Nissan Skyline – A Brief History
Nissan Skyline. In April of 1957, the Prince Motor Company introduced the very first Skyline automobile. When it was released it was marketed as a luxury automobile. The first Skyline came equipped with a 1.5 Litre, 1482cc GA-30 engine and was capable of a top speed of 87mph.
In 1958 the Skyline model had an update with the addition of quad headlights and a slightly altered 1.5 Litre GA-4 overhead valve engine. This engine was produced up until 1961. The Prince Skyline models were available in both four-door sedans and five-door station wagons/estates. In the early 1960’s the Skyline was also available in what was called the Skyline Sports package, this model featured hand built bodies in both coupe and convertible versions and were powered with a 1.9 Litre 1862cc GB-30 engine.
Then in 1961 Fuji Precision Industries changed its name to Prince, this was done because of the 1954 merger. Prince then launched the S50 series of Skylines. These vehicles were considered the second generation in Skyline history. The S50 series became one of the most desirable vehicles in Japan. They came powered by a G-1 engine, which was a revised version of the older GA-4.
Nissan and Prince merged together in 1966 which allowed the S50 to appear with Nissan Prince Skyline badging. The production of the S50 series continued until 1967 when the S50E-3 was introduced. This same model could be found under four different badges, the Prince Skyline, the Prince A150, the PMC A150 or the Nissan A150.
1967 saw an update to the Skyline model once again, this version was dubbed the S57 and came equipped with a 1.5 Litre overhead cam 1487cc G15 engine. For its time the G15 was known as the most powerful engine in its class.
In 1968 Nissan introduced the C10 series of Skylines, these were equipped with either the G15 engine or a 1.8 Litre G18.
The very first of Nissan’s GT-R range of skylines was introduced in 1969. This version came equipped with a 2.0 Litre 1998cc S20 six-cylinder dual overhead cam engine. The original GT-R began as a sedan but in 1970 a coupe version was added. The GT-r versions came stripped of anything deemed unnecessary so they could make them as light as possible for racing.
1971 saw the introduction of the KGC10 2000GT-X Skyline. These models received a 2.0 Litre 1998cc L20 inline 6 cylinder engine. This was originally released in a two-door coupe version but in 1972 a four-door sedan version tagged the GT-X joined the lineup.
1972 saw the arrival of the Nissan Skyline GT-R hardtop. But this model only lasted until the first quarter of 1973. Nissan ceased its production when the oil crisis forced many people to look into buying economy vehicles and to shy away from performance vehicles. At this same time, Nissan pulled out of the motor racing circuits thus eliminating the need for what was then considered the high-performance standout of its time. This was to be the last Skyline GT-R for 16 years until the Brand was revived in 1989.
The next generation of Skylines was the C110 versions that started production in 1972. This was sold under the badges of C110, GC110, Datsun K-series, Datsun 160K, 180K, and 240K. the C110 series was the first in its product line up to feature the round rear lights which became typical in later skyline designs. This line up stayed in production until 1977.
After 1977 Nissan continued to split the skyline range down into basic four and six-cylinder models. These were known as the C210 series of Skylines. The GT-XE was introduced with a turbocharged L20ET engine. On the early versions, one unique design aspect of the turbocharged engines was that they were not intercool nor did they have any form of blow off valve. Also, the T designation at the end of the engine code L20ET does not mean it is a turbo, the T actually stands for twin carburetors.
In 1981 the R30 series was launched. There were a total of 26 variations of the R30 available at the time mixing body styles and engines so people could in effect get exactly the vehicle they wanted. In 1983 the R30 series got a facelift, common additions that were made standard included: four-wheel disc brakes, upgraded interior trim, new exterior bumpers smoked tail lights and door-mounted wing mirrors.
Also in 1981, the 2000RS model was introduced, this version was initially marketed as a stripped down lightweight racing version. These models came equipped with a dual overhead cam FJ20E engine.
In 1983 the 2000RS-Turbo got a marked improvement in performance with the addition of the FJ20ET engine. Front brakes were upgraded to larger units to cope with the increased power available.
In 1984 even more, changes were made with the addition of an intercooler, newly revised compression ratios and a new turbocharger exhaust housing. These were also available in both manual and automatic transmission variants.
In 1986 we saw the introduction of the R31 Skyline, this was considered to be the seventh generation in the Skyline line. The R31 had many new innovations with technologies and additional features. The Engine fuel and ignition system became more advanced with the addition of the NICS (Nissan Induction Control System) injection system which increased low-end performance.
One of the ultimate versions of the R31 was the RB20DET-R powered HR31 GTS-R. this variant only had 800 units built. This amount allowed Nissan to enter the vehicle into the touring car racing circuit. The vehicle itself had a much larger turbocharger than normal and it was located on a tubular exhaust manifold this was included as well as a much larger front mounted intercooler boosting power across the board.
In 1989 we saw the debut of the HCR32 Skyline, this was available in either a sedan or coupe body style and all other body styles were dropped. The R32 as it would become to be known was powered by different versions of Nissan RB engine line. Improvements were made to cylinder heads and a replacement of the then outdated NICS injection system by introducing the ECCS (Electronically Concentrated Control System) induction system.
1989 also saw the return of the GT-R, these new models came equipped with twin ceramic turbochargers, electronically controlled all-wheel drive and all wheel steering. The GT-R also had larger brakes, a larger intercooler and flared front and rear wheel arches.
In 1993 the R33 skyline was introduced. This was slightly heavier than previous versions and all models now used a six-cylinder engine. With the launch of this, the Skyline could no longer be considered a compact car as exterior dimensions grew out of that bracket as compared to other manufacturers, but this did not stop consumers from wanting one.
In 1996 the R33 got the addition of standard driver and passenger side airbags. The turbo versions were also given a nylon compressor wheel. The R33 was produced until 1998 with the model being retired with its 40th anniversary R33 series 2.
Also in 1996, the GT-R had been improved. Changes like turbo compressor aerodynamics, intercooler, and turbo dump pipe were all revised. A limited number of special edition NISMO 400R GT-R’s was produced. These featured a road-tuned engine and a Getrag gearbox which has proven to be stronger than previous offerings.
In 1998 the R34 model was introduced. These were equipped with a more fuel efficient engine which was also aimed at being more environmentally friendly. This engine, the RB20DE-NEO became the most fuel-efficient straight six engines till this day.
The GT-R reappeared in 1999. The newest version saw changes to the chassis, the addition of ball bearings to the turbo core as compared to a solid bearing, and a new six-speed Getrag gearbox.
In 2007 a new version of the GT-R was introduced. Nissan now decided to separate the GT-R apart from the normal Skyline line and make it a stand-alone model. This version was first released to the public in 2008. The vehicle keeps its heritage by still using the chassis code CBA-R35 or simply R35.
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