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Nissan demonstrates Leaf electric car energy regeneration by powering a CHRISTMAS TREE

Nissan Leaf Christmas tree

“Driving ohm for Christmas.” As press release headlines go, this one is straight out of a Christmas cracker.

To be honest, most media outlets are just jealous that Nissan got there first.

The company has revealed an all-electric Leaf with a light display powered entirely by its own regenerative braking energy system. It’s called the Nissan TREE. Well, it is Christmas…

The current (ba’dum tish) Nissan Leaf features an e-Pedal, which allows drivers to start, accelerate, decelerate and stop using only the accelerator pedal.

It also harvests energy via regenerative braking or deceleration. This energy goes straight back to the batteries where it is used to recharge the cells.

The Nissan (Christmas) Tree is fitted with thousands of LEDs, shimmery baubles and a reindeer. “The car is brighter than Rudolph’s nose,” claims Nissan.

The company says the average Nissan Leaf driver regenerates 744kWh of clean energy over the course of 11,000 miles. This is the equivalent to 20 percent of the domestic electricity consumption of an average household.

Alternatively, it’s enough for:

  • 266 Christmas tree lights with 700 incandescent lights for one hour
  • 297 ovens for one hour
  • 744 televisions for five hours
  • 10,783 houses with 1,000 LED lights for five hours

‘Festive mode of transport’

Nissan Leaf mobile Christmas tree

Helen Parry, head of electric vehicles for Nissan Europe, said: “Santa shouldn’t be the only one with a festive mode of transport. We wanted to make the Nissan Leaf more fun at this time of year whilst driving home a very important message.

“We hope this custom-made vehicle inspires people about the benefits of regenerative energy. After nearly ten years since Leaf was first introduced in Europe, Nissan continues to be fully focused on providing consumers a more sustainable lifestyle through electric mobility.”

Click here to read our review of the Nissan Leaf. We can guarantee that it contains no Christmas-related puns.

Nissan works with EU to encourage electric car uptake

Nissan climate change

Nissan is taking a broader look at how drivers can be encouraged to switch to electric cars. The company has led a White Paper, working with the European Innovation partnership on Smart Cities and Communities, to ‘accelerate towards more sustainable societies

A large part of the programme, also supported by the European Commission, concerns battery technology. It covers how batteries have use beyond their time in a car (‘second life’), plus how can EVs can work with the electricity grid, rather than just pulling energy from it.

Cheaper electric cars for more buyersNissan climate change

Nissan is keen to see better incentives for mid-range EVs, like its Leaf hatchback. While self-serving, it argues that lower costs, and potentially larger incentives, are required to get more people to go electric. 

Nissan is also suggesting tax incentives based on EV owners’ environmental impact, and rewards for power put back into the grid.

Leading by example

Nissan wants public services and authorities to play a part, too. Low-emission zones are a big part of the plan, in order to encourage people to make the jump to EVs.

Nissan climate change

Nissan also suggests procedures for smart charging installation should be improved. It proposes incentivised, or ideally mandatory, installation of renewable energy tech and smart charging in new buildings. 

The big picture is the so-called ‘smart city’, with car charging wherever drivers need it, housing equipped with renewables energy sources and so on. This is the future, says Nissan.

Nissan climate change

“To meet the challenges Europe faces we need a fundamental rethink on how mobility and energy policies are designed,” said Friederike Kienitz of Nissan Europe.

“While Nissan brought mass battery technology to Europe when it pioneered the Nissan Leaf 10 years ago, it is clear from this paper that this is about more than just Nissan or electric vehicles. There is much work to be done if Europe is to achieve its goal of being carbon neutral by 2050, and this white paper sets out how to get there at the national, regional and municipal level.”

Nissan GT-R Nismo is the latest Lego ‘Speed Champions’ set

LEGO Nissan GT-R

Lego and Nissan have teamed up for the first time to recreate the Nissan GT-R Nismo in brick form. It’s the first time a Japanese manufacturer has team up with the Lego brand. The toy is a recreation of the GT-R Nismo that holds the world record for world’s longest drift.

Being a smaller ‘Speed Champions’ 298-piece set, it’s more difficult to capture the essence of the real thing. However, by recreating crucial elements of the GT-R, this latest addition to the Lego roster couldn’t be mistaken for anything else. Just look at the back of it, with those enormous quad tailpipes, the unmistakable GT-R lighting and that enormous wing.

