A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SKYLINE

The legendary Skyline, first introduced in 1957, was originally built by Japan’s Prince Motor Company. Production of the Prince Skyline lasted from 1957 until 1967, when Prince and Nissan merged. With humble origins as a rather modest 4-door luxury car, the Skyline began to evolve into a performance-bred sportscar following the merger. Today the Skyline is most recognized as the influential predecessor to the modern GT-R.

1957 Prince Skyline Delux
2018 Nissan GT-R®

THE FIRST SKYLINE

The first Prince Skyline was introduced in 1957, and was available in Japan until 1961. The Skyline was available as either a four-door sedan or a five-door station wagon, and it featured a 1.5L GA-30 engine. It wasn’t until 1964 that the first racing GT Skyline was introduced in 1964, still under the Prince Motors flag. The introduction of the GT Skyline really marked the Skyline’s shift from sedan to race car.

1969 Skyline 2000GT-R

THE FIRST GENERATION NISSAN SKYLINE

In 1966, following the merger of Prince and Nissan, the Skyline finally became a Nissan. 
It wasn’t until 1969 that the first performance-bred Skyline was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show. It was still a sedan, but it now boasted an inline six engine and (impressive for the day) 160 horsepower. The first generation Nissan Skyline was available from 1969-1972.

The 20th Tokyo Motor Show (1973)

NISSAN SKYLINE TAKES TO THE TRACK

That 1969 version of the Skyline was a touring car like no other.  Taking cues from the Nissan Prince R380 racing prototype, it  relied on a four-valve Dual Overhead Cam engine for power and  four-wheel independent suspension for its remarkable handling.  The car obliterated the competition in Japan's domestic touring  races, winning 52 races in its first three years of competition.

The first two-door version was introduced in 1970. It was a  successful launch and a well-received car, but a global gasoline  crisis and a move towards stricter emissions standards put the  Skyline on the shelf for a time.

From 1972 to 1977, the C110 generation Skyline was produced,  this time though it was known as the Datsun K-Series, and four  years later it went through another name change – it was now to  be known as the R30.

The R30 was a successful and remarkably versatile design,  available as a coupe, four-door sedan, five-door hatchback, and  a four-door wagon. All told, the R30 was available in 26  variations, none of them really hinting at what the Skyline would  one day become.

1986 saw the introduction of the R31. It was a little bigger and  boxier than previous models, and was the first to get the famous  "Red Top" Skyline engine with red cam covers and the Nissan  Induction Control System.

Skyline 2000GT-R. The 19th Tokyo Motor Show Concept Car
1988 Skyline GTS-R R31
Evolution of the Nissan Skyline

THE R32 SKYLINE GT-R

The Skyline had been through many phases, but it was in 1989  that the real precursor to the GT-R of today was introduced. The  R32 Skyline had all-wheel drive and the famed Nissan  RB26DETT inline six that pumped out 280 horsepower. It still  wasn’t sold in America, but the JDM (Japanese Domestic  Market) model was and still is a legend in the American tuner  community, and a lucky few aficionados were able to legally  import them to the States and had them modified to meet US  emissions regulations.

A stripped-down version of the R32 entered the Japanese  Touring Car Championship in 1989 and won every race it started—29 in a row—over the next four seasons. The legend of the  GT-R was truly born on those racetracks.

1990 Skyline GT-R R32
1999 Skyline GT-R R34

THE R34 SKYLINE GT-R

The R34 Skyline GT-R was introduced in 1998, and was  available from 1998-2002. A technologically advanced display  unit set the model apart, while it’s RB26DETT twin-turbo I6  engine produced an impressive 327 hp.

THE FIRST NISSAN GT-R

In 2008, the GT-R finally, officially, landed on American roads.  Nissan dropped the Skyline name and dropped in a twin-turbo  V6 that put out 473 horsepower and propelled the coupe from  zero to 60 in under three seconds. It wasn’t your normal car  introduction though. Overnight, the GT-R became a legend—a  car that could not only compete with, but outperform legendary  American muscle cars and German and Italian supercars. They  called it "Godzilla".

