Nissan has kicked off a world-class factory restoration program for the Skyline GT-R. To say the restoration is extensive would be an understatement. Much more than just a refresh, candidate cars will be stripped down as naked as the day they were born on the assembly line.
Work will be conducted by the technicians of the NISMO performance arm. What follows, as reported by Japanese Nostalgic Car, is an insanely detailed checklist that can take six months to a year to complete. Cars that undergo the knife will be completely disassembled, taken down to bare metal, and examined for rust and chassis integrity. Since this is a factory program, the unibody can be checked with laser accuracy against its original specs. Any irregularities are repaired and then the car prepped for paint.
Then, the entire monocoque is dipped into an electrodeposition vat to protect the steel and make sure the paint sticks. Before it’s sprayed, though, the body is then connected to a massive rig that measures torsional rigidity, making sure it’s up to spec and that left and right sides are accurately balanced. Even brand-new sealant between body panels, sound-insulation, and undercoating is applied. At this point, NISMO will allow you to repaint the entire car in its original hue or choose a new color, but only from the factory palette.
Meanwhile, the engine is completely rebuilt, blueprinted and machined, either to its original specification or upgraded with NISMO’s long list of performance parts. It’s then bench tested and the results stored in a database at NISMO HQ.
Of course, the rest of the drivetrain, including transmission, transfer case, differentials driveshaft, steering, brakes and suspension are all rebuilt with brand new nuts and bolts. Even the air conditioning, audio system, and engine computer are inspected and rebuilt if necessary. If the wiring looms have any unusable wires or connectors, those are replaced as well.
Cabin-wise, the plastic trim is repaired and repainted. Owners can either have the original upholstery deep cleaned or completely replaced. However, because fire-resistance standards have changed in the 30 years since the R32 Skyline debuted, NISMO can’t use the original material. Instead, they will re-upholster the seats with the same fabric used in a brand new R35 GT-R. The remaining interior trim is repaired and repainted as necessary.
Finally, after everything is snapped back together, NISMO test drivers will take the car on a comprehensive drive on seven test courses. They will check everything from NVH to body roll. All the while, the fresh paint job will be covered in protective plastic sheeting, of course.
And just how much will this restoration cost? Prices will vary depending on how thorough owners want to get, but Nissan says that a reference price is the equivalent of $433,000. NISMO can also find a car to restore for you, for additional cost that will be tacked onto the total.
Obviously, the program is only available in Japan, but shipping a car there and back should be peanuts compared to the total cost. It also goes a long way in explaining why Nissan was spending precious yen and R&D efforts to develop entire reproduction engines, body panels, and an all-new technology to make them.
Sure, the cost is eye-watering, but this isn’t your typical restoration shop overhaul. The car that emerges will be like- or better-than-new, built by the most qualified technicians in the world to build this exact car. As with similar programs from Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Jaguar, Nissan hopes it will help keep its most iconic models around for future generations.