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GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

1967 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-B

67_skyline.jpg

SPEX

Year: 1967
Class: Compact
Type: sedan

Country of Origin: Japan
Host: GT4 & GT5

Price: Nil (GT4 Prize), $13,412 (GT5 used car lot)
Mileage: 24.1 (GT4), 54,557.5 (GT5)

Construction: unit steel

Length: 166.73" // Width: 59.5" // Height: 55.3"
Wheelbase: 102.0"
Overhang: 5' 5"
Track: 49.8" [F] 49.4" [R] 
Ground Clearance:
Weight: 2,413 pounds

Layout: Front Engine / Rear-drive
Tires: N/A
F. Suspension: M. struts, coils, lwr. wishbones, anti-roll bar
R. Suspension: semi-elliptical arms, coils, shox
Brakes: disc/drum

*GT4 GT-B was not given any maintenance, its power close to dealer-quoted
* GT5 GT-B was given oil change but no engine rebuild

Engine: 2.0 liter DOHC inline-6
Construction: NA
Aspiration: natural
Fuel System: 3 dual-brl. carburetors
Valves / Cyl: 2
Bore x Stroke: 3.23 x 2.44"
Compression: NA
                        GT4                           GT5
Final HP: 123 @ 5,600          124 @ 5,500 rpm
Fnl Torq: 122.89 @ 4,400     126 @ 4,500 rpm

Credits per HP: NA                          105.61
Pounds per HP: 19,62                      19.00
Pounds per Trq: 19.62                      19.55
HP per Liter:   61.9                            62.3

Idle Speed (4 or 5): 750 // Redline: 6,500 // RPM Limit: 7,000

Transmission: 5-speed manual
Differential: limited-slip
                        GT4                      GT5
0-60 mph: 10.933 seconds        10.450
0-100 mph: 31.xxx                     29.634                
0-150 mph: nil                                nil

400 M:  18.316 @ 79 mph    18.511 @ 80 mph
1 Kilom: 32.921 @ 102           25.954 @ 103

1/4 Mile: Nil                      18.804 (mph n/a) 
1 Mile:    Nil                     45.652 @ 112 mph 

100-zero mph: No Test          6.233 seconds

Top Gear RPM @ 60 mph: 3,250

Top Speed at Redline (GT5):
1st: 28.8 mph
2nd: 49.3 mph
3rd: 66.5 mph
4th: 91.1 mph
5th: 122.3 @ 6,750 rpm
 
          123.02 @ 6,900 rpm (GT4)

67skyline_sepia.jpg

----------EXTERIOR / HISTORY------------

So begins Part II of the story of the infamous Skyline. Part I started with the '62 Prince Skyline Sport Coupe, now we move on to the Skyline's second generation.

Although the '62 Prince Skyline is the oldest to appear in Gran Turismo 4 and 5, it is not considered a suitable race car, not by me anyways. As I drove it a few days ago, I found it to be more of a novelty, more of a cruiser. Kinda neat to drive around, imagining I'm a Japanese hipster in the early '60s or whatever. It can win some races (don't get me wrong, here) but the '62 simply was not bred for the tracks, you see?  It's a great car to view in replays, mostly because it's so unusual to watch as it sashes about. But let's not fool ourselves.

This began to change with the Skyline's second generation. Here's where it all began.   

Starting in 1963, Prince released their 2nd generation of Skyline, codenamed the S50. It could be had either as a wagon or a sedan, and took on a boxier, less handsome appearance in comparison to the Skyline's first generation. The amount of chrome used to decorate the S50 looks as if it were cut roughly in half, when compared to the '62 Skyline Sport Coupe, and the S50 took on a more "generic" demeanor, similar to many other sedans produced all over the world.

