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Car and Driver: Godzilla Invades NYC: Vintage Nissan Skyline GT-Rs at NYIAS

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To celebrate this legacy and honor the the latest round of improvements to the current R35 GT-R,  Nissan brought some of the most significant GT-R models to the 2016 New York auto show. If you’re thinking that in so doing Nissan may have upstaged many of the new-car debuts of other manufacturers, you’re right.  Read on and make sure to click through the gallery to take in all the GT-R hotness you can handle.

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While the Nissan S54 Skyline 2000GT was arguably the maker’s first attempt at building a performance vehicle, it was the 1969 arrival of the Skyline 2000GT-R that let the world know it was serious. Legendary almost from the start, the GT-R name has become synonymous with Nissan performance.

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1969 Nissan Skyline 2000GT-R (PGC10)
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Based on the freshly minted C10 Skyline, the 1969 Skyline 2000GT-R made its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in the fall of 1968. Initially introduced as a four-door sedan (Type PGC10), it was the legendary S20 2.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine under the hood that excited. Featuring dual overhead camshafts, a cross-flow head with four valves per cylinder, hemispherical combustion chambers, and a trio of dual-throat Mikuni-Solex side-draft carburetors, it incorporated almost every known horsepower trick of the era to churn up 158 horsepower and 137 lb-ft of torque. While it can’t compare horsepower-wise to the numbers being produced by the American V-8s of the era, the S20 did more with less, a philosophy that Japanese makers would practice for decades. The two-door coupe version (KPGC10) of the GT-R arrived in October of 1970, capping GT-R sedan production at 832 examples. Renowned for its ability to hit 124 mph and run a 16.1-second quarter-mile, the 2000GT-R marked the beginning of a long and passionate affair between Nissan and performance fans.

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Dimensions: Length: 173 in; Width: 63.3 in; Height: 54.5 in; Wheelbase: 104 in; Curb Weight: 2469 lbs

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Engine Type: Naturally aspirated, dual overhead cam, 24-valve inline-six, carbureted

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Displacement: 1989cc

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Power: 150 hp @ 7000 rpm

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Torque: 130 lb-ft at 5600 rpm

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1973 Nissan Skyline 2000GT-R (BCNR33)

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Although the fourth-generation Skyline C110 (nicknamed “Kenmeri,” or “Ken and Mary,” for a successful Japanese advertising campaign featuring characters so named) launched in 1972, its GT-R variant wouldn’t arrive for another year. One of the first Japanese cars to feature four-wheel disc brakes, the second-gen 2000GT-R saw the return of the S20 inline-six with an additional eight horsepower. Sadly, rapidly changing emission laws in Japan brought production to an end after only 197 units had been produced. At the time, most enthusiasts considered it the end of the line for the GT-R name.

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Dimensions: Length: 175.5 in; Width: 66.8 in; Height: 54.3 in; Wheelbase: 102.8 in; Curb Weight: 2524 lbs

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Engine Type: Naturally aspirated, dual overhead cam, 24-valve inline-six, carbureted

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Displacement: 1989cc

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Power: 158 hp @ 7000 rpm

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Torque: 130 lb-ft at 5600 rpm

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1989 Nissan Skyline GT-R (BNR32)

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In August of the 1989, after a sixteen-year absence from the Nissan lineup, the GT-R nameplate made its triumphant return. Based on the then-current R32 Skyline, the new GT-R retained the trademark straight-six engine layout, but it was an entirely new design known internally as RB26DETT. Displacing 2.6 liters and packing an additional 118 horsepower and exactly twice the torque, it featured fuel-injection for the first time in a GT-R. Impressive, but the real news was the electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system, which featured Nissan’s Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All-Terrain with Electronic Torque Split (ATTESA E-TS). The BNR32 GT-R also holds the honor of not losing a single race in the All Japan Championships.

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Dimensions: Length: 179 in; Width: 69 in; Height: 52.8 in; Wheelbase: 103.0 in; Curb Weight: 3152 lbs

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Engine Type: Naturally aspirated, dual overhead cam, 24-valve inline-six, fuel-injected

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Displacement: 2568cc

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Power: 276 hp @ 6800 rpm

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Torque: 260 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm

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1995 Nissan Skyline GT-R (BCNR33)

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Although first displayed at the 1993 Tokyo auto show alongside the new Skyline, the GT-R version didn’t go on sale until January of 1995. Essentially an evolution of the previous-gen R32 car, it was larger and heavier, but also faster. Dramatically improved body stiffness and weight distribution teamed with an updated four-wheel-drive system (dubbed ATTESA E-TS PRO) that incorporated an active limited-slip rear differential. Horsepower was unchanged, but Nissan managed to extract an additional 11 lb-ft from the inline six. Skeptics who felt the car was simply a mild makeover were silenced when it ran the Nordschleife circuit at the Nürburgring in 7:59, shaving a full 21 seconds from the 8:20 time posted by the previous GT-R. Vindicated, Nissan ran an ad campaign in Japan with the tagline “The Story of 21-Seconds.”

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Dimensions: Length: 184.0 in; Width: 70.0 in; Height: 53.5 in; Wheelbase: 107.0 in; Curb Weight: 3395 lbs

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Engine Type: Naturally aspirated, dual overhead cam, 24-valve inline six, fuel-injected

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Displacement: 2568cc

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Power: 276 hp @ 6800 rpm,

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Torque: 271 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm

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1999 Nissan Skyline GT-R M-spec Nür (BNR34)

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The final evolution of the second-generation GT-R, the 1990 R34 model would mark the last pairing of the vaunted RB26DETT engine and ATESA E-TS four-wheel-drive system. Both stiffer and shorter (two inches were removed from the wheelbase) than the R33, the R34 addressed the issue of aerodynamics, improving the underfloor aerodynamics for increased downforce and improved high-speed stability.

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Named for the Nürburgring, the M-spec Nür displayed in New York was one of limited production run of 1000 units. Tuned for endurance racing, it featured a softer suspension than its equally as uncommon relative, the V-spec II Nür. The pair shared a specially tuned N1 spec RB26DETT engine (horsepower was unchanged at 276, but torque was increased to 289 lb-ft) that displayed a specially painted gold valve cover. The unique exterior color of the car on display is called “Silica Brass.”

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Dimensions: Length: 181.0 in; Width: 70.3 in; Height: 53.5 in; Wheelbase: 105 in; Curb Weight: 3439 lbs

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Engine Type: Naturally aspirated, dual overhead cam, 24-valve inline-six, fuel-injected

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Displacement: 2568cc

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Power: 276 hp @ 6800 rpm,

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Torque: 289 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm

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Nissan GT-R Nismo

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Just to make sure no one forgets how quickly Godzilla can move when prodded, Nissan brought along the record-setting crazy-camo’d GT-R NISMO that put down a 7:08.679 lap time at the Nürburgring.

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All of which leads directly to the newly revised, 2017 version.

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