Sunday, June 12, 2016

Fox Body of the South Seas - 1989 Nissan Skyline R32

by Matt -- The R32 Skyline is rapidly making its way in droves to the US now that’s it legal to do so. Since this one lacks papers, one can assume that just maybe it was jammed in the back of a container and ignored by a crooked longshoreman. So why not slide in at the bottom of the market and see if clutch kicking and slamming into guard rails is really your thing? Find this beat-all-to-hell, titleless, yet somehow still strangely intriguing 1989ish Nissan Skyline R32 in Raleigh, North Carolina for a likely very negotiable $6,999 via craigslist.

No doubt about it, the R32 is a cleanly styled machine resulting in really nice pictures of really ragged cars. Even with the horrendous hit-and-run crash repairs and Lexan drywall screwed to the window frame, the thing still looks friggin’ awesome in the stance-y Glamor Shots. A proper stock front bumper and a little less of the drift/stance goings on would help out a bit in the looks department but it’s not beyond salvaging. What this car really needs is an extensive once-over and some proper preparation for HPDE’s or time trials…or maybe even Freaky Friday nights at the drags. Then who cares if it has no formal documentation of existence and crash damage?

The car does sport a long list of add-ons from which the new owner can pick and choose what makes the cut and what gets put back on craigslist. There’s some pretty intriguing stuff, such as the Mine’s ECU and then again some other questionable sweatshop speed products. Parts availability for the RB motors has come a long way in the past few years. Need a clutch kit, spare trans, water pump, or other failure-prone doodads? Not a problem – just use eBay as your conduit for inexpensive imported parts brought in by the Maerskload. This particular car has the lowly RB20DET but it doesn’t really matter; all RB’s sound bitchin’ at full chat. 

See a cheaper way into Skyline ownership?

Matt, a self-proclaimed bottom-feeder of the classic car market, spends half of his time buying cars, half of his time retrieving them, and the remaining third on keeping them on the road. 


  1. I always get a laugh when a private car seller shows a picture in front of his house with a burnout beside the car that he just finished doing earlier that day because he is selling the stupid car anyway and why not do a brofessional valve float, bend the tach needle, eff the neighbors, coat the rear inner fenders with rubber balls burnout... I guess with the visible damage to rest of the car no biggy in this case...

  2. The title issue should not be a big problem. This comes up ALL the time on various forums, and everybody has their own convoluted schemes to solve the "no title" problem. Opposite Lock even published an article by Matt Brown a couple of years ago called "How To Register A Car Without A Title" and it was utter garbage, completely misleading and promoted yet another scheme to move the car from state-to-state to get a clean title.

    The seller here says the car "as it is it cannot be titled in NC." He recommends trying a neighboring state. Matt Brown at Opposite Lock said the same thing about Oklahoma, and his solution was similar. Both wrong.

    In North Carolina, and Oklahoma, and most other states, you can get what is called a "bonded title" and it's not even that difficult. You need to put up a bond (in NC it must be for 1 1/2 the appraised value of the car) and apply for a bonded title. If someone within 3 years comes forth and proves to be the lawful owner, you are out of luck and lose your bond (and car.) If this does not happen, after 3 years you can get a clean, normal title.

    There are companies which sell these bonds, and you don't have to plunk down 1 1/2 times the value of the car to get one. That's what the bond is worth, not what you pay. In Illinois I know of a place that will sell you an indemnity bond for a title-less car for $200 for anything with an appraised value of under $10,000. If it's worth more than $10K they charge more, but not that much.

    Here is the link to the bonded title info from the North Carolina DMV: Vehicles Being Bonded

    Most states have a similar procedure, so if you are ever considering buying a car without a title, look up "bonded vehicle title" in your state. Don't indulge some silly shenanigans in which you "transfer" or "sell" you car to "someone" in another state who then gets a title in their (allegedly more liberal title state) and then transfers the car back to you. In most cases it just is not necessary.

  3. Man, you just opened up my horizons. Thanks for that!

  4. Dr. D
    You are absolutely correct. I posted some criticism to the piece and pointed out some issues, but was told I have no idea what I was talking about despite having a law degree in NC and having completed the process for friends and clients. But what do I know that the Internet armchair warriors don't?
    As an aside any relation to Dr.Demento? ;-)

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