“The GT-R has been part of my life since I was 10 years old,” said Hiroshi Tamura, Nissan’s chief product specialist for the GT-R – known to many as ‘Mr. GT-R‘.

LEGO Nissan GT-R

“Working with the Lego Group was like awakening my inner 10-year-old self to rediscover what makes the GT-R so special to me. It’s amazing how much the Lego Group’s attention to detail reminds me of our own craftsmen.”

The Speed Champions GT-R took around a year to develop, and will be the first reveal in this line for 2020. Previous entries include the McLaren Senna, which was famously the poster car for the Lego Speed Champions Forza Horizon expansion, and the Porsche 911.

LEGO Nissan GT-R

Being part of the smaller Speed Champions line comes with a number of advantages over, say, the several-thousand-piece monsters like the Chiron.

Firstly, it’s cheaper. When it arrives in January 2020, you won’t get buyer’s guilt for picking it up, even if you’re closer to 40 than four… It’s a shame, however, that it won’t be available in time for Christmas.

LEGO Nissan GT-R

It’s less intricate, so you’ll have it together in no time, even if some of the build team aren’t quite as disciplined as you. Lego reckons an expert Lego builder can have it together in 20 minutes, but that novices should allow an hour.

It’s also smaller and therefore easier to store once it is together. Due to its relative simplicity, it should be easier to repair if a fellow family member stands on and tries to drift it, too.

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“The Nissan GT-R and the Lego brand are both renowned and loved by fans of all ages throughout the world, and we are honored to be the first-ever Japanese car manufacturer to partner with the Lego Group,” said Asako Hoshino, executive vice president at Nissan.

“Many of our Nissan customers can trace their automotive passion back to when they built Lego cars as children. With this partnership, everyone can be a `takumi’ – the specialised craftsmen that build the GT-R. And, it’s the GT-R’s 50th anniversary this year, so what better way to celebrate than to share the GT-R with Nissan and Lego fans around the world!”

Are these the ultimate esports gaming chairs?

Nissan GT-R Nismo gaming chair

Nissan has designed what it claims could be the “ultimate esports gaming chairs”. 

For now, they’re just sketches, but that’s rather fitting for an industry focused on virtual reality. If you’re a gamer, you can decide whether or not these chairs have legs.

Nissan says it has applied “model-specific technologies and conveniences” into the chair concepts, drawing inspiration from the American market Armada SUV, GT-R Nismo and Leaf.

There are no plans to put them into production, but if you bombard Nissan’s U.S. Twitter account with tweets, the company might change its mind.

Nissan Armada gaming chair

Maybe we’re getting old, because we rather like the look of the Armada gaming chair. It’s looks like the kind of chair we could use for work, let alone spending a few hours tackling online gamers on Gran Turismo.

The captain’s chair is finished in black and brown leather and is climate-controlled for heating and cooling. It also features lumbar support for additional comfort.

Meanwhile, the GT-R Nismo seat looks a little more hardcore. It’s constructed from lightweight carbon fibre and aluminium and finished in red leather and synthetic suede.

Finally, the Leaf chair features gunmetal painted surfaces, light grey leather seats, USB charging ports and integrated leg rests.

Nissan Leaf gaming chair

There’s apparently no truth in the rumour that a fourth seat inspired by the Nissan Note was rejected. The gaming chair was fitted with a beaded seat cover and a pocket for a packet of Werther’s Original sweets. Probably.

Nissan says that its chairs offer a unique blend of aesthetic and comfort, ensuring they “pique the interest of gamers across the globe”.

Do you like what you see? Be sure to let Nissan know.

Consumer group wants these cars fixed for FREE

Nissan Qashqai slammed in reliability studyNissan Qashqai slammed in reliability study

Five cars have been slammed in a new reliability survey, including the Nissan Qashqai, Britain’s most popular crossover.

The Qashqai has the highest breakdown rating of the 276 cars in study by consumer group Which?. It also singled out the Tesla Model S, Seat Alhambra, Ford B-Max and BMW 5 Series Touring for criticism.

Worryingly, motorists are four to five times as likely to experience a flat battery in a Qashqai than in any other car. Twenty percent of Qashqai owners who took part in the survey had to replace a battery in the past 12 months.

Nissan said it changed its battery supplier in 2018, but a separate software issue could result in drained batteries. The company is contacting 35,000 owners, but older cars are not covered by Nissan’s three-year warranty.

This has angered Which?, which wants the cars fixed at no charge to the customer. 

