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Nissan heralds the new GT-R with a bunch of classic ones (pictures)

As the GT-R approaches 50 years old, Nissan takes a look back at the generations that made it a legend.

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Antuan Goodwin
Nissan celebrates the GT-R in New York
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1969 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R

The lineage of the refreshed 2017 Nissan GT-R stretches back nearly 50 years. To celebrate the new model's announcement, the automaker brought an example of every major GT-R generation to the New York auto show.

Nissan celebrates the GT-R in New York
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1969 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R

The GT-R badge was first applied to the Nissan Skyline back in 1969.

Nissan celebrates the GT-R in New York
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1969 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R

The "GT-R" stands for "Grand Touring Racer." This hotted-up variant of the Skyline was built to celebrate and showcase the brand's recent racing victories.

Nissan celebrates the GT-R in New York
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1969 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R

But the GT-R was no mere showcase, it was a race car. The model won its debut appearance at the 1969 JAF Grand Prix -- this would be the first of many GT-R victories.

Nissan celebrates the GT-R in New York
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1969 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R

The PGC10 chassis was powered by a 2.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine.

Nissan celebrates the GT-R in New York
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1969 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R

Power is stated at 158 horsepower. The 130 pound-feet of torque reach the rear wheels via a five-speed transmission.

Nissan celebrates the GT-R in New York
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1969 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R

Back then, the Skyline GT-R was a relatively small car, measuring 173 inches from nose to tail and just over 63 inches wide.

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1969 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R

A compact car is a light one. The 1969 Skyline 2000 GT-R weighs just 2,469 pounds.

Nissan celebrates the GT-R in New York
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1969 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R

I love the classic details on these older vehicles, such as the radio antenna mounted along the A pillar.

Nissan celebrates the GT-R in New York
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1969 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R

At first glance, the upright coupe looks like a brick on wheels, but closer inspection reveals a sharply styled and classic design.

Nissan celebrates the GT-R in New York
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1969 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R

This first GT-R had a top speed of 124 mph (200 km/h) and could run a standing 400m dash (about a quarter mile) in 16.1 seconds.

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1969 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R

Aerodynamic touches, such as a rear wing spoiler and a front chin spoiler, help aid the coupe in cutting through the air and remaining stable at speed.

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1973 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R

In 1973, the next generation of the Skyline GT-R burst onto the scene.

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1973 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R

Internally known as the KPGC110, the new Skyline 2000 GT-R was both longer (175 inches) and wider (66.7 inches) than its predecessor.

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1973 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R

Power for the S20 2.0-liter inline-six is unchanged for this generation, stated at 158 horsepower and 130 pound-feet of torque.

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1973 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R

Curb weight goes up to 2,524 pounds, which is balanced by the addition of front and rear disc brakes. The KPGC110 was one of the first Japanese cars to feature this innovation.

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1973 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R

The C110 is known colloquially as the "Kenmeri" after a series of advertisements that featured a couple named Ken and Mary.

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1973 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R

The cabin is spartan by today's standards, but would have been well appointed in 1973.

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1973 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R

Meaty 175mm-wide tires are wrapped around 14-inch wheels.

Nissan celebrates the GT-R in New York
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1973 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R

The Kenmeri marks the last time a GT-R would wear its side mirrors on the fenders.

Nissan celebrates the GT-R in New York
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1973 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R

That may seem like a small wheel-and-tire package by today's standards, but the C110 needed flared fenders to clear them.

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1973 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R

Strict emissions standards halted production prematurely after just 200 examples were produced.

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1989 Nissan Skyline GT-R

In 1989, after 16 years of dormancy, the very nature of the GT-R badge changed.

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1989 Nisssan Skyline GT-R

The R32 Skyline GT-R was the first GT-R model to feature turbocharging and all-wheel drive, features that are now intrinsically linked with the GT-R badge.

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1989 Nisssan Skyline GT-R

Under the hood the RB26DETT engine breathes. The 2.6-liter twin-turbocharged inline-six makes 276 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.

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1989 Nisssan Skyline GT-R

The coupe rides on a multilink suspension at all four corners.

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1989 Nisssan Skyline GT-R

Power from the turbocharged engine is split between the four wheels via Nissan's electronically controlled ATTESA E-TS (short for "Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All-Terrain Electronic Torque Split") 4WD system.

