Nissan Displays Godzilla’s Family Tree in New York

#hashtags: #Nissan #Skyline #Japan #Prince #Skylines

To mark the auspicious occasion of yet another update of Nissan’s accessible supercar, the company rounded up, buffed up, and displayed one of each of the first five generations of Nissan Skyline GT-Rs. (The original car that launched a racing legend in Japan was produced by the Prince brand, which Nissan merged with in 1966.) The Skylines were all forbidden fruit on our shores until the current generation arrived minus the “Skyline” moniker. The first three generations are 25 years old now, making them pretty easy to import. Which would you go for?

Gen 1, PGC10

This one may be the most Q—the stealthiest. It really looks like a family coupe that’s been heavily breathed on so it can outrun the cops when hauling illegal untaxed, what, sake? This was Nissan’s first redo of the Prince Skyline, and at its heart was a 24-valve inline-six S20 engine that was basically a lightly detuned GR8 engine out of the Prince R380 race car, which looked a little like a Japanese knockoff of a Ford GT40. Top speed was a heady 120 mph, and it could reportedly cover the quarter mile in 16.1 seconds. Other notable features for its day include variable-ratio steering, a limited-slip differential, bucket seats, and a 26-gallon fuel tank. The first examples were four-doors with the coupe arriving in 1970, total 1969-1972 production tallying to 1,945 units of the Hakosuka GT-R (meaning boxy skyline in Japanese).

Gen 2, KPGC110

The fetching second-gen Skyline arrived in cooking-grade trim in November 1972, and the fire-breathing 2000 GT-R followed two months later. The S20 engine carried over largely unchanged. Four-wheel disc brakes were a technical improvement. Locals refer to this fastback variant as the “Kenmeri” Skyline because of an ad campaign featuring a young couple (Ken and Mary) enjoying the bucolic countryside of the northern island of Hokkaido. The gas crisis killed this one in 1973, however, after only 197 copies were sold. Thus began a long gap in the GT-R timeline.

Gen 3, BNR32

The GT-R was revived for 1989 as a street-legal version of a new racing weapon Nissan created to dominate the Group A class. Due to the 1.7 multiplication factor Group A assigned turbocharged engines, the 2,600cc racing version of the twin-turbo RB20 I-6 engine family was assigned to compete with 4.5-liter, naturally aspirated cars on 11-inch wide tires. To make the most of all that rubber, Nissan decided to make the car AWD, developing the motorsport-oriented ATTESA E-TS system. The race engine made 600 hp, but the RB26DETT production engine was limited to an official rating of 276 hp and 260 lb-ft. It set a respectable Nürburgring time of 8:20.00, but the R32’s big claim to fame is that it never lost a race in the All Japan Touring Car Championships. Including race versions, 43,934 of this generation were built between 1989 and 1994.

Gen 4, BCNR33

This update of the R32 carried most of the drivetrain over with myriad detail improvements such as stronger gearbox synchros, an improved oil pump drive, and in the V.spec variant, a sharpened ATTESA E-TS Pro AWD system with an active limited-slip differential and four-channel ABS. It also got Super HICAS rear-wheel steering, a stiffer body shell, and improved traction control. All of this made the car more stable and easier to drive at the limit, which in turn paid off by dropping the Skyline GT-R’s Nürburgring Nordschleife lap time to 7:59.00. The car displayed at the Javits Center is the actual car that set that lap time, modified only with the inclusion of a rollcage. Worldwide production of this gen totaled 16,520 from ’95-’98.

Gen 5, BNR34

Relative to its R33 predecessor, the R34 rode on a 2.2-inch shorter wheelbase with another 0.8 inch shaved off the nose. Its underbody was smoothed and sculpted to provide downforce, as well. Production-car engine specs remained unchanged (and rated at the Japanese manufacturer-agreed maximum of 276 hp), but the sharpened aerodynamics and tidier dimensions made the car far easier to drive fast. The display car is one of 1,000 cars built with the M-Spec Nür package, which included Silica Brass paint, suspension settings softened for endurance-racing duty, and a special N1 spec RB26DETT engine with larger steel-blade turbos capable of higher boost pressure (with greater lag). Tuners routinely got 450 hp out of this engine, but the official rating was still 276 hp (though dynos regularly reported 330). The global total built between 1999 and 2000 was 12,175 units.

2017 Nissan GT-R

The updated Nissan GT-R debuted at the New York auto show with interior improvements and much more—read about it RIGHT HERE.