This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of the industry’s most beloved and famed performance car families. We are of course talking about Nissan’s GT-R– models, a car that will be celebrated at next month’s NISMO Festival in Japan alongside the Nissan Z family.
In 1969, Nissan introduced its very first Skyline GT-R as a model exclusive to the Japanese market. It was initially sold solely as a four-door sedan and from March 1971, also offered as a two-door coupe. Power was provided by a 2.0-liter DOHC S20 inline-six engine delivering 160 hp at 7000 rpm and 130 lb-ft (176 Nm) of torque at 5600 rpm, all of which was sent to the rear wheels through a five-speed manual transmission and limited-slip differential.
In 1973, Nissan started building the second-generation Skyline GT-R also with an S20 inline-six engine, rear-wheel drive and a five-speed manual gearbox. Only 197 examples were ever built due to lackluster demand for performance vehicles because of the global energy crisis. From 1973 until 1989, the GT-R badge was resigned to the history books.
When the Skyline GT-R returned for its third-generation, it ushered in a whole new era of performance for the Nissan brand. The R32-generation model was designed with Group A class racing in mind and debuted the brand’s iconic RB26DETT 2.6-liter twin-turbocharged inline-six engine with a claimed 276 hp at 6,800 rpm and 260 lb-ft (353 Nm) of torque at 4,400 rpm.
The success of the R32 encouraged Nissan to continue the Skyline GT-R nameplate for a fourth-generation with the introduction of the R33 in 1995. It was sold in two-door coupe and four-door sedan guises and produced in a plethora of different guises, including the 400R model which was limited to just 44 units globally.
In 1999, it was the time of the fifth-generation GT-R dubbed R34. The RB26 engine remained and the car received a plethora of mechanical and technological updates and improvements.
When production of the R34 ended, Nissan decided to separate the GT-R model from the Skyline family and launched the R35 GT-R in 2008. It is still producing this model to this day, and earlier this year unveiled a special 50th Anniversary Edition variant.
Here’s to another 50 years of the GT-R – at least…