It is currently available in either coupé, or sedan body styles, and are most commonly known by their round brake lights, with the station wagon bodystyle being dropped in 1989 with the introduction of the R32 platform.
Iterations R30 to R34 of the Skyline are still popular tuner cars for Japanese car enthusiasts from the 1980s to today, especially with available features such as straight-6 engines, turbochargers, and the high-performance GT-R trim. While not distributed in the United States, the Skyline's prominence in video games, movies and magazines resulted in many such cars being imported there from 1999 to late 2005, after Motorex petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to allow 1990–1999 GT-Rs and GTSs to be imported, at the condition that they were modified to meet United States Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
The 11th-generation Skyline (V35) was another major turning point for the nameplate, as it dropped some of the Skyline's trademark characteristics such as the straight-6 engine and turbocharging, eventually separated the GT-R into its own line, and moved to V6-engined era, this decision which extended to all later Skylines. Nissan decided to retain the Skyline for the luxury-sport market, while its platform-mate, the 350Z, revived the Z line of pure sports cars. The V35 was the first Skyline made for export to North America, being sold under Nissan's luxury marque Infiniti as the G35. The Skyline (V36/J50) is sold in Europe, North America, South Korea, Taiwan, and the Middle East as the Infiniti G37.
April 11, 2010 saw a world record for the biggest ever Nissan Skyline meet and the most ever officially recognized on a track in the Guinness Book of World Records. This took place at Silverstone, United Kingdom at the ISTS event.
The first Skyline was introduced in April 1957, by the Prince Motor Company, and was marketed as a luxury car. It featured a 1.5 L (1482 cc) GA-30 engine producing 44 kW (60 hp) @ 4400 rpm. It used a de Dion tube rear suspension and was capable of 140 km/h (87 mph). The car weighed around 1300 kg. Prince Skylines were produced as four-door sedans and five-door station wagons.
The Skyline also spawned a pickup truck and a delivery van called the Prince Skyway.
The Skyline was updated with quad headlights for 1958.
This model was powered by a slightly altered 1.5 L engine known as the GA-4 OHV (1484 cc) producing about 70 hp (52 kW) @ 4800 rpm and was produced through 1961.
In 1962, this model was restyled as the S21D/S series.
The Skyline Sport featured hand-built Michelotti bodies in stylish coupe and convertible versions. These cars used the 1.9 L (1862 cc/113 in3) GB-30 engine, producing 96 hp (72 kW) and 113.5 ft·lbf (154 N m). While only a few hundred were built, Prince Motors had a very aggressive product placement group and they can be seen (along the company's mainstream models) in many Toho films of the early 1960s.
In 1961 Fuji Precision Industries changed its name to Prince after the 1954 merger, and the S50 series was launched, which like its predecessor, came in sedan and wagon bodystyles. This was the second generation car, and became one of the more desirable cars in Japan. It was powered by the G-1 engine, a 70 hp (52 kW) version of the old GA-4. A 1862 cc engine was also available, delivering 91 hp (68 kW). The S50 series were available with a 3-speed column shift transmission or a 4-speed floor shift transmission, as well as a 4-door sedan (S50) or a 5-door wagon (W50).
Three models of the S50 were built: S50E (1962–1965), S50E-2 (1965–1966), and S50E-3 (1967). All three used the same engines.
The S50 was further developed with new styling for 1963, and was sold in some markets with an A150 designation. The S50 was also sold as the A190D, which was equipped with a diesel engine.
In 1966, Nissan and Prince merged and the S50 also appeared with Nissan Prince Skyline badging. This model lasted in production through 1967. In 1967, the S50E-3 was introduced. It was sold as Prince Skyline, Prince A150, PMC A150, or Nissan A150.
Prince created a racing GT Skyline in May 1964. It was based on the S54 and used the larger 6-cylinder G-7 engine from the Gloria S41, though the car needed an 8" extension to the wheelbase (all forward of the cowl/firewall) to provide space in the engine bay for the lankier in-line six. When it entered the 2nd Japanese Grand prix they hoped to win the GT-II class. Competitive against the Porsche 904, the Skyline managed 2nd through to 6th places.
