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Nissan Skyline GT-R family tree

One of the best-loved performance cars to emerge from Japan, we chart the history of the Skyline GT-R in this image gallery.

It could be argued that Nissan changed the face of the performance car world forever when it launched the high-tech GT-R in 1989. Those early cars dominated JTCC (Japanese Touring Cars) and international Group A racing, and the ease of tuning to in excess of 400bhp without substantial modifications, became legendary within tuning circles.

The GT-R made a name for itself in Europe when a standard road car apparently embarrassed Porsche’s lap record at the Nurburgring – sparking an unofficial rivalry between the two companies for over 20 years.

Read the full story of the Calsonic GT-R in the current issue of evo, on sale now.

1969 Skyline 2000 GT-R
1971 Skyline GT-R Coupe
1973 2000 GT-R
R32 GT-R
1. 1969 Skyline 2000 GT-R

The first Nissan to wear the GT-R name was a four-door saloon, fitted with a 160bhp DOHC in-line six engine.

2. 1971 Skyline GT-R Coupe

Two-door coupe version shortly followed the saloon, with the same powertrain.

3. 1973 2000 GT-R

New coupe model was short-lived, killed off by the energy crisis in the early 1970s. GT-R name didn't return until 1989...

4. R32 GT-R

The original, game-changing Skyline GT-R changed the way the world looked at Japanese performance cars.

Calsonic racer
Skyline GT-R V-Spec
R33 GT-R
R33 V-Spec
5. Calsonic racer

Iconic Skyline GT-R racer dominated motorsport, both in Japan and internationally, for several years.

6. Skyline GT-R V-Spec

After success in Group N and Group A racing, Nissan launched the first V-Spec model.

7. R33 GT-R

Even more high-tech all-wheel drive system, featuring an active diff, for the R33. Legendary straight-six engine remained almost unchanged

8. R33 V-Spec

The R33 V-Spec was offered alongside the base model with upgraded diff and sophisticated ABS system.


Nismo 400R
R34 GT-R
R34 GT-R V-Spec
R34 M-Spec Nur
9. Nismo 400R

The most extreme R33 model, built by Nismo at the end of the R33's production life. 400bhp as standard...

10. R34 GT-R

Skyline GT-R takes another technological leap in 1999, with a new on-board computer.

11. R34 GT-R V-Spec

V-Spec model replaced the standard car's mechanical diff with electronically controlled unit, as well as stiffer suspension

12. R34 M-Spec Nur

Final special edition for the R34 was given uprated engine and turbos, as well as more luxurious interior.

Nissan GT-R
GT-R Spec-V
2011 GT-R
GT-R racer
13. Nissan GT-R

Dropping the Skyline name, the GT-R is the fastest and heaviest GT-R model to date, with power starting from around 480bhp...

14. GT-R Spec-V

Reviving the Spec-V name in 2009 saw the GT-R go on a diet, with a few exotic options. Cost almost twice the price of the standard model.


15. 2011 GT-R

Minor exterior facelift in 2011 brought a big power boost – now putting out over 530bhp.

16. GT-R racer

More than 20 years on, the GT-R is still competing well in international motorsport.