Here’s Every Generation of the Infamous Nissan GT-R!

C10 GT-R (Hakosuka)

Nissan’s first GT-R appeared in February 1969 and was labelled as the Hakosuka by car enthusiasts. Hako (ハコ) means Box in Japanese, and suka(スカ) is short for Skyline (スカイライン; Sukairain). The C10 GT-R used a 2.0-litre S20 I6 engine which produced 160bhp and 180Nm of torque.

Originally, Nissan produced the GT-R as a sedan, however a two-door coupe variant was introduced in March 1971. Weight was reduced by removing any unnecessary equipment, which meant that the GT-R performed excellently on the track. The sedan amassed 33 victories in less than two years, and the coupe increased this to 50 through 1972.

The C10 GT-R’s main rivals consisted of the likes of the Mazda Familia (RX100), the Isuzu Bellett GTR and the Toyota Corona 1600GT. However, the GT-R’s main rival was the Mazda RX-3 which ultimately ended the GT-R’s impressive winning streak.

C110 GT-R

Nissan’s next GT-R came in the form of the C110 GT-R. It was based on the C110 generation of Skylines and was launched in September 1972. Incredibly, production only lasted until March 1973 with a total of 197 GT-R’s being sold in Japan. The C110 GT-R’s short life was linked to the 1973 oil crisis, which saw many people purchasing more fuel efficient motor cars compared to gas-guzzling performance cars.

Like the previous GT-R, the C110 GT-R featured a 2.0-litre S20 I6 engine that produced 160bhp and 180Nm. Unlike the C10, the C110 did not compete in motor racing for Nissan. This was another nail in the C110 GT-R’s coffin.

The C110 GT-R was the last GT-R for 16 years before the R32 made its mighty entrance in 1989.

R32 GT-R

The R32 GT-R might not have started the GT-R namesake but it was the first modern all-wheel-drive variant. Nissan canned the GT-R name in 1973, but brought it back when they needed a new car for Group A racing homologation rules.

The R32 GT-R was a wildly different beast to the previous GT-R. It featured a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system, a powerful 2.6-litre twin-turbo engine that produced 276 hp, and a weight of just over 1,400kg.

A Nismo edition was launched in 1990 with a total production run of 560. This featured some aerodynamic changes, removal of the ABS system, and weight saving. It was also only available in a gun metal grey colour.

The R32 GT-R was branded with the Godzilla name when it dominated the Australian motoring scene. The car was so dominant in Australia it tore apart Group A racing in the country and got itself banned in the process.

R33 GT-R

While the R32 GT-R was a success it wasn’t without its faults. It suffered from uplift and balance issues and Nissan had to comply with strict max power output levels that the Japanese government had enforced.

This ultimately led to the R33 GT-R which was 1 inch wider and 4 inches longer than its predecessor. Nissan tackled the aerodynamic problem head-on by making wider gaps in the front bumper and giving the R33 angles that would channel air. Additionally, Nissan improved the weight balance of the car and made it more rigid. This gave the R33 GT-R significantly improved handling compared to many of its competitors.

Like the R32, the R33 GT-R featured the same RB26DETT engine, however torque was improved due to changes to the turbocharger. The power output was advertised at 276bhp, however the real output was about 300bhp with 375 Nm.

A limited edition model, called the Nismo 400R was created in 1996. The Nismo 400R featured a road going version of Nissan’s engine for Le Man’s, which produced 400hp.

While the R33 might not be as famous as the R32 and R34, it is still an absolute masterpiece of engineering.

R34 GT-R

While the latest R35 GT-R is undoubtedly a more capable machine than the R34 and its AWD system is certainly a cut above the previous model, we feel the R34 is the definition of what the GT-R is all about.

Nissan’s R34 GT-R is regarded as one of the most iconic Japanese cars of all time, along with the Toyota Supra, Honda NSX and Mazda RX-7. The R34 GTR was a late comer to the nineties, launching in 1999 and finishing production in 2002. As one of the most loved Japanese cars of all time, the R34 certainly has a lot to live up to, and it delivers that in spades.

With a Twin-turbocharged 2.6 L I6 engine and a 6-speed transmission, the R34 was bound to be fast. Due to Japanese car industry norms at the time, the R34 was advertised as having 276 hp but in reality it had well over 330 hp. Not only was it a powerful car from the factory, when tuners got their hands on these they produced some real screamers, with some reaching 1000 hp.

The Nismo Z-Tune was the ultimate evolution of the R34 and it came with a 2.8-litre six-cylinder engine with a few changes. A new intake plenum and stroked crankshaft were included. There were also IHI turbochargers, a stregthened block, forged pistons, a carbon-fibre driveshaft, an improved cooling system, as well as high-flow fuel injectors and a more powerful injection pump. All this added together meant the Z-Tune delivered nearly 500 hp and a torque figure of 540Nm.

The R34 GT-R has become somewhat of an icon and some models are now fetching supercar territory prices. A famous example of this was a Z-Tune GT-R up for sale in Hong Kong for an eye watering $510,000.

R35 GT-R

The latest Nissan GT-R made its debut in 2007, however it was no longer part of the Skyline range. Nissan replaced the straight-6 RB26DETT engine with a new V6 VR38DETT power unit. Additionally, the HICAS four-wheel-steering system was removed and the all-wheel-drive system was updated.

The new power unit produced an impressive 478bhp and 588Nm, however many third party testers found that the R35 GT-R produced more power than what was stated by Nissan. The VR engine was mated to a dual clutch semi-automatic transmission built by Aichi Machine Industry. Power was increased to 523bhp and 612 Nm in 2010 and to 545bhp and 628Nm in 2012.

Like GT-R’s before it the R35 GT-R was given the NISMO treatment. A NISMO Edition GT-R was introduced in 2015 which had a number of improvements over the standard model. Power was now 591bhp and a special NISMO aero kit was fitted. The car was also strengthened and stiffened.

The GT-R set the standard for modern performance cars when it launched in 2007 and the 10-year-old design can still keep up with many modern cars today. 0-100km/h is done and dusted in 2.7 seconds and the GT-R can hit just shy of 200mph. The car is also one of the fastest in the world around the famed Nurburgring with a lap time of 7 minutes and 18 seconds.

Nissan’s R35 GT-R may be getting a bit long in the tooth now, but It can still keep up with the younger generation of performance cars. We eagerly await the next iteration of the Nissan GT-R. Tell us what you think of the 2020 concept below!


  • Ben

    From his early days playing the original Gran Turismo and with his Hot Wheels car set, Ben has had a long interest in all things automotive. His first foray into the world of automotive journalism was way back in 2009 and since then he has only grown more interested in the industry. Ben also runs and heads up the video production side of Garage Dreams, focusing on small informative documentaries about some of the world's most legendary cars.

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