Eight Cars Powered By The Mighty Nissan RB Engine

Nissan Skyline R31

Credit: Tennen-Gas

The R31 Skyline series was the first generation of cars to use the RB-series of engines. Nissan’s GTS-R R31 was the ultimate version of the car and it featured a RB20DET-R engine. Just over 800 units were produced to allow for homologation in the Group A Touring car series. The GTS-R was launched in 1987 and had a reworked version of the RB20DET engine with a much larger turbo charger, along with a number of other changes. It produced around 210bhp  and racing versions got up to well over 400hp in racing trim.

Nissan Skyline R32 

The R32 Skyline featured several versions of the RB-series engines, with the ultimate being the R32 GT-R with the RB26DETT engine. Nissan produced the R32 from 1989 to 1994 and it came in either rear-wheel drive or all wheel drive. Introduced in 1989, the R32 GT-R was designed to dominate Group A racing and to compete with the Porsche 959. As a testament to the performance of the GT-R it was banned from the Australian Group A racing series for being ‘too fast’.

Nissan Skyline R33 

Introduced in 1993, the R33 Skyline’s production lasted until 1998. Over 200,000 R33’s were produced and the RB engine was used to power them. Again the GT-R was the ultimate model of the R33 and it featured the same RB26DETT engine with a few improvements. 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.

Nissan Skyline R34 

The follow up to the R33, the R34, came in 1999 and continued the trend of using the incredible RB engine series. Production ended in 2002 with just under 65,000 units being sold. The GT-R reappeared in 1999 in the form of the R34 GT-R and it used the twin-turbo RB26DETT engine again. Like previous GT-R’s, the R34 GT-R produced more power than Nissan advertised. Nissan advertised the GT-R as only producing 276bhp, while in reality it made around 330. A 2.8-litre Z-Tune R34 GT-R was developed and that produced around 500hp. Only 20 Z-Tunes were created.

Nissan Stagea Series 1

Credit: Nissan

One of Nissan’s most interesting cars, the Stagea Series 1 featured the whole host of RB engines, including the 2.6-litre RB engine found in the R33 GT-R. It was offered in either rear wheel drive or all wheel drive and the top model produced 276hp in its 2.6-litre twin turbo from. The all wheel drive system was the same as found in the GT-R, making the Stagea one of the most exciting station wagons around.

Nissan Patrol/Safari Fourth Generation


Yes that’s right, the RB engine was not only used in Nissan’s sedan and station wagon cars, but it also made its way into the mighty Patrol (or Safari as it was known as in Japan). The fourth generation Patrol came with the option of the RB30S 3.0-litre engine. The Patrol is Nissan’s tough 4×4 car that is designed to take on the likes of the Toyota Land Cruiser and the Range Rover. Nissan produced the fourth generation from 1987 to 1997

Nissan Cefiro A31 

Credit: M.rJirapat

The four door sedan Cefiro was another car to feature the legendary RB engine. Launching in 1988, the Cefiro shared the R32 Skyline’s transmission, engine and rear suspension set up. Rear-wheel drive was the most common form of the car, but there was a four-wheel drive variant. The Cefiro was designed to take on Toyota’s Cresta and Chaser series of cars. It was also slightly more expensive than the equivalent Skyline and had many modern features that had not made their way onto other Nissan’s at the time.

Holden Commodore VL

Credit: OSX

Wait what? A Holden? Yes, that’s right, the RB engine even made its way into a Holden Commodore. Holden decided to drop a comprehensive overhaul of its vk black engine in favour of importing the RB series of engines. Originally, the car came with the 3.0-litre RB30E straight-six engine, but a 201bhp turbo version was launched six months after the cars release. A 2.0-litre RB20E engine was also fitted in Commodore’s for the New Zealand market. The only other engine option for the VL was a 5.0-litre V8 engine producing only 164bhp.

Now take a look at Car Throttle’s video “6 Awesome Cars Powered By The Legendary Nissan RB Engine


  • 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.

2 thoughts on “Eight Cars Powered By The Mighty Nissan RB Engine”

    • Good shout – we will look to add the Laurel in. Great cars. You’re not from NZ by any chance as you see a few of them on the roads here.


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