Retrospective>>the Nissan Skyline Pt.2 (repost)

Here's the second part of my Skyline retrospective from November '08.

Now we will continue our look back at the history of the Nissan Skyline from where we left off yesterday, with the R30 chassis.  The R30 was released in 1981 and moved towards a more modern design than the C210 model. The coupe versions in particular were very good looking cars with a sleek, stretched out look. In Japan the R30 Skyline TV commercials featured legendary actor and driver Paul Newman, and there was even a special "Paul Newman version" of the car sold in Japan.The example in the photo above is the 1981 2000GT-ES coupe model, which was powered by the turbocharged L20ET engine.

Things truly got interesting for the R30 when RS models were offered. The best of these DR30's was the RS Turbo model which had the DOHC turbo FJ20ET engine that produced around 200hp. The FJ20 is a favorite of hardcore Nissan fans and one of the most advanced engines of its day. The RS models would also get a unique front end that was more aerodynamic and aggressive than the one on the standard R30's. The RS's with their two-tone paint were very popular in and they helped to inject some performance back into the Skyline line up. There were also race versions of the DR30 like the infamous Super Silhouette cars (more on those in another post).

Next was the R31 Skyline, introduced in 1985. On the outside, the R31's design was an evolution of the R30 with a few more modern touches. I particularly like the projector headlights on the R31 models. The big change mechanically on the R31 was the introduction of the new twin cam RB series of inline six engines. This was the first time the Skyline had a twin cam six since the original GT-R models. Nissan's new HICAS four-wheel steering system also debuted on the R31 chassis. The car in the photo is the 1987 2000 GTS-R, a very rare model which was powered by the 210ps RB20DET-R engine derived from the Group A race cars. The standard GTS Turbo models also had the RB20DET, but it they made slightly less power. The R31's were popular iin touring car racing around the world, particularly in the Group A series.

In 1989 the all new R32 Skyline was released. This was a huge leap from the previous model in terms of both design and performance. The standard rear drive models continued with the RB engines and were available only coupe and sedan forms. Up until this point there had been wagon or "van" versions of most Skyline models. The R32 GTS-t Type M was the most powerful of the rear drive R32's.

Of course the big news on the R32 was the return of the GT-R version, which hadn't been seen in 16 years. The new BNR32 GT-R (seen above) had the new ATTESA E-TS AWD system and was powered by the twin turbo RB26DETT engine. The GT-R was rated at 280ps, but in actuallity produced much more power than that. The new GT-R was groundbreaking in every way and was capable of beating the fastest sports cars in the world. Nissan made no attempt to hide that Porsche was their target when designing the R32 GT-R.

With the R32, the GT-R legend was back, and just like the original Hakosuka GT-R's, the R32's dominated in motorsport. This was particularly true in the All Japan Championship where the Group A GT-R's won all 29 rounds of the series between 1990 and 1993. Of course the R32 GT-R's would also become immensely popular among Japan's tuners where they were (and still are) built for every type of racing both legal and illegal.

The R33 Skyline followed in 1993, with the GT-R model appearing a little later. Although the mechanically similar to the R32, the new R33 was a bit larger and heavier than the old car. On the rear drive side of things, the ECR33 Skyline GTS-t was now available with the 250ps RB25DET engine, making it a popular car for those who didn't want to step up to the GT-R.

The R33 GT-R's received minor upgrades all around, and although the car was very fast, some people felt  the it had lost its edge compared to the original BNR32 GT-R. Although the R33's weren't dominant in motorsport like the 32's, they did appear at LeMans and in the Super GT series. Although popular among tuners, the R33 models always seem to sandwiched between the original R32's and the newer R34 models.

In 1998 the R34 Skyline was introduced with a more aggressive shape that set it apart from the R33. Non GT-R models were now equipped with the NEO series of RB engines and the GT-R again received minor performance upgrades all around. Since the introduction of the R32 GT-R, there had always been a number of special edition GT-R's available over the years. The R34 in particular had a TON of special models including the V-spec, Nur Spec, and various Nismo versions including the Z-tune model which was released AFTER the R34 had left production. The R34 GT-R would become the posterchild of Japanese performance cars
and it held legendary status even in places like the United States
where it was never even sold.

