After decades of lusting, Americans can finally own one of the most delightful pieces of forbidden fruit: the Nissan Skyline GT-R. The Skyline and the GT-R have always been a special car, but they weren’t always a Nissan.
As we’re refreshed on in the latest episode of “Up to Speed” from Donut Media, the Skyline actually started life under Prince Motor Company, a Japanese automaker acquired by Nissan in 1966. Prince was known for electric cars, but it quickly moved into a new segment in the 1950s: luxury cars.
Executives wanted a luxury car to do battle with the best from America and Europe, thus, it created the Skyline. Nissan’s purchase wasn’t a hostile takeover. In fact, it let the Prince team work on its own accord.
According to company insiders, Nissan allowed the Prince team to work independently inside the automaker up until the final R34 Skyline GT-R. An almost permanent skunkworks developed and worked on the next great Godzilla for about a decade and ushered in the R32, R33, and the iconic R34.
Unfortunately, the Skyline as we knew it went away in 2001 with the V35, or as Americans know it, the Infiniti G35. But, the GT-R returned sans the Skyline name in 2007, and it’s the only generation ever sold new in the United States. Now, the used market continues to scoop up every R32 GT-R imported from abroad as the infamous “25-year rule” runs its course. For those special cars, thank a little Japanese company called Prince, enthusiasts.