The Nissan Skyline GT-R is one of the most sought out sports cars in the entire world. Pick your poison: R32, R33, or R34—they all scratch that itch. As they hit the 25-year import rule, more and more R32s are starting to appear stateside (some secretively before that milestone), but what if you wanted something even more unique from the GT-R family? For Ryan Love, the Stagea is one way to scratch that itch. The Washington native was shopping for an R32 or R33 when this particular '00 Stagea 260RS stood out to him. It was unique, rare, and, quite frankly, had everything he needed. Only true enthusiasts of the brand are even aware of its existence, but for simplicity's sake, you can just tag it "the GT-R Wagon" thanks to the legendary RB26DETT under the hood.
"I previously owned a couple of S2000s and an E92 M3, but I really wanted a car I could tune and still use to haul the family," he says. "A GT-R wagon, or a 'dad's GT-R' seemed really appealing. I have a young son and a wife. Being able to haul them around in a comfortable car that still has some GT-R qualities is pretty awesome."
As many great car discoveries start, Ryan found the Stagea on Craigslist, in Texas of all places. It was up for sale for about a year, as the owner couldn't find the right buyer...until Mr. Love found true love. Negotiations were handled over email and on the phone, and eventually, a deal was finalized.
Ryan bought his Stagea without ever seeing it in person, but that didn't matter to him. "The car came to me with the body kit taken off, a blown air-ride suspension, stock R33 wheels, and some other odds and ends. It was basically a shadow of its former self," Ryan says. "But I have a strong fondness for any car with a widebody, and rarity is also a big factor for me. Nissan made a little less than 1,000 Series 1 Stageas according to the registry and around 750 Series 2 models. The Stagea 260RS is a pretty rare car in Japan as well."
After digging deep into the vehicle's history, Ryan learned it came into the country by way of a well-known Florida importer. He even found old forum posts of the original owner over in Japan who built the car with Autech. Though Ryan tried to get ahold of him, he never heard back.
Ryan didn't have to modify too much to give the wagon the refresh it needed. The twin-turbo inline-six was already beefed up with the help of an HKS reflash, intake, and custom quad exhaust. Ryan ripped out the old air suspension in favor of track-proven hlins coilovers while stronger Brembo calipers were added for stopping duties.
The exterior is definitely worthy of matching the heart of Godzilla, with its 260RS bumper and a slew of other GT-R parts, including an R33 NISMO front air duct and R34 lip and side ducts. The exterior also features Takeros side skirts and rear bumper, wider front fenders, and a Final Motion rear fender kit, which allow for the square Work wheel setup. Genuine Ganador mirrors complete the ultimate JDM family wagon.
When we asked Ryan what's next, he told us he plans to install a different carbon-fiber diffuser, which was on the car before it was damaged. He's also planning to update the interior, rebuild the suspension, and even wants to caress more horsepower from under the hood. Once he handles all of that, he intends to redo all the body and paint work to get it as close to perfection as possible. "Cars are never done, but I am enjoying building this one," Ryan concludes.