fastest street legal car on the road today
The Skyline is actually one of the most historic
Japanese cars and has been around in various models for over 40 years
already. Its production started in 1955 with the introduction of the
Skyline ALSI-1, a car built by the Prince Motor Company. The Prince Motor
Company was established in 1952 by the Tama Electric Car Company. Tama
itself was founded by Tachikawa Aircraft Company which built fighter
planes in World War II, and started producing the Tama Electric Car in
In honor of the Emperor of Japan Crown Prince Hirohita,
Tama changed its name to Prince Motor Company and started producing petrol
powered instead of electric cars. Prince used an engine designed by Fuji
Precision Industries, a company which was established by Nakajima Aircraft
Company. In 1954, the Prince Motor Company merged with Fuji Precision
Industries. Another important event in the Skyline’s history occurred in
1966, when the Japanese government recommended that larger companies
should be created which would be more competitive in international markets
and more resistant to hostile takeover attempts by foreign competitors.
As a consequence, Nissan merged with Prince, just as
Toyota merged with Hino and Daihatsu. Thus, from 1967 on, Princes were
sold as Nissans or Datsuns. Even though, the Prince division is still
alive within Nissan and responsible for the Skyline line-up today ALSI- 1
ALSI- 2 BLRA- 3
ALSI- 1 Series
The ALSI- 1 series was built from 1957 until 1958 in sedan and station
wagon form. It was powered by the GA30, a 1500ccm OHV inline 4 engine pro-ducing
60 hp at 4400rpm.
ALSI- 2 Series
1958 saw the introduction of the ALSI- 2 series, which was built until
1963. The car was basically the same as its predecessor, except for a
different bonnet emblem and a single large horizontal bar in the grille.
New were also the quad head-lights instead of the twin lamps featured in
the ALSI- 1 series and the GA4 engine with now 70hp.
BLRA- 3 Series by Michelotti
1961 saw the production of the limited edition, hand-built Skyline Sport
BLRA- 3 series, designed by the Italian Michelotti. The car came in coupe
and convertible forms and was powered by the GB4 engine, a 1862ccm OHC 4
cylinder pump- ing out 94hp. This car had a very beautiful design, but on
the other hand was very expensive for its time. So unfortunately it was
dropped in favor of the following S 50-E series, which was cheaper to
S 50-E Series
The Prince Skyline S 50-E came out in 1963 and was built till 1968 in
sedan (S 50) and wagon (W 50) form. It featured the new G1 engine, a
1484ccm OHV 4-cylinder, producing 70hp and in comparison to its
predecessor had a more boxy shape. The S50 intro-duced the four round tail
lights, a Skyline feature that was kept for many generations until today.
It had large round brake lights and smaller round turn-signals beside
The car came with two transmissions, a 3 speed column
change gearbox and a more sportive 4 speed floor change gearbox. Latter
version featured bucket seats to support its more sportive character,
while the column shift version only had a single bench in front. In 1967,
the S50 series was replaced by the S57 series, which came with the new G15
engine, a 1483ccm OHC 4-cylinder with 88hp. It was the most powerful
1500cc engine in Japan.
Skyline 2000GT (S54 Series)
Birth of a legend In 1964 Prince started an attempt to go into racing. For
this purpose the S 50’s wheel base was extended by cutting the car off
in front of the fire wall and adding an extra 8 inches of panel work to
make a 6 cylinder engine fit in. Consequently, the G7 engine, a 1988ccm
OHC inline 6 from the upper class S 40 Gloria model, was installed to the
car. In the beginning only a small number of this car were built to
homologate it for GT-class racing, but since it proved very popular,
Prince decided to put it into full production.
The resulting car was called the S 54 series or the
Skyline 2000GT and came in two versions. The GT-A used an unchanged
version of the G7 engine with only a single carburetor and 105hp. The GT-B
on the other hand got a 5 speed close ratio gearbox, full instrumentation,
a limited slip differential, power brakes, a 99 liter fuel tank and a high
com-pression version of the G7 with triple 40DCOE-18 Weber carbu- retors
Both featured disc brakes with twin piston calipers up
front and alloy finned drum-brakes at the rear. Later models even had flow
through ventilation with small eye ball vents added to the dashboard. Of
both, the GT-B was finally the one to be used for racing. It finished 2nd
in its first race, the 2nd GP of Japan in 1964 and almost won against the
victorious Porsche 904GTS, which was a pure race car.
