (USD). With around 150,000 km on the odometer, it needs a bit of a clean-up, but presents in reasonable used condition for a car of its age. We’ve also seen another GTS-R currently for sale through a US dealer, but with around 110,000 km on the clock, asking $20,000 (USD). It is not clear, however, whether that price includes transport and compliance. We’ve also put that car on the register, which you can see here. Several R31s which have come up for sale recently have had rust issues, so any prudent purchaser would be wise to have a car inspected in detail before purchasing. They are after all nearly a 30-year-old car. $17,700 (USD) for this car seems to be at a reasonable point if the car passes all of the condition checks, but would possibly be negotiable based on the fact that this price does not include costs associated with transport and compliance.
This car has its original ‘Blueish Black’ paint, which looks, from the photos, reasonably well kept. The front lip spoiler seems to be missing - we understand that the spoiler can retract electronically on certain GTS models; however, the GTS-R reportedly had a fixed front spoiler, and its absence on this car suggests it’s probably been broken off at some stage. We love the stock ‘box’ style rear spoiler fitted on the boot lid, which truly reminds you of the 80s racing era, and the Skylines competing in the ATCC. The front and rear spoilers combined with the GTS-R's tweaked suspension really give these cars the best stance of the entire R31 range.
Moving on to some of the GTS-R's specifications. The cars were fitted with the well-known RB20DET-R engine, with front mounted intercooler and single Garrett high calibre turbo, good for around 154 kw in factory form (compared to 140 kw for the standard GTS turbo). The DET-R engine can be identified by its distinct stainless exhaust manifold and housing which features a "RB20DET-R" plaque on top. Other features included tweaked suspension and unique body features such as the fixed spoilers as noted above, as well as unique badging/decals. The R31 also saw the introduction of Nissan's HICAS 4-wheel steering system, which made a vast improvement to the Skyline's handling at speed when compared to earlier generations.
Sadly, the GTS-R, and all coupe variants of the R31 were sold in Japan only. Australia produced a large number of R31s, but all were sedans and wagons. There were some great models in there such as the Silhouette GTS sedans, but we would have loved to have seen more GTS-Rs produced, or coupes in general. We hope to see more of the R31 coupes, and particularly the GTS-Rs coming into markets like Australia where their fan base well outstrips their supply.
We will shortly be drafting an identification guide providing comprehensive information about the GTS-R in a similar way to what we have done for the DR30 RS-X here on Classic Register. If you are a GTS-R enthusiast, we could really use your help! If you own a GTS-R, or have information on the GTS-R, please send us an email by clicking the ‘Contact author’ button at the top of the page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact us through our Facebook page. Also, get your GTS-Rs or GTS-Xs on the register, so we can preserve as much information as possible about these 80s Japanese classics.