I get asked this question a lot and yes I know I’m only 11 weeks deep into ownership, but due to the current global situation I won’t be accumulating many more miles, or getting much further with modifying it for at least the next few months. At the time of purchase (around mid Jan 2020) my R35 was the cheapest available anywhere in the U.K that hadn’t been crashed or stolen. As you’ve probably read I haggled a bit of cash off (£500) and even managed to get it delivered which saved me a lot of hassle. The car has been my daily driver pretty much since I took delivery and despite a few complaints I’ve loved owning a GT-R. I like to think I’m a humble chap I don’t buy cars for other people and I love to share the experience, they’re my passion, they intrigue and excite me, 5 year old Sam acted the same way I do now two decades later, I see something exotic and special out on the roads or at an event I just stop, stare and grin like an idiot. Cars for me have always been an extension of my personality, if you wear nice clothes with a luxury watch, why not finish the package with a special car to drive? The crisp gear changes and a pure engine note in the cabin, there really is nothing better.
People are often upset to learn I never meant to own a GT-R, I’ve never been into Japanese cars and I longed for an Audi R8. The R8 would’ve been a perfect continuation of my driving history, my favourite Power plant in the best chassis Audi had made to date. The car in question was a 2008 R8 in Daytona grey and was listed for £29,990 a manual with red leather interior and I think around 60k miles. After saving for a few months following the breaking of my B7 RS4 after its untimely demise, the R8 really got to me. I kept searching for it on sites and kept looking at the pictures, I just had to go for it. After making a few phone calls in excited childlike fashion I learnt the car had taken a deposit and sold. They offered me another that was well out of budget so no luck there either, this went on for a week or two.
I’ll never forget the chat I had with the girl I was dating at the time as I said “oh f*ck it if it’s not meant to be I’ll just buy a GT-R”. Then it happened again , same dealership this time a silver modified R35 listed on their website had just sold. Why did I stick with them you may ask? I was being a tight arse, I was looking to PCP one of their cars and keep a big lump in my savings for a house (have your cake and eat it).
After a week or two of sulking and watching every YouTube video I could find on the R35 GT-R, I was absolutely terrified of the running costs, the purchase price and threat of a disintegrating gearbox. However what else for under £30,000 will deliver 3 second 0-60 times and knock on the door of 200mph? to answer the question, bugger all. Okay onto hyper Sam phone call number two, this time with my bank manager, in a state of total shock not only did they say yes but offered me the money at their lowest rate 3.3% I think it is, this hypothetical stupid idea was gaining traction. Have you ever come up with a wild game plan for something that involves several hurdles to traverse and hoops to jump through to even have a chance at success? Well that was how this all started. Step 1 sell supercharger kit and expensive bits of RS4. Step 2 source wheels and budget suspension then sell “rolling” chassis of RS4. Step 3 pay off small loan from HSBC that got the very first RS4. Step 4 secure money from HSBC and add to savings account. Step 5 if gearbox sells for asking price message the guy about the GT-R. Step 6 arrange viewing of the GT-R. Step 7 test drive and inspect GT-R. Step 8 drive to bank as you can’t transfer this much money in one lump. Step 9 holy crap you actually bought it you idiot. (Insert face palm here)
My R35 GT-R at 76,200 miles cost me £27,000 , I made £200 profit upgrading the exhaust system. I then spent £900 on the new TSW alloy wheels selling my oem wheels without tyres for £425. That means so far with some great modifications my R35 owes me £27,275 for a car that minus downpipes is full bolt on power mods and I get to daily drive it. I’ve saved a little under £2700 to what I would’ve paid for a standard Audi R8 with more than 200bhp less and 2 years older. But there’s more to it than that, I drive my cars a lot, I’m learning with every new car more about driving and also about writing. I want to develop as a driver and I want as many new driving experiences as I can get, the GT-R is the most competent platform you can get your hands on for the money right now, which leaves me in a pickle, what the hell would I replace it with?
A lot of me wants something rare and RWD like a BMW 1M coupe they’re so understated yet broad shouldered and capable. Unfortunately I would need a good sale of my GT-R and another £10,000 to get hold of one. I like the M2 I feel with a manual box it could really educate me in doing skids and how awake I need to be to avoid death on a frosty winters morning. There’s a lot of cars I really long for that I just can’t afford as tragic as that sounds. I’ve no idea what can even follow on from the GT-R hence looking in a different direction, maybe a nice 911 or a Lotus exige S.