Beginning of a Dynasty: The Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R and the Birth of Godzilla

Part One in our Skyline GT-R Series

The 1980’s era in Japan will forever be known as a time when a peak in Japanese society, economy, culture and technology defined what being “MADE IN JAPAN” was all about.  There was money lying around, there was money to be made, and there was money to spend.  It was a glorious moment for the country, and it was an even more glorious time for Japanese car manufacturers; as it was on the cusp on embarking what would be branded as “JDM” for years and decades to come.

Enter the Original Godzilla: The Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R.

While not the first GT-R that Nissan produced (think old-school, think Hakusoka), this vehicle was the first to earn the “Godzilla” moniker.  Why was this so?  For the casual Japanese media fan, Godzilla was this humongous monster that destroyed everything in its path.  The R32 GT-R was exactly that: a beast to be reckoned with, that in its time laid waste to existing speed/race records and set the standard for much of what was to follow in the performance car scene.

Fact: this car was DESIGNED to DOMINATE.  The 2.6L engine and 4WD/AWD system was uncommon at that period; and it is a brilliant combination of Nissan’s engineering and design departments that produced both a beautiful car and a powerhouse to reckon with during the time it was introduced to professional track racing, since its manufacture in 1989.

The standard R32 GT-R at its time was able to produce a documented 276hp from a 2.6L twin-turbo, straight six engine designed and manufactured by the famed Nissan Kohki facility.   What also made it unique was its specific use of its patented All Wheel Drive system named the ATTESA E-TS; a wunderkind of a contraption that was electronically controlled by an ECU, and mainly responsible for the precision and delivery of raw power from the engine to the four-wheel drive vehicle.

There’s more!  If during that time this didn’t seem like otherworldly technology already, the icing on top of the cake is the all-wheel steering system (which was computer controlled) called HICAS.   While in reality HICAS was considered a bothersome feature by track professionals during the R32’s reign, it was a godsend for everybody else who had the car for road use; as the rear wheels were controlled electronically by the system to go in the same direction as the front wheels once the vehicle went over 80km/h.

This whole package is what made this car what it was; it was so successful that at some track competitions it participated in (Australia, Mount Bathurst 1,000km race), penalties were levied on this speed demon by adding an additional 100kg of weight to make the playing field more “fair”.  These arrangements to handicap the R32 GT-R would be persistent all throughout this Skyline’s presence in the professional racing world; it was simply too powerful, too much, and too soon for its time.

Fast forward to the present, where it is now the year 2015; and the second year where the United States has finally been able to import this particular car minus being associated with criminal behavior.  The R32 GT-R Skyline is now eligible to be imported with no hassle to America, the land of the free!

To know more of Japan Partner’s stock of eligible R32 GT-R Skylines for the US of A, click here:

In the hearts of many, this is the “purists” GT-R; in comparison to the increasingly computer-dependent successors to follow.  We here in Japan Partner feel pretty much the same way; this is the car that began it all: it paved the road ahead for the JDM Kings to come.

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