For most Americans, the Nissan GT-R was an all-new vehicle when it was introduced to the U.S. market in 2008. After all Nissan’s sports car up to that point had be the Z, and the idea of an all-wheel drive twin-turbocharged supercar costing more than $70,000 was baffling.
Bur for much of the rest of the world, it was the GT-R–and the Skyline upon which it was based–that was the ultimate Nissan performance car. Today, Nissan released two videos that give us a glimpse of exactly why we were just latecomers to the FT-R’s fan base.
Launched just two days before the second Japan Grand Prix in 1964, the Nissan Skyline 200GT became a legend in the eyes of motorsports fans everywhere. It sparked the imagination of those watching a lap during the 1964 race when fighting with a Porsche 904 Carrera GTS. The Skyline, however, almost missed the race. The team working on the car had to produce a 100-unit production minimum had to be met, which was the requirement for GT approval in time for the race.
Working around the clock, they made it, and during warm-ups, managed an impressive two minute and forty seven second lap. Skyline had to drift and slide around turns due to bad tires, which was thought to become a hindrance, but turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The Skyline was able to take the lead from the Porsche 904 Carrera GTS, and although it came in second, Nissan’s Skyline 200GT became a legend that day and inspired the line of R380s that would later be produced.
Continuing with its legendary status, the GT-R was reintroduced at the All Japan Championship in March 1990, where it made its debut at the opening race. The No. 12 Calsonic Skyline was victorious in 1990 and 1993. Also known as “Godzilla,” The Nissan Skyline GT-R had a record twenty nine wins from twenty nine starts.
Today’s Nissan GT-R takes its cues from its predecessors and continues the legend.