…it’s almost like a barn find, but not quite.

The background: my friend’s father (who’s a bit of a tinkerer) recently did a bit of maintenance work on a vehicle for a lady he knew, and she happened to mention that it was probably time for her to retire said vehicle in order to get something slightly more modern. To cut a long story short, it turns out her car is a 1981 DR30 Skyline RS sedan with the FJ20E naturally aspirated engine – she’s the 2nd NZ owner and has owned it for a number of years blissfully unaware of any “significance” it may have had!

DR30 Skyline sedan (by decypher the code)

genuine DR30, it is!

The car: Judging from the manufacture date and build number it’s one of the very first RS models made, as they were released in October 1981. The car itself is a bit rough around the edges but I’m confident it will clean up well with some effort. The important thing is that it still drives well, and the FJ20E is still as smooth and perky as one might expect for a twin cam 4-valver (although it’s no match for the turbo version). To me, it was surreal seeing another genuine DR30 on the ground here in NZ, and cool yet strange to see one that’s been here living a very honest life for the last 20-odd years and hasn’t been destroyed yet.

Anyway, enjoy a selection of photos after the jump, and if anyone happens to be interested in purchasing this DR30, give us a yell and arrangements can be made on your behalf – I’m fairly sure its current owner would appreciate it going to a worthy home.

Alert readers will note the absence of the tell-tale 3 slat front grille in the following photos; the only plausible explanation is that sometime in the past it was stolen or broken and thus replaced with a regular HR30 honeycomb (because DR30 grilles aren’t exactly common here). It sure helps disguise the fact that this is the real deal from far away, as only the badging remains (and the paint scheme, if you know what to look for).

DR30 Skyline sedan (by decypher the code)

Pre-facelift 'Uglyfront', unfortunately missing the 3-slat grille :(

DR30 Skyline sedan (by decypher the code)

fender mirrors: awkward to use, but Jay-Dee-Em As.

DR30 Skyline sedan (by decypher the code)

riding high on stock suspension and 195/70R14 balloons. Photochoppers, do your worst!

DR30 Skyline sedan (by decypher the code)

FJ20E N/A engine: 150ps/6000rpm and 18.5kg-m/4800rpm

DR30 Skyline sedan (by decypher the code)

Tidy interior. Being an early RS, it's got wind-ups

DR30 Skyline sedan (by decypher the code)

weathered RS badging. Pretty cool


  • kyteler says:

    If only it was a coupe. Actually, maybe not. I’m so paupers-spec at the moment that it would be painful if it was a coupe. Mind you, I would still prefer the KHR30 with an DR30 slat grille.

  • banpei says:

    Nice find! :)
    I wonder who bought that set of rims… Old lady owner doesn’t sound like someone buying a set of Superstars for her daily clunker…

    Too bad I’m not living in NZ… Otherwise I would have yelled. :P

  • Bryce says:

    Hay im pretty sure this is the car ive just brought off a guy with 160,000 ks on the clock very original.

  • Orion says:

    Hi Bryce – I hope you didn’t pay thru the nose for it. When the DR30 was for sale via this blog the asking price was only around $1500, and if I remember correctly the person you bought it off scored it for a shade under that. So I suppose he’s laughing all the way to the bank now.

    It would probably be worth five times that if it was a coupe!

    so what are your plans for the car?

  • Bryce says:

    Hay i dont have many plans as such but i would like to turn it into a very clean original car again. Also has the front on this car always been out like its had a hit?? Cheers

  • Orion says:

    Correct. It had a frontal at some stage, and was repaired, which is why the standard DR30 three-slat grille is no longer present and the front lip is slightly crooked.

    Let me know if there’s any specific parts you’re after, I can source a few things out of Japan for these.

  • Bryce says:

    Awsome man thanks for the help. You wouldnt no if you can still get the original grills would you? Cheers do you have a r30 urself.

  • Lauren says:

    Hey There, I own this car now :) do you still import parts from Japan?

  • Orion says:

    Ewan from Hayatonka would be the person to talk to regarding parts from Japan. Email ewan@hayatonka.com and say the folks from the retro-classics blog recommend his services.

    What plans do you have for the car? It pays to have an idea of the parts you want, as well as the link(s) to said items, before getting in touch with Ewan.

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