But if you look closely, there are some items of interest. This newer Skyline kept the Sport Coupe's quad headlamps, for instance. It also added a feature to be found on many later Skylines: circular tail-lamps. And, there are other minor details to be noted here and there, details which some potential buyers might find attractive, ugly, or perhaps they won't be noticed much at all. This generation of Skyline was not trying to be an Italian art form, nor was it trying to be anything at all, other than functional, simple, and possibly an even better seller than the previous generation. Simplified designs from the '50s to the '60s didn't just happen in America, it's interesting to see they took place in Japan as well.    

From 1963 to 1968, 114,238 S50s were sold, which was great, but the story is not as simple as this.

In 1966, Prince and Nissan merged. This happend due to a strategy suggested by Japan's government. They theorized: A company which merged with another company would create a greater amount of resources, factory space, and dealership networks for both manufacturers after they combined. Overall, this meant there would be a greater chance for success and longevity on a worldwide scale. Prince was still relatively new at car-making in the mid 60s, wheras Nissan had a much longer reputation. Nissan's roots began before World War I, long before Nissan was actually known as "Nissan", with the DAT motorcar.

It's possible Nissan needed Prince at that point, partialy because Prince's models were somewhat on the higher end of the luxury scale. Matter of fact, at some point Prince was commissioned to produce a few specialized vehicles for Japan's royalty during the 1960s.  

With Toyota, Honda, Daihatsu, and a few others gaining sales, the Nissan/Prince merger only made both companies stronger. But that's not the only reason for the merge. Prince had just begun racing a couple years earlier, and had some interesting successes.

During the early '60s, Japanese touring car racing often featured larger autos like Toyota's Crown, Nissan's Cedric, and Prince's Gloria. Nowadays, the Skyline would be considered "compact", but back then the S50 was more of a mid-size, while the Crown, Cedric, and Gloria were full-sized. Part of the Skyline's success, therefore, was due to the fact that it was smaller and nimbler than the typically larger autos to be found in TC racing. The Skyline was probably easier to drive, as well.

The larger cars mentioned had larger 6-cylinder engines, wheras the first generation Skyline featured a slightly smaller 4. Part of Prince's strategy was to drop the Gloria's 2.0 liter straight 6 engine into the S50-generation car. Not only was this engine a little bigger, it had already been prepared for racing. Now, the new Skyline had the handling and the speed necessary for winning, Prince only had to lengthen the car's front-end to fit the larger engine. See...it wasn't just America that was messing around with larger engine displacements in an effort for more glory.     

In 1964, Prince entered several Skyline 2000GTs into the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. According to a couple websites I visited, Prince actually dominated the race early on. Despite the fact that these boxy sedans were not heavily modified from their street versions, Skylines took 2nd thru 6th place, while a single private-entry Porsche 904 won the race. After this particular race, one of Prince's executives decided to create the R380, a purer mid-engined race car. But let's try not to get off-topic here.   

Certainly, this race at Suzuka was where the Skyline's long long reputation in sports competition was really first noticed on a global scale. The 904 was a fiberglass-bodied rear-engine sports car. It was low, lightweight and sleek, and featured a flat-4 twincam engine which of course had seen racing experience all over the world. Despite this, it was pretty cool that it could have been trounced by a bunch of new-model sedans, had there been some sort of driver error or mechanical failures. If the Skyline was capable of taking down an actual European sports car, what else could be possible?   

In America we had higher-performing versions of our muscle cars to appease street-terrorizing buyers, and in Japan the marketing formula was no different. Prince started to offer a couple higher-performing Skyline GTs to the public: the GT-A and the GT-B. The GT-A had a single carburetor for its 1,988 cc inline-6 producing 104 hp. The GT-B, on the other hand had three dual-barrel Weber carbs, producing about 126. We, of course, are lucky to have access to the GT-B, not the weaker GT-A.          
 
Unfortunately, the merger between Prince and Nissan dissolved the Prince Motors name. Although Prince still operates within Nissan (creating their Skylines) there are no more official Prince cars, not that I know of anyways. Such a shame. But the good news is, after 1966 with the Skyline now known as a Nissan, its reputation only grew. Who knows, if that merger hadn't happened, and Prince at some point had faltered, we might not have had any Skylines in Gran Turismo at all. Some don't consider this a bad thing, I suppose.

