The Nissan Skyline offers much more than the high-performance GT-R variants. The nameplate dates back to 1957 and still exists today.
To gain insight into this long history, the people of Budget Direct auto insurance have prepared renderings showing each generation of this important vehicle in Japanese automotive history.
1st generation (1957-1964)
The Skyline debuted in 1957, but at the time it was not a Nissan. Instead, the Prince Motor Company touted it as a luxury-focused model. The design is clearly inspired by American cars of this period with a mix of Chevrolet and Ford styles from the mid-1950s.
2nd generation (1963-1968)
Introduced in 1963, the second generation of the Prince Skyline wore a more modern style for the time by taking on a more boxy and angular appearance. In addition to the four-door sedan, a station wagon variant was also available. Following the merger of Nissan and Prince in 1966, the model became the Nissan Prince Skyline.
The third generation Skyline was the first to wear only the Nissan badge. It also rose to fame with the introduction of the GT-R in 1969. It sported a 160-horsepower 2.0-liter straight-six, which was impressive horsepower at the time considering the engine’s displacement. engine. Later, a GT-R coupe arrived. Buyers were also able to obtain the standard Skyline in wagon form.
4th generation (1972-1977)
In 1972, the fourth generation of the Skyline introduced a very different look to the model. It was sharper and featured a fastback style roof for the coupe. There were also sedan and wagon body styles that shared a prominent crease along the side that creased upward toward the rear.
There was a GT-R variant of the fourth generation Skyline, but these were incredibly rare. Nissan only sold 197 in Japan before stopping production.
5th generation (1977-1981)
The fifth-generation Skyline arrived in 1977 with somewhat similar styling to the predecessor model, but with a more boxy overall appearance. There were sedan, coupe, and four-door wagon variants.
There was no GT-R for this generation. Instead, the high-performance model was the GT-EX with a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-six. It produced 143 horsepower (107 kW) and 152 pound-feet (206 Newton-meters) of torque.
6th generation (1981-1984)
The sixth-generation Skyline continued the move towards more angular styling when it arrived in 1981. In addition to the previous coupe, sedan and station wagon versions, a five-door hatchback also joined this generation’s lineup. .
The performance of the vehicle has been significantly improved in the top range with the introduction of the 2000 Turbo RS. It used a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine developing 187 hp (140 kW). At the time, that made the model the most powerful Skyline ever available. Later, an intercooled version pushed the power even higher to 202 hp (151 kW).
7th generation (1985-1989)
Arriving in 1985, the seventh generation evolved the look of the previous model and buyers were able to get it as a sedan, four-door hardtop, coupe and station wagon. These were the first Skylines to use Nissan’s popular RB series of inline six engines.
The top performing variant of this generation was the GTS-R which debuted in 1987. It was a special homologation for competition in Group A touring car racing. The turbocharged RB20DET had an output of 207 hp (154 kW).
8th generation (1989-1994)
In 1989, the eighth-generation Skyline brought a body with more curves to the vehicle, reversing a trend towards sharper shapes that has been occurring for years. Nissan has also simplified the range by offering only a coupe and a sedan.
The big news for the eighth generation, also known as the R32, has been the return of the GT-R name. It used the 2.6-liter RB26DETT twin-turbo inline-six with a claimed output of 276 hp (206 kW) under the agreement between Japanese automakers not to manufacture vehicles producing more than that. The general belief was that the actual production was greater than this.
The R32 GT-R has also proven to be very successful in motorsport. The Australian press dubbed him Godzilla as a attacking monster from Japan capable of beating the entrances of Holden and Ford. The moniker stuck and proliferated around the world for the GT-R.
9th generation (1993-1998)
Arrived in 1993, the ninth generation Skyline, designation R33, continued the trend towards a more shapely style. The vehicle got bigger, which also resulted in an increase in weight. Sedan and coupe variants continued to be the available body styles, but in 1996 Nissan introduced the Stagea wagon with a look similar to the 10th generation Skyline, but using mechanical parts from that model.
The R33 Skyline arrived in 1995. It still used the 2.6-liter biturbo inline-six with a claimed output of 276bhp compared to the R32, but changes to the turbo likely meant that the actual power was even more. high. The Nismo division also introduced the 400R using a 2.8-liter twin-turbo inline-six developing 395 hp (294 kW, but it only sold 44.
For the first time in decades, a four-door GT-R was also available in Nissan’s Autech division. However, production was very limited.
10th generation (1998-2002)
Anyone who’s played Gran Turismo is likely familiar with the 10th Gen Skyline, designated R34. He began to give the vehicle sharper lines again after the progressively more rounded shapes of the two previous models. Again, there were coupe and sedan bodies available, in addition to the Stagea wagon with a generally similar appearance.
The GT-R variant arrived in 1999. The RB26DETT with a claimed output of 276 hp was still under the hood, but there were still more changes to the turbo and intercooler. Nissan has significantly expanded the range. There was a new M-Spec variant with an additional emphasis on luxury. There were also Nür variants with improvements to maximize the lap time around the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
The R34 Skyline GT-R ended in 2002. It did not have a successor until the GT-R went on sale for the 2009 model year.
11th generation (2002-2007)
Arriving in 2001, the 11-gen Skyline probably looks familiar to American readers because it is largely identical to the Infiniti G35. It was available in coupe and sedan; Also, there was a Stagea wagon without Skyline brand but running on the same platform.
For the first time since the second-generation Skyline, there was no inline-six engine available. Instead, this model used the VQ family of V6 engines. It was available in displacements of 2.5, 3.0 and 3.5 liters. Buyers were able to select rear or all-wheel drive configurations.
12th generation (2006-2014)
The 12th generation Skyline joined the Nissan lineup in 2006 and, like the predecessor model, was largely identical to the contemporary Infiniti G37. The expected sedan and coupe variants were available. In addition, there was a new crossover variant, which was sold as the Infiniti EX and later the Infiniti QX50 in the United States.
The VQ engine family was still available, but the lineup included 2.5, 3.5, and 3.7-liter V6 engines at various times in this generation.
13th generation (2014-present)
Finally, we reach the current 13th generation of the 2013 Skyline. Like the previous two, it is largely similar to the Infiniti Q50 sedan. Japan does not get a Skyline version of the Infiniti Q60 coupe. A refresh in 2019 gave the Skyline a polished nose with a new take on Nissan’s V-shaped grille that subtly evoked the GT-R.
The future of the Skyline is a mystery at this time given the turmoil in business within the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance. A rumor suggests that Infiniti and Nissan could start sharing more components and that Infiniti could even lose its rear-wheel drive models. If so, then a future Skyline could be front-wheel drive for the first time in over 60 years.