This is what made the Nissan Skyline GT-R so great
The Nissan Skyline GT-R is arguably Japan’s most iconic car in all of its automotive manufacturing history. It’s been in production for a long time now, and it’s not hard to see why. With a nickname like “Godzilla”, it should be obvious that this car has a serious reputation around the world.
With its racing heritage and humble beginnings, the Skyline GT-R has become one of the most famous sports cars in the world. Appearing in movies and other media over a period of decades, it cemented its place as one of the most impressive cars of all time. Here are some of the features and facts that explain why the Nissan Skyline GT-R is so great.
It is well documented that the Skyline GT-R is one of the most historic cars to come from Japan. The very first Skyline was produced by Prince Motor Company in April 1957 and the first Skyline GT-R was introduced on February 4, 1969. As an interesting note, the Japanese used Italian naming conventions such as GT-R ( Gran Turismo Racing) and GTB (Gran Turismo Berlinetta) to help increase sales in the Western market.
Since 1969 there have been dozens of GT-Rs, all slightly different with different levels of performance. It is one of the most famous and beloved car series in Japan and it is still running today with new GT-Rs still on the way.
9 Pop culture icon
Those who have seen the Fast and Furious franchise should be well aware of how popular this car is. This car featured in several iterations of the film with the R32, R33, R35 and especially the Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R. This helped take the car’s status to a whole new level with Western audiences.
The Skyline also has an incredibly close connection to the Gran Turismo video game series. Anyone who has played racing games on any version of the PlayStation should know how popular this car is in Japan. With the Gran Turismo games being Japanese, it was fitting that this would be a cover car for almost the entire series. On another interesting note, the people who developed the R35 interfaces were actually the same people who developed the interfaces in the Gran Turismo games, meaning the speedometer and other gauges were the same.
It’s almost impossible to talk about the Skyline without mentioning Nismo. They are Nissan’s in-house tuning company, and they help already great cars get even better. They were formed in 1984 as a result of the merger of two motorsport departments and the racing pedigree is well and truly on display as they competed in the JSPC, JTCC, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 24 Hours of Daytona. They currently compete in the Super GT, the Blancpain GT Series and Formula E.
The best versions of any Skyline are usually the ones tuned by Nismo. Perhaps the greatest of all is shown just above here with the Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R Nismo Z-Tune. 19 V-Spec IIs have been completely stripped down and rebuilt with parts created from Nismo’s vast racing experience. The end result was a car capable of 0-62 in 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 200 mph.
7 RB26 engine
Many famous engines come from Japan, but arguably the most famous of these is the RB26 that Nissan has used for several years. In fact, the RB26, or more specifically the RB26DETT used in GT-R models, was used in Skylines from 1989 to 2002.
The RB26DETT engine is a 2.6 liter inline six with a parallel twin turbo system, using a pair of T25 type ceramic turbochargers. The first 2.6-liter RB26DETT had 276 HP. By the end of production, power levels had increased to around 316 hp. The RB26 is widely known and popular for its strength and power potential due to its iron block and forged internals, making it a user-friendly platform for tuners and aftermarket modifications in general.
6 JDM construction legend
In classic Japanese fashion, the Skyline is very often modified. As said before, the RB26 is a very easily modifiable engine which means it is a dream to work with the tuners but also visually it is not uncommon to see Skylines with body modification upgrades as well as performance.
It is easily possible to put a completely new body kit, spoilers, lights, hood, wheels, etc., on all versions of the Skyline. Everything from the original old Skyline GT-Rs to the modern ones gets a treatment. In fact, they are modified so often that it is actually incredibly difficult to find unmodified versions of the Skyline GT-R, and if they are found in excellent original condition, they are of monumental value.
5 Modern supercar
The Skyline has come a long way since the ’60s and the best example to show it is the all new platform, the R35. The R35 has been around since 2007 and this car was the first to remove the Skyline part of its name. It is now simply called Nissan GT-R.
This platform is very different from those that existed before. For starters, it looks completely different and ditched the boxer frame in favor of a more rounded and modern look. Perhaps the biggest change is the performance of the R35. The new version of the R35 is capable of reaching around 200 MPH and has well over 500 HP. These specifications are far removed from previous models.
4 Ahead of its time
The R34 is probably the most famous and best example of the Skyline. One of the reasons this car was so popular was that it seemed so far ahead of its time and is still so sought after today. It’s no surprise that the car is still so valuable and still so much in demand, even in 2021.
Part of the reason this car was so ahead of its time was the handling and the RB26 mentioned earlier. The look still holds up so well too and even in the late 90s when the R34 was first introduced it looked like it would be a classic for years to come. The interior might not quite live up to modern standards, but it can be forgiven a bit in that regard.
3 History of the race
It’s hardly surprising that Skylines has a long history in racing. Part of the reason road cars are so good to drive is because of the inclusion of these Skylines in the races. The Skyline GT-R has been participating in touring car events since the 1960s and continues to participate today.
The PGC10 2000 GT-R four-door scored 33 victories in a year and a half and achieved 1000 victories before its discontinuation in 1972. The Skyline GT-R later earned the nickname “Godzilla”, due to its following. performance and country of origin.
2 Handmade Engines
Perhaps one of the most interesting facts about the Skyline GT-R is that the engines are all handcrafted by a small team of 4 known as Takumi. In Japan, takumi is a word used to describe a master craftsman who has honed his skills over the years with painstaking work and dedication.
The four takumi at Nissan’s Yokohama plant are Takumi Kurosawa, Tsunemi Ooyama, Izumi Shioya, and Nobumitsu Gozu. Together, they share over 100 years of exceptional work in their chosen field. These craftsmen are responsible for the manual manufacture of all twin-turbocharged V6 engines in the Nissan GT-R, production vehicles and even race cars. Each engine is assembled with care and precision by one of these four people.
The reason the Skyline GT-R performs so well, and the R35 in particular, is probably due to the grip when the car is thrown onto the track. You’d be hard pressed to find a road-approved car that comes close to how the GTR behaves.
The GT-R features an advanced 4-wheel drive system, torque vectoring to direct power, adaptive suspension to control grip and slip, a powerful engine, as well as a wide range of sensors to monitor everything. The seamless communication of these parts working in harmony allows the GT-R to be a track monster further strengthening its place in the car’s legend.
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