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Almost Great: Nissan Skyline GT-R R33

1 year ago

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David Twohig | Engineer


13 June 2023

Anyone who has any doubt that Nissan Skyline GT-Rs are, generally, great cars need only read Gavin Green’s evocative piece. Skyline GT-R R32? Great car. R34? Possibly even greater. But the middle sister, the R33, built between 1994 and ’99? At the risk of disagreeing with Gavin, I’m saying: close, but no cigar.

Not that I don’t love the R33. I have a soft spot for many of the slightly flawed cars that we write about in this series. Not only did I spend my own money on one – a beautiful, stock example in the R33 colour, the wonderfully named Midnight Purple. I even part-exchanged my much-regretted Pulsar GTi-R for it.

Just to be clear that this is in no way a piece of dispassionate journalism, let’s continue with the ‘full disclosure’ bit. As an ex-Nissan employee, I admit being positively disposed to almost anything wearing the Yokohama-based company’s hamburger on its grille. I am also a huge Skyline fan-boy – from the boxy 1970s Hakosuka to equally boxy R34s, I lap them all up, and ask for seconds. Note that I stop short of the (current) R35 – it may wear a GT-R badge, but it’s not a Skyline. It’s a thunderous thing, and that VR38 mill is a bottomless pit of energy, but any six-pot under the hood of a Skyline must be straight, not bent.

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