This was an incredible achievement considering that the
Skyline was a 4-door sedan. The S 54 series was continued until 1968 and
with its many race victories laid the foundation for the Skyline legend.
The 1500 series
The 1500 series replaced the S 50 in July 1968 and was built until 1972.
It came in 4-door sedan and wagon form with the G15 engine from the
S57.The same car was also available as the 1800 with the G18 engine. These
cars were mostly using Prince parts and were the last Skylines to be
released with the Prince badge, all following Skylines were to be renamed
The Skyline 2000GT (GC-10
Just like all other cars of the C10 series, the GC 10 (G standing for GT)
was basically planned by Prince, but was named Nissan Skyline 2000GT. It
was introduced in 1968 (2 months after the 1500) and first came in 4 door
sedan (GC10) and 5 door van versions and from 1970 on also with 2-doors
(KGC10). The car was almost the same as the preceding S 54 GT-A model, so
it featured a 6-cylinder engine instead of the previously common 4
cylinder. The Skyline 2000GT got the L20 engine, a 1998ccm OHC inline-6
The Skyline 2000GT-R (PGC-10
1968 had seen the introduction of a basic Skyline (the 1500 series) and a
model comparable to the previous GT-A (the GC10 series). But people were
still eagerly awaiting a replacement for the GT-B. Almost a year passed
after the introduction of the new model range, until finally in February
1969 the new GT-R sedan came along. The Skyline 2000GT-R was powered by
the S20 engine, a 1998ccm DOHC inline-6, producing 160hp - that was as
strong as the Porsche 911 of that time.
This engine was basically the same like the GR8 from
Nissan’s R 380 racecar, which won the 3rd GP of Japan in 1966 against a
Porsche Carrera 6. Since it was intended for racing, the PGC10 (P stood
for Prince) was very lightweight inside, without a heater or radio, but
from the outside almost looked like any other 4-door sedan. Even though,
after over two years, the coupe-version of the GT-R (KPGC-10) was
introduced in March 1971. A shorter wheel-base and less weight made for a
better maneuverability in comparison to the 4-door version and made this
car even more unbeatable on the circuit. The Skyline 2000GT-R lived up to
the racing heritage from its predecessors and the sedan scored 33
victories in those one-and-a-half years it raced, which was extended to 50
victories by the KPGC-10, until its production was stopped in 1972. The
Skyline had become a Legend after all.
The C110 series was built from 1972 until 1977 and came in 4 versions.
Firstly, there were two basic versions now, the 1600GT and the 1800GT,
both using derivatives of the G15 engine, the G16 (1.6l) and the G18
(1.8l) respectively. The third model was the 2000GT-X, which could be
compared to the C10 2000GT. It was powered by an improved version of the
L20 engine with an output of 130hp instead of the earlier 109hp. The most
powerful of the quartet, though, was the 2000GT-R, using an unchanged
version of the S20 engine with still 160hp. Similar to its predecessor
from 1969, the GT-R was available as a coupe (KPGC110) and a 4-door sedan
(PGC110). This car was to be the last car to wear the GT-R badge for more
than a decade.
The C211 series was released in August 1977 and, just like the C110
series, came in four versions. First of all, due to the fuel crisis and
emissions regulations, the GT-R was missing and instead the Skyline
2000GT-ES (KGC211) marked the top-of-the-line now. This car came out in
April 1980 and featured a new turbo-version of the L20, called the L20ET,
with 140hp. The engine may have been less powerful than the GT-R, but in
contrast to the S20, obeyed to emissions regulations and marked a new
milestone in Skyline history. For the first time a turbo engine powered a
Skyline. The basic versions were called 1600TI and 1800TI now and featured
L16 and L18 engines respectively, instead of the preceding "G"
engines. The old 2000GT-X lost the X (and was now called the 2000GT), but
kept an unchanged L20 engine, which still pumped out 130hp.
