This car photographer has undoubtedly contributed to the fame of the Nissan brand and JDM cars in general. But today, we’ll learn if an R32 Skyline GT-R becomes more valuable if owned by Larry Chen himself. Making things even more interesting, it’s almost completely unmodified and has been legally imported, even passing California’s strict legislation.
The R32 is the first of a trio of classic Japanese sports cars which created the Godzilla legend. It was introduced in 1989 and stayed in production until 1994, when the R33 took over. While special versions like the Nismo or the two V-Spec models are more valuable, even a “regular” R32 GT-R can be worth a lot of money and is a capable coupe.
Power comes from Nissan’s famous inline-6 twin-turbocharged 2.6-liter engine, the RB26DETT. And while everybody wants a 500-horsepower RB build, Larry Chen chose to keep his example almost completely stock with the notable exception being a replacement suspension system. He jokes that GT-Rs are so often customized that people haven’t even seen these stock wheels before.
The point of this video from Hagerty’s The Appraiser is obvious, to determine what the R32 is worth. After 2014, it became legal to import these cars into America under the 25-year exception. If you’d like to know everything about that, I suggest reading the story on Paul Walker’s famous R34 Skyline GT-R.
You hear all kinds of horror stories about Skyline imports: completely destroyed strut towers, rusted bodies and blown engines, not to mention illegal imports getting crushed. But Larry Chen’s car is none of those things; it’s in impeccable condition with a completely stock RB26 that even comes with the original air box. Officially, this engine was rated at 276 hp, although the actual numbers were much higher.
So what is Larry’s GT-R worth?
These things are pretty rare in America, and over the past year, the highest an R32 has gotten is $63,000 at a BAT auction. The average is about $45,000. However, Chen’s car is anything but average, being in great condition.
The famous photographer is pretty shocked to find out that his 32-year-old Japanese sports car could actually be worth $85,000. Of course, being featured as a Hot Wheel model and the celebrity association adds to this.
But it’s obvious Chen is still in love with his R32. Having already passed California smog inspection, there’s basically no chance he’s ever going to sell this. He fell in love with Godzilla thanks to Gran Turismo games and only got to sample it through Japanese magazines as a kid, so this is like a dream come true. Money can’t break that kind of deep emotional connection.