I blame Doug Demuro.
Doug Demuro is a kind of journeyman journo for auto-blog site, Jalopnik.com. He first came to my attention as the guy who bought himself an actual Ferrari and drove around in it for a year as a daily driver. And wrote about it. The articles were interesting and well-written; good fodder for slow work days. But it was the idea that you could actually buy a crazy, stupid, insane car that ended up with me tonight taking loving snaps of my very own Nissan Skyline in my very own driveway.
I also heavily blame Top Gear. Top Gear became popular in Australia around the same time the Bugatti Veyron was born. Top Gear called the Veyron, the petrol-driven car’s ‘Concorde moment’. Nothing would ever go faster or higher or better. They were right. But they also fertilised the idea of ‘car talk’ in a way that had never existed before. No one who’s heard of the Veyron, or watched a thing about it on Youtube can walk away without being able to smugly recite at least one of its delicious factoids. The Veyron made you feel smart, interested. If you had a mind to, you could find more Veyron facts. All of them amazing. And there you are, reading about cars. And here I am, carefully pulling a car-cover over my jet-black R33 Series 2, and considering whether I should just take it for a quick spin before bed.
But, back to Doug. After he sold the Ferrari, Doug asked his readers what he should buy next. The American car market is different. It’s vast, and astoundingly cheap. European exotics abound, oddities and curiosities are freely available, if you can trust your mechanic and make the odd interstate trip for something special. Weirdly, Doug didn’t go with a vintage Porsche, or a hilarious land yacht. Doug bought a boring old 1990 Nissan Skyline. The R32 GT-R. America has another weird rule where they can’t have anything newer than 25 years old imported. Last year that age-of-consent passed in a non-creepy way and thousands of Doug’s readers applauded when he imported one of America’s first crop of Skylines. In thrilling gray. Exactly like the ones I’ve watched P-platers thrash around Australia for ever. Covetously watched. Australia doesn’t have that law. Skylines are cheap. So cheap that for many years almost every news item about a horrible street-racing fatality that didn’t contain an upside-down Commodore, contained a shot of about five metres of the twisted metal vomit that Skylines inevitably turn into.
If Mr Ferrari could buy a Skyline in America and be called the King of the Internet (Car County), maybe I’m not dreaming?
And the Gumtree searching began …