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Interesting Nissan Skyline Facts You Didn’t Know

Every car racing fan knows about the legendary Nissan Skyline and dream of owning one. The Skyline GT-R R32, R33 and R34 are fan favorites in the car community and is in every car lover’s bucket list, which almost always go unfulfilled due to its limited supply outside of Japan. 

The Nissan Skyline has become the symbol of Japan’s automotive industry in general and the flagship of Nissan’s superb technology and performance. Referred to as “Godzilla”, the Skyline is a superstar among the high-performance supercars.

Learn what makes the Nissan Skyline such a formidable beast, other interesting Nissan Skyline facts and why it is illegal to drive one in the United States.

The car in every car lover’s bucket list

Japanese supercars are known to be designed to improve upon the weaknesses of the more established models of the Western automotive industry. In the case of Nissan’s Skyline, the GT-R was designed to be a more refined machinery than the Porsche 959. 

It turned out that the GT-R did far better. The R32, specifically, dominated the Japanese Touring Car Championship in many years and the Group N series in its homeland before starting to gain worldwide fame.

The GT-R became the dream car of every car enthusiast. Its limited supply outside of Japan made it more valuable and desirable than ever.

Nissan Skyline facts
The Nissan Skyline 2000 model.

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Nissan Skyline facts

Formidable speed

The Skyline GTR is among the fastest accelerating cars in the world. It can reach 100kmph in 2.8 seconds, a beastly speed parallel to those of the Porsche 911 and Lamborghini Aventador.

Before the merger of Prince Motors, its first developer, and Nissan, the Skyline model competed in the Japanese Grand Prix and finished in second place. After this early success, the GT-R won the Japanese Touring Car Championship (JTCC) a whopping twenty-nine times in a row, a record yet to be broken by any other car.

The GT-R R32 proceeded to win the Japanese JTCC Group A Series Championship four years in a row and also achieved good results in the Australian Touring Car Championship. Later, the R31 proceeded to win the Australian Touring Car Championship in 1990, 1991 and 1992.

Nissan Skyline race
Nissan Skyline made its name in the early 90s racing competitions.

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Nickname

After consecutive and convincing racing victories in Japan and overseas in the early 90s, the GT-R quickly gained worldwide attention and earned the nickname “Godzilla” from the media and car lovers alike. 

Thanks to the R32 GT-R’s beastly performance and the formidable technology behind it, the popular Australian motoring publication Wheels first referred to the GT-R as “Godzilla” in its 1989 edition. The R34 GT-R, the fan’s favourite, was described by Wheels as “the best handling car we have ever driven”. 

Nissan skyline facts Godzilla
The feared Godzilla on the racing track.

Technology

The Nissan Skyline GT-R series has been and will continue to win hearts for its technically formidable power and exclusive handling. Its beastly power comes from a 3.8-litre V6 twin-turbo engine that generates a 276 horsepower and a 266lb-ft torque. 

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Each of the GTR’s engine is built and assembled at Nissan’s Yokohama plant by five master craftsmen that Nissan calls Takumi. The process is performed entirely by hand and takes as long as 6 hours.

Nissan Skyline engine
The Nissan Skyline has a beastly engine.

The Skyline GT-R became the flagship of Nissan’s high standards for performance, advanced technology and impeccable craftsmanship, featuring the ATTESA E-TS All-wheel drive system and the Super-HICAS four-wheel steering. Thanks to such design, the GT-R series is therefore very tractable and nimble. 

Interested in many more great models from Nissan? Refer to our comprehensive car reviews to pick the best one for you. 

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GT-R series are illegal in USA

It’s extremely difficult to purchase a Nissan Skyline for sale outside Japan, since the model is exclusively manufactured in Japan. The sole export markets are Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand, and later include the UK from 1997.

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Such rarity even added to its status as an iconic sports car in the hearts of professional racers and regular car enthusiasts alike. 

If you live in the United States, it is extremely hard to get one of these valuable Skyline, even if you do have the money to buy them. 

Nissan Skyline import to US
Nissan Skylines are expensive so not many importers can import them.

 

In fact, it is technically illegal to own the R34 in the United States because it is right-hand drive. In addition, Nissan cannot export the Nissan skyline R34 into the United States because its spares are not available here. 

The USA safety regulations does not allow imports of the Nissan Skyline GT-R because the car failed to meet the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standards. Furthermore, the Skyline has not passed the federal emission and crash tests.

However, a few hardcore fans have found ways to go around these safety restrictions to get their hands on these rare beasts and actually drive them on American roads. They import the car parts separately then reassemble them and register the finished car as show cars. 

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A bit of history

The first Skyline was actually developed and marketed by Prince Motors in 1957 as a four-door luxury car, not a sports car it is today. In 1966, Prince and Nissan-Datsun merged; the model was reintroduced to the market as a Datsun in 1968 as a sedan. It took the Datsun a while to become the Godzilla it is today.

The first GT-R model was born in 1969 with a 160-horsepower 2.0-liter engine. From 1970, the GT-R soon made a name for itself in the world of automotive racing and supercars lineup.

The R30 generation, which offered 26 variants, was released in 1981 and became the first to be globally branded as a Nissan. 

Nissan Skyline GT-R
The Nissan Skyline GT-R32.

Presence in pop culture 

The GT-R has featured in popular comic and anime series as well as movies adaptations in Japan, including  Initial D, Shakotan Boogie, Wangan Midnight, plus several video games such as Forza, Need for Speed, Driving Emotion Type-S and Gran Turismo.

It even appeared in popular Hollywood movies like the Fast and the Furious series. In fact, it was a favourite by Brian O’Conner, the lead character in the film.

The latest Skyline

Nissan’s latest GT-R, the R35, is different from its predecessors. Its 550hp V6 engine adds a couple hundred more horsepower, with an improved all-wheel-drive architecture and retails for over $100,000 when you buy new.