It is incredible to think that the Nissan Skyline GT-R was practically unheard of in much of the world in the early-1990s.
Dominance of the Australian Touring Car Championship and its presence in the Gran Turismo driving simulator series might have done its fair share of waking the world to Nissan’s incredible creation, but we mustn’t forget the third factor, viral videos.
The Nissan GT-R owes much of its fame to the smorgasbord of viral videos that documented the various exploits of tuners, drag racers, and racing car drivers doing incredible things with the GT-Rs, some of which were made well before the advent of YouTube.
Here are five of the most iconic “Nissan GT-R” videos that contributed greatly to the “Godzilla” legend.
Motoharu Kurosawa "Gan-San" fangs the Hakosuka at Fuji Speedway
To the casual observer, the boxy-shape of the Nissan “Hakosuka” KPGC10 2000 GT-R looks a world away from the hunkered shapes of the Skyline GT-Rs that descended from the R32, but it is easy to forget that it was also a formidable race winner in its day.
Packing a 2-litre straight-six, in race-spec, the “Hakosuka” sounds a hard edged as its body styling, as Japanese racing veteran Motoharu Kurosawa – also known as Gan-San – demonstrates on the Fuji Speedway.
50 years of GT-R: "Hakosuka" - The genesis of the GT-R
R32 Skyline GT-R drag cars doing 8 sec quarter miles
Though well known for its handling prowess, these snippets are proof that the R32 Skyline GT-R has all the right ingredients for that most cerebral of motorsports, drag racing.
Thanks to its robust mechanicals, it is unsurprising to see these examples being able to pull 8sec quarter mile times, though it is highly unlikely that much of the GT-R’s complex drivetrain remains.
Kazuhiko “Smokey” Nagata hits 205mph in a Tokyo tunnel
A key part of the Skyline GT-R’s popularity has to do with its tuning potential, with tuners being able to squeeze out power figures in excess of 400kW.
The most legendary of these tuners was Top Secret’s founder, Kazuhiko “Smokey” Nagata, who kindly demonstrated a staggering 205mph (328km/h) run with his 895kW R33 Skyline GT-R in a Tokyo tunnel.
Mine’s ‘Ultimate Response’ R34 GT-R impresses Best Motoring
Any denizen of the internet would be familiar with the Japanese motoring show, Best Motoring and its ensemble of presenters, some of whom are professional racing drivers and drifters as their day jobs.
For presenters of such caliber to get all boyishly excited and intimidated over Mine’s tuned ‘Ultimate Response’ R34 Skyline GT-R, that has to be something truly special.
Nissan R35 GT-R lays a 7min 26.7sec Nürburgring lap, starts a war
These days there seems to be a never-ending cavalcade of lap records titles being set at the Nürburgring, with Porsche often being the main culprit.
While the record is always being fought over, there is no doubt that Nissan fired the opening salvo with a 7min26.7sec time in the newly launched R35 GT-R in 2008. That record was hotly contested by Porsche over the intervening years, while the publicity that it generated attracted other companies to follow Nissan’s lead and used the Nürburgring as a performance benchmark.
Celebrating the car, the myth, the legend: 50 years of GT-R