While the first Skyline, built by the Prince Motor Company, made its debut in 1957, the first GT-R under the Nissan banner didn’t make its appearance until 1969 (Nissan took over Prince in 1966). The car’s S20 2.0-liter dohc inline-6 was actually a detuned version of the R380 race car’s engine and produced 160 bhp. The 2000GT-R was created to win the JAF Grand Prix, which it did, kick-starting Nissan’s long success in motorsports.
By the time the Skyline H/T 2000GT-R was produced, now in a coupe body style, the GT-R racked up its 50th overall racing victory. The following year, the KPGC110 hit the market, but after a production run of a mere 197 units, Nissan pulled the plug on the GT-R, citing stricter emissions standards and the international oil crisis as the main reasons. The GT-R would not be seen for another 16 years.
The modern-day GT-R took the Japanese automotive market by storm when it was launched in August 1989. It featured all-wheel Super HICAS steering, awd and a turbocharged inline-6, the RB26DETT, which pumped out 280 bhp and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. Legend has it that chief engineer Shurei Ito didn’t reveal to anyone, including his own team members, that this car would wear the GT-R banner until right before its debut.
The ninth-generation GT-R was displayed at the 1993 Tokyo Motor Show, but its official launch didn’t happen until January 1995. Under the hood resided an improved RB26DETT with torque increased to 264 lb.-ft. The ATTESA-ETS awd system became standard on all V-Spec models. The R33 raced at Le Mans, taking 10th overall and 5th in class in 1995. The limited- edition 400-bhp Nismo 400R made its debut and was featured in R&T.
The most technologically advanced GT-R yet, the R34 would be the last GT-R to be powered by the RB26DETT. While horsepower was officially rated at 280 bhp, aftermarket tuners like HKS and Mine’s were cranking out versions with up to 800 bhp. Also, the R34 made a formidable race car, with the Pennzoil Nismo GT-R winning the Japanese Grand Touring Championship in 1999. The R34 was featured numerous times in R&T. Production stopped in 2002.
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