99% of the time, the peak end of the Australian car market tends to be populated by exotic European cars or locally built muscle cars in mint condition. Once in a while you’ll get something weird, like a really nice Toyota Supra MkIV or a Dodge Viper RT/10, but those are normally the kind of brands you’d expect: Ferrari, Rolls-Royce, Nissan… Wait , what ?
You read correctly. Currently, the third most expensive car listed on Carsales – Australia’s largest car classifieds – is a Nissan.
Which, superficially, you might perhaps understand. Skyline GT-Rs or really nice 240Zs are going for silly money these days. But what’s even more surprising is that it’s not a GT-R that tops the charts. In fact, it’s a best-selling Nissan Pulsar hatchback from the 90s.
Specifically, a 1994 Nissan Pulsar GTI-R that is currently in storage in Melbourne… For which they are asking $1,350,000. It immediately reminds me of that quote from The castle – « tell him that he is dreaming ». But is it really as crazy a price as it seems?
Based on the fourth generation N14 Nissan Pulsar subcompact, the GTI-R was produced between 1990 and 1994 as an upgraded homologation model so Nissan could enter Group A rallying. While the GTI-R’s body is largely the same as its cheaper econobox siblings, it’s easily distinguished by its large rear spoiler and hood scoop – ‘straight out’ of the factory, it’s said. .
Unlike the real hot Japanese hatches, his modifications are functional – and much more than superficial. Its unassuming body hides a meaty 169 kW turbo-four and a remarkably advanced four-wheel-drive system that allows the car to do 0-100 km/h in 5.4 seconds: truly impressive in the 90s and still quite impressive by today’s standards.
Pulsars aren’t uncommon but the GTI-R is still a rather rare beast, especially one in this condition. Although the listing does not include any interior or engine bay photos, the car looks superficially new. It’s apparently unmodified and in “perfect condition” according to the seller – a rarity, given that this car (like many affordable Japanese sports cars of the 90s) has been absolutely beaten and ridden by generations of boy racers.
Okay, this is perhaps the finest example of a rare JDM pocket rocket. But surely they are not serious about this price?
It’s common in online classifieds for sellers to list cars with insanely low or high prices in order to get people’s attention, no matter how shabby that behavior is. It’s absolutely prevalent on Facebook Marketplace, where many cars are listed for $1 or $1,234…Or they’ll deliberately drop a zero and then say in the description something like “PRICE IS 14,000 NO LOWBALLERS I KNOW WHAT I HAVE”. You know the chorus. It’s entirely possible that’s what’s happening here.
For perspective, the fourth most expensive car on Carsales right now is a 2020 Rolls-Royce Phantom listed at $1.2 million and the second most expensive car is a 1963 Aston Martin DB5 in concours condition which we already talked about here at DMARGE.
RELATED: This Globetrotting $1.7 Million Aston Martin DB5 Is Impeccable… But There’s a Catch
Even more pertinently, the next most expensive GTI-R on Carsales is this 1990 model above, listed at $38,700 in Sydney. It is older, has more miles on the odometer and has been extensively modified, but is otherwise in cracking condition. It’s also less than 3% of the price of the 1994 example.
Perhaps the insane price has to do with heritage plaques from 1994. Heritage plaques can be worth an absolute fortune: according to numberplates.com.au, “in Victoria, for example, the number ‘1’ would be worth a few million dollars , while a 6-digit random number would be worth around $5,000. “So a double-digit heritage plate like Pulsar’s could be worth a pretty penny, potentially a lot more than the car it’s attached to… But then again, is it worth close to $1.4 million?
We’re just not sure. Go through the list and judge for yourself.
Watch Tommi Mäkinen drive the Nissan Pulsar Gti-r rally car