Why you should buy an R34 Skyline GTR over a Porsche 911 GT3
The Porsche 911 GT3 is a performance car benchmark, but the R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R proved that this automotive god could bleed. Today GT-R values match that of the GT3 – here's why the Nissan makes a better buy...
The 996 Porsche 911, just like its forefathers, is a steadily appreciating asset that is starting to command serious money. Its GT3 incarnation was the créme de la créme of sports cars back in its day, but there was something of an upstart that put a question mark over Stuttgart’s finest.
The R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R offered Porsche performance for a fraction of the cost; yet today this modern classic commands a similar asking price to the GT3.
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Once upon a time, Japanese engineering was seen as inferior to that of the west, but while it’s true that the motor car was newer to ‘the land of the rising sun’ than others, it didn’t take long for the nation master the art. Nissan in particular were taking the fight to the establishment on both road and track.
While motorsport efforts were proving the value of reliability in endurance racing, cars such as the Skyline GT-R was capable of punching above its weight. The R34 GT-R is seen by many as the ultimate incarnation of the model that became known as 'Godzilla'.
Parked next to a 996 Porsche 911 GT3, there’s no denying that the German car appears more exotic, however, that’s not to say that the Skyline isn’t eye-catching. With its blunt shape and swollen bodywork, the GT-R is far from subtle in terms of design. It still makes quite a statement today and remains a firm favourite amongst the Playstation generation.
On paper, the GT-R’s Porsche rivalling 0-60mph dash of just 4.8 seconds and top speed of 165mph is mighty impressive, but this game of top trumps is ultimately won by the more powerful GT3. What the GT-R really brought to the table back in its day was technology in the form of an extremely advanced all-wheel drive system.
This allows the Japanese car to accelerate faster out of slow speed corners and remain stable when pushing on into triple figures. The 911 GT3 is agile and well balanced, but its six-cylinder rear-wheel drive chassis doesn’t have an answer for the grippy all-wheel drive turbocharged shove of the Skyline GT-R.
Nearly two decades on from its launch, the Nissan remains impressive. It’s 2.6-litre turbocharged engine still delivers that seemingly unrelenting torquey rush with each snap of the short-throw gearbox. While the brakes are arguably the weakest part of the package, largely due to how quickly this car gathers pace, once pioneering features such as rear wheel steering continue to deliver. Body movement through fast bends makes you aware that this car is heftier than the Porsche, so while a precise car to pilot, it’s not as scalpel sharp as the 911. That said, on a technical circuit there won’t be much separating the two in terms of lap time. Factor in some rain and the GT-R will undoubtably put the Porsche back in its place.
Both of these modern classics command a lot of respect from enthusiasts, both deservedly so. However, as impressive as the 911 GT3 is, it’s the Skyline GT-R that represents the greater automotive landmark here. Rally cars had been using all-wheel drive for performance purposes for decades, but it was the R33 Skyline GT-R that used the engineering to draw first blood from top-flight performance cars.
This R34 doesn’t just possess the potential to dent prestige manufacturers pride, it’s the car that proved that you don’t need a premium badge on your bonnet to beat the best.
From a collectors perspective the Porsche 911 GT3 is always going to have greater appeal due to its lineage. But woe betide the badge snob who writes off this Nissan, because it can match the Porsche in the classifieds as well as out on track.
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