Half a century ago, it would have been impossible to conceive of a 600 hp sports car for the street, let alone one wearing a badge from Nissan, the company then known in the US as Datsun. But since 1969, the Nissan Skyline GT-R, while never officially available in North America, has been Japan’s most formidable sports car nameplate. In 2007, that model morphed into an all-wheel-drive monster and descended Stateside with a vengeance. Simply called the GT-R (no longer the Skyline), it has earned the nickname Godzilla because of its brutal performance and appetite for decimating far costlier competitors on road and track.
To commemorate 50 years since the first iteration, the 2020 Nissan GT-R 50th Anniversary Edition is offered in all three GT-R variants: Premium, Track and NISMO versions. The commemorative package also offers a choice of three “heritage” liveries: Bayside Blue (a bright metallic shade, shown above) with white stripes, Pearl White with red stripes and Super Silver with white stripes. A special gray interior— which seats four—complements each exterior without distraction.
What’s under the hood, however, defines the beast; a 3.8-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6—each one assembled by its own dedicated master technician. In street form, the engine delivers 565 hp and 467 ft lbs of torque, but that bumps to 600 hp and 481 ft lbs of torque in the Track and NISMO editions—and all models benefit from improved turbochargers. A 6-speed, dual-clutch, paddle-shift transmission; electronically controlled suspension; and steering have all been tuned for improved performance. A new titanium muffler system delivers the signature exhaust note of the GT-R, a sound both gravelly and raucous, with an aggressive snarl that suggests it could easily chew a keg of nails while mopping the tarmac with more delicate machines. Although the Anniversary Edition’s pricing is yet to be announced, it’s estimated to start at $120,000.