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Nissan celebrates GT-R’s 50th with Italdesign

Flagship fight-R: Not content with the 441kW/652Nm outputs offered in the Nissan GT-R Nismo, the GT-R50 by Italdesign raises performance to a predicted 530kW/780Nm.

Italdesign tapped to create GT-R50 to commemorate 50 years of go-fast Nissans


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2 Jul 2018

NISSAN has teamed with Italian coachbuilder Italdesign to create the ultimate GT-R, dubbed GT-R50 by Italdesign, as a 50-year celebration of the former’s flagship nameplate and the latter’s birthday.

Using the existing GT-R Nismo as a starting point, Italidesign developed, engineered and built the car that is longer, wider, lower and more powerful than its donor vehicle, with the GT-R50 featuring a number of golden touches to spruce up the Gundam-inspired bodywork of the Nissan supercar.

Finished in Liquid Kinetic Gray, the contrasting Energetic Sigma Gold touches adorn the front fascia surround, bonnet vents and side mirrors, as well as nearly the entire back-section of the car.

The roof is lowered by 54mm with slightly raised outer edges for a “muscular look”, according to Nissan, while the bonnet wears a more prominent power bulge and the rear window is more steeply raked.

Nissan’s signature twin round tail-lights have also been tweaked with Italdesign going for a floating look, which is nestled below a massive adjustable rear wing, and custom 21-inch wheels shod in 255/35 tyres up front and 285/30 rubber in the rear fill the arches.

Inside, the GT-R50 is also treated to lashings of style thanks to a carbon-fibre-finished centre console and instrument panel, while gold highlights are used across the doors and switchgear.

Seats and the flat-bottomed steering wheel sport black Alcantara and Italian leather trim.

Under the bonnet, the GT-R50 still packs a twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre V6 petrol engine, but outputs have been raised from the Nismo’s 441kW/652Nm to “an estimated” 530kW/780Nm.

The lift in performance is a result of GT3 competition-spec turbochargers, larger intercoolers, high-flow piston oil jets, revised camshaft profiles, higher-flow fuel injectors, optimised ignition, and revised intake and exhaust systems.

Teamed with a strengthened dual-clutch six-speed automatic transmission, the GT-R50 also features revised continuously adjustable suspension, and six- and four-pot Brembo brakes front and rear.

Nissan senior vice-president for global design Alfonso Albaisa shot down hopes that the GT-R50 would form the basis of the new-generation model, but instead said it is a unique way to celebrate two milestones.

“Although this is not the next-generation GT-R, it is an exciting celebration of two anniversaries in a proactive and creative way – wrapping one of Nissan’s best engineering platforms and Japanese design with Italian coachbuilding,” he said.

“How often do you get to ask, ‘What if we created a GT-R without limits,’ and then actually get to build it?

“This is a rare window in time when two big moments intersect: 50 years of Italdesign shaping the automotive world and 50 years of Nissan generating excitement through our iconic GT-R.

“So to celebrate this convergence, Nissan and Italdesign created this custom GT-R to mark 50 years of engineering leadership.”

The GT-R nameplate first appeared in 1969 as the flagship variant in its Skyline line-up, before being replaced by a new-generation model in 1973 that was in production for just a single year.

GT-R would not return to Nissan until 1989 with the introduction of the R32 Skyline powered by the famed twin-turbo 2.6-litre RB26 straight-six engine that dominated Australian touring cars in the early 1990s.

The fourth-generation R33 Skyline GT-R went on sale from 1995 to 1998, before the fifth-gen R34 Skyline GT-R was made available from 1999-2002, the latter of which featured as Paul Walker’s car of choice in the Fast and the Furious movie franchise.

Outside of film, Skyline GT-R models were also popularised with the Gran Turismo, Need for Speed and Forza video game series, as well as through the Initial D and Wangan Midnight street-racing mangas.

The Skyline moniker was dropped in 2007 with the debut of the Nissan GT-R, a two-door four-seater powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre V6 engine.

Meanwhile, Italdesign has worked with many car-makers throughout its lifespan, but is most notable for designing the first-generation Volkswagen Golf and Scirocco of 1974, the Alfa Romeo Brera and 159 of 2005, the 2004 Maserati MC12 supercar and the 2001 SsangYong Rexton.

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