Serving up some humble pie, thanks to the Nissan GTR
By Nicholas Lette, Dec 17 2015 12:09AM
Oddly enough I liked previous generations of skyline. I was introduced to these vehicles as legends in their own lifetime and there was something quite ethereal about them and their apparent unicorn status.
Being very young at the time and having a mind which worked very much like a game of top trumps meant that they were the best because the numbers said so. I had no baseline on which to subjectively form my own opinions, a problem which was not helped by the arrival of the Fast and Furious franchise. Fuelled by the decision of US customs to render these cars illegal because of the questionable import of R34s at the height of their fame, public longing for these cars turned into a lust which continues to this day.
Flash forward fifteen years and bizzarly this self-confessed fast car nut had only bad words to say about the "Godzilla" from the other side of the world.
As a designer I felt areas of the styling were unresolved and as a driver never admired the fact that it's speed seemed rooted in a world of electronics which I didn't understand. Only the best of the best could confidently match it's pace in alternative machinery and the performance plateau which the everyday driver could reach was so unfeasibly high as to require an oxygen tank. I was worried that this absurd speed would feel playful and relaxed because of the ease and availability of its delivery. Couple this with a poundland price-tag and every tree in the country would be littered with shiny metal foliage and an imprint in the trunk from an intimate meeting with the nose of Nissan's wonder car. Or so I thought.
The car turned out to be a tour-de-force in ways I could never have imagined. It was not only better in almost everyway but more accessible too. Chances are more damage is done to council estates everyday by hoons in chrome-wheeled Corsas than has been inflicted upon the world by GTRs. Everyone who drove one, even for a moment seemed spellbound by not just the insane va-va-voom it could instantly serve up but how easy it had made the art of driving fast. As if proof were needed, lap records at tracks the world over were tumbling and constant scratching was leaving the heads of the supercar aristocracy sore and bemused. As for the drivers of european thoroughbreds, no red traffic light was safe. Any day now they could look to their right or left and come face to face with a V6 powered harbinger of defeat and no matter which costly and complex launch control mode their now sweaty palms could select, they'd be left for dead.
It was not these feats which changed my perception of this incredible car but the realisation that what I was watching was the formation of a new legend, one which will last as long if not longer than that of the GTRs ancestors. In the future these cars will still be damn quick and the cult status they enjoy now is likely to grow ever stronger as they see off the competition for many years to come.