‘Take action and recall these cars’

Tesla Model S - greatest cars of the decade

Which? Car editor Lisa Barber said: “Thanks to our in-depth reliability survey, we know these faults are happening. They may not be safety critical, but we still want the manufacturers to take action and recall these cars.

“This will mean information about the faults are public, owners won’t be inconvenienced by them, nor will they have to foot the bill if the issue occurs outside of warranty.”

The Nissan Qashqai isn’t alone. Two-thirds (67 percent) of Tesla Model S reported an issue, making Tesla the company with the highest percentage of faulty cars.

Tesla owners are forced to wait an average of five days for their car to be repaired – three days longer than the average wait time for cars of a similar age.

The biggest issues with the Tesla Model S: the exterior door handles, locks, fuel cap and boot.

Seat Alhambra Xcellence

Meanwhile, the Seat Alhambra is blighted by suspension and exhaust problems, the Ford B-Max (2012-2017) is affected by transmission woes, and owners of the BMW 5 Series Touring (2010-2017) have experienced suspension issues.

For the survey, Which? gathered information from nearly 44,000 owners about 52,500 cars. Members can use an online tool revealing the most and least reliable cars.

Nissan slammed by DVSA for failing to fix Qashqai diesel

Nissan criticised over dirty diesel response

Nissan has come under fire from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) for its reluctance to tackle excessive exhaust emissions from Qashqai dCi diesel models.

Nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions were found to be well above what prior testing had established in new WLTP tests – and beyond acceptable standards.

The WLTP fuel economy test was introduced last year and includes RDE (Real Driving Emissions) measurements. It replaces the old NEDC test, which was less realistic in ‘real world’ driving.

Nissan criticised over dirty diesel response

The DVSA’s findings have so far failed to prompt any action from Nissan. It says the Qashqai meets all current standards, and that its priority is future product – rather than re-calibration of existing diesel vehicles.

“All Nissan vehicles fully comply with today’s emissions legislation,” the company’s response reads. “We support the new RDE tests that have now been adopted and have introduced a range of drivetrains to meet them.

“We will continue to develop affordable and innovative solutions to reduce our impact on the environment, such as our Nissan Leaf and e-NV200 electric vehicles.”

Nissan criticised over dirty diesel response

Nissan’s sister company, Renault, has taken a more pro-active approach – something the DVSA highlights in its latest Vehicle Market Surveillance Unit report. Renault, which uses the same engine, has ‘issued a voluntary offer to customers visiting a Renault dealer to implement a NOx upgrade’.

The kicker is that if Renault offers it, then a diesel fix exists that could pertain to affected Nissan models.

The Nissan Qashqai is built at the marque’s Sunderland plant in the UK. It has been one of the UK’s best-selling cars for more than a decade.

 

Nissan Qashqai moves a step closer to being a self-driving car

Nissan Qashqai with ProPilot

Nissan’s advanced ProPilot drive-assistance technology is now available on all automatic variants of the Qashqai crossover.

Used during single-lane driving, the system maintains the car’s lane position and distance from the vehicle in front, edging the UK’s best-selling crossover a step closer to self-driving autonomy.

According to Nissan, ProPilot is the “first step on the journey towards autonomous driving” and is designed to be a ‘hands on, eyes on’ technology.

In other words: the driver remains in control and responsible for the vehicle at all times.

2019 Nissan Qashqai

ProPilot is designed for low-speed congestion and high-speed cruising, with Nissan claiming it “liberates drivers from some of the more mundane elements of motoring”.

It’s activated via a ProPilot button on the right of the Qashqai’s steering wheel, with the ‘SET’ button used to maintain the current speed and a safe distance from the vehicle in front.

The Qashqai will slow to a complete stop if the traffic conditions require, before pulling away if the car is stationary for three seconds or less. If the wait is longer, the driver can continue by using the ‘RESUME’ button or tapping the accelerator.

‘Confidence, control and enjoyment’

Nissan Qashqai built in Sunderland

Kalyana Sivagnanam, managing director Nissan GB, said; “The Nissan Qashqai has always been a leader in terms of innovative design and technologies that enhance the ownership experience.

“Our advanced ProPilot drive assistance adds a greater level of confidence, control and enjoyment to the UK’s best-selling crossover.”

ProPilot is currently available on the Leaf and Qashqai in the UK, with the X-Trail set to receive the technology later in 2019.

