Hear its roar and feel its fire. The Nissan GT-R, otherwise known as “Godzilla”, is a bit of Japanese legend. For over 40 years, this one-of-a-kind, all-wheel drive, twin-turbo-charged monster, could not be found in the United States. 

With a high-tech body and unrivaled performance in the coupe realm, it was no wonder why so many wanted to get their hands on this beast of an automobile. Just what is it that makes the Nissan GT-R so sought after? Let’s hop in for a test drive and find out.

The History of the Nissan GT-R

The Nissan GT-R came into fruition just three years after Nissan took over the Prince Motor Company in 1966. It came just a while after the Skyline sedan, which was a product of the Prince company in 1957. This is the reason it was dubbed the Nissan Skyline GT-R.

With a detuned version of the famed R380 engine, the first GT-R was built to compete in the JAF Grand Prix. It eventually did, taking first place and bringing the Nissan brand to the top of the motorsports game where it would be for many generations.

Technology and Innovations of the Nissan GT-R – Godzilla Incarnate

Old Nissan GT-R 2

The 2019 sixth-generation Nissan GT-R comes complete with all-wheel drive and 565 standard horsepower. It comes available in two versions: pure and premium. The pure version has a 3.8-liter DOHC 24-valve twin-turbocharged engine, while the premium version adds a lightweight, titanium exhaust on top.

The inside is complete with handcrafted leather, precision-touch air vents, mesh-gear design gauges, and Nissan Intelligent Mobility. On the exterior, drivers have an aerodynamic body with forged aluminum wheels, multi-LED lights, and an extended rear fascia. 

A Timeline of the Nissan GT-R

  • Nissan GT-R – First Generation (1969-1972)
Old Red Nissan GT-R

The first generation GT-R launched after the Tokyo Motor Show debut in 1968, complete with an S-20 dual-overhead cam 2.0L in-line six-cylinder engine. It ran with 160 hp and had a top speed of 124 mph. This car was the first of its kind to win the JAF Grand Prix. In 1971, Nissan released a coupe version.

  • Nissan GT-R – Second Generation (1973)
Old Gray Nissan GT-R

The second generation GT-R came as a coupe with only 197 of them made in 1973. This was thanks to the oil crisis in the mid ‘70s. They were only available in 5-speed manual with the same S20 in-line six-cylinder engines that the first generation was made with. The body was now more of a rounded, coupe-style body.

  • Nissan GT-R – Third Generation (1989-1994)
Old Nissan GT-R

Finally, after 16 years since the last GT-R, Nissan returned with the new R32 iteration. This model came with the ATTESA all-wheel-drive system, multi-link suspension, and all-wheel steering. The 2.6L turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine had a 0-60 time of 5.6 seconds, providing drivers with 276 horsepower.

  • Nissan GT-R – Fourth Generation (1995-1998)
Blue Nissan GT-R

The fourth generation GT-R was known as the R33. It came complete with the same R32 engine, though the overall torque was increased and the 0-60 time decreased to 5 seconds flat. They also released an R400 model, which had bigger turbos that provided 395 horsepower, enough to run from 0-60 in 4 seconds flat. The “Godzilla” nickname came to be, as these cars were winning Australian races left and right. 

Nissan also came out with a sporty V.Spec model that had a limited-slip rear differential and much firmer suspension.

  • Nissan GT-R – Fifth Generation (1999-2002)
Red Nissan GT-R

The fifth generation GT-R had some upgrades in the torque department, as well as Getrag 6-speed manual, which was swapped out from the 5-speed. The car was far more aerodynamic with the addition of the carbon fiber rear diffuser, and the body was much stiffer and shorter.

  • Nissan GT-R – Sixth Generation (2008-Present)

The Nissan GT-R R35 was the first generation to get rid of “Skyline” in the name. It came complete with a 3.8L twin-turbocharged engine V-6 engine, providing drivers with 480 hp. The 6-speed manual was swapped out for 6-speed dual-clutch and the overall performance was increased. 

Over the years, the R35 has seen performance upgrades that now peg it at 565 hp with 193 mph top speeds.

The Nissan GT-R In the News

Josh Burdon, an Australian racer, just recently walked away from a massive crash behind the wheel of a Nissan GT-R during the Australian Nurburgring 24 Run. The crash happened during hour 7 of the race when a driver in a Porsche Cayman S slammed into the rear end of the GT-R, sending them both flying through the air. Both drivers left unharmed.

Celebrity Endorsements of the Nissan GT-R

The 1999 R34 GT-R was first seen by many Americans in the Fast and the Furious Movies.

There are many Nissan GT-R celebrity owners, including Robert Downey Jr., Usain Bolt (who owns three of them), and of course, famed car collector Jay Leno.

Best Nissan GT-R Groups

NAGTROC is one of the most famous GT-R clubs on the Internet, with a variety of forums and ownership boards. GTR Owners Club is another great membership-based club with a forum-style website, GTR-related news, and events.

The Nissan GT-R – A Japanese Super Performer 

With over three decades and six generations of GT-Rs in the world, as well as an incredible performance value with each iteration, this Nissan model is one of the top-rated supercars of all time. From movies, to video games, to race tracks, to celebrities, to the streets, it is one of those cars that can be found just about anywhere. 

With a seventh generation in the words, it can be assumed that the legacy will live on.