Stolen R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R Saved From Shipping Container at the Last Minute

Famously driven by Lewis Hamilton, this car disappeared in January. Now, it's back where it belongs.
A white R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R in a dim shipping container
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An R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R made famous by Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton has been tracked down after being stolen earlier this year. The car was on the verge of leaving Japan, after which it might’ve become impossible to trace.

The white R34 came from the fleet of Japanese performance car rental network Omoshiro Rent-A-Car. This exact car was the one Hamilton rented during the weekend of the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix, during which he filmed himself doing donuts until smoke poured from the shift boot. When the video came out the following month, Omoshiro was less than happy: Hamilton’s hijinks may have damaged the car’s ATTESA ET-S all-wheel-drive. The system’s accumulator was apparently replaced that same month.

On Jan. 31, though, the Nissan was stolen under unspecified circumstances. The car was spotted being driven recklessly, and had its plates changed as camouflage. It wasn’t tracked down until Monday when customs agents in Yokohama opened a shipping container and found the illicitly obtained car. The Skyline was likely stolen for export, as R34 GT-Rs are now some of the most valuable Japanese cars ever built. They regularly sell for more than $100,000, and sale prices sometimes exceed $1 million.

But that won’t happen now that the car has been intercepted and is on its way home. Still, Omoshiro says many of the parts are missing, and that the car will not run for a while. It’s unclear what was taken, though they were likely aftermarket performance parts or rare, out-of-production OEM components. Regardless, the Nissan will probably be back in rental service soon—just with some extra GPS trackers hidden inside.

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