Paul Walker's Skyline GT-R goes on sale for one million EurosWed, 12 Feb 2014
GT-A is a restoration shop in Ismaning, a small town near Munich, specializing in restorations and classic-car sales. For 30 years, they've meticulously restored and maintained cars from every continent and of every type. Their inventory is eclectic and occasionally mind-bending. GT-A's website lists everything from Rolls-Royces and Lamborghini Gallardos to a 1965 Dodge Coronet 426 Max Wedge III, one of 1,300 a Starsky & Hutch Edition Gran Torino built by Ford itself, a pair of Plymouth Prowlers (long sold), and Joan Crawford's 1967 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Sixty Special, which is still up for grabs.
Think that's a bizarre collection of cars for a German shop in a town of 14,638 inhabitants to have? The fine folks at GT-A also have a certain Japanese sports car, in Germany, after a California boy made it famous.
Paul Walker is forever linked to the Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R. Of course. An R34 GT-R has shown up in nearly every single "Fast and Furious" movie, usually driven by him. His personal collection included a white one (and seven BMW E36 M3 Lightweights, but that's a story for a different day). In the fourth movie of the franchise, he drove a Skyline GT-R in blue, committing three traffic violations in fewer than three blocks. This Skyline was modified with a laundry list of parts, including a Turbonetics front-mount Intercooler, Nismo lowering springs, a custom roll cage, and 19X11 Volk Racing RE30 wheels. It ended up on the cover of Import Tuner, which asked, "Did they finally get it right?" Those who saw "Fast and Furious" in theaters would be inclined to agree that, yes, they did.
After the movie finished filming, the real drama unfolded. Federal agents stormed the office of the company that had originally imported the Skylines for filming; they seized three cars, the computers, and all records from Kaizo Industries, based in Costa Mesa, Calif. Walker's blue Skyline was among the cars seized. Kaizo employees had 60 days to take the car out of the country or it would be crushed--some had already been destroyed at this point. The car was still stateside as recently as September 2009 -- and then, the trail went cold.
The Skyline resurfaced in the hands of a wealthy German owner who had been trying to unload it for 300,000 Euros as recently as last August. Eventually, he transferred it into the hands of GT-A, who produced the dramatic, soft-focus video above. The car is now offered for a damn sight more than that last sale price: precisely one million Euro, or 1.3 million U.S. dollars.
GT-A says that it will donate half the proceeds to Walker's charity, Reach Out WorldWide. This is an act of goodwill that might make the business of selling a dead man's car slightly less unsavory. But is Walker's Skyline worth more than one million dollars?
Is any Skyline worth more than one million dollars?
Of course, mere mention of an R34 GT-R is guaranteed to induce waves of nostalgia in anyone who came of age in the 1990s. How many of them downloaded 1024x768 wallpapers from Supercars.net to their Compaq Presarios? How many of them obsessed over Gran Turismo and its dizzying Skylines until it was drilled in our heads that the apex of automotive performance--the apex of Japanese technosuperiority--carried one simple chassis code? If Walker's Skyline fetches its $1.3 million asking price, the well-heeled buyer won't just be paying for celebrity provenance. He'll be putting a price tag on his own nostalgia -- and finding out exactly how much it costs to meet one's heroes.
By Blake Z. Rong