The online platform also offers a suite of extra services like Premium Listing. This allows certain models to stay up for triple the standard time: 21 days, instead of seven. These special cars benefit from additional exposure on the front page and are spread all over social media. The premium listing also establishes a $5,000 cap for the buyer fee.
The R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec in question was a premium listing. The car is revered amongst the Japanese domestic market (JDM) fans. Last year, two very similar models sold for well over $300,000. These vehicles are sought after because they were made popular by racing videogames like Gran Turismo and movies like “Fast and Furious.” The car has been named “a living legend” and is considered by many as the “Holy Grail.” We couldn’t disagree.
But that’s not all there’s to it. The 2.6-liter six-cylinder engine is also a key element of this fantastic aura. It made enough power to take the car from 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 kph) in just 4.6 seconds.
Other important elements, like fans wanting them even though they are not yet legal to be driven around in the U.S., contributed to this hype. Some argue it’s justified, while others say it’s too much. What we know right now is that enthusiasts want an R34 V-Spec, and they’re willing to pay the big bucks for it. Companies, as well, are making sure to offer services that transform importing one to the U.S. into a hassle-free activity.
The enthusiasm was off the charts - for a bitNaturally, when a 1999 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec with around 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometers) on the odometer appeared on Bring a Trailer, members and fans of the platform quickly started looking at what this special vehicle was all about. But they didn’t have enough time to read all the information provided by the seller and curated by BaT because the first bid came through at $111,111.
The generous yet understandable offer was posted just four minutes after the listing was published. Another four minutes go by, and the next bid ups the price to $120,000.
These six-figure offers continued to climb up to $200,000 in just an hour and a half since the car was put up for sale. Then, out of nowhere, someone decided to bid $315,000 – almost the maximum price paid last year on the auctioning website for another (legitimate) 1999 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec finished in Midnight Purple II. This raised some eyebrows, even if, at first glance, things looked right with the all-wheel-drive JDM vehicle.
High rollers of the car community usually know each other or have made a name for themselves thanks to winning impressive bidding contests or by just contributing to other auctions with relevant information for those involved.
That’s why someone confronted the seller and told them the vehicle was already presented on social media with resprayed body panels and unverified mileage. Another person followed up and said the GT-R has a couple of important and expensive parts, like the front lip missing. They also confirmed the previous non-V-Spec tachometer was replaced with a V-Spec II part. They got it wrong twice!
The problems didn't stop hereMoreover, the community found out soon enough that the person who raised the price of the vehicle from $200,000 to $315,000 was participating in their first such event. Savvy BaT users also started to suspect that someone with a similar nickname was present on social media and was involved beforehand in this car’s destiny. A couple of hours later, another member of the community said they tried to buy this exact GT-R a couple of months ago, but there were “too many red flags.” This person said someone named Leonard answered the phone who, surprisingly, is present on Instagram as gtrcollector_leonard. Things were looking properly shady at this point, even though all the identified problems could have been considered coincidences.
But then the real problems started to emerge. People identified multiple issues with the car and even started joking about the number of rivets the vehicle has. This added to the suspicion that this vehicle wasn’t what the seller presented it to be. People feared rust was a real but hidden issue since experienced tuners won’t rivet a car to give its extra chassis strength – they weld it. But this GT-R was presented as a clean vehicle, not as a former racer that was returned to its stock form.
Then, someone else chimed in and said the vehicle in question would need about $17,000 worth of repairs or replacements to make it worth it for such a high bid.
The seller finally jumps in and tries to calm down the enthusiasts that were already convinced this auction shouldn’t be happening. Unfortunately for the owner of the GT-R, BaT community members discovered that it was the first time they ever commented on an auction, even though the account was created three years ago.
The four answers posted by the seller didn’t do much for the car’s situation. In fact, it worsened it. One user who accessed shipping records made the connection and found out the seller lied. It looked like they imported multiple vehicles from Japan, even though on BaT they said this isn’t something they do for business. Someone else even discovered the GT-R and the other cars mentioned previously by the other BaT member published on Instagram under the freshoff_imports handle. The page has since been deleted.
Judgement has been passedAfter 10 hours of going back and forth on the topic of the car being as good as presented, Bring a Trailer intervened and withdrew the “Holy Grail” GT-R V-Spec.
“This listing has been withdrawn by BaT because something during this auction was not fair for the buyer and/or the seller. It might be re-listed in a future BaT Auction if this can be corrected and if so, we will email all watchers of this listing. We apologize for the inconvenience,” said Bring a Trailer.
They followed up later and added that there were “too many unknowns” for the auction to continue.
Now the seller is stuck with the 1999 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec.
While this might look bad for Bring a Trailer, it could easily be considered a win for the auctioning platform. The community that formed around it might not ever let a car with hidden damages, incomplete history, or shady owners get away for huge sums. This might make less experienced enthusiasts more confident with their bids, knowing the comments will most likely paint the real picture or ask the tough questions.
At the end of the day, someone learned an important lesson – they shouldn’t try to trick an entire community of people that know cars.