Seriously! What Is It About Skylines?
Something about tuna with no crusts? I don't like tuna.
First lets clear up what exactly a skyline is. In general a fair chunk of people assume skylines are 4 cars called GT-Rs; An R32, 33, 34. However these are just 4 of the many GT-R models - there are various versions, including the Tommykaira, HKS, V-spec & Nismo tuned variants, and there are also salon, estate versions of each iteration too. Not to mention the more famous Hakosuka and its less famous datsun variants and the fact it comes from the C10 family.
Did you know there are "estate" versions of the almost every skyline? Lets not forget the striking R30's and the C110 models. The C210 more famously known as the variant used for the Japanese patrol cars in the 80s. There are 100's of variations.
The original GT-Rs used the same platform, chassis as the regular Nissan Skyline coupe. The current GT-R better known as the R35, however, uses a different and unique platform that is very different from the Skyline/V35/G37 (sold under infinity), as well as unique bodywork. So to sum up the R35 GT-R is not a skyline. Stop calling it one. Now that's of my chest.
Why, then, do car lovers seem to love old ass Datsun's? I for one love all the variants of skylines. But why?
It started with a game
For me it was Gran Turismo 4. I stumbled across the R33 GT-R. I thought it was very cool, even now I love the look of the R33. Unfortunately people don't like it. The biggest issue was its far softer suspension setup which was designed for comfort but it meant the car had very serious understeer when hitting a corner hard. Where as the R32 and the later R34 didn't do this. Despite this, having driven a 33 & 32 (was a modified GTST with an RB26), Id say the r33 is more stable and rigid, this may have been down to the fact the 33 was a GT-R and the 32 wasn't. While both GT-R models came with the RB26DETT, the R33 is more powerful. Also in my opinion prettier.
Photo by Aachal - https://unsplash.com/@vrchh
My love for these old Nissans transpired into an uncontrollable addiction, I discovered more and more iterations of the skyline. I think the sixth generation R30 is a fantastically striking looking car. The 4th generation Skyline the 2000 GTX-E is gorgeous and synonymous among JDM aficionados for being the last GT-R for nearly 16 years until the release of the R32 in the late 80s and the car replaced the 2000GT-X GT-R, or better known as the Hakosuka.
Of course for most of us we could probably pin point the moment the name "skyline" became the name for one car. That, in no small part, was down to the "fast & furious" movies probably the second one more notably. Anyone who saw an R34 GT-R new exactly what it was.
Id say that was when "MOST" people discovered this car. While its been around for along time in pop culture such as Initial D, Wangan Midnight and the forza and need for speed games. The second fast movie shoved it in everyone's faces. I mean did anyone even notice the bright yellow R33 in the first movie Leon drove?
Despite this a lot of people view the "skyline" as the R34. They forget about the R33, a monster that was the first production car to break the 8-minuite barrier at the Nürburgring. The average person doesn't know or care about the rich history the skylines had, spanning Motorsports where it utterly dominated! 50 victories scored between 1968 - 1972 with 49 consecutive wins in Japanese race circuits. The JTCC was dominated by the R32 GT-R, the nicknamed Godzilla was cemented by the R32. The 1990 Gran Prix GTCR the car was driven by Masahiro Hasemi and led the race from start to finish. Which led to some upset entrants demanding weight penalties to slow it down.
Why you should care about the Skylines.
Photo by Domiflicks - https://unsplash.com/@domiflicks
You should care because for almost 40 years the Japanese manufacture Nissan churned out some of the best drivers cars you could get. The R32 used a complex electro-hydraulic clutch that split torque between front and rear. That's Porsche 959 magic. The R32 could keep up with big Fords and Holdens. A tiny 2.6L was nocking the lights out of Big V8 6L engines.
The R34 Held the track record for production cars at Nordschleife until the 996 turbo took it. That's right a Porsche had to beat a time set by a manufacture that make a Micra.
The R30 never had a GT-R version but the 2000RS was just as good. It got the attention of various sports teams. It was light, excellent handling and massively in demand. They made 3800 units in 6 months. Eventually they brought out the Turbo 2000RS It had a 190hp thanks to its FJ20ET a engine that immortalized itself in Japanese history as being the most potent at the time. The R30 was the foundation the R31 Was built on, and that was the first car to have the groundworks for the future. It was the first model to have the four-wheel-drive system, The same design that was put into the R32/R33 and R34s
The GTS-R had a RB20DET, Producing 210Bhp thanks to its turbo-compressor, new exhaust system and the compressed air cooler.
There are plenty of salon versions of the car to. I have no issue with any of the versions. Just because it doesn't have an RB26DETT doesn't mean I don't still love the car. The car doesn't produce 1000HP as stock, dear 5 year olds. It was just a fantastic fun selection of cars.
Nissan has since parted with the skyline name. I think they try and brush under the carpet the fact that the V35 or the infiniti G35 existed and that it also bore the skyline name. Was more of a family car.
Maybe Its best we just remember the line of fantastic cars they produced for almost 40 years that bore the skyline name.
Maybe that's what draws me to them. They are these striking cars that really punched above their weight, and just became and deserve to be legendary. Cars that etched their names into history, as being some of the most ferocious cars you could get your hands on. If you lived anywhere but America.
- If you read this thank you. I'm a big petrol head and I love cars ever since I was a child, I've been trying this writing thing out for a while on various different platforms and really enjoy it. Cars are my passion and I love that I'm able to talk about them on here.