Nissan GT-R – Godzilla and the Fight against the Top Dogs

The Nissan GT-R was launched in 2007 – but the GT-R designation has been around for much longer. In 1964 a rather plain four-door Nissan 2000GT sedan was given a performance kit with the initials GT-R and went head-to-head with a Porsche 904 at the Japanese Grand Prix. In the following decades, the models that were allowed to carry the letters GT-R in their names became more and more potent and sporty… Until the current 2+2-seater sports coupé was launched in 2007.

WITH THE NISSAN GT-R, THE JAPANESE COMPANY LAUNCHED AN ATTACK ON THE SUPER SPORTS CAR SCENE.

Under the comparatively inconspicuous coupé body, the Japanese equipped the car with concentrated technology for top performance. The 3.8-litre V6 engine, boosted by two turbochargers, initially produced 357 kW/485 hp. After several performance updates, the Nismo version now delivers 441 kW/600 hp. A six-speed dual-clutch transmission in a transaxle configuration transmits the drive torque to all four wheels.

PROVING ITSELF ON THE NORDSCHLEIFE

Pure numbers are one thing – but the decisive factor for the success of a sports car is its behaviour on the track. And there the GT-R presented itself as a worthy competitor. On the Nürburgring Nordschleife, the acid test for every sporty car, the Nissan burned times into the asphalt that even relegated the top dogs from Porsche to second place for the time being. The Nissan GT-R also beat the competition from Lamborghini, Porsche and Chevrolet on the British car magazine Top Gear’s own test track.

This earned the Nissan GT-R respect and recognition in the scene as well as the nickname Godzilla, but was it enough to lure Ferrari and Lamborghini buyers in Italy, for example, or out of the Porsche showroom in Germany? The answer is clearly no. There were enough interested parties in Europe, but for the big hit it had to be something very special. Like the special series “Egoist”.

An Egoist FOR Individualists

Resourceful marketing experts at Nissan sketched out a plan there to win over potential buyers. More power and, above all, more exclusivity were to be the key.

The engine power was increased to 530 hp and the aerodynamics were revised. In addition, new brakes were used and the chassis was also improved once again. Only the finest materials were used in the interior. Leather everywhere you look, not only for the seats and centre console, but also the A and B pillars and the door sills were covered with the high-quality hides.

An example of how much effort was put into something special is the sound system by Bose. Customers were invited to Japan especially for the fine-tuning. There, the system was mounted and adjusted to the exact body dimensions of the buyers in an optimal position.

Nissan also helped itself to only the top shelf in all details from the steering wheel emblem, which was refined with the Japanese lacquer art Urushi, to the lightweight carbon rear wing. But success at the sales counter fell short of expectations. The idea of creating a unique collector’s car may have been well thought out in theory, but a die-hard 911 or Corvette driver is not so quick to switch brands.

ONLY 39 EGOISTS WERE BUILT, ONLY TWO OF THEM LEFT-HAND DRIVE

That makes this particular GT-R a true exotic. And possibly, with a little delay, the marketing department’s plan is coming to fruition.

At C.O.G. Classics in Düsseldorf, one of the two left-hand drive GT-R “Egoist” editions is currently for sale. At Retro Classics in Stuttgart in April, this example was one of the exhibits on the C.O.G. stand. It was an ambitious undertaking to have a Japanese sports car from 2011 compete against the various 911s in Porsche’s hometown. But Christian-Oscar Geyer, managing director of C.O.G. Classics, had the right instinct: the Egoist was one of the biggest attractions at the fair. Numerous photos were taken, enquiries and requests made, and the car raved about, especially by the younger ones in the audience.

FOR THE “GENERATION PLAYSTATION” AND FANS OF THE FAST AND FURIOUS MOVIES, THE GT-R IS A STAR

Even as a standard model, most people would have described it as a dream car. With the Stage 1 performance update, which delivers 441 kW/600 hp, the shiny pearlescent white and the one-of-a-kind character, even more so. The Nissan GT-R is not only a legend in the tuning scene. The great design, the playful interior and the brute power make it the perfect everyday sports car. The Egoist feels just as comfortable at a track day on the racetrack as it does on a relaxed drive on the country road.


THIS RARE NISSAN GT-R “EGOIST” FROM 2011 IS CURRENTLY FOR SALE.



Fotos Maximilián Balázs

Author: Paolo Ollig

As editor-in-chief Paolo regularly writes about all the big and small stories related to classic cars and motorbikes. Classic dreams: Lamborghini Countach and Mercedes-Benz 300 SL.

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