After many years on the forbidden fruit list, the Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R is fair game in America. Nissan is better known for affordable, reliable hatchbacks and its successful range of crossovers and SUVs than extreme, high-performance cars, but every now and then it breaks the mould. Both GT-Rs are great handlers, courtesy of Nissan's famed ATTESA ET-S all-wheel drive system.
Buy an unmolested example and you'll pay around twice as much as you would for an early BMW E46 M3, a vehicle that, if anything, is a more satisfying and talented driver's car. And yet here is Gary Lamphear driving this 1989 Nissan Skyline GT-R on the street as if anyone in America could.
The twin-turbo inline-six RB26DETT engine seems a little quaint now, with its old-school iron block and direct-action, bucket-and-shim, DOHC valve actuation, yet these features—plus racing-type details such as an intercooler and forged connecting rods—help make it possible to boost this engine's output far beyond its street rating of 276 hp. Indeed we're told the engine can produce 400 hp in a mild state of tune, and 600 hp can be had in track-ready NISMO N1 configuration.
The Nissan GTR is a supercar from Nissan in every sense of the world. The GT-R's looks make it a standout in any performance showdown and any supercar lover will find plenty to respect. The GT-R is an entirely new model, sharing little with the Skyline GT-R save its signature four round tail lights.
Car fans see the Skyline of legend, anime nuts see the R34 of 'God Foot,' racing fans see the dominant touring car that gave rise to the 'Godzilla' nickname, and regular motorists probably see an unfamiliar orange Nissan spaceship. The RB26DETT in Fong's R34 has benefited from a Tomei Neokit comprising larger turbochargers and new engine internals such as camshafts and pistons, and a full Nismo exhaust system.
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The R32 GT-R was produced in 1988 close behind the first six NISMO GT-R's in 1989. When it comes down to it, we love the Nissan GT-R at the CarAdvice office. It also has a launch-control feature, which sets the car up for the best possible acceleration off the mark; engage it, and the GT-R is capable of hitting 62mph from Nissan Skyline GT-R rest in an incredible 2.8 seconds.