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If you know a thing or two about cars, you might be familiar with the Japanese supercar, the Nissan GT-R. The car is a legend, both in terms of performance and motorsports heritage. The Nissan GT-R or the Skyline GT-R has gone through various iterations over the years, with updates to the engine and chassis, along with the introduction of an advanced all-wheel-drive system.
Beyond that, the Nissan GT-R has also got one of the coolest nicknames ever – Godzilla. How exactly did it get the name? The answer is more than 25 years old. Before explaining that, you should know what Godzilla or Gojira (Japanese) really stands for.
Godzilla is a monster from Japanese fiction. The enormous and violent amphibian reptile is empowered by nuclear radiation. The fictional character can shoot out high-energy nuclear heat rays, known as atomic breath, from its mouth. Godzilla has been depicted in a lot of movies and cartoons in Japan as well as in Hollywood.
However, the GT-R's ‘Godzilla' title was not given in Japan, but in Australia. In the late ‘80s, Australia became the first country to which the Nissan GT-R was exported. The exported R32 generation of the Nissan GT-R was powered by a 2.6-litre twin-turbo straight-six engine. It produced close to 276bhp and 361Nm of torque. The engine came mated to a 5-speed manual.
In the very next Australian Touring Championship, the R32 GT-R flew past its competitors, including the then famed Ford Sierra Cosworth. The Nissan GT-R R32 also saw huge success in the Japanese Touring Car Championship. The entire championship had to be broken down into different classes, due to the Nissan GT-R beating every car which competed in the championship.
The Japanese referred to their creation as 'Obakemono', which stood for 'a shape-shifting monster'. After having seen the potential of the R32, Australian automotive magazine, Wheels, for their July 1989 issue wanted something catchy for the cover title. They didn't quite like word, Obakemono. So, they settled for something better and powerful - Godzilla!
The racing heritage and the ‘Godzilla' badge was carried forward ever since.
Nissan GT-R Generations
The Nissan GT-R aka Skyline GT-R was born in 1969. Skyline was a range of compact sports cars, produced initially by Prince Motor Company in 1957, and by Nissan in 1967 after the two companies merged. The GT-R has gone through six generations since its introduction. Below are the six generations of the Nissan GT-R:
The Hakosuka was originally available as a 5-door sedan and made its debut at the 1968 Tokyo Motor Show. It had a 2.0-litre straight-six engine with 160bhp and 177Nm torque.
Introduced in 1973, the second generation Skyline GT-R also had a 2.0-litre straight-6. The engine was good for 158bhp and 177Nm of torque.
The original 1989 Godzilla came with a 2.6-litre straight-6 putting out 276bhp and 361Nm. The GT-R also got its first all-wheel-drive system in the R32.
The fourth generation Godzilla came in 1995 with the same engine as in the R32. It came with a lot of improvements compared to the R32 and produced 280bhp and 258Nm of torque.
The R34 is perhaps the most iconic Nissan GT-R generation. It initially had the same 2.6-litre engine from the R33, but a new 2.8-litre twin-turbo straight-6 unit was introduced later. The car was also highly-advanced for its time (1999) and produced close to 276bhp and 361Nm. The engine was highly capable of taking even more load, making it a tuner's dream.
The current generation (2017 model) Nissan GT-R is powered by a 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6. The car can put out 565bhp and 633Nm of torque. The all-wheel-drive system of the R35 is so advanced that it gave the GT-R another title - 'Computer On Wheels'.
Thoughts On Why The Nissan GT-R Is Called The Godzilla
The Nissan GT-R is one of the best JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) supercars on sale today. Though the current R35 GT-R isn't the fastest or the quickest car in the world, it is capable of giving almost any other supercar a tough competition. Simply put, the Nissan GT-R is still a performance monster or to be more precise, The Godzilla!