We’ve bought the Nissan Skyline you probably don’t know anything about

By topgear, 11 April 2022

We’ve bought the Nissan Skyline you probably don’t know anything about

Recently, a man in Japan trawled Yahoo Auctions on my behalf. It’s not that I’ve completed UK eBay and need to branch further afield, but rather the urge for something extra-niche which never came here.

That particular car is a Nissan Skyline, but not your typical internet-breaking GT-R. It actually reads RS-Turbo, but you won’t find any boxing gloves dangling from the rearview mirror, nor a packet of rollups in the door.

To give it the full anorak-spec name, it’s a DR30 Nissan Skyline 2000 RS-X Turbo C (intercooler). And if you can get past the fact it looks like Guy Martin fought a Volvo 740 with an angle grinder, it’s an important – and sometimes forgotten – piece of Skyline history.

When the naturally aspirated DR30 Skyline 2000 RS was launched in 1981, it was the first Japanese production car to boast four valves per cylinder and double overhead cams. So proud of this was Nissan, it decided to plaster it down the side of the car in sticker form.

By 1983 Nissan had strapped a turbo onto the FJ20 motor creating the 2000 Turbo-RS and, in the process, made the 188bhp Skyline the most powerful production car in Japan. This level of honourable demanded even more stickers be applied. Which Nissan did.

Not all R30 Skylines were spicy models; Nissan made over 400,000 of ‘em. But the sporty ‘DR30’ variants – which came in both turbo and non-turbo RS form – were only sold in their thousands. And, seeing as they enjoy dissolving at the first whiff of salt, they’re quite hard to find in good condition now.

It makes total sense to learn that, after six months of searching in Japan, this ultra-clean RS-X Turbo C came all the way from Milton Keynes... 48km from my house.

Admittedly, the buying process was fast-tracked after selling a car for the first time in 10 years. My hatred for money, combined with evening discussions about using the cash to improve the house, meant I’d need to act fast before a Skyline-shaped hole took the form of a Victorian Plumbing bathroom instead.

That meant joining a DR30 Skyline owners’ group on Facebook and immediately breaking the ‘rules’ by asking if anyone was selling a car. It worked – within half an hour I’d found this very car, and within another half hour I was booted out the group for said rule breaking.

What obscene power is this one going to end up with, then? Er, no more than stock hopefully. It’s so ridiculously clean for a 37-year-old car it’d be sacrilege to turn it into another broken Skyline. It needs some period-correct Watanabe RS wheels to finish it off, but that’s it. No more.

I’ve got too many broken or half-working cars to embark on anything else currently, and the last thing I need right now is something obscene like an armoured 750iL BMW stuck in Bulgaria due to Brexit. More on that very specific headache soon.