The Nissan Skyline GT-R turns 50 this year. And so does the famous design firm Italdesign. To commemorate the occasion, Nissan commissioned a special GT-R prototype named GT-R50. More than a show stand model, this running car will appear in public next month.
Given the timing and Nissan's vague statement that the car will debut in Europe, don't be surprised if the first time we see it is the Goodwood Festival of Speed. And while we're speculating, we'll make a wild guess that the call will appear in digital form in Gran Turismo Sport for the Sony Playstation 4, based on the fact that Nissan features heavily in the Gran Turismo franchise and the video game is a partner of Goodwood (the Festival of Speed hillclimb is featured in the previous and current iterations of the game).
A brief history
Italdesign's golden anniversary dates back to February, 1968 when Giorgetto Giugiaro and Aldo Mantovani formed the company that would eventually become Italdesign. Giugiaro and his company created too many iconic designs to list here, covering every segment of the market from city cars like the Volkswagen Golf and Fiat Panda to exotics like the BMW M1 and Lotus Espirit. Italdesign is currently owned by Volkwagen Group subsidiary Audi.
The GT-R has also been around for five decades, although not continuously. The Skyline GT-R made is first public appearance in October, 1968 at the Tokyo Motor Show. A four-year run was followed up by a single year of a second-generation model, cut short by the OPEC oil embargo.
The GT-R name returned 16 years later in 1989 with the R32-generation Skyline. For more details on the car that originated the GT-R's "Godzilla" nickname, check out our buyer's guide and drive review. R32 begat the R33 in 1995, followed by the R34 in 1999. Another gap ensued from 2002 until 2007 when the GT-R returned. That same version is still on sale today with small changes over the years, most notably a rise in power from 476 hp to the current 600 hp in the Nismo model.
The GT-R50 comes with even more oomph than the current production car, a claimed 710 hp (720 PS) and 575 lb-ft of torque. Most of that comes courtesy of upgraded turbochargers and intercoolers based on the GT3 competition model. Pistons, rods, bearings, and other engine internal are reinforced to handle the extra stress, as is the driveline and transmission.
From the front the GT-R50 looks sharp, pun not intended. The hood and redesigned headlights are brought down lower, intersecting with the gold accent that outlines a wider mouth in the lower fasica. At the rear, you can see a pronounced wing. The overall impression is both more cohesive and elegant than the current GT-R but also more aggressive.
And speaking of aggressive, check out the rear styling with the protruding taillights and, well, a whole lot of gold. We've got an entire set of photos, including interior shots, in the gallery below.
Before you ask, no, this is not the next GT-R according to Nissan design chief Alfonso Albaisa. And on that note, neither was the previous GT-R concept, 2015's Nissan Concept 2020 (part of the Vision Gran Turismo series from multiple automakers). That said, we wouldn't complain if this was the next GT-R, or if certain design elements are seen in the next-generation car.