Largely due to the success of the race vehicle, the Prince Skyline 2000GT (also called GT-A, GT-B, S54A and S54B) was released to the Japanese market. There were two versions produced:
- S54A – 1988 cc G-7 single-carb I6, 105 hp (78 kW)
- S54B – 1988 cc G-7 triple-carb I6, 125 hp (94 kW)
The B model featured three Weber 40DCOE-18 carburetors, a limited slip differential, 5-speed close ratio manual transmission, and power brakes. Both the B and A used front disc brakes with dual pistons and alloy finned drums in the rear.
The S50 Skyline was updated to become the S57 in 1967. It used a Prince's new engine (designed before the merger with Nissan), the OHC 1.5 L (1487 cc) G15. At 88 hp (66 kW), it was the most-powerful engine in the Japanese 1500 cc class.
The C10 series of 1968, which began its development under Prince at the company's Ogikubo R&D centre in the suburbs of Tokyo, was marketed with a Nissan badge. By the time the C10 went on sale, the Prince nameplate had been completely phased out on cars and trucks. The dealer network selling the cars became the Prince channel of Nissan, and the marketing group stayed at the Prince headquarters in Mita instead of moving to Nissan's headquarters in Ginza. The C10 Skyline was launched with Prince's 1.5 L OHC G15 I4 like the S57. A 1.8 L G18 version was also available.
A station wagon variant, known previously as the Prince Skyway, was offered with this generation. A hardtop coupé was introduced in October 1970.
In 1971, the KGC10 2000GT-X received a 2.0 L (1998 cc) L20 I6 engine instead of a Prince G-7 engine. The chassis was already designed to receive a straight six, to avoid the S54 extension problem. 120 hp (78 kW) was available from this new engine, in March 1972 Nissan introduced 4 Door Sedan GT-X.
The following year, the GC10 2000GT received a 2.0 L (1998 cc) L20 I6 engine like the Nissan Cedric instead of a Prince G-7 engine. The chassis was already designed to receive a straight six, to avoid the S54 extension problem. 105 hp (78 kW) was available from this new engine, in 1970 Nissan production Skyline 2000GT Automatic, in October 1970 Nissan introduced 2 Door Coupe.
The first GT-R Skyline appeared in February 1969. Called the PGC-10 (KPGC-10 for later coupé version) internally and Hakosuka (ハコスカ) by fans. Hako (ハコ) means Box in Japanese, and suka（スカ） is short for Skyline (スカイライン; Sukairain). It used the 2.0 L (1998 cc) S20 I6. This new DOHC engine (which was designed by the former Prince engineers) produced 160 hp (118 kW, 180 N m), and was similar to the GR8 engine used in the Prince R380 racing car.
The GT-R began as a sedan, but a 2-door coupé version was debuted in October 1970 and introduced in March 1971. The cars were stripped of unnecessary equipment to be as light as possible for racing, and performed well at the track. The sedan racked up 33 victories in less than two years, and the coupé stretched this to 50 through 1972.
The C10 raced against many cars including the Toyota 1600 GT (RT55), Isuzu Bellett GTR, Mazda Familia (R100) & Capella (RX-2) – even Porsche. In late 1971 the new Mazda RX-3 became the GT-R's main rival. The GT-R managed a few more victories before the RX-3 ended the GT-R's winning streak.
- 1500 – 1.5 L G15 I4, 88 hp (71 kW, 128 N m)
- 1500 – 1.5 L G15 I4, 95 hp (71 kW, 128 N m)
- 1800 – 1.8 L G18 I4, 105 hp (78 kW, 150 N m)
- 2000GT – 2.0 L L20 I6, 120 hp (90 kW, 167 N m)
- 2000GT-R – 2.0 L S20 I6, 160 hp (118 kW, 180 N m)
- C-10 4-door sedan or 5-door wagon 1968
- GC-10 4-door 2000GT 1969
- PGC-10 4-door GT-R Skyline 1969
- KPGC-10 2 Door GT-R Skyline 1970
- KGC-10 2000GT-X 2-door 1971
- KGC-10 2000GT-X 4-door 1972
The C110 generation was produced from 1972 through 1977.
For export in the 1970s, the C110 and GC110 Skyline was sold as the Datsun K-series, with models such as the Datsun 160K, 180K and Datsun 240K.
The body styles were, once again, four-door sedan, two-door hardtop coupé, and five-door station wagon. The C110 was more fussy in its styling than its predecessor, particularly so in wagon form, where unusually for a wagon design, no windows were fitted between the C and D pillars. The C110 was the first version to feature the round rear lights, typical of later Skyline designs.