On N-Connecta grades, ProPilot is a £595 option, but the technology is standard on Tekna and Tekna+ grades. For Qashqais with a manual gearbox a Drive Assist Pack is available as standard on Tekna and Tekna+, and as a £595 option on N-Connecta models.

Drive Assist Pack is essentially ProPilot ‘lite’, with the system not featuring the stop/resume function.

ProPilot debuted on the Nissan Serena in Japan in 2016, and since then more than 350,000 vehicles have left the factory equipped with the technology. It is available on the all-electric Nissan Leaf as well. 

Tokyo swift: 50 years of Nissan Z-cars and the GT-R

Nissan sports cars

Fifty years ago, two iconic Nissan sports cars were born. We tell the story of the Z-car and the GT-R, from 1969 to the present day.

Nissan 240Z

Z cars

Six generations of Nissan Z-car began with the 240Z in 1969. In Japan, it was known as the Fairlady – and ‘fair’ it was, with styling that paid homage to the epochal Jaguar E-Type. From day one, the notion of six cylinders out-front, with power going to the rear wheels, was set in stone.

Nissan Skyline GT-R ‘Hakosuka’

Nissan sports cars

The KPGC10 was unveiled in October 1970 before going on sale in March 1971, and the classic two-door box-shaped Skyline GT-R was born. A total of 1,197 two-door Skyline 2000 GT-Rs were built, making it more common than its four-door sibling. That said, the ‘Hakosuka’ is a rare beast, as many were lost in racing. Loosely translated, the nickname means ‘boxy Skyline’.

Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R

Nissan sports cars

A second-generation Skyline GT-R was unveiled in 1973. The KPGC110 was bigger and heavier than its predecessor, but its engine remained the same, meaning it was also slower. Its styling was more American muscle car than Japanese family saloon, but it did usher in one of the Skyline GT-R’s signature details: four round rear lights. Fewer than 200 GT-R coupes were built – all of which were sold in Japan – with production lasting just six months.

Nissan 260Z

Z cars

The 260Z was released in 1974 and, although it’s closely related to the 240Z, it came with some significant updates. These included increased engine displacement – to 2.6 litres – plus a longer-wheelbase 2+2 version.

Nissan 280Z

Z cars

More updates to the first Z in 1975 brought it up to 2.8 litres and added Bosch fuel injection. Although more powerful at 170hp, this update was also heavier, thanks in part to US federal safety regulations, as well as added luxuries.

Nissan 280ZX

Z cars

The 280ZX of 1978 is considered the true second-generation Z car. It added yet more creature comforts, an optional T-top and a turbo for the American market. Like the E-Type that influenced it, the Z-car and its 60s curves had evolved over the course of a decade – and not for the better.

Nissan Skyline GT-R R32

Nissan sports cars

The GT-R name sat dormant for the rest of the 1970s and most of the 1980s. However, in 1985, Naganori Ito was given the task of developing a new range of Nissan sports cars. Work started on the top-secret Project GT-X in 1986, with Nissan launching a succession of production cars based on the Skyline R32, including a true icon: the GT-R. Alongside the Porsche 959, it pushed the boundaries of performance car development, and was the first all-wheel-drive GT-R.

Nissan 300ZX (Z31)

Z cars

It wouldn’t be until 1984 that the Nissan Z-car got a major overhaul The 1980s hit the Z hard, with the 240’s sexy styling sacrificed for pop-up lights and a wedgy silhouette. Underneath, the inline six made way for the VG V6, which would later be turbocharged and used in IMSA GTP racing.

Nissan 300ZX (Z32)

Z cars

Another six years of tinkering would go by before the original 300ZX was replaced by the futuristic second-generation car. By 1990, we were comfortably into the era of the high-tech Skyline, and so the Z followed suit. This 300ZX was one of the first cars to be developed using computer-aided design.

Nissan Skyline GT-R (R33)

Nissan sports cars

Today, Nurburgring lap records are two-a-penny, but the R33 Skyline GT-R sent shockwaves through the performance car world when it became the first production car to lap the ‘Green Hell’ in less than eight minutes. Its 2.6-litre straight-six engine was carried over from the R32, with output restricted to 280hp as part of a Japanese ‘gentlemen’s agreement’. A few engine tweaks meant that the R33 was a tad quicker to 62mph, but many people chose to take advantage of the RB26 engine’s seemingly unquenchable thirst for tuning. This was the first Skyline GT-R to be officially imported into the UK.

Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34)

Nissan sports cars

If you’d somehow managed to miss the hype surrounding the Skyline GT-R, there was no escaping the R34 of 1999. Thanks to Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), the Skyline GT-R was thrust into the mainstream when it appeared in 2 Fast 2 Furious. But the R34 was more than just a movie prop – this was one of the most technically advanced cars on the planet, featuring a trick four-wheel-drive system and four-wheel steering.

Nissan 350Z

Z cars

The last Z had a slow death towards the end of the 90s, with increasing prices and slowing sales bringing the model line’s validity into question. But by 2002, the Z had been reinvented for the new millennium. With a naturally-aspirated V6, chunky yet sporty styling and back-to-basics sports car driving dynamics, the 350Z was a breakout success and helped ease the loss of the R34 GT-R.

Nissan GT-R (R35)

Nissan sports cars

In truth, the Skyline GT-R story ends here, because Nissan chose to ditch the Skyline name. But the R35 GT-R didn’t just move the game on, it re-wrote the rulebook. With the Japanese agreement limiting horsepower consigned to the history books, Nissan was free to unleash fury. The £60,000 R35 featured a 485hp 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine at launch – and has been regularly upgraded ever since. As it stands today, it’s a 600hp supercar-slayer.

Nissan 370Z (Z34)

Z cars

Even after seven years on sale, the 350Z didn’t evolve much to create the 3.7-litre 370Z. With a dusting of GT-R influence, it went on sale 10 years ago and continues to soldier on today, along with the R35 GT-R.

Nissan GT-R50

Nissan sports cars

A coach-built GT-R by Italdesign is Nissan’s 50th birthday present to its most famous son. It will also be one of the most exclusive Nissans ever made, with just a handful of examples making their way to owners. As for the next-generation GT-R, rumours suggest a petrol/electric hybrid.

The next Nissan Z-car

Z cars

The future of the Z-car is even more mysterious – with a sporty crossover initially mooted. Those rumblings have since died down, with recent news suggesting a true sports car is on the way. Sadly, we’re not sure the six-cylinder engine will survive. For now, let’s enjoy this 370Z 50th Anniversary Edition and hope for more Z-badged muscle to come.

Nissan GT-R 50th Anniversary and updated Nismo revealed

Nissan GT-R 50th NYAS

The legendary GT-R badge turns 50 this year, and Nissan is celebrating with a 50th Anniversary Edition GT-R.

It has been revealed at the 2019 New York Auto Show, alongside an updated Nismo version.

50th Anniversary Edition GT-R

Nissan NYAS

You could be forgiven for thinking this 50th Anniversary Edition is nothing more than a stickers-and-paint job, especially after the bespoke, hand-built GT-R50 by Italdesign. You’d be wrong, however.

As is the way with the GT-R, a new version and model-year comes with tangible incremental updates. These include new more refined turbos for better power delivery and efficiency, plus an updated exhaust manifold for ease of servicing and ‘potential tuning’ – their words. There are also new titanium exhaust mufflers, along with upgraded gearshift and suspension software.

As for the 50th Anniversary bits, Bayside Blue, previously seen on the legendary R34 GT-R, makes a return. The livery replicates that used on the original Hakosuka for the Japan GP series. There are more subtle highlights on the inside, including special trim for the shift knob and steering wheel.

Nissan GT-R 50th NYAS

“A GT-R is about total balance management,” said Hiroshi Tamura, chief product specialist for the car. “It is not about chasing a power figures, but creating a new GT-R, where no aspect has been overlooked. This is appropriate to celebrate the GT-R 50th anniversary.”

We’re not sure we’d call it ‘new’, but tinkering is always appreciated.

2020 GT-R Nismo: to the extreme

Nissan GT-R 50th NYAS

There are updates for the Nismo GT-R, too. The car is around 30kg lighter before, thanks to more extensive use of carbon fibre for the race-inspired bodywork. New Porsche-style vents over the front wheels improve air extraction from the wheel wells and increase downforce.

The Nismo has turbochargers straight off the GT3 car, for a 20 percent improvement in power delivery. Peak power is still 600hp, but you get access to it quicker.

Nissan NYAS

It wouldn’t be a fettled GT-R without a touch of the aftermarket, though. New for the 2020 Nismo are stunning 20-inch forged Rays alloy wheels, wrapped in new Dunlop tyres that increase contact patch by 11 percent. Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes are optional.