With the R30 series, Nissan started to change the nomenclature of the
Skyline. From now on, all Skyline generations would be called R3X. The new
line-up was released in August 1981 and came in 5 different models. Its
design was dramatically different in comparison to its predecessors, since
this new Skyline looked very boxy in shape and much more like an ordinary
sedan than earlier Skylines. Even though, it marked a step back to the
sportive roots of the Skyline. Earlier versions had been gaining weight
constantly, which consequently slowed them down and made them less agile.
This was changed with this new generation, although it was not until 1982
that a really sportive Skyline hit the road again. For the basic versions,
the L16 engine was dropped, so only the 1800TI remained, which now used
the Z18 4-cylinder engine with 105hp. The stronger 2000GT and 2800GT both
came with inline-6 engines instead.
The R30 Skyline RS
After Nissan had dropped the GT-R, there had been no DOHC engine in the
Skyline line-up anymore. After the oil-crisis, the turbo had emerged, but
a DOHC was still missing. The introduction of the Skyline RS was to change
this condition in October 1981. It came in sedan and coupe form with the
new FJ20E engine, a 2.0l four-cylinder pumping out 150hp, directly aimed
at racing. In 1983 this engine’s performance was improved by a turbo, so
the resulting FJ20ET (T standing for turbo) now produced 190hp, which was
later even boosted to an astonishing 205hp by the addition of an
intercooler. This Skyline became known as the RS-X or the Turbo C. The
result was not only the until then “strongest Skyline ever”, but also
a very successful track car.
Since the R30 was very successful, Nissan did not change much of the
outward appearance of its successor, the R31 series. At its debut, the car
was introduced only in all forms of 4-door versions. Due to the popularity
of luxury cars, this Skyline was aimed at the luxury department and seemed
to have lost its focus on sportiveness. The base model was the 1800I, now
using the CA 18, a 1.8l DO-HC 4-cylinder with 100hp.
But the R31 also saw the introduction of a new engine
family, the RB20 engines which worked in the Passage GT. Especially the
RB20DET, a 2.0l DOHC inline-6 turbo with 180hp at 6400rpm, stood out here
as a very potent machine. It was the first in a great family of engines
that today’s RB26DETT (the new GT-R engine) and other current Skyline
engines also belong to.
The GTS Coupes
People had to wait for a two-door until the GTS hit the showrooms in May
1986. This coupe got the RB20DET engine from the Passage GT. It was
renamed GTS-X in 1988 and got an improved RB20DET version with now 190hp.
More important about this car, though, was that it featured the HICAS
(High Capacity Active Steering) all-wheel-steer system for the first time
in Skyline history. This system is still used on today’s top Skyline
versions and improves the handling of the car immensely. The most famous
of the GTS models was the GTS-R, though, which was developed especially
The 180hp in the standard model may not have been bad,
but were still short of the R30RS-X’s 205hp. This is why Nissan
introduced the R31 Skyline GTS-R in 1987 with a RB20DET engine tuned to
210hp thanks to a different turbocharger and different exhaust manifolds.
The engine tuning was supported by an improved suspension and tuning on
many other parts of the car, to give the GTS-R a more sportive character
overall. With only 200 built examples this is still a desirable car today.
The 1989 R32 was the resurrection of old Skyline virtues, in that each of
its many versions were very sportive and balanced in handling. The car
came in sedan, coupe and finally also in GT-R form and for the first time
in history, was available with rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive now.
The old engine line-up was mostly dropped, so all versions, sedans and
coupes, at least got the RB20DE engine, a normally aspirated 2.0l inline-6
with 155hp. Stronger models like the GTS-t Type M came with the RB20DET
engine, already known from the R31 GTS-R, but with an increased output of
215hp. Later versions even got the normally aspirated RB25DE engine, a
2.5l DOHC inline-6 with 180hp.
