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The Nissan Skyline GT-R is a Japanese sports car based on the Nissan Skyline range.

The first GT-Rs were produced from 1969–1973. After a 16 year hiatus since the KPGC110 in 1972, the GT-R name was revived in 1989 with the Skyline R32. This car was nicknamed "Godzilla" by the Australian motoring publication Wheels in its July 1989 edition. The R32 GT-R dominated the motorsport in Japan, winning 29 straight victories out of 29 races. The GT-R proceeded to win the JGTC Group A series championship 4 years in a row, and also had success in the Australian Touring Car Championship winning from 1990–1992, until a regulation change excluded the GT-R in 1993. The Skyline GT-R (R33) was also the first production car to lap the legendary Nürburgring in under eight minutes.

The Skyline GT-R became the flagship of Nissan performance, showcasing many advanced technologies including the ATTESA-ETS 4WD system and the Super-HICAS four-wheel steering. The GT-Rs remained inexpensive compared to its European rivals, with a list-price of ¥4,500,000 (US$31,000). Today, the car is popular for import Drag Racing, Circuit Track, Time Attack and events hosted by tuning magazines. The GT-R is the winner in the 2007 Tsukuba Time Attack held in Japan—the M-Speed GT-R (9 out of the top 15 cars consists of GT-Rs). Production of the Skyline GT-R ended in August 2002. The car was replaced by the GT-R, an independent vehicle not sold as a Skyline.

The Skyline GT-R was never manufactured outside of Japan, and the sole export markets were Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand, in 1991, and the UK (in 1997, thanks to the Single Vehicle Approval scheme) as used Japanese imports. Despite this the car has become an iconic sports car, including in countries from the Western World (mainly the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Canada). It has become notable through pop culture such as cinema and video games like The Fast and the Furious series, Initial D, Shakotan Boogie, Wangan Midnight, and Gran Turismo.

The car was named by BBC's Top Gear as the only true Japanese contribution in the line of supercars, and by Jeremy Clarkson as one of the best cars in the world.

History of the brand

The Skyline name originated from Prince automobile company, which developed and sold the Skyline line of sedans before merging with Nissan-Datsun. The GT-R abbreviation stands for Gran Turismo Racer while the GT-B stands for Gran Turismo Berlinetta. The Japanese chose to use Italian when naming the car – as most cars made in Japan at that time used Western abbreviations – to further enhance sales. The earliest predecessor of the GT-R, the S54 2000 GT-B, came second in its first race in 1964 to the purpose-built Porsche 904 GTS. The next development of the GT-R, the four-door PGC10 2000 GT-R, scored 33 victories in the one and a half years it raced, and by the time it attempted its 50th consecutive win, its run was ended by a Mazda Savanna RX-3. The car took 1000 victories by the time it was discontinued in 1972. The last of the original GT-Rs, the KPGC110 2000GT-R, used an unchanged S20 119 kW (160 hp) inline-6 engine from the earlier 2000 GT-R and only sold 197 units due to the worldwide energy crisis. This model was the only GT-R to never participate in a major race despite the sole purpose-built racecar which now resides in Nissan's storage unit for historical cars in Zama.

The Skyline continued into the 1990s when it became popular largely because it remained rear wheel drive, while most other manufacturers were focusing on front wheel drive cars.

Throughout its lifetime, various special editions containing additional performance-enhancing modifications, were released by Nissan and its performance division Nismo (Nissan Motorsport).

1st generation (1969-1972)

The first Skyline GT-R, known by the internal Nissan designation PGC10, was released on February 4, 1969. It was available originally as a four-door sedan after a public debut at the October 1968 Tokyo Motor Show. It was advertised alongside the Nissan R380 racecar to showcase the Skyline's racing heraldry. It was equipped with the 2.0 L DOHC S20 I6 producing 160 hp (120 kW) at 7000 rpm and 177 N·m (131 ft·lbf) of torque at 5600 rpm. Power was delivered to the rear wheels by a 5-speed manual transmission. The first Skyline GT-R rode on a semi-trailing arm strut suspension. It was available as a coupe in March 1971 with the chassis code KPGC10.

A popular name for the PGC and KPGC10 Skyline GT-R was "Hakosuka," which is a combination of the Japanese word for box ("hako" or ハコ) and the pronounced abbreviation of skyline ("Suka" or スカ as in スカイライン or "sukairain").

A total of 1,945 PGC and KPGC10 Skyline GT-Rs were produced.

2nd generation (1973)

The KPGC10's successor, the KPGC110, was released in 1973 after its introduction at the 1972 Tokyo motor show. Powered by a 1989 cc I6 S20 engine, the second generation GT-R delivered power to the rear wheels through a 5-speed manual gearbox. The suspension was a semi-trailing ring arm setup and minor aerodynamic parts were added.

This edition of the GT-R was also known as the "Ken & Mary" Skyline, due to a popular advertisement featuring a young couple (Ken and Mary) enjoying the Hokkaido countryside. The advertisement later spawned a hit song by Buzz, and the tree featured in the advertisement later became a minor star itself.

Unfortunately, the second generation GT-R was unsuccessful, for a gas crisis hit in the early 1970s, drying out any demand for high-performance sports cars. A total of 197 cars were built by the end of its short production run. For the next decade, this would be the last GT-R until the production of the R32 in 1989.