Inside, it’s business as usual. That’s to say, lots of red flashes, Alcantara and some mean-looking bucket seats.

Nissan GT-R 50th NYAS

Golden Godzilla: 50 years of the Nissan GT-R

50 years of the Nissan Skyline GT-R

The iconic Nissan Skyline GT-R is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019, but the story doesn’t begin with the ‘Hakosuka’ of 1969. Instead, the Skyline GT-R can trace its roots back to a saloon car of the 1950s, before the family tree branches off with the launch of the Nissan GT-R in 2007, culminating most recently in the Italdesign GT-R50. Here, we take a brief look at the history of one of Japan’s most exhilarating performance cars.

1957 Prince Skyline

02_skyline_GT-R_history

It’s hard to believe that the current Nissan GT-R is a direct descendant of the 1957 Prince Skyline. The Prince Motor Company had roots in the aircraft and electric car industries and was named in honour of Prince Michinomiya Hirohito. At the helm was the late Dr Shinichiro Sakurai, a man responsible for Skyline products up to and including the R30. He understood the importance of racing when influencing car design, but the Skyline of 1957 showed little in the way of sporting intent. The styling was influenced by American cars of the time, while power was sourced from a four-cylinder engine first seen in the Subaru 1500.

Prince Skyline GT

03_skyline_GT-R_history

The first racing version was the Skyline Sport of 1962. Still powered by a four-cylinder engine, the Prince Skyline Sport competed in the inaugural Japanese Grand Prix of 1963 at Suzuka, where it finished seventh in the Sports Car class. A year later, the Prince Motor Company unveiled the Skyline GT, a car designed to stop the European cars from dominating the Japanese Grand Prix. The wheelbase of the Skyline 1500 was extended by 200mm to house a six-cylinder engine, with racing enhancements comprising triple Weber carburettors, a five-speed gearbox and a non-slip differential. The Porsche 904 won the race, but the Skyline GT filled all positions from second to sixth. A road-going version followed – the GT-R seed was sown.

Prince R380

04_skyline_GT-R_history

Dr Sakurai wasn’t going to take the defeat lying down. The stunning Prince R380 was designed with a single-minded objective: to beat Porsche. Completed in 1965, the R380 was Japan’s first mid-engined car, with a platform and chassis design influenced by the Brabham BT8. It used the rear lights from the road-going Skyline, but the primary feature was the 2.0-litre six-cylinder GR8 engine – the genesis of the Skyline GT-R. Car number 11 driven by Yoshikazu Sunakothat won the 1966 Japanese Grand Prix at the first attempt – the last race before Prince merged with Nissan. Prince also finished second and fourth – the Porsche 906 was vanquished.

Nissan Skyline 2000GT-R

05_skyline_GT-R_history

Three years later, a star was born. The first GT-R had been in development for a number of years and was based on the 1968 2000GT. It might have looked like a humble four-door saloon, but power was sourced from a modified GR8 racing engine, complete with triple twin-choke Solex carburettors, an electronic ignition, a limited-slip differential and a five-speed gearbox. At a time when four-speed ’boxes were considered advanced, the GT-R pushed the envelope of performance design. This was one of the fastest production cars in Japan, with a top speed of 124mph. Just 832 four-door 2000GT-Rs were built.

Nissan Skyline 2000GT-R

06_skyline_GT-R_history

The 2000GT-R (PGC10) made a winning start to its racing career, finishing first at the 1969 JAF Grand Prix at Fuji, before securing a string of 49 consecutive victories. In 1972, the Skyline 2000GT-R secured its 50th race win, with K. Takahashi taking the chequered flag on a drenched Fuji circuit. But with competition from Toyota and Mazda, the GT-R was less competitive in 1972 and 1973, but still managed to win a total of 58 races overall, including that magnificent 49-race dominance.

Nissan Skyline 2000GT-R

07_skyline_GT-R_history

A two-door version (KPGC10) was unveiled in October 1970 before going on sale in March 1971. A total of 1,197 two-door Skyline 2000GT-Rs were built, making it more common than its four-door sibling. That said, the ‘Hakosuka’ is a rare beast, as many cars were lost during racing. Loosely, ‘Hakosuka’ is Japanese for ‘boxy Skyline’.

Nissan Skyline 2000GT-R Racing Concept

08_skyline_GT-R_history

The Skyline 2000GT-R Racing Concept was exhibited at the 1972 Tokyo Motor Show, with its number chosen to represent participation in races in the 1973 season. However, Nissan pulled the plug on its work team, with the technical team tasked with developing anti-pollution technology and increased fuel efficiency.