At just over 2,400 pounds, the GT-B is light and devilishly nimble at times. It may not have been much of a looker, but this generation of Skyline (firmly under Nissan's influence) only showed improvements all-around. The GT-B is oddly hard to attain in either game being reviewed: in GT4 it appears in Nissan's "Classic" lot, but cannot be bought, it can only be won as a prize. The GT5 car can be found in this game's used car lot, but good luck actually finding one. Once you do find one, the good news is that (unlike a lot of other classics) you won't need to drop a lot of cash.
 
 

red_67skyline.jpg

--------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN----------

As mentioned, the 2000 GT-B's engine was taken from the Prince Gloria, a move which helped Prince (and eventually Nissan) with some stunning success. But to many of us gamers, it's a bit of a stretch to imagine how this could have happened. Nowadays we're all used to Skyline engines rated at 276 (under Japan's '90s-era power restrictions) but these engines often contain more than 276 once we dyno them in our own garages. Early Skylines put forth nowhere near these sort of numbers!  

My used 2000 GT-B had just over 54,000 miles when I bought it in GT5. Before oil change, yikes...it only had 115 hp @ 5,500 rpm, with 114 foot-pound of torque @ 4,500. Both of these figures gained about 10 of each (124 hp and 126 foot-pounds) after oil change was managed. The GT4 car  (as a prize) starts 123 horses, which is exactly the amount quoted by Nissan. Our redline in either game starts at 6,500, which is sometimes where some more modern Skylines begin their peak power area!

Still, despite the fact that the G7 engine is much less powerful, after gazing at its dyno results it's obvious what sort of engine this is. It is tepid, yes, but it is also somewhat peaky. Peak torque and power are close in range to one another, meaning that revs mustn't wander too far south in the wrong gear. Nor do we always need to reach far into the redline area itself to gain that last bit of power. 

Nissan (Nismo, whatever) provides some nice power upgrades. I've driven this car as it appears in GT4, where it unfortunately makes just over 200 hp, max. All 3 NA kits can be had, but only two turbos. We can do a lot of racing though, despite these low numbers, including this game's coveted 1,000 Miles! marathons. In GT5, things improve: all three turbo systems can be had on top of the usual "Big 3" engine upgrades. At most, we've got 199 @ 6,400 with 170 foot-pounds @ 5,400 with peak natural power, and 237 @ 6,400 with 196 @ 5,900 with a Stage 3 turbo system. Since this game does not require much power in its early stages, the Skyline 2000 GT-B can safely compete in the Japanese Classics, World Historic Cup, FR Challenge, and Clubman Cup without much overkill or underkill.     

Finally, some notes on drivetrain. The GT-B came with a 5-speed manual transmission and limited-slip differential, both standard equipment. The limited-slip does seem to have been considered, especially in GT5. I'm noticing it seems to augment this car's traction and handling out of turns. Let's discuss handling, actually. Yeah....good idea.  

gold_67skyline.jpg

----------CHASSIS / HANDLING-----------



GT4
Now for a bit of fun. It's like Christmas morning, GT4 is, and there are....like...over 800 presents for us to open. The night before Christmas, many of us can't sleep, as we toss and turn in anticipation.

Anyways, 800 is a lot of presents, so that it can take several years to open them all, and in some cases, many of these gifts remain in their wrappings. There's just so many of them! And of course, we don't just unwrap these presents, we usually start playing with these toys soon after they're unwrapped, leaving hundreds of other presents waiting under the tree.  

