The Nissan Skyline R34: The JDM Racing Legend

Carlos Kirby
Dec 6, 2021 · 4 min read
What makes our favorite car brands so popular? Many car shoppers default to Hondas or Toyotas because they're reliable and affordable. Drive quality also has a lot to do with it: look at the most popular supercars. Another exotic sports car that continues to shine is the Nissan Skyline R34
It first got its fame in the early Japanese car racing days and gained a huge following around the world. Let's learn how the unassuming Nissan Skyline evolved into one of the greatest racers of all time.
Two blue Nissan Skyline R34s beautifully parked in front of Mount Fuji.
Let’s revisit one of the most iconic racing and street vehicles of all time.

The history of the Nissan Skyline R34

According to Nissan, the R34 began its life as the Nissan Skyline. It was actually released as the Prince Skyline in 1957, gaining the Nissan name when the automakers merged in 1966. 
It was originally only available as a luxury sedan or wagon, though a racing version was released in 1964. The very first Nissan Skyline GT-R made its debut at the 1969 Tokyo Motor Show. 
Within three years, the GT-R already had 52 racing wins under its belt. Tragically, production had to be put on hold only one year later due to tightened emissions laws.
The Nissan Skyline GT-R made another fleeting appearance in 1973, but it wouldn't return to its former glory until 1989. It would proceed to win 29 races in a row at the Japanese Touring Car Championship. 
This R32 model wasn't sold in the United States, but even the domestic version is still considered an excellent performance model. The Nissan Skyline R33 was released in 1995 with optimized traction and weight distribution to make it even more speedy. 
The first Nissan Skyline R34 was released in 1998, but we still wouldn't see any GT-R in the U.S. until ten years later. It would quickly dominate the performance car scene, outclassing rivals and spawning many special edition models.

How powerful is the Nissan Skyline GT-R?

At the time of its release, the Nissan Skyline GT-R made 160 horsepower thanks to its dual-overhead-cam engine. According to Hotcars, the first official R34 came equipped with a twin-turbo inline-six engine capable of 276 horsepower. 
Of course, because of the "gentleman's agreement" among Japanese automakers, it was well-known that the engine was far more powerful.
This engine could unofficially make up to 330 horsepower, racing past 60 mph in only 5.2 seconds. With such a fierce powertrain, combined with phenomenal traction thanks to its AWD, the car got its 'Godzilla' nickname. Inside, the Nissan R34 even had a display that showed live engine diagnostics.
Eventually, the Nissan Skyline GTR-R34 would be optimized to make 473 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque with the twin-turbo V6. It only needs 3.8 seconds to reach 62 mph, with a top speed of 203 mph. 

Where have you seen the Nissan Skyline R34?

A stunning 1999 example of the Godzilla R34 makes an appearance in the second Fast and Furious movie. It shows off its racing prowess and even survives an exhilarating bridge jump. You can also pilot this racing icon for yourself in several Gran Turismo titles.
That's great considering that the real-life Nissan GTR-R34 is very rare and expensive. However, Hotcars also reports that we may see the Godzilla next year as a hybrid model. The final R36 is slated to be released in 2023, beastlier than ever with a reported 700 horsepower on tap.
The stock Nissan Skyline R34 is increasingly hard to find, so we're excited about the last two reincarnations. Even before their release, you can sign up with Jerry to browse the best insurance rates for sports cars in your area.

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