Nissan Skyline 2000GT-R ‘Phantom’

09_skyline_GT-R_history

Although Nissan’s racing days were temporarily on the back-burner, a second-generation Skyline GT-R was unveiled in 1973. In common with many new-generation cars of the era, the KPGC110 was bigger and heavier than its predecessor, but the engine remained the same, meaning it was also slower. The styling was more American muscle car than Japanese family saloon, but it did usher in one of the Skyline GT-R’s signature details: four round rear lights. Fewer than 200 GT-R coupes were built – all of which were sold in Japan – with production lasting just six months.

Nissan Skyline GT-R R32

10_skyline_GT-R_history

The GT-R name sat dormant for the rest of the 1970s and most of the 1980s, but in 1985, Naganori Ito succeeded Dr Shinichiro Sakurai and was given the task of developing a new range of Nissan sports cars. Work started on the top-secret Project GT-X in 1986, with Nissan launching a succession of production cars based on the Skyline R32, including a true icon – the GT-R. Alongside the Porsche 959, it pushed the boundaries of performance car development and was the first all-wheel-drive GT-R. Few cars have moved the game on to such a great extent.

Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 Calsonic

11_skyline_GT-R_history

The Skyline GT-R R32 made its competition debut at the opening race of the All Japan Touring Car Championship in 1990, with the Calsonic car driven by K. Hoshino and Toshio Suzuki securing victory in the 300km race. It went on to win all 29 races of the four series held from 1990 to 1993, and three consecutive Group A championships in Australia, with the local media nicknaming the GT-R ‘Godzilla’.

Nissan Skyline GT-R R32

12_skyline_GT-R_history

Quite literally, the R32 changed motorsport. Such was the GT-R’s dominance – it won back-to-back Bathurst 1000 races in 1991 and 1992 – the Australian Touring Car Championship’s governing body banned all-wheel-drive and turbocharging, killing Godzilla in its tracks. But no matter, because the R32 GT-R had already cemented itself as performance car royalty, helped in no small part by its appearance in the Gran Turismo video game franchise.

Nissan Skyline GT-R R33

13_skyline_GT-R_history

Today, Nurburgring lap records are two-a-penny, but the R33 Skyline GT-R sent shockwaves through the performance car world when it became the first production car to lap the ‘Green Hell’ in less than eight minutes. The 2.6-litre straight-six engine was carried over from the R32, with output restricted to 280hp as part of a Japanese gentleman’s agreement. A few engine tweaks meant that the R33 was a tad quicker to 62mph, but many people chose to take advantage of the RB26 engine’s seemingly unquenchable thirst for tuning. This was the first Skyline GT-R to be officially imported in the UK and the lineage with the current GT-R is clear to see.

Nismo Skyline GT-R LM

14_skyline_GT-R_history

Needless to say, the R33 Skyline GT-R proved to be an effective racing car. In 1995, a Nismo Skyline GT-R LM completed 271 laps at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, finishing 10th – a remarkable achievement considering the strength of the opposition. The race was won by a McLaren F1 GTR, but other competitors included the Porsche 911 GT2, Ferrari F40 LM and Callaway Corvette. To mark the occasion, Nissan produced a limited edition Nismo version, with an extreme 400R following in 1997.

Nissan Skyline GT-R LM road car

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This will be familiar to fans of Gran Turismo – it’s the one-off R33 LM road car. It was built to satisfy homologation rules, which allowed Nissan to go racing at the 1995 Le Mans. Beneath the bonnet lies a detuned version of the race-going 2.6-litre straight-six, while the arches are a full 50mm wider than the standard car. Amazingly, this thing was actually registered in the UK.

Nissan Skyline GT-R LM

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Nissan and Nismo launched the ‘3-Year Project: Challenge to Le Mans’ in 1995, but the programme ended in 1996 when living with the Porsche 911 GT1 was proving to be an impossible dream. Car number 23 finished 15th overall and fifth in class, with the engine output increased to 2.8-litre to deliver in excess of 600hp.

Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec R33

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V-Spec first appeared on the R32 Skyline GT-R of 1993, a high-performance variant with standard equipment including Brembo brakes and 17-inch BBS alloy wheels. A V-Spec version of the R33 was available from launch and featured uprated suspension and an active limited-slip differential. In 1997, Skyline specialist Middlehurst Nissan built 100 modified V-Spec cars, with changes including a 180mph speedometer, UK-spec bumpers and mechanical upgrades.