The C110 Skyline was better known as the "Ken & Mary" or "Kenmeri" (ケンメリ) Skyline, stemming from the advertisement campaign in Japan at the time which featured a young couple (Ken and Mary) who relaxed and enjoyed the countryside in Ken and Mary's Skyline (ケンとメリーのスカイライン). The ads were highly successful and perhaps as a result the C110 was sold in very large numbers in Japan. It sold just as well in Australia (in a 2.4L 6-cylinder form, badged as "Datsun 240K"), though few survive today. There, the 240K was about the same price as a Ford Falcon GT or BMW 5 series, around $5000.
The Nissan Skyline GT-R hardtop arrived in September 1972 but only lasted until March 1973, when Nissan ceased its production. The oil crisis saw many people preferring economy cars and high-performance sports cars were looked down upon. Nissan pulled out of Motor Racing, so there was no purpose to the GT-R. It was not officially exported anywhere, although Nissan contemplated exporting to Australia. Only 197 KPGC110 GT-Rs were ever sold in Japan, through specialist Nissan Performance shops (before it was called NISMO). This was the last GT-R for 16 years until the BNR32 in 1989.
- 1600 – 1.6 L G16 I4
- 1800 – 1.8 L G18 I4
- 2000GT-X – 2.0 L L20A I6, 130 hp (96 kW, 172 N m)
- 2000GT-R – 2.0 L S20 I6, 160 hp (118 kW, 180 N m)
The succeeding C210/211 and GC210/211 of 1977 continued to split the Skyline range into basic and six-cylinder models, the latter with a longer front end. This line continued through 1981. The Datsun C211 240K/280K and 240C/280C variants continued for export. A rare variant would be the wagon version, which had a unique styling treatment behind the rear doors, of a much smaller window than usual between the C and D pillars.
The GT-EX replaced the GT-R with a turbocharged engine, the L20ET. This was the first turbo engine to power a Japanese production vehicle. One notable aspect of the turbo versions was that they were not intercooled and there was no form of blowoff valve, only an emergency pressure release valve.
The "T" designation on the L16T and L18T does not signify a turbocharger was included; it denotes that those engines came with twin carburetors.
- 1600TI – 1.6 L L16T I4, 95 hp (71 kW, 132 N m)
- 1800TI – 1.8 L L18T I4, 115 hp (86 kW, 152 N m)
- 2000GT-EL – 2.0 L L20E I6, 130 hp (97 kW, 167 N m)
- 2000GT-EX – 2.0 L L20ET turbo I6, 145 hp (108 kW, 206 N m)
The names were brought into line with the home Japanese and worldwide markets with the launch of the R30 series in August 1981, which was built on a C31 Laurel platform. Unlike preceding generations, four- and six-cylinder versions now shared a front end of the same length. The R30 was available as a two-door hardtop coupe, a four-door sedan, a five-door hatchback (available only in the R30 generation), or a four-door station wagon. In all, there were 26 variations of the R30 Skyline available.
All versions with the exception of the wagon were usually fitted with the four round tail lights that had become a regular feature to the Skyline's design. The wagon had different tail lights, headlights, and no turbo or 6-cylinder versions available. It more closely resembled a Nissan Sunny than a Skyline. The two-door coupe had a hardtop, pillarless design, and featured roll-down quarter windows for the rear seat passengers (a styling feature of the previous C10, C110, and C211 coupes), while four-door versions had a traditional sedan body style with framed windows.
Notably, configurations of the R30 sold in Australia and New Zealand were missing the traditional hotplate tail lights, instead opting for more conventional styling.
Various engine configurations were available, initially ranging from the top of the line 103 kW SOHC 6-cylinder turbo L20ET to the 4-cylinder Z18S and 6-cylinder LD28 diesel versions at the other end of the scale. The all-new 16-valve DOHC FJ20 engine debuted in late 1981, and was the first 4-cylinder engine by any Japanese manufacturer to employ more than two valves per cylinder (see below). Some of the top spec models featured adjustable suspension dampers that could be adjusted while driving, this was another first for mass-produced JDM vehicles. Nissan Glorias and Laurels also used the L series engines, as well as some diesel (Laurel only) variants.
The R30 range was facelifted in August 1983 with various changes across the board; for example four-wheel disc brakes were now standard issue, instead of being optional for lower-spec models. Trim specifications were revised and the 4-cylinder Z18S engine was replaced with the newer CA18E. Features included upgraded interior trim, new front and rear bumpers, door-mounted wing mirrors (replacing the old 'hockey stick' fender mirrors), and smoked tail lights.
