Complete History Of The Nissan GT-R R34

Nissan’s R34 GT-R is one of the most iconic Japanese motor cars ever built, but did you know how many different versions of it there were? We’ve put together a list of all the versions of the car and we will give you a rundown of the history of R34 GT-R in the article below.

R34 GT-R

The basic model of the R34 GT-R is simply called the ‘R34 GT-R’. This was produced from January 1999 (when the first R34 GT-R’s rolled off the production line) to the end of production in 2002. The R34 GT-R retained the much loved RB26DETT engine from its predecessors, the R32 and the R33. Nissan painted the valve covers a cherry red as opposed to the black colour used in the R32 and R33.

Kozo Watanabe designed the R34 GT-R and it featured a similar layout to previous versions. It was a 2 door coupe with a front mounted engine, and a complex all-wheel drive system. The wheelbase was 2,665 mm and the total length was 4,600mm, with a width of 1,785 mm and a height of 1,360 mm. The total weight was around 1,500kg.

While many cars today feature a display setup, the inclusion of the multifunction display on the R34 GT-R was a rarity for cars in 1999. The 5.8-inch display could show information from oil and water temperature, to boost pressure and throttle position. Originally, the display could show a total of seven different live readings, however this changed for later models. The GT-R V·Spec model added two extra features to the display: intake and exhaust gas temperatures. Nismo displays were offered for an additional cost and included features like a G-Force meter, lap timer and an increase in the boost pressure measurement to 2 bar.

R34 GT-R V.Spec

Nissan launched the V.Spec alongside the base R34 GT-R in 1999. Compared to the standard GT-R the V.Spec had an upgraded ATTESA E-TS Pro system alongside an Active rear LSD. Stiffer suspension was also included, along with a new front splitter, side splitters and a carbon fibre air diffuser. This model stayed in production until October 2000, when it was replaced by the V.Spec II.

R34 GT-R V.Spec N1

Like the R32 and R33 before it, the R34 GT-R was given the N1 treatment. The N1 was a homologation special that was sold without air conditioning, audio equipment, the rear wiper, or the boot lining, however the ABS system remained. Nissan included a new R34 N1 engine with the car that featured N1 spec turbocharges and a N1 block. Only 38 of these were produced from the factory, with 12 of them going to Nismo for Super Taikyu racing. The rest were purchased by various garages and tuning companies.

R34 GT-R V.Spec UK

Similar to the V.Spec, the UK version was imported into the United Kingdom with a number of modifications made by Middlehurst Motorsport. All up 80 of these UK edition GT-R’s were produced, with all of them receiving 3 additional oil coolers, a revised ECU map, full Connolly leather interior, underbody diffusers, an active rear limited slip differential, stiffer suspension. Additionally, extra features were added to the multifunction display. Nissan also produced an additional 10 cars for the Hong Kong and Singapore market, and New Zealand received 5 models.

R34 GT-R V.Spec II

Replacing the V.Spec in October 2000, the V.Spec II featured a number of minor changes. Bigger rear brake rotors were included, along with even stiffer suspension, and a new carbon fibre bonnet equipped with a NACA duct. On the inside the V.Spec II featured an iridium centre console and aluminium pedals. Black cloth was used for the upholstery, rather than the grey used in previous versions. The base GT-R also received these changes except for the carbon fibre bonnet.

R34 GT-R V.Spec II N1

The same changes made to the V-Spec II were also made to the V.Spec II N1. Weight saving was a priority for the V.Spec II N1. The paint was substantially thinner than the standard car and you could see the woven strands of metal under the paintwork. Only 18 of these were produced and like the earlier N1, most of them went to tuner shops and garages, making it one of the rarest Japanese cars produced.

R34 GT-R M-Spec

2001 saw the release of the M.Spec, which was essentially the luxury version of the R34 GT-R range. It was based on the V.Spec II, but had a revised suspension setup, “Ripple control” dampers, a leather interior with heated seats and a stiffer rear sway bar. The ‘M’ in the name stood for Mizuno who was the chief engineer of Nissan. The Carbon fibre bonnet was also removed and replaced with the standard aluminium one.

R34 GTR V.Spec II nür & R34 GTR M-Spec nür

These two cars were designed to be the finale to the R34 GT-R range. They were released in February 2002 and were named after the famous German Nürburgring racetrack, where the Skyline was developed. In total 1003 R34 GT-R Nürs were produed, 718were V·Spec II Nürs and 285 were M·Spec Nürs.

Both of these cars received the N1 version of the RB26DETT, which featured larger turbos running increased boost. Despite Nissan stating the power was 276hp, these cars produced around 330hp and tuners managed to squeeze 450hp out of the engine with stock components. Other changes included changing the Cam cover from Cherry red to Millennium Jade, the stitching on the interior changed colour and the speedo was changed for a 300km/h unit.

R34 GT-R Z-Tune

Nismo originally designed the concept of the Z-Tune in 2002, when Nissan was putting an end to the R34’s production. The first Z-Tune rolled out the factory in 2003 and Nismo was given approval to make another 18.

The cars were built with a concept RB26DETT ‘Z1’ engin, which was based on Nissan’s Le Mans GT2 and GT500 racing experiences. This came with a strengthened block and stroked crankshaft. Additionally, the engine displacement was increased to 2.8-litres and upgraded turbochargers were fitted, which gave the Z-Tune around 500HP. With all the extra power, the Z-Tune GT-R could go from 0-100km/h in 3.8 seconds and had a top speed of 327km/h (203mph).

Nismo stripped and resprayed the used V Spec GT-R’s to a “Z-Tune Silver”, which was a special colour that was exclusive to the Z-Tune. The bodywork was based off Nismo’s GT500 racing cars and was designed to be more functional. The changes to the bodywork included the bumpers, bonnet, engine bay vents, wider wheel arches for increased tyre size and more. Brembo designed a completely new brake system for the Z-Tune and the suspension system was upgraded for more aggressive driving by Sachs.

All of the Z-Tune GT-R’s were handmade and were re-built from the chassis up. Engineers reinforced and stiffened the chassis seam welding in key areas such as the door seams and door frames. Carbon fibre was also extensively used in places like the engine bay, strut towers and transmission tunnel. As many of the components for the Z-Tune were based off racing gear, Nismo had to redesign many of them to work at maximum efficiency and reliability as is expected of a road-going vehicle.

Production figures

  • GT-R (Series 1) = 2,709
  • V·Spec = 4,193
  • V·Spec N1 = 38
  • V·Spec UK = 80
  • V·Spec Hong Kong = 10
  • V·Spec New Zealand = 5
  • V·Spec Singapore = 10
  • Unknown (Series 1) = 20 (pre-production cars including GT-R (Series 1), V·Spec and V·Spec N1).
  • GT-R (Series 2) = 1,268
  • V·Spec II = 1,855
  • V·Spec II Nür = 718
  • V·Spec II N1 = 18
  • V·Spec II New Zealand = 2
  • M·Spec = 366
  • M·Spec Nür = 285
  • NISMO Z-Tune = 19 Note: The Z-tune were built on used cars, which is why that number can not be added to the total figure below.
  • Total = 11,577

Successor

The end of the R34 GT-R’s production saw the splitting of the Skyline and GT-R names. Though being based on the same platform of the Skyline, the R35 GT-R is simple known as the Nissan GT-R. The R35 GT-R made its debut in 2007 in Tokyo and was released to consumers in 2008. It was the first GT-R available worldwide and replaced the RB engine with a new series.

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