In some cases, the presents we find are just as our dreams warranted, in other cases we are less than impressed. This particular present looks unimpressive at first. It's a rather droll-looking vehicle; almost as boxy as the box it came in. Even as an historic vehicle, this one doesn't make us go "wow" like some other classics, including the first-generation Skyline with its cat-eye face and hand-built Italian-designed bodywork. Matter fact, there's nothing really "classic" about this one at all: this 1967 Skyline 2000 GT-B. It's rather a bit ordinary.  

But, we smile anyways. We say "thanks" to Nissan, while pretending to be excited. Secretly, we might be disappointed. We might just want to quietly take this one back to the store for an exchange, right? Where's that damn receipt!

Basically: it doesn't look as though this boxmobile will do well at the tracks of Gran Turismo. Sure, it almost managed to defeat a Porsche, and held many touring car victories in its day, but that "day" was almost 50 years ago.

Taking a drive at most any track, some of us may start to feel a bit depressed, as this one crawls its way around. The GT-B is slow, it is nothing like a modern Skyline. Each upshift has us fearing faster cars will overtake. Yet, as we start to take some turns, eventually we may start to see this car does have its merits, especially in those twisty bit where we can get more and more confident tossing this one in.

Matter of fact, the Skyline's reputation for solid, predictable handling didn't begin in the 1990s, or even the '70s. It's notable how even in this ancient antique, handling can be quite exemplary at times, especially compared to others of its day. But even when faced against a more modern crowd during the FR Challenge, PD Cup, and various Special Condition races, this old clunker can sometimes step up to the plate with confidence.

Driver skill comes into play, of course. Since we can't always rely on power, we must be able to drive the this Skyline for all its worth in those turns. Fortunately, this car often does work with us at these times.
 
Despite the GT-B's tall, thin, boxy shape, and its narrow tires, handling is where this one excells at. Not just handling...predictable handling. This car is 100% predictable, unlike many many other historic automobiles. There is understeer but it's usually light. And since this Skyline happens to be so narrow (59.5" wide), it's often eager to find areas to get by larger cars on those circuits. Use this space wisely! Again, the GT-B only works WITH us as we get by others.

And of course, this is GT4, so the main thing that sucks about this car's handling is its lack of fun. Other than the fact that it's somewhat tossable, the GT-B as it appears in this game isn't much fun. I'm talking of sliding, oversteer, and drifting, to which we can answer with a "sometimes", "No", and "NEVER". Maybe some pro drifter drivers might be able to get this one going on some cheapie tires, I personally haven't had much luck in these departments. 

But what did we expect? Christmas isn't just about presents and getting, it's also about providing for others and giving. And that's just where GT5 fits in...       
    

GT 
A slightly more experienced driver is needed to pilot the S50 around in GT5, especially if ABS braking is not being used, but there's more of a reward system in effect for those drivers who are willing and able to take the time to get to know this car's mannerisms as it appears in the "Next Gen" game. 

One of the main differences from GT4 to GT5 is now this car isn't 100% predictable anymore. But it's still anywhere from 80 to 90% so, depending on tires, power-ratings, and such. The loss of predictability is okay, though, for what we have now is a little more excitement in its place.  
 
That's one thing I love about this car in this game. It still tackles turns like it did in the previous edition, yet if you push it a bit more, there's a feeling of responsiveness that's missing in GT4. There's more of a playful behavior now. This is true in lots of cars with more "go", it's nice to see it's also true in a car which hasn't got mountains of torque and power.   

As expected, the GT-B is now prone to more oversteer in this newer game, yet even this extra rear-end slipping is predictable most of the time. It's easier to get slipping, or even get sideways if that's your aim, and it's just as easy to recall any of this recalcitrance back. Yet on top of it all, the front-end still has that solid, predictable safeness with just a bit of understeer. The front-end is always ready to take our commands, and provides accurate steering into many turns of all kinds.  

All of this is true with the 2000 GT-B's stock Comfort Soft tires, and only gets better and better with sports. At times, you may forget you're racing a nearly 50-year old 4-door sedan. No wonder the 2000 GT-B managed to compete with that Porsche so long ago.  