Paul Newman Version
During 1983 the Paul Newman Version R30 was released to commemorate the association between Nissan and the actor Paul Newman, who used to appear in promotional material, as well as race for the company during the late-1970s and early-1980s. The Newman Skyline was simply a top spec GT-ES turbo with signature embroidery and decals.
Although making about the same power as the L20ET-powered GT-ES models, the version of the Skyline initially known as the 2000RS was released on October 2, 1981 as more of a stripped-down lightweight racer, without as many luxury extras included (quoted curb weight was only 1,130 kg (2,500 lb)). These were equipped with the naturally aspirated 4-valve-per-cylinder DOHC FJ20E engine generating 110 kW (150 PS; 148 hp) of power at 6000 rpm and 181 N·m (133 lb·ft) of torque at 4800 rpm. The official Nissan chassis designation for all FJ20-powered models was DR30.
In February 1983 the DR30 range received a significant boost in performance with the introduction of the turbocharged FJ20ET engine in the 2000RS-Turbo. Front brakes were also significantly upgraded to cope with the power increase. Now with 140 kW (190 PS; 188 hp) of power at 6400 rpm and 225 N·m (166 lb·ft) of torque at 4800 rpm on tap, the FJ20ET enjoyed new-found prestige as the most powerful Japanese production engine of its era.
Nissan sought to elevate the status of the DR30 Skyline as their new flagship model in light of this success, and it received a generous amount of changes to distinguish it from lesser Skyline models in August 1983. Interior equipment was significantly upgraded to now include electric windows, air conditioning and power steering as standard in the new RS-X model (for Extra) with an increased curb weight of around 1,235 kg (2,723 lb); gone were the days of the spartan, stripped-out race interior, although this could still be specified at time of purchase. But by far the most striking change to the RS was the new unique front end treatment, nicknamed Tekkamen (鉄仮面) or Iron Mask by fans for its distinctive look. The headlights were considerably slimmer, and instead of a conventional grille the bonnet now sloped down to two narrow slits above a facelifted front bumper and airdam.
Further changes were made in 1984, most notably the addition of an intercooler, revised compression ratios and turbocharger exhaust housing to the FJ20ET powered model, now known as the RS-Turbo C and increasing output to 151 kW (205 PS; 202 hp) of power at 6400 rpm and 245 N·m (181 lb·ft) of torque at 4400 rpm. An automatic transmission option was also added at this time, and changes to the "PLASMA Spark" ignition system followed in early 1985 towards the end of R30 production.
To this day the FJ20-powered R30 Skyline remains a cult car both at home and overseas (there are still dedicated "one make" drag racing events for this model in Japan), and is credited with rejuvenating the Skyline brand in the early 1980s. It also paved the way for the eventual re-introduction of the legendary GT-R badge, markedly absent since the end of C110 Skyline production in 1973.
The RS achieved moderate success in Australian Touring car racing in the mid-1980s with Nissan winning the 1986 Australian Manufacturers' Championship and sharing victory in the 1987 Australian Manufacturers' Championship with BMW.
Models: (Japan) Paul Newman Version bonnet decal*1800TI – 1.8 L Z18S SOHC I4, 105 hp (77 kW), later models 1.8 L CA18S SOHC I4, 105 hp (77 kW)
- 2000TI – 2.0 L CA20E SOHC I4
- 2000TI – 2.0 L Z20E SOHC I4
- 280D GT – 2.8 L LD28 SOHC I6 Diesel
- 2000GT and Passage – 2.0 L L20E SOHC I6
- 2000GT Turbo, Passage and Paul Newman Version – 2.0 L L20ET turbo I6, 140 hp (103 kW, 206 N m)
- RS – 2.0 L FJ20E DOHC I4, 150 hp (112 kW, 181 N m)
- RS-X and RS-X Turbo C – 2.0 L FJ20ET DOHC turbo I4, 190 to 205 hp (140 to 151 kW, 225 to 245 N m)
The R31 Skyline of 1986 was a natural evolution on the R30 shape, and also this one was loosely based on the Laurel platform (C32). The design was slightly larger and squarer than previous Skylines. It was available as a Sedan, Hardtop sedan, Coupe and station wagon. Affectionately known as the "Seventhsu" or simply "7th Sukairain" by owners, due to it being the 7th-generation Skyline.