Unfortunatley, the times were changing again and the R34 would be the last of the turbocharged Skylines. In 2002 the GT-R would again go on hiatus along with other turbocharged Japanese sports cars like the Silvia, RX7, and Supra.

The GT-R may have been eliminated, but the Skyline continued full speed ahead. The R34's were replaced by the all new V35 chassis, which shared the same FM platform as the new Z33 Fairlady. Gone were the turbocharged RB's of the past, and in their place was Nissan's new DOHC VQ35DE V6 engine. The rounded and more mature styling of the V35 was a big change from the R34. The V35's did exceptionally well in the United States where they were sold as the Infiniti G35. Up until this point, the Infiniti brand was struggling, but the new G35 brought the company back and became one the most popular sports sedans in the USA. The V35 Skyline coupes also became popular as a larger cousin to the new Z.

The latest Skyline is the V36 model, which was introduced in 2007. The V36 is an evolution of the popular V35 and continues to be a big seller for under both the Nissan and Infiniti brands. Both the sedan and coupe models now use the same 3.7L VQ engine found in the all new 370Z. It's pretty amazing to see that the standard rear drive Skylines are now making well over 300hp from a naturally aspirated V6. That's similar power to the GT-R's of just a few years ago.

And of course to wrap up we have the latest GT-R, the R35. Technically the new GT-R isn't even a Skyline at all because it's simply known as the "Nissan GT-R." Nonetheless, I thought I should include it in this story. There's no need for me to go over the specs on this car as its been done already time and time again. It's no less than a supercar in every sense. The R35 is not only successful in production form, but also in race form where it set records this year during its debut season in the Super GT series.

So there it is. 50 years of Skyline history…

With the current success of both the Skyline and GT-R, I wonder if they have another 50 years in them?

(Photos from Nissan archive)

-Mike Garrett



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

R32 & R34 Rock's on!!!!

but i really like this R30....

nice retrospective, wonderfull!


would be cool if someone put together a wallpaper with all the skylines with white background and facing the same direction


The R32 ran unopposed in its racing class from 1990-1993.

In open competition, Toyota was racing the Corolla, Honda was racing the Civic, and Mazda the Familia. There were no other Japanese six cylinder sports cars in open competition. Acura did not race its NSX until 1994. Toyota waited until 1995 to race the Supra. The R32 would not face a Mazda RX7 on the track until 1993. Nissan would not even send its own Fairlady Zs or Sylvias into competition with it (another legend building maneuver?). The other performance cars, such as Toyota MR2, were only seen in one marque races, if at all. The only cars entered in the same races with the Skylines that appeared to have any prayer of competing with it were the Sierra RS500 and BMW M3. The RS500 was several cylinders short and the M3 lacked a turbo. Of course, this is looking at the results without any notation of class divisions. “Rumor-pedia” indicates the R32 raced unopposed in Division 1, the M3 and Sierra in Division 2, and the Civic, Corolla, Familia, and Gemini were in Division 3. But the Bridgestone’s N1 Series Points Championship results show Class 1 with Skyline GTR; Class 2 with Gemini, BMW M3, and Prelude; Class C with Civic, Corolla Levin, and Mirage; Class D with Honda City and Suzuki Cultus.

Either way, the Skyline raced alone and how hard is it to put together an undefeated record when racing unopposed? And what exactly is the prestige of being undefeated in an unopposed racing record?


i like R30 and R31 "sport" models...but the R32 is something out of the line for me


I realy love the skyline the only rhing i am afraid of is. That nissan will introduce the Infiniti brand in Japan and the skyline name will disappear.

But the chance of that happening is smal, because of the popularity of the skyline name in Japan.


my favorite skylines are the R31 and the R32. the R31 becuase of its cool 80s era design and the R32 becuase of its performance out rivaled most of the car of its time. if i was in japan i would try to own one of the two no doubt


Thank you Komeko, I am a huge Nissan enthusiast and have been before the whole new age tuner crowd came around. The skyline is a great car but the Z has always been in a more competitive field and has also kicked a lot of ass. I am not one to say there is no replacement for displacement, but its a 2.6 liter engine!!! Wooooo!!!! I can make 550hp with 23psi on my VG with a lower turbo curve on stock internals!, or better yet, switch the block with the VG33R or even better yet, turbocharge a VH45DE, all better engines in my opinion. Rediculous as it sounds, the VH45 is 100lbs lighter than the VG30 which is lighter than the RB any day! Or lets talk about the VQ35-7 engine, that when modified can flow as much as a champ car..... C'mon guys, you focus TOO MUCH ON THE 240SX AND SKYLINE!!! Stop following the crowd!


