Phantom Skyline

The right way to create a legendary formula.

12w ago

As we're all well aware, the Japanese bubble economy of the 1980s-1990s created a corral of vehicles whose legends extend beyond the annals of petrolhead stardom. Cars such as the Toyota Supra, Honda NSX, and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution have all been firmly branded into automotive history, all of which being a unique, quality-driven slew of performance cars built like no other country had done before. However, one three-letter abbreviation stands above the rest, going on to become not only a performance standard, but even a movie star in its own right.

The Nissan Skyline GT-R had existed long before the 1980s, finding its roots in 1960s sports car racing as an homologation model, but the 1989 R32 Skyline GT-R would create a formula with which every GT-R, and even some of its rivals, has followed since. The straight-6 engine underneath the hood would feature twin-turbo induction which pushed power to all four wheels, being one of the first sports cars to feature AWD for performance and handling. Power ratings were stated to be 276 bhp by Nissan as per the gentleman's agreement by Japanese automakers (power ratings would later be confirmed to be closer to 320 bhp).

Thanks to its space-age technology, most other road-going sports cars of the time could barely match the performance specs of the all-new GT-R. Soon enough, it was common to see the three letters lead the board in terms of track and speed records, even lapping the famous Nurburgring Nordschliefe quicker than the Porsche 911 of the time. It was natural that Nissan would boast these incredible feats by taking the GT-R racing, with the R32 being so dominant that it was influential in the death of its touring car class all together.

The R32 GT-R started a trend that changed the way sports cars would be engineered for the foreseeable future. Multiple rivals would soon follow suit in using AWD, enhanced traction control systems, and better aero to try and match the GT-R's impressive stats, but the car that many called "Godzilla" had already ran far ahead with the crown.

The impressive feats of the R32 GT-R is why it stands above its successors as my favorite generation of the legendary brand. While the R34 and R35 GT-Rs may be technically better, faster, and more agile machines, you can't forget the genesis of the formula. Thanks to the geniuses at Ebbro for making this flawless 1/43 1989 Skyline GT-R in Gunmetal Gray, it's the ideal specimen for me to show off this amazing JDM legend.

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