The R31 Skyline introduced many new technologies and features. The HR31 was the first Skyline to be equipped with the new RB-series of engines. The R31 RB engines are often referred to as "Red Top" engines because of the red cam covers. There were three variants. The earliest series of DOHC RB engines used the NICS (Nissan Induction Control System) injection system with 12 very small intake runners, and a butterfly system to divide the intake ports in half for better low RPM performance. Later versions used ECCS (Electronically Concentrated Control System) engine management, discarded the twelve tiny runners for six much larger ones (though they retained twelve ports on the head, so there was a splitter plate), and received a slightly larger turbocharger. Nissan's RD28, a 2.8 straight-6 engine, featured for a diesel option. Another technological first for the R31 was the introduction of Nissan's proprietary 4-wheel steering system, dubbed HICAS (High Capacity Active Steering). The R31 series were also the only models in the Skyline family to feature a 4-door hardtop variation. These models were generally badged as the Passage GT.
The R31 Skyline was also produced in Australia, with a 3.0 L motor (RB30E) available in sedan or wagon form, as well as a four-cylinder version called the Nissan Pintara. The wagon had the same front style as the coupe and sedan—the only difference being that it lacked the four round brake lights that had been a consistent element of Skyline design (except for the R31 series one/two which had rectangular taillights with a solid bar through the centre which was also shared by the Pintara). These cars were manufactured in Australia due to the heavy import laws which made it expensive to bring cars into Australia.
29,305 R31 Skylines were also manufactured and sold in South Africa in 4-door sedan form between 1987 and 1992. These were the last Skylines seen in South Africa. Power came from either the RB30E 3.0 straight-6 motor, RB20E 2.0 straight-6 motor or the CA20S 4-cylinder powerplant.
The ultimate version of the R31 was the RB20DET-R powered HR31 GTS-R Coupe of which 800 units were built to allow homologation for Group A Touring Car racing. It had a reworked version of the normal RB20DET with a much larger turbocharger on a tubular steel exhaust manifold, as well as a much larger front-mounted intercooler boosting power to a factory claimed 210 ps (154 kW), with racing versions making over 430 hp (321 kW) in Group A trim.
- 1800 C, 1800 Excel and 1800 Passage – 1.8 L CA18S SOHC I4, 90 hp (66 kW)
- GT Excel D, GT Passage D – 2.8 L Diesel RD28 SOHC I6, 92 hp (68 kW, 173 N m)
- GT Excel, GT Passage – 2.0 L RB20E SOHC I6, 128 hp (96 kW)
- GT Excel Twin Cam 24V, GT Passage Twin Cam 24V – 2.0 L RB20DE DOHC I6, 155 hp (114 kW)
- GT Passage Turbo – 2.0 L RB20ET SOHC turbo I6, 167 hp (125 kW, 206 N m)
- GT Passage Twin Cam 24V Turbo – 2.0 L RB20DET DOHC turbo I6, 180 hp (133 kW, 225 N m)
- GTS – 2.0 L RB20DE DOHC I6, 155 hp (114 kW)
- GTS Turbo – 2.0 L RB20DET DOHC I6, 180 hp (133 kW, 225 N m)
- GTS-X – 2.0 L RB20DET DOHC turbo I6, 190 hp (141 kW, 240 N m)
- GTS-R – 2.0 L RB20DET-R DOHC turbo I6, 210 hp (154 kW, 245 N m)
- GTS Autech – 2.0 L RB20DET-R DOHC turbo I6, 210 hp (154 kW, 245 N m)
- Pintara – 2.0 L CA20E I4, 102 hp (78 kW, 160 N m)
- GX, Executive, GXE, Silhouette, Ti – 3.0 L RB30E SOHC I6, 155 hp (114 kW, 247 N m)
- Silhouette GTS1 – 3.0 L RB30E SOHC I6, 176 hp (130 kW, 255 N m)
- Silhouette GTS2 – 3.0 L RB30E SOHC I6, 190 hp (140 kW, 270 N m)
- 2.0GL, 2.0GLE – 2.0 L CA20S I4, 106 hp (78 kW, 163 N m)
- 2.0SGLi – 2.0 L RB20E SOHC I6, 115 hp (85 kW, 174 N m)
- 3.0SGLi – 3.0 L RB30E SOHC I6, 171 hp (126 kW, 260 N m)