Even understeer in this car is easy to manage! This is one of those rare cars in which I'm finding I can sometimes just let it push towards the outside, especially in larger turns with no traffic to contend with. This Skyline won't just take a bee-line towards those walls; instead, it can safely be tossed into turns, losing small amounts of front-end grip, yet I can sometimes start with that gas early anyways. There's still a push, but there's not much car being pushed. Once you get the hang of it, those outside tires can safely land just at the edge of a curb, instead of in the grass, again and again and again.   

Basically, in how many cars of Gran Turismo can we say these words as we watch their replays: "wow, I was understeering when I skooled that BMW!"    

Braking is the main area which must be managed a little more (sometimes a lot more) carefully and thoroughly. With a lack of ABS, the Skyline 2000 GT-B needs longer distances and more careful entry into turns at times. It's not really understeer that winds up being a concern, it's small amounts of brake lock-up and sliding. Usually, the rear will start to slide outwards if brakes and too much steering are both applied, which can be dangerous in this car mostly because any deviance from its usual safe, predictable mannerisms can possibly mean lost time. And lost time = lost speed.

Then again, for some of us, this only ADDS to the fun! Getting this car a little sideways into turns can actually be a great tool mid-turn, where steering orbits can be played with once those brakes are off. It's great watching replays of this sleeper do its thing at these times.

Only as power gets raised to 200 horses and beyond do we start to see some more serious issues like excessive wheelspin showing up. The 2000 GT-B gets more and more nervous; the gas pedal must be managed more and more carefully. This includes sport tires as well as bias-plys. A limited-slip can be employed, but the trunk area still has a tendency to dance sideways if too much power is cast to those rear tires.

Basically, before limited slip = more wheelspin from one tire. After limited slip, there isn't as much overall wheelspin, but the rear can start to slip about anyways.    
 
But overall, high marks here, and we get an early glimpse at why the prettily-named Skyline eventually became the track dominator we know it as today.

   

   

67skyline_burnout.jpg

PROS

1). It's the Skyline which really started it all at the tracks, in a way. Driving and racing it around, we begin to possiby see why.

2). One of the best-handling cars of the 1960s, period. This Skyline blows away many of our "muscle cars", and even some smaller autos, in the handling & maneuverability department, despite being a boxy sedan.

3). Stock limited-slip keeps the traction manageable, even as the Skyline nears 200 horsepower on its narrow tires.  

4). Somewhat lightweight.

5). Nicely priced, as well.

6). At 59.5" wide, it's easier to slip this one into gaps between other racers which a wider car would not fit thru.

7). The G7 engine soundbyte sounds genuine. Revving it from low to high, there's lots of subtle tonality differences, too.

8). 5-speed gearbox.

9). GREAT choice for some historic or compact car racing, as this one isn't too speedy, yet has other qualities of merit.     


CONS

1). Ungainly, boxy styling; a somewhat un-adventurous-looking car overall.

2). Poor straight-line acceleration.

3). "Power upgrads sux", some might whine. 237 hp at best in GT5.  

4). A rather low-revving, torqueless engine, compared to some later-edition Skylines. Again, this only will bother those drivers who understand nothing about car-evolution, and have no respect for it. 

5). GT4: Not much fun to drive this one, so far as oversteer characteristics go. There are times that it seems this one wants to break loose here and there; yet it never quite makes it.    

6). Braking can be the one area where this car lacks so far as handling goes, especially in GT5.

7). Also, this lightweight can get more and more difficult over bumpy areas, as power gets raised and pounds get removed.

8). GT5: Despite its low-power and spiffy handling, this car is not for novices, as it does require some fighting and driver input to keep it competitive at times, especially as power gets raised. 

9). Too many Skylines in Gran Turismo? Should this ancient weakling have been cut, or not included at all? You be the judge.    


Published: October 30, 2011
 
Some GT4 Content Added: April 21, 2015


 

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