The R32 Skyline GT-R
Over a decade after the last Skyline had been dropped, a new Skyline GT-R
finally saw the light in 1989. Of course, expectations for the new
top-performer were high due to the heritage it could look back upon. But
this new version was more than worth the GT-R badge in any way. At that
time it may have seemed impossible for any car to resemble the PGC10’s
success on and off the track - that was, until the new R32 GT-R came
along, which soon earned the nickname Godzilla.
The Skyline GT-R was available only in coupe form and
featured high-tech in perfection, high-tech that in this case was used to
support the driving experience, rather than hinder it. It came with
ATTESA-ETS (Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All -
Electronic Torque Split), an electronically controlled all-wheel-drive
system that usually delivers the power to the rear- wheels, but can send
up to 50% of the torque to the front wheels. Thus even drifts are possible
with this car, which is usually very difficult with AWD. The handling was
further enhanced by Super-HICAS, an improved system of the R31 GTS-X’s
all-wheel-steering, to make this car one of the best, if not THE best
handling car in the world.
In addition, the GT-R did not only have a very good
handling behavior, but also came with one of the best production engines
of all times, the RB26DETT, a 2.6l DOHC inline-6 twin turbo with 280hp.
The RB26DETT is a pure racing engine, derived directly from Group A
racing, which was despec’ed to fit the maximum 280hp allowed by Japanese
regulations. Tuned (newer) versions of this engine, however, have been
seen to reach up to 1300hp, so check out the Tuning section of this site,
because tuning is where the Skyline really shines.
Still, the standard version makes the 0-60mph sprint in
4.8 seconds, putting it on a par with a Ferrari 355. But the GT-R was not
only a great street rocket. It was basically designed to fit Japanese
Group A racing standards. And racing is where Godzilla really shined. It
won so many races (i.e. it won every single race - 29 altogether) in Group
A that this class was abolished because nobody wanted to compete against
the Skyline anymore.
R33 GT-R Nismo 400R
The R33 series was very similar to its predecessor, the R32 series. The GT-R
was continued, as was the optional all-wheel-drive layout of the sedans
and coupes. The car was still very sporty, although it had grown a little
in size and weight and had thus become less agile. The weight disadvantage
was compensated in the engine department though, by the new normally
aspirated RB25, a 2.5l inline-6 with 190hp for the GTS-4 and GTS25
versions, and the far more powerful RB25DET, a 2.5l inline-6 turbo with an
output of 255hp, which worked in the GTS25t.
The R33 Skyline GT-R
A heavy burden lay upon the R33's back when it was introduced in 1995.
It’s predecessor had been very successful (almost unbeatable) and
anybody hardly thought the new GT-R could possibly improve on the R32’s
perform-ance. Surprisingly, the R33 GT-R was better than the old version
in almost any way, although it too had gained some weight. . It kept the
RB26DETT engine with an unchanged 280hp, but had a broader torque band
which made the engine more flexible. Also standard were improved versions
of ATTESA-ETS and Super-HICAS.
NISMO 400R and GT-R LM
NISMO stands for Nissan Motorsports and is the (you guessed it!)
Motorsports division of Nissan which was responsible for the former Group
A racing cars, as well as today’s JGTC (All Japan Grand Touring Car
Champion-ship) racing cars. Since engine power for production cars is
restricted to 280hp in Japan, having a car built by a tuning division is
the only way to get round such a regulation. And this is exactly what
Nissan did with the 400R in February 1996, a car that was produced in a
very limited number of only 99 pieces.
Nissan had been racing the Skyline in the GT 1 category
of the 24 hours endurance race of Le Mans in 1995 and 1996, so the GT-R LM
and the 400R were intended as road-going versions of these race cars. Both
got derivatives of the RB26DETT engine, the GT-R LM with 305hp and the
400R with 400hp. Unfort-unately only one GT-R LM was built to homologate
the car for racing, which is confined to a museum today. The 400R on the
other hand, got an enlarged RB26DETT engine with 2.8l of displacement, the
RBX-GT2, a twin-turbo with an astonishing 400hp at 6.800rpm.