Pennzoil Nismo Skyline GT-R

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In 1998, this Pennzoil Nismo Skyline GT-R competed in the All Japan Grand Touring Car Championship, picking up two race wins on its way to the GT500 title. The engine was upgraded from 2.6 litres to 2.8 litres to deliver a maximum output of 500hp.

Nissan GT-R Autech Version 40th Anniversary

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When tuning house Autech decided to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Skyline GT-R in 1998, there was only one thing to do – build a four-door version. This paid homage to the ‘Hakosuka’, and there had been plenty of four-door variants of the common or garden Skyline models. It is, perhaps, the greatest Q-car GT-R since the 1969 original. The final Skyline GT-R was built in November 1998, but we wouldn’t have long to wait for the next-generation model.

Nissan Skyline GT-R R34

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If you’d somehow managed to miss the hype surrounding the Skyline GT-R, there was no escaping the R34 of 1999. Thanks to Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), the Skyline GT-R was thrust into the mainstream when it appeared in 2 Fast 2 Furious. But the R34 was more than just a movie prop – this was one of the most technically advanced cars on the planet, featuring a trick four-wheel-drive system and four-wheel-steering.

Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec R34

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As is normal for the Skyline GT-R, it wasn’t long before tuning houses were creating monsters out of the R34, with Nissan creating some in-house specials of its own. Various flavours of V-Spec (pictured) were available, along with a range of Nismo editions. In 2004, Nissan launched the GT-R Nismo Z-Tune. Conceived to win a ‘tuner battle’, Nismo built 20 road-going versions, each one with more power and a host of mechanical upgrades.

Nissan Skyline GT-R M-Spec Nur

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There are far too many Skyline GT-R special editions to mention, but the M-Spec Nur is worthy of inclusion. ‘M’ stood for Mizuno, Nissan’s chief engineer, with ‘Nur’ derived from the Nurburgring, where the R34 was developed. Just 250 were built as the R34 bowed out, taking the Skyline GT-R name with it. But that’s not to say the GT-R badge was dead.

Nissan GT-R Concept

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Looks familiar, doesn’t it? Although the current Nissan GT-R as we know it today was still six years away, with the benefit of hindsight, it’s a pretty good preview of the production model. At least it would have been if it had an engine. Instead, Nissan said that it previewed the look of a 21st century GT-R, albeit without the Skyline name. You could even drive it – just as long as you had a copy of Gran Turismo 4. A further concept was launched before the production version made its debut in 2007.

Nissan Skyline GT-R Z-Tune

50 years of the Nissan Skyline GT-R

The unofficial reboot of the R34 came out in 2005 courtesy of Nismo. Just 20 Z-Tunes exist, built up from low-mileage R34s. Updates include swathes of carbon fibre bodywork borrowed from the GT500 racer, a 500hp upgrade for the hand-assembled RB 2.8-litre straight-six – also race-influenced – and upgraded stability control systems. Chassis #001 commanded a £400,000 hammer price four years ago. Needless to say, this is the ultimate R34 variant.

Nissan GT-R

50 years of the Nissan Skyline GT-R

In truth, the Skyline GT-R story ends here, because Nissan chose to ditch the Skyline name. But the R35 GT-R didn’t just move the game on, it re-wrote the rulebook. With the Japanese gentleman’s agreement limiting the horsepower consigned to the history books, Nissan was free to unleash fury. The £60,000 supercar-tamer featured a 485hp 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine – more than double that of its predecessor.

Nissan GT-R Nismo

50 years of the Nissan Skyline GT-R

The R35 GT-R has gone through numerous iterations in its 12 years on sale. The Spec-V was the first variant that showed Nissan had every intention of regularly upping the ante. It blasted past 500hp, leading to the current range-topping 600hp GT-R Nismo. If you ask nicely, you can have the latter with the skunkworks ‘N Attack’ package, which helped it blitz the Nurburgring.

Nissan GT-R50

50 years of the Nissan Skyline GT-R

The R35 GT-R has gone on to create its own legend, upsetting the establishment, setting lap records and evolving into one of the most formidable performance cars on the planet. The Prince of the road has turned into the king of the track, with the latest Italdesign GT-R50 celebrating Godzilla’s Golden Jubilee. Happy 50th birthday, GT-R.