Although there was nary a whisper in Australia (we had the Anzac day holiday on our collective minds) the guys and gals at Nissan in Japan were swilling Sake and singing their favourite Karaoke tunes in celebration of the Skyline turning 50.
R32 Skyline was the start of the AWD Turbo-charged GTR legend. The R32 was victorious in the Australian touring car championship and at Bathurst. It was on Australian racetracks that it earned the nickname Godzilla.
The very first Prince (Now Nissan) Skyline sedan was launched on April 24 1957. Since then the world has seen the Skyline progress through to the current V36 model range.
The average Skyline has always been a fairly good thing but there was one evolution of the standard Skyline that really set the pulse racing for car enthusiasts. The Skyline GTR. Inparticular the R32, R33 and R34 models that were powered by the now legendary RB26DETT twin turbo-charged straight six engine. It was this engine that saw the Skyline GTR dominate motorsport both in Japan and in Australia for the brief time it was allowed to compete.
The R33 Skyline GTR was a little bigger and heavier but also more comfortable and performance was only fractionally behind the R32. Allround a nicer drive and probably faster for it in the real world on real roads
Forget the WRX and the EVO, the GTR was the real deal when it came to AWD turbo performance and it was truly worthy of being called a supercar. Its reputation on the racetrack was admired while its reputation on the street and within the tuning scene was envied.
The last of the R34 GTR's rolled off the production line in the second half of 2002 and performance car enthusiasts have been waiting ever since. First for confirmation that a new generation GTR would get the green light from Nissan's new owners Renault and then to see how it looks and more importantly how it goes.
The R34 Skyline GTR was the last of the RB26DETT powered cars and the best. Weight was down and performance was slightly improved. Production ceased in the second half of 2002 and 'GTR-files' have been left to wait and ponder...
Confirmation that the next generation 2008 Skyline GTR is on the way is recent history now. We can expect to see the production version introduced to the world at the Toyko Motor Show in October. What a fitting way to round out the Skyline's 50th Anniversary year. I suspect even I will be singing and drinking Sake in October and why not.
See a video here of the 2008 Skyline GTR