Nissan celebrates the GT-R in New York
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1989 Nisssan Skyline GT-R

Interestingly, in 1988 Japanese automakers all agreed to self-impose a 280 PS (276 hp) limit on their cars, which is why this GT-R and many that follow cap at that point.

Nissan celebrates the GT-R in New York
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1989 Nisssan Skyline GT-R

The R32 has the distinction of not losing a single race in the All Japan Championships.

Nissan celebrates the GT-R in New York
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1989 Nisssan Skyline GT-R

The rear end's quad-circle tail lights echo those of the first two generations.

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1995 Nisssan Skyline GT-R

The 1995 Skyline GT-R evolved from the R32.

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1995 Nisssan Skyline GT-R

Now known as the R33, the GT-R became again heavier (3,395 pounds) and larger, which Nissan claims made the car more stable and fun on the road.

Nissan celebrates the GT-R in New York
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1995 Nisssan Skyline GT-R

The design continues to refine for this generation, but there are also performance gains to be had.

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1995 Nisssan Skyline GT-R

The 4WD system evolves into the ATTESA E-TS Pro, gaining active lateral control of torque on the rear axle via a limited-slip differential.

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1995 Nisssan Skyline GT-R

Power for the 2.6-liter RB26DETT engine is unchanged for this generation, still sitting at the self-imposed limit of 276 horsepower.

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1995 Nisssan Skyline GT-R

Torque is stated at 271 pound feet.

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1995 Nisssan Skyline GT-R

The interior continues to modernize for this generation with the addition of more creature comforts.

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1995 Nisssan Skyline GT-R

This example is also fitted with a full roll cage, which is fairly well hidden in the chassis.

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1995 Nisssan Skyline GT-R

The coupe also sees stiffening of the chassis. Around the Nurburgring Nordschleife, the heavier R33 was 21 seconds faster than its predecessor.

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2001 Nissan Skyline GT-R M-Spec Nür

When most people think "Skyline GT-R," the car that comes to mind is the R34.

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2001 Nissan Skyline GT-R M-Spec Nür

The R34 stepped onto the scene in 1999. This is actually a 2001 M-Spec Nür edition, a 1,000 unit limited edition named after the Nurburgring and tuned for endurance races.

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2001 Nissan Skyline GT-R M-Spec Nür

The M-Spec Nür has a softer suspension tune and stabilizers that make it ideal for the at times rough surfaces of the Nurburgring's Nordschleife. The model also featured a special N1 tune of the turbocharged 2.6-liter engine.

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2001 Nissan Skyline GT-R M-Spec Nür

The R34 was the first GT-R to feature digital instrumentation on its dashboard.

Nissan celebrates the GT-R in New York
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2001 Nissan Skyline GT-R M-Spec Nür

Relative to the R33, the R34 featured a shorter wheelbase, more compact dimensions and a significantly stiffer chassis.

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2001 Nissan Skyline GT-R M-Spec Nür

The all-wheel drive RB26DETT powertrain gains intercooling, but retains the stated 276 horsepower cap. Torque grows to 289 pound-feet.

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2001 Nissan Skyline GT-R M-Spec Nür

Rumor has it that Nissan may have bent the 280 PS "gentleman's agreement" and actually understated the R34 GT-R's power.

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2001 Nissan Skyline GT-R M-Spec Nür

At 3,439 pounds, the R34 is lighter than its predecessor, but it's also more aerodynamic. Even the underpan contributes to downforce.

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2001 Nissan Skyline GT-R M-Spec Nür

The wheels grow to 18-inch rollers and are now shod with 245mm-wide tires.

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2001 Nissan Skyline GT-R M-Spec Nür

Brembo brakes fill the spaces behind the wheels.

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2001 Nissan Skyline GT-R M-Spec Nür

In 2004, the self-imposed horsepower limit was lifted and things get very interesting for the next generation GT-R.

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2013 Nismo GT-R prototype

In 2007, Nissan unveiled the latest generation of the GT-R, now a standalone model separate from the Skyline.

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2013 Nismo GT-R prototype

Now free of the limit, stated power jumps to 478 horsepower. You can check out our full review of the car known as Godzilla here.

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2017 Nissan GT-R

Finally, we end on the latest revision of the Nissan GT-R, more powerful than ever and freshly restyled for the 2017 model year.

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