On Saturday, Zane Evans took possession of his dream car.
The Manhattan resident and mechanical engineering student at K-State Polytechnic Campus was the winner of a sweepstakes giveaway from TunerCult, a website dedicated to a sector of modified car culture focusing on mostly Japanese brands.
The car Evans won is a 1999 Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R.
“It’s like it’s impossible to have,” Evans said. “They didn’t make very many R34s, and people couldn’t legally import them until the cars turn 25 years of age.”
However, Evans’ new-to-him Japanese supercar is not quite 25 years old yet. He said it has been deemed legal for limited use on the street in the United States through the “show and display” law. The amendment to the U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards statute allows certain privately imported vehicles to be exempted from standards, if the vehicle is of historical or technological significance.
“It means I can only drive it 2,500 miles a year,” Evans said. “I can’t take it on a long road trip, can only do short distances.”
The Skyline series of cars, in production first by the Prince Motor Company in 1957 and then Nissan in 1967, are not available in the U.S., however their popularity in media and among car enthusiasts has led to the importation of Skylines, particularly the R32, R33, and R34 models. Evans said the car was not built to American safety codes, but to him it is indeed significant. Evans’ R34 Skyline is one of 282 built which is painted in a hue-shifting color called ‘Midnight Purple 2’ and features the V-Spec trim level, which consists of a specialized aero kit. Evans said to the best of his knowledge there are only eight or nine similar cars in the country.
“In 1999 this car was extremely fast and extremely ahead of its time,” Evans said. “It has rear-wheel steering, where it’ll adjust the rear wheels by one degree, in or out, depending on how fast you’re going and how hard you’re turning, just for extra stability.”
Evans said the car also has several features which can now be found on modern automobiles, but for the time were highly advanced, such as an onboard computer which gives readouts of the g-forces pulled in a corner and other real-time data.
“The car only has 280 horsepower; your general Chrysler minivan makes more power than that now, but it’s still definitely a fast car,” Evans said.
Evans said the car is more of an icon which represents Nissan in its prime as an automotive manufacturer. It also represents a bit of why he loves cars.
“For me, the passion of cars and why I’m in love with it is because all these individual pieces, they don’t do anything by themselves, but you put all this together and you get a piece of art, and that’s what this car is, it’s a piece of art,” Evans said.
Evans is certified in paint and auto collision repair, and said he has always been a car guy.
“I don’t care if it’s a muscle car or what, it’s just a fascination of how vehicles work,” Evans said. “That’s kind of my passion for it, it’s why I’m doing mechanical engineering, it’s what I enjoy.”
TunerCult has a history of giving away interesting and fast cars to lucky contestants, dating back to February 2019. Evans said he was attempting to come up with a subject for an English paper he needed to write for class, when he decided to take a break and scroll through social media on his phone.
“I saw an ad on Instagram about this sweepstakes giveaway through TunerCult,” Evans said. “They always have really cool cars, and I’m a car guy… so I saw it was an R34, and I was like, ‘I don’t care how small my chances are, I have to enter.’”
Evans said he made a purchase on the website to enter the giveaway and told his wife about it later.
“I said, ‘I bought this stuff, but it’s for a sweepstakes for an R34,” Evans said. “My wife knows I’ve always loved these cars, that I’ve talked about it forever, so she’s like ‘hell yeah, if there’s anything else you want, make an order, let’s make this happen.’”
Evans said, as soon as he was announced as the winner, his wife asked him which child he would give the car to when he died.
He said, now that he has won the Skyline, he has a lot more paperwork to do to make the vehicle drivable in Kansas.
“I’ve made so many calls to so many different insurance companies to see who would insure the car,” Evans said. “It’s been exhausting, but it’s all honestly been really good problems to have; I’ll suffer through this for an R34, no worries at all.”