End for Nissan GT-R in Europe: The Last Howler of Godzilla

No Far Eastern super sports car aroused such emotions over decades as the brutally powerful Nissan GT-R.

End for Nissan GT-R in Europe: The Last Howler of Godzilla

No Far Eastern super sports car aroused such emotions over decades as the brutally powerful Nissan GT-R. The beast stands for driving pleasure, performance and a soundscape that gives you goosebumps. Exactly this beastly roar is no longer suffered in Europe, which is why Godzilla says goodbye.

With iconic coupe contours, a V6 twin turbo that releases up to 600 hp and rear-biased all-wheel drive for drift world records, the Nissan GT-R is by far the most spectacular Japanese supercar. A furiously fast, legendary reliable Samurai in the performance league of Ferrari and Lamborghini that has been sold in significant numbers worldwide. Nevertheless, the powerful "Godzilla", as fans call the Nissan GT-R after the notorious movie monster, will now say goodbye to Europe: New EU noise regulations show no mercy with the spine-tingling roar of the revving V6. With the end of the GT-R, Nissan Europe completes a model policy realignment that no longer knows any place for sporty combustion engines. The latest generation of the emotional Z sports car is therefore not sold in this country. It was once the sharp versions of the Skyline that made Nissan headlines as the first Japanese brand in Europe 65 years ago.

What's more, the Skyline, which is successful on the road and on the track, is the gene donor for the GT-R and thus the most traditional athlete from the Far East. Far earlier than Toyota 2000GT or Mazda Cosmo Sport, for example, a Skyline 2000 GT sedan wrote sports history when it temporarily snatched the lead from a Porsche 904 at the 1964 Grand Prix of Japan. This made the name Skyline a myth in Asia, from which the first GT-R emerged in 1968.

But why did Skyline, GT-R and with it Nissan already venture their first export ambitions to Europe when other Japanese manufacturers were still limited to their home market or at most their first branches in America? A flashback to the economic boom year of 1957, which declared Europe to be the epicenter of forward-looking technical developments, provides an explanation. Italian and French car designers determined global fashion trends, European small cars even outperformed US road cruisers and sports cars made in England, Maranello or Stuttgart were regarded as references for rapid lap times. An automotive newcomer who made it in Europe at the time could achieve success everywhere. And so the young Japanese premium brand Prince, which soon merged with Nissan, risked a surprise coup at the Paris Motor Show in 1957: Their athletic Skyline sedan immediately snubbed the league faster Alfa Giulietta and Borgward Isabella.

Five years later, the Skyline finally showed European sports car manufacturers that not only temples, zen and manga come from Nippon. Star designer Giovanni Michelotti had tailored a dynamic coupé body for the Skyline, and the four-door GT of the S50 series got ready to give Porsche and Co contra. The "Yellow Peril" conjured up by the media at the time was not embodied by the first Japanese presented in Europe due to the lack of a sales network.

But they were the ancestors of the most fascinating Asian super sports car to date, the Nissan GT-R, which has been lovingly handcrafted since 2007 and storms to 100 km/h in 2.8 seconds. Even during the corona and semiconductor crisis, this rival of Lamborghini Huracán, Audi R8 or Ferrari Roma found around 1,500 buyers a year who paid a good 110,000 euros for the Gran Turismo.

Just under half the price of the competitors, on the other hand, the GT-R could also be really expensive, for example as a slightly sharpened Nismo for 220,000 euros or as a small series GT-R50 by Italdesign, which positioned itself in the class of euro price millionaires in 2018. Thanks to racing technology, the Godzilla edition realized with Italdesign released 720 hp - half a century of GT-R could hardly be celebrated more fiercely.

There is still more, said Nismo and tuner GReddy Trust, who together put a shovel on it for a typical Japanese speed world record: 1399 hp made their GT-R 305 km / h fast - across in drift mode. Nobody dreamed of such lateral acceleration escapades in 1968, back when the letter code GT-R first identified a Skyline sedan. Respectfully dubbed Hakosuka ("box") by its rivals, this angular Nissan raked in 33 racetrack trophies in its first 18 months.

A number that increased to over 100 national sporting triumphs and many hundreds of podium finishes by 1972. While in Europe tuners like AMG or Alpina made Mercedes and BMW faster for the road and track, Nippon Nissan's horsepower magicians succeeded in transforming everyday limousines into wild racing beasts. In 1968, the high-performance version Skyline 2000 GT-R (PGC10) elicited 160 hp from a 2.0-liter straight-six, more power than the Porsche 911 T or the Toyota 2000GT.

The three letters GT-R have become synonymous with luxurious limousines that trump light sports coupés. This fastest variant of the Nissan Skyline was not a classic highway racer - even if GT-Rs have been favorites in console games since the 1990s - but always in search of the thrill of tight curve radii. Since 1969, the Nissan market researchers have left the task of the two-door pulse accelerator to the 240 Z Fairlady, which at times rose to become the world's best-selling sports car. This distribution of roles meant that Nissan also launched a GT-R specification from the 1972 presented Skyline generation (type C110), which in Germany briefly competed as a commodiously equipped 240 K-GT against the brisk Ford Granada or BMW 5 Series. The GT-R, on the other hand, was reserved for Japan, but had to pause there after the energy crisis of 1973/74.

The third generation of the Skyline GT-R (R32) followed in 1989 and although still only built as a right-hand drive for Japan, fans now brought the bolide, which had been strengthened to 280 hp, to America and Europe. This was matched by triumphant performances by the GT-R at Spa and at the Nürburgring, alongside a winning streak of 29 victories in the Japanese Touring Car Championship. At Le Mans in 1995, two R33 series GT-Rs competed against what was then the world's fastest car, the McLaren F1, and both Nissans impressed with their reliability. But there was more to scratch Western supercar dominance.

According to Nissan, the GT-R (R34) that followed in 1999 resembled a samurai warrior in outfit, and two years later Nissan showed the bold GT-R study as the first harbinger of the coupe that followed in 2007. Detached from the Skyline volume models, the GT-R have since been built individually using Japanese craftsmanship. Each engineer personally signs the machine he has assembled and thus vouches for the quality of the product with his name. An effort that not only connoisseurs appreciate, after all it resembles the love with which Bugatti, which are 35 times more expensive, are assembled in Molsheim. Connoisseurs will therefore certainly continue to find ways and means to bring Godzilla to Europe despite official import bans.


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