How it all began? The first skyline was manufactured in 1957. And it was… a luxury 4-door saloon car or and five door station wagon. For sure, it had nothing to do with Skyline's image from the 90's till nowadays.
The first skyline to receive the GT-R badge came off the production line in in February 1969. It had a 2.0L inline 6 engine. This new DOHC engine produced 160HP and would rev to more than 7000RPM – an exceptional performance for the late 60's .
After the first skyline GT-R in 1969, it has evolved till 1981 in terms of power and design, but not significantly. The C210 (1977-1981) had even diesel version – 2,8 L inline NA diesel. Until then, the skyline has definitely not been positioned as a purely sports car… but this was about to change.
The R30(1983-1985) and especially the R31(1985-1989) were the first skylines to create the sporty image of the vehicle.
R30 Nissan Skyline 2000 RS Turbo
R31 Nissan Skyline 2000 GTS-R
They were also the first ones to have more than 200HP output. These two models did not have a GT-R version.However, they did have versions with more than 400HP in their racing versions. Something else to make the R31 so special is the first RB engine – a base that also used for the R32, R33 and R34.
The RB26DETT era.
The GT-R badge was last put on a skyline in 1973. It was time for it to come back. The RB26DETT – a totally meaningless blend of letters and numbers that was about to become a legend. Two turbines, six cylinders. 280HP after serious muzziling due to the gentlemen's agreement . However, removing the restrictor of the electronic boost control (surprisingly very easy to locate), the car would make more than 310HP, 0-100 in less than 5 seconds and a quarter mile in 12,8. The R32 was nicknamed Godzilla after 2 consecutive wins in the Australian Touring Car Championship.
R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R
The RB26DETT was further developed in R33(1993-1998) and R34(1999-2002) and deliverer more and more torque, but was still advertised as 280HP to comply with the gentlemen's agreement. There are many examples of skylines equipped with RB26DETT producing more than 1200HP. A real masterpiece of engineering and a dream for any tuner.
R33 Nissan Skyline GT-R
The left hand drive.
There is only one GT-R model that was produced with LHD – the R35. Apart from its predecessors, it is not using the RB26DETT, but the newly developed VR38DETT. Producing more than 480HP, it accelerates the car to 100 in less than 3,5 seconds.
So after all, what makes the skylines so special?
The mystery is the key. You never know, what exactly you are buying, what the booklet says is… not exactly true. It brings the spirit of Japan. Having all these modern gadgets and and all the technology, a car could possibly fit it just fight the laws of logics and physics (and Porsche too).