Are the fun parts of Skyline GT-R ownership becoming harder to enjoy? | Top Gear
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Wednesday 4th October
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Are the fun parts of Skyline GT-R ownership becoming harder to enjoy?

Mark’s Skyline is now just a bare shell, but it’s still worth an eye-watering amount...

Internationally renowned photographer Mark has been working with TG for many, many years. When not taking photos he’s buying inappropriate cars. Here he shares his addiction with the world…

In the parallel universe known simply as Common Sense Land, I’d have sold the R34 to some utter maniac American for an absurd amount of cash. And the most terrifying thing is, it would’ve easily been one of the better GT-Rs out there for sale. That’s a bit of a lie, because the actual most terrifying thing is it currently has no paint left on it. There’s no bumpers, no engine, no electrics, nothing. It’s a bare metal shell sitting somewhere near Essex, but for once that doesn’t mean it’s been stolen.

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How’d it end up here? Rather than accept any responsibility, I’d sooner deflect it onto others instead. Like Harlow Jap Autos for selling me it many years ago. Or maybe the entirety of America for driving GT-R values into laughable levels. Would I have overhauled a car that was worth 30 grand? Absolutely not. But a car knocking well into six figures? Suddenly there’s an expectation to look after it.

I will stop talking about Skyline values at some point, just not now. Because it genuinely confuses me. I should be happy and rubbing my hands with glee. But honestly, it’s a bit sad. All the fun parts of GT-R ownership are becoming harder to enjoy. Good luck finding any stock parts for cheap. What about tuning ones? Yup, similar story unless you’re happy for them to come from deepest eBay. That also means hammering a Skyline around the track is pretty much out the window.

That’s why I’m loving this restoration so much; it’s a different kind of car enjoyment. Unless you’ve truly got deep pockets, you can’t fight what’s happening to Skyline values. Either suck it up or find another scene. And seeing as I’m not ready to lose GT-R ownership status just yet, I better carry on sucking it up.

That’s not how this work is being afforded either. Nor is there an OnlyFans ticking over in the background, because annoyingly the market for watching a 33-year-old man ponder how much toast to have for breakfast – four being excessive, two not enough – is niche even by internet standards. I know you think the answer is three, but it’s not as nice a number as two or four, is it?

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Being British, it’s my duty to play down all aspects of life that involve either monetary value or physical ability. For example, I can only muster the words to say I’m an alright photographer despite doing fairly well from it. But, for the sake of this article, I’ll make an exception. Not for me, but the work involved courtesy of Spike’s Vintage Restorations.

Andy and his team are some of the best painters in the world. That’s not a generic quip because they have my car; these are the people you trust when you need a show-winning car destined for the likes of Pebble Beach. Customers come from all around the world for Andy’s work, and while they may lack a big jazzy showroom with glass-fronted walls, all of that nonsense doesn’t equate to a better paint job.

Calling it a paint job feels quite dismissive, because in reality the paint comes right at the end. It’s the hundreds of hours of prep beforehand which really makes the difference, and having seen their work over the years it’s the main reason why I can feel relaxed that everything will be fine. Until the next invoice comes in, obviously. So, if you need me, you can find my Twitch Stream under @Toast_Decisions_Daily. 

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