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A Look at GT-R’s History as Sun Sets on it in October

We have another fallen soldier in the long line of retired legends. This time, it is the Nissan GT-R, a car that has defined Nissan and the JDM market for a long time. The last R35 GT-R will be made in October 2024. While it was already discontinued in India and Europe in 2022, North America was the last frontier where it was still available. Let us look into the history of the legendary GT-R and what it means to the supercar market. 

Roots: The Original Skyline GT-R

The GT-R was first launched as the Nissan Skyline GT-R. Its purpose was to serve as a powerful version of the Skyline sedan. It got the nickname "Hakosuka", which came from the amalgamation of "hako", which means boxy, and "suka," from Skyline. Under the hood was an S20 engine, a 2.0-litre inline-six DOHC engine producing 160 hp.

The second generation of the GT-R came out in 1973 and was called the "Kenmeri" GT-R. Funnily, it got its name from a TV couple called "Ken and Mary." This was one of the shortest-lived GT-Rs, having sold only 197 units 

Return of the Legend

The Nissan GT-R R32 began as the direct ancestor of the GT-R we know today. It was introduced in 1998, 16 years after the second-generation GTR left. It was such a powerful car that it earned the nickname "Godzilla". Powering the Godzilla was a 2.6L twin-turbocharged inline-six that could churn out 280 hp. It was a car revered by the streets and racing community alike.

The Family Grows

Next in line was the R33 GT-R, which brought upgrades in aerodynamics and technology and also increased weight. The R32's engine was still featured, but it got an upgraded all-wheel-drive system and four-wheel steering this time.

The Most Remembered GTR

Ask a car guy what a Nissan GT-R is, and they'll show you a picture of the R34. Launched in 1999, the R34 had a shorter wheelbase and more radical style. While the engine was still the one from R32, it had more aggressive turbochargers and a better intake and exhaust system. The R34 started the modern era of the GT-R line with features like a Multifunction display (MFD) on the dashboard that could show real-time data such as turbo pressure and oil temperature.

The Present Version

Nissan showed the R35 in 2007; this time, it did not get the Skyline tag. This car was not an evolution like its name, but a revolution. It was powered by a new 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 that produced close to 480 hp at launch, mated to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. It features advanced electronics and a complicated suspension system. Nissan kept upgrading the R35 over the years, refining the handling and adding new tech. Its power output reached 565 hp in its standard form in 2017, with Nissan also launching special editions like the Nismo that produced 600 hp.

The GT-R will rule the hearts of car petrolheads for decades to come, who will always have a smile on their faces when they remember it. 

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TopGear Magazine July 2024