The engine was not the only similarity with the GT-R
though, since both cars were based upon the R33 GT-R V-spec (Victory
Specification). But where the GT-R LM only got RWD (like the race-cars),
the 400R got further improved GT-R technology, like ATTESA-ETS etc.
Naturally, both car’s inner potency was resembled in their design as
well. Each one of them featured bigger wheels, wider spoilers and wheel
arches and lower suspension, to give them a look even more dramatic than
the already not so inconspicuous standard GT-R.
Autech GT-R 4-door
Autech is a subsidiary of Nissan specialized in tuning cars. The Autech GT-R
was a four-door version of the R33 GT-R, which was introduced as a limited
edition for the 40th birthday of the Nissan Skyline. The Autech version
got all of the standard GT-R’s technology, as well as the most vital
parts of its interior like bucket seats etc. So it really was a GT-R in
terms of performance - just a lot more practical. NISMO also brought up a
tuned version of the Autech GT-R, which featured the spoilers of the NISMO
400R and a 380hp engine. It is not difficult to imagine that this car was
THE attraction on its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show.
To some people the R33 series seemed a bit oversized and most of them
considered the R32 to be the best Skyline ever. So Nissan changed its
approach when the new R34 series was due. The new line-up was oriented
more towards the R32 series than towards its direct predecessor, to result
in a car that was even more sportive than the R33 series. The standard R34
is available either with all-wheel-drive or rear-wheel drive. Of the
standard versions there are five now, all of which come in coupe and sedan
form: the R34GT, powered by the RB20DE with 140hp, the R34 25GT-V with the
RB25DE engine and 193hp; the R34 25GT and 25GT-X, which get optional AWD,
and last but not least the top-of-the-line R34 25GT-t, powered by the
RB25DET with 280hp. There are no Coupe-versions for the GT-X and 25GT RWD
Of course a GT-R may not be missing. Regarding the
technology, the R34's top version is basically an evolution of the old R33
GT-R, but with a much sharper design and a truly improved chassis, making
this the best Skyline GT-R ever and, in comparison to other sports cars,
one of the fastest cars in the world: . This GT-R held the Track Record
for production cars at the Nürburgring Northloop, the most difficult
racetrack of the world, until the Porsche 996 Turbo came along, and it won
the JGTC championship in 1999.
Finally, after 3 years of speculation and various pictures of what the new
Skyline might look like, the wait is over. Fortunately, rumors stating the
Skyline would be dropped in favor of the new Z-Car were not confirmed,
since on June 18th, 2001 the all-new V35 Skyline was released. The new car
comes with two entirely new engines, the VQ25DD producing 215hp and 275Nm
from 2.5l of displacement, as well as the VQ30DD, with 260hp and 330Nm
Both engines are packed with new features like E-VTC
(Electro-magnetic variable valve timing control - similar to Toyota's
VVT-i) and Nissan's newly developed direct-fuel-injection (similar to
Mitsubishi's GDI), which are supposed to improve the new V6s' responses
and fuel-economy over the previous inline-6 RB-series. With these engines,
Nissan marks a new step of the Skyline towards the luxury-sedan segment,
since there is no entry level engine anymore.
Had previous versions been evolutions of their
respective predecessors, the new V35 now presents a cut into the Skyline's
design history as radical as the last model change from the R31 to the
R32. The V35 comes in 4 versions: GT, GT-P, GT-S and GTe, the GTe being
the least expensive. Apart from minor changes, the new model line-up
resembles the Infiniti XVL concept car, also featuring that one's Cd
figure of 0.27. After decades, the Skyline not only loses the RB-engines
now, but also its round tail-lights, which are replaced by something more
The GT-R's future can only be called undefined at this point in time. For
sure is only one thing: there will be a new GT-R!!! Unclear so far is,
what its ingredients will look like. Since the RB-engine-series has been
dropped for the standard models, the GT-R is likely to lose its famous
RB26DETT in favor of a V8 or a new V6. Considering the refinement of
ATTESA and Super-HICAS on the previous models, these systems are likely to