Auctions

Which of these four Japanese GT legends would you pick?

by Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
7 November 2022 3 min read
Which of these four Japanese GT legends would you pick?
Photos: RM Sotheby's

Editor’s note: This story was updated on 7 November, to include the sales results for all four cars, following the weekend’s RM Sotheby’s London auction.

The Gran Turismo Collection might be grabbing the headlines ahead of next month’s RM Sotheby’s London sale, but if you’re looking for a 100 per cent sell-through rate, even those European supercars can’t compete with these four JDM cars sold at the auction, each offered with no reserve.

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The 2022 London sale was held at the prestigious Marlborough House on the same weekend as the annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, which you can read about here. We’d like to think someone bought something Japanese on the Saturday, then spent Sunday driving to the coast in something a little older, but maybe we’re getting carried away. Here are the prices realised for the four beasts from the East.

Nissan GT-R V-Spec II Nür

Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec

The V-Spec II Nür is probably the most desirable of all the R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R models. Named after the famous racetrack in Germany (you may have heard of it), the GT-R Nür was the swansong of the R34 Skyline, with Nissan building just 1000 examples.

Around a third were the road-biased M-Spec cars, but this 2002 example is one of the stiffer V-Spec cars. All models were powered by an enhanced version of Nissan’s 2.6-litre N1 race engine, which featured an array of performance upgrades.

The RM Sotheby’s car was one of just 156 finished in Millennium Jade metallic and was the 675th V-Spec II Nür to be built. Having spent time in Japan and Hong Kong, it may have found a new home in London. The hammer fell at £224,250, which may surprise those not up to speed on Japanese performance cars, yet it is considerably less than the price of this record-breaking, £400,000 example.

Honda NSX-T

Honda NSX-T auction

Five years after the launch of the NSX, Honda took the lid off its daily supercar to create the NSX-T. In the eyes of some NSX devotees, it’s not quite as desirable as the tin-top, but Honda added around 50 unique parts to increase stiffness, including reinforced bulkhead, roof pillars and sills, along with crossmembers on the floorpan.

In 1997, Honda increased the displacement from 3.0 to 3.2-litre, upping the power to 276bhp and fitting an all-new stainless steel manifold. Crucially, a six-speed manual gearbox became standard equipment on the 3.2-litre NSX; the automatic was available only with the 3.0-litre car.

The RM Sotheby’s car left the factory in June 2001, which means it’s one of the final cars before the NSX lost its pop-up headlights, and is a Japanese export example rather than a UK-supplied model. A Berlina Black over tan leather NSX-T with a 3.2-litre V6 manual and pop-ups ­– where do we sign? In the end, a buyer handed over £63,250 to put their name on that dotted line, which – judged against the Hagerty Price Guide values – feels appropriate given its background.

Toyota Supra RZ-S Twin Turbo

Toyota Supra RZ-S

This Toyota Supra RZ-S was built in the final months of production, leaving the factory in June 2002. The RZ-S was the entry-level for the Supra Twin Turbo, forgoing the likes of Recaro front seats, 17-inch alloy wheels and larger brake calipers. Not that this makes it any less desirable; some would argue that it’s ripe for modification.

Unmodified, the 3.0-litre Twin Turbo 2JZ-GTE produces 276bhp at 5600rpm, although Japan’s car makers quoted such power figures as part of a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ to limit output to 276hp and cap speeds at 180kmh/112mph for the domestic market, and are often taken with a pinch of salt. That meant the Supra could sprint to 60mph in just 4.9 seconds, before hitting a top speed of 155mph. Its six-speed Getrag manual gearbox was exclusive to the turbocharged A80 Supra.

It’s rare to find an unmodified A80, especially one with just 8293km on the clock – although we found exactly that when comparing it back to back with Toyota’s latest Supra, which you can read about here. It’s worth remembering that UK sales ended in 1998, making this an incredible opportunity. The winning bid was £69,000.

Mazda RX-7 Spirit R Type-A

Mazda RX-7 Spirit R Type A auction

The final car on our list of JDM delights was also the final curtain for the Mazda RX-7. Just 1500 of these run-out specials were built, with Mazda lavishing the Spirit R with a long list of options. What’s Japanese for ‘kitchen sink’?

Highlights included forged BBS alloys, an adjustable rear wing and Bilstein suspension. There were three specifications: Type-A, Type-B and Type-C, with A being the most desirable. Just 1044 Type-A models were built, each one fitted with red Kevlar/carbon-backed Recaro seats and rear storage bins. Just look at the seats!

As this version wasn’t sold in the UK, this car is a Japanese import, and is one of just 149 examples finished in Innocent Blue Mica paint. It had covered just 5762km (3580 miles), so it’s a little like owning a new, JDM RX-7. Still want that Porsche 968 Clubsport? Pointing to its comparative desirability, the Mazda sold for £105,800.

Read more

Future classic: Nissan GT-R
The Mazda RX-7 is everything you want in a sports car | Revelations with Jason Cammisa
Our Classics: 1994 Mazda RX-7

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