Deep dive: Brian's R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R from "2 Fast 2 Furious"

While Brian O’Conner, played by Paul Walker, may be at least partially credited with the tuning culture’s embrace of the MkIV Toyota Supra, that was far from the only car he helped elevate in the eyes of American enthusiasts.

The R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R from “2 Fast 2 Furious” is one of the most well-known (and misunderstood) cars in the enthusiast community, and former owner and “F&F” franchise technical director Craig Lieberman is here to set the record straight once again. 

“There’s a lot of misinformation floating about this car and despite the other videos I’ve done, I feel people are still hungry for more info,” Lieberman says.

For starters, despite Internet rumors, Paul Walker did not actually own this car. It was, however, the first R34 imported and fully federalized by MotoRex, back before the now-disgraced California importer was shut down for failing to fully comply with federal regulations.

Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R used in '2 Fast 2 Furious' before movie modifications

Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R used in ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’ before movie modifications

Lieberman purchased it in July of 2001 for $78,000, before Universal was fully committed to a sequel to the original “F&F” film. Lieberman largely kept it the way MotoRex built it, until it got picked to co-star in “2 Fast 2 Furious.” Yes, co-star. Sadly, a marketing deal between Universal and Mitsubishi meant that Brian’s Evo would be the star of the film, while Lieberman’s GT-R would effectively play a supporting role. Lieberman wasn’t thrilled with this arrangement, since the forbidden-fruit GT-R was a far more enticing piece of hardware, but he ultimately had no choice.

Speaking of support, the GT-R needed backup of its own. Thanks to stunt sequences and other needs, a single GT-R would not be enough for the film. Lieberman’s team mulled over the possibility of building some replicas using cheaper R34 Skyline GT-Ts rather than full-blown GT-Rs, but that prospect actually turned out to be just as (if not more) expensive, so additional GT-Rs were sourced instead.

The studio turned to MotoRex once again, who supplied four additional GT-Rs, that were air-freighted from Japan on a 747. These were far less expensive than the actual hero GT-R Lieberman purchased for himself and later used in the film, as MotoRex did not need to federalize them. This saved the studio around $120,000 in additional costs.

Yes, you’re reading that correctly. Every Skyline GT-R used in “2 Fast 2 Furious” was the real deal. The video goes on to discuss the modifications made to the R34 for the film, and where the movie cars ended up. Check it out.

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