Dude, the v35 chassis doesn't look anything like the Skyline! It's a different car altogether:| One of my questions would be why the hell would Nissan ditch the name "Skyline" that made history!? It rings in your mind when you here or think of the name "Skyline". At least, I hope the Nissan will keep the same all over lines of the "Skyline". It's a good thing that the all new R35 follows the lines and flava of the R33-34's models. Since the concept, I have been like a kid to any info about the R35. Barelly released and it already feels like a legend. Magazines, radios, TV, the net, the new R35 was and IS all over! I remember about a month ago, still dreaming of the Skyline, just read an articol from a local publisher where the R35 was compared to a Porche (both had white paint). I live in Roumania and we kinda have a joke around saying that although people around here bitch around saying that there's no money and although the world thinks that Romania is a pour country, the 10 brand new, top class cars are first seen in Romania::)) So... a week after reading that articol, I've seen one parked next to a restaurant. It was like shock. I could've expected to actually see and touch a R35 THAT soon! Thoughts? Impressive, breath-taking! It was pearl-black, seemed to be quite big, but yet having perfect proportions for its size. Just amazing! :-< I would love to toy around with one of those R35's but for now I prefer the R34's and such. Cheaper and great for drifting and such:) Anyway, can't wait to see the history of the R35 unfold before us! All hale NISSAN!!! :)))


Is there a post like this for the Subaru WRX/STI?


well when it comes to the GTR the R32 is with out a doubt my favorite...some thing obout it that is just as RAW and BRUTE...such a single super super car!!!!!!and when it comes to the non GTR's the 4DR R32 is definately my favorite....I day dream about them when I check out Vancouver BC I do live in Washington theirs I'd hope for me to get one someday..sigh


50 Years??!! Oh yes they will be still going strong - the fan base is hardcore & dedicated - gotta to love them..


how about the ER34


r32 is my fav


I refuse to consider the G35/37 a Skyline, even if it does bear the name in Japan



I love the projectors on the GTS-R.


Komeko, the information you are quoting is basically nonsense, up there with the BS often regurgitated in Australia that V8Supercar was created to ban the GT-R.

No other six cylinder cars? If you don't count the run on of ex-works R31 GTS-Rs in semi-private hands and the Supra Turbo-A (A for, Group A). The Sierras may have been two cylinders short but they were also several hundred kilograms lighter and packing upwards of 550hp in group A trim. The information you are quoting really is also completely centred on Japan and ignores the fact that there was actually group A racing in other places (and in other places like Australia, the R32 was at times bested by the Sierras, the little NA M3s, the old R31 GTS-R and even the local V8 Commodores).

Yes, they were racing in individual classes as that was the worldwide structure of group A, but most championships of any prestige were conducted for overall results, not class 'sheep stations'. Its not as if the R32s were running about half a lap faster than everyone else who was stuck dicing with 1.6l corollas!

Toward the end, 92-93, it certainly did begin to look a one horse race in most series. Why? Post 1988, the R32 was effectively the only new homologation. Group A was in decline by '91 and would be dead in the water by '93, a victim of massively spiralling cost and dwindling interest.


Another good history line post up!

Quite informative too.


@ Mark Flood

Your comments lack consistency and accuracy.

The Supra was not introduced into competition against the Skyline until 1995. This is not based on rumor or wishful thinking, this is based on the fact that the JAF records do not show a Supra entered into a race against a Skyline until 1995. No RX-7 until 1993, no NSX until 1994, and Nissan would not allow the Fairlady to be entered into competition against the Skyline. I'll repeat again, the Skyline ran essentially unopposed in Group A from 1990-1993.

Regurgitated Australian V8 Supercar BS? This is a discussion about the Skyline mythology and claim to be undefeated in JTCC in Japan. None of my comments concerned anything other than JTCC. Please direct the Australian V8 Supercar comments to some other discussion where it might be appropriate.


R34 my dream car ever and ever