2009 Nissan GT-R

Photo credits: Oubai Shoqar, Restauraciones Clasicas, Courtney Cutchen, Simmy Shandu, James Hutchinson, Unknown

2018 GT-R® Accessories

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From Skyline To GT-R: The Engine

The first Skyline engine, introduced by the Prince Motor Company in 1957, was a 1.5-litre 4-cylinder power plant that produced 60 horsepower. Yes, 60 horsepower.

Fast-forward to 1988, when Nissan introduced a new RB26DETT engine with the R32 Skyline GT-R. This powerful (at the time) 2.6-L twin-turbo was capable of producing 280 PS (162 kW; 276 hp) and had 271 ln-ft of torque. 

Things have continued to change. Today, the GT-R’s engine pumps out nearly 600 horsepower – about 10X as much as the original Prince engine. To understand what the modern Nissan GT-R is all about, you just have to lift the hood. The engine you’ll see is not a gas-guzzling behemoth, but a remarkable piece of advanced technology generating power from a 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6. When a GT-R is being built at our facility in Yokohama, Japan, we don’t let just anyone assemble the engine.

The Takumi

Just four men are trusted with the task of building the GT-R's engine, and they are called "The Takumi". Roughly translated, Takumi means "master craftsman" in English, and master craftsmen they most certainly are. Combined, they have more than a century of experience, and when they finish building, by hand, a GT-R engine, they literally put their name on their work. A special plaque is mounted on each engine, displaying the name of the man who built it.

Tokumi: The Master Craftsmen behind the Nissan GT-R. On every GT-R engine, the seal of its master-craftsman builder is applied. This is the story of those craftsmen.

The GT-R In Popular Culture

A car—a supercar—like the GT-R tends to draw a lot of attention, and over the years it has popped up in places other than the road. Several GT-R models have appeared in the ongoing video game series Need For Speed. Both the GT-R and Skyline are featured in the wildly popular Fast and Furious movie franchise. Dozens of different versions of the GT-R appear in the revolutionary driving simulator/game Gran Turismo as a virtual car, the response was so enthusiastic that a real concept car was built.

Nissan Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo

NISSAN CONCEPT FROM GRAN TURISMO
From virtual to reality.

NISSAN SKYLINE & SKYLINE GT-R MODELS

PRINCE SKYLINE (1957-1961)

  • ENGINE: GA:30  
  • HORSEPOWER: 60 HP

S54 GT SKYLINE (1964-1968)

  • ENGINE: G7 I6
  • HORSEPOWER: 104 HP

1ST GENERATION NISSAN SKYLINE (1969-1972)

  • ENGINE: 2.0 L DOHC S20 I6
  • HORSEPOWER: 160 HP

2ND GENERATION NISSAN SKYLINE (1972-1977)

  • ENGINE: 1989 CC I6 S20 
  • HORSEPOWER: 130 HP

R31 SKYINE GTSR (1985-1987)

  • ENGINE: RB2-DET-R DOHC TURBO I6
  • HORSEPOWER: 210 HP

R32 SKYLINE GT-R (1989-1994)

  • ENGINE: RB26DETT  
  • HORSEPOWER: 276 HP

R33 SKYLINE GT-R (1995-1998)

  • ENGINE: 2.6 L RB26DETT  
  • HORSEPOWER: 300 HP

R34 SKYLINE GT-R (1999-2002)

  • ENGINE: RB26DETT TWIN-TURBO I6  
  • HORSEPOWER: 327 HP

R35 250GT (2001-2006)

  • ENGINE: 2.5 L VQ25DD V6  
  • HORSEPOWER: 212 HP

NISSAN GT-R (2007 - PRESENT)

  • ENGINE: 3.8-LITER TWIN-TURBO V6 ENGINE 
  • HORSEPOWER: 565 HP

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