The Misunderstood Godzilla: Nissan GT-R R33
Created to carry on the legend of the mighty R32 GTR. Nissan took note on what made the R32 great to create the R33. The successor retains the twin turbo RB26 engine from the R32 rated at “276hp.” Note the parenthesis as it was the advertised horsepower to comply with the “gentleman’s agreement” to prevent a horsepower war between Japan’s major automakers. Power was put to the ground through the same sophisticated ATTESA all wheel drive system with rear wheel steering
However, the R33 wasn’t best known for these specs, it was known for something less cheerful, it was known to be the GTR that people loves to hate.
I have to confess, I too was one among many that have the same view on the R33. I too thought it was a disappointment, a let down that could never live up to the original Godzilla for one lousy reason: The R33 has a completely new body which is wider, taller, and heavier. Make that 221 pounds heavier than the R32 which made me believe it had become a lazy car. Also the mechanical stuff that Nissan carried over from the R32 made people thought wasn’t enough to warrant the R33 as a proper successor which in the past I agreed.
The reasons to hate on the R33 is rather unjustified. Around this time, Nissan and other Japanese automakers begin to seriously focus on going up against European’s best specifically the Porsche 911 Turbo from the Germans that balance performance with everyday usability. Nissan engineered the R33 to be more refined by making it more spacious and improved overall structural rigidity from its predecessor for better handling. Which caused the weight gain in the overall car, but even so, the R33 can’t be called fat since the GTR generations that came afterward all have weight penalties with the current R35 the heaviest at 3,933 lbs and see no faze in defeating the competition.
Further work was done to the chassis with suspension that is now stiffer and lower. The running gears may have been carried over from the R32, but Nissan didn’t leave it alone. The ATTESA all wheel drive system was reprogrammed to be more engaging to drive, the engine is tuned to stay in higher RPM compared to the R32. High tech was implemented such as adjustable rear spoiler with spoiler blade angle be adjusted via screws on each side whether for attending a twisty track day at Fuji Speedway or for a high speed run on the Wangan highway. With all the new improvements, it became the first production car to break the 8 min barrier around the treacherous and Porsche’s home turf Nurburgring Nordschleife.
Some even say the R33 is ugly and that’s not true either. If I may dare say this, in some angles, the R33 looks better than the R32. The R32 looks more chiseled where as the R33 is curvier at that same time reminisce the old from the profile.
Overall, the R33 is still a proper GTR and doesn’t deserve the hate. I’m proud to admit I’m wrong about it for all these years.