A Look Back at the Nissan R32 GT-R

The Nissan R32 GT-R was known as Godzilla. This early Skyline was a forbidden fruit in the United States and an incredible icon in the racing scene.

V8 counterparts couldn’t compete with this version of the Skyline. This car took its talents to the Australian Bathurst Racing Series and won every single race it entered. This winning streak earned it the Godzilla name because more powerful cars with bigger engines couldn’t match it. It’s still too bad that this car wasn’t allowed in the United States, but we can look back and admire what the R32 offered.

How much power did this Skyline produce?

This version of the Skyline brought two doors in a coupe build that made it a bit of an ordinary build. This JDM car was so light on features and options that it didn’t look like much of anything special until you got under the hood. Nissan over-engineered the engine to make it easy to pump out 600 horsepower or more with only a few modifications. Of course, the Japanese automakers’ agreement states that no cars could be rated above 280 horsepower, which was what this car was listed at.

It all started on the Japanese racing circuit

The iconic version of the Nissan R32 GT-R that became known as Godzilla was a blue racing model tuned to 986 horsepower. This Calsonic GT-R took on the Japanese Touring Car Championship and dominated the course. This amazing car won every single race it entered that season, all 29 of them. That was shortly before the car expanded its dominance to the Australian scene and did the same thing. As Godzilla did to Tokyo, this version of the Skyline destroyed everything in its path. This car also won the Bathurst 1000 in 1991 and 1992, along with the Spa 24-Hours in 1991.

This car gave us the start of Nissan’s iconic V6 engines

The over-engineered 2.6-liter twin-turbocharged inline-6 engine powering the R32 was listed at 276 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. This power plant was advanced for the time and gave way to the slew of V6 engines coming from Nissan after this model. The R32 also includes some cool features to make it a performance monster. Some of these include AWD, 4 Wheel Steering, and race-derived twin-turbos. This car was so good on the track that it consistently beat the Porsche 959 in Group A Class races.

Maybe this should have been the Ultimate Driving Machine

The Nissan R32 GT-R was powerful enough to hit 60 mph in 5.6 seconds without any tuning added to it. This car also brought a listed top speed of 156 mph, which was incredible. These numbers are impressive enough to be better than the iconic BMW E30 M3. The BMW was considered to be one of the fastest coupes in the world, but it only finished the sprint to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds. That’s a huge difference from the R32, which puts the Nissan ahead of the M3.

Maybe Nissan fudged the numbers

The agreement to keep horsepower listed below 280 was nothing more than a gentleman’s agreement among the Japanese automakers. Although the R32 was listed at a max of 276 horsepower, the V Spec II had actual power figures that were much closer to 316 horsepower. This version of the R32 could hit 60 mph in only 4.7 seconds. There were four different trims of the R32, which were Standard, Nismo, V Spec, and V Spec II. All four models used the same RB20 engine, but each one offered different power levels.

These cars only came in right-hand drive

No countries that have the steering wheel on the left side of the vehicle received any of the Nissan R32 GT-R models. All of these vehicles were made in RHD, making them perfect for Japan and a few other countries. This sports coupe offered a driver-centric layout with the dashboard leaning toward the driver. You won’t see a bunch of flash or style, just a basic sports coupe that was perfectly happy embarrassing the competition time and time again.

This particular Nissan has been resurrected with the Nismo team building spare parts and restoring the original Godzilla model. The Nissan R32 GT-R is the Skyline that stories are made of and continue to be told about a car that dominated the racing circuit on two different continents. Long live the Skyline and its iconic V6 engine.

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