Nissan Skyline GT-R 2000 (KPGC10)

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Year: 1970 & 1971
Class: Compact 
Type: 2-door coupe
Country: Japan ````````````````````````````````` Host: GT2 & GT5
Price: $35,024 (GT2),
(GT5 online car lot, Skyline HT)
Length: 170.4" // Width: 65.5" // Height: 53.9"
Wheelbase: 101.2"
Overhang: @5 feet 9¾ inches
Track: 53.9 [F] 53.7 [/R]
Weight: 2,425 lbs.
Ground Clearance: 6.3"

Tires: 205/50-16
Brakes: disc / disc
F. suspension: struts / coils / anti-roll bar
R. Suspension: semi-trailing arms / coils / anti-roll bar
Layout: Front Engine / Rear Drive

*GT5 Skyline was bought with 0.0 miles on its odometer, and therefore did not need maintenance
Engine: 1989 cc DOHC Inline-6
Aspiration: natural

Tested HP: 160 @ 7,200                  157 @ 7,000
Tstd Torque: N/A                           130 @ 5,500

Pound 2 Power: 15.4                             15.44
Hp per Liter: ```80.94                             78.9
Credit per HP: $218.90                       $509.55

Fuel Syst: mechanical fuel injection or 3 dual-brl carbs
Valves per Cyl: 4
Bore x Stroke: 3.23 x 2.44"
Compression: 9.0:1

GT2 Redline: 7,000 // RPM Limit: 8,000
GT5 Redline: 7,500 // RPM Limit: 8,000
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Differential: limited-slip

*testing below for the GT2 car
`````````````From Idle```````````From 4,000 rpms
0-60 mph: 9.4 seconds      8.516 seconds
0-100mph: 24.1 seconds   23.501 seconds

400 M:
17.289 @ 84 mph
1 KM: ``
30.642 @ 111 mph

Test Track Lap: 2:04.734
Top Speed at Redline
1st: 33 mph
2nd: 56 mph
3rd: 77 mph
4th: 101 mph
5th: 130.62 mph @ 7,700 rpms

* GT5 testing below

0-60 mph: 8.985 seconds
0-100 mph: 22.914

400 m: 17.097
1 kilo: 30.379

Daytona Lap: 1:07.042

100-zero mph: 6.250 seconds

Top Gear RPM @ 60 mph: 3,200

Top Speed at Redline
1st: 42 mph
2nd: 60 mph
3rd: 88 mph
4th: 117 mph
5th: 137.4 @ 7,600 rpm




What was it like to race a Japanese coupe in the age before front and all-wheel drive became the norm? Before electronic fuel-injection, before VTEC? These questions and more shall be answered in this review. Come with me to a time before a time when some of the world's best musicians had suddenly a time....agh. I promised myself I'd stop being so damn epic in these reviews...let's start over.
This auto first appeared in GT2 as the '71 Skyline 2000 GT-R, and then re-appeared in GT4 and GT5 as the '70 Skyline HT 2000 GT-R. If you happen to see this car in GT2's or GT5's used lots, snag it immediately, assuming that you're a fan of vintage cars or Skylines. The GT-R rarely appears, and when it does, it's easy to miss since it's often at the bottom of used cars, buried below a long list of Silvias, 300ZXs and modern Skylines. In GT4, there are several early Skylines which can be bought from the Historic lot, but the top-line GT-R can only be won.
This 4th generation of Skylines (known as the C10 generation) first appeared in 1969, decendant of a line of cars developed by Prince Motors, which had produced the Skyline since the late '50s until Nissan took over in 1966. Early versions were fashionable in the style of the day, some 1st gen models even sported chrome and minor tailfins! The Skyline was available in a variety of styles which included 4-door sedans, wagons, coupes, and even a convertible.
It wasn't until 1970 that the 2-door in our games, codenamed KPGC10, appeared. Just over a thousand of these higher-paced autos were built to mimic racing Skylines, so Nissan could qualify in a more prestigious class of touring car events. As racing-based street cars, GT-Rs were stripped of the usual items: there was no radio, no air-conditioning, etc.  

The GT-R featured shorter dimensions, but was six inches wider than previous versions of the car, which made it more stable during cornering situations. The wheel-wells were flared outwards so that the Skyline GT-R could accept a variety of tire/wheel sizes; after all, these cars were made to compete at both rally and road races.

These cars come straight from that era of car-making before everything had to be aerodynamic, and the result is that the KPGC10's appearance has a lot more personality than some modern Skylines do. The KPGC10 stole some of the previous Skyline's (the S50 generation's) visual cues, such as its quad headlights and boxy shape, but it manages to look more aggressive and less generic than the S50. The KPGC10 also has an air scoop up front and rear wing on its trunk, an attempt to use downforce to some advantage.

It was during these days (1969 and into the early 70s) that the Skyline GT-R showed its early dominance.

Its main competition at first was the Toyota Corona 1600 GT and Isuzu Bellet GT-R. At the very first race the Skyline appeared in (Fuji, 1969), its race-bred twin cam 2.0 liter engine simply blew these manufacturers away. And for the next two years, Skyline GT-Rs simply won every single race they entered. Occasionally a Porsche 906 or one of Nissan's Z cars would actually win the race, but these models were in a different class. Japanese Touring Car racing was simply owned by Nissan.

Nissan was at their 36th TC win in a row when they finally had some competition in the form of Mazda's Famila (R100) and Capella (RX-2). The Familia had seen success in Europe, and its new-fangled rotary engine had the power to match Nissan's, but it didn't have the Skyline's spectacular, predictable handling. And it was around this time that Nissan unleashed their next weapon: the Skyline GT-R coupe version, which had a slightly shorter wheelbase and even better handling than GT-R sedans. The competition was nowhere in sight.

Nissan had notched up 33 wins with the sedan version, and the coupe further cemented this to 50. Finally in late 1971, the streak was ended by Mazda's new RX-3. The Skyline was finally defeated, but history would eventually repeat itself years afterwards, but that's for another chapter in another car review.             

Unfortunately for us gamers, there's the price. Racing-based street cars usually cost more than their standard versions, and this gets reflected in our games. Even in GT2 (released in 1999), the '71 costs a hefty 35 grand. I managed to find a zero-mileage car in GT5's Online car lot, which cost (gulp) $80,000! Wow. Turns out, the original price for these cars was also on the pricey side at around 1.5 million Yen, or $19,500. This was a lot of money in 1970. Does this 40 year-old car warrant such a price?     
As far as weight reductions go: you might want to wait on getting any 'til the engine is modified rather heavily. This car only weighs 2,425 pounds, and it handles with lots of comfort zone, so money can be safely spent on more power if you're strapped for cash. The racing scheme is among the best GT2 has to offer so far as looks go.

So we've discussed the KPGC10's background, its racing successes, its price, and its weight. What about its pwoer? I mean power?  



-----------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN---------------
So here's a thought: you'll notice that even stock, these early GT-Rs feature a high 7,000 rpm redline. This isn't just for show: peak power gets created as we near this area. How did Nissan do it in the age before VTEC, before VVT-i, before turbos? Simple.
This engine is a 2.0 liter straight-6 originally created by Prince Motors. It appeared in earlier Skylines, yet its redline was 1,000 to 1,500 rpms higher than in S50-generation cars, according to GT2 and GT5. This motor as it sits in the KPGC10 also features tuning originally derived from the GR8-coded Prince Motors R380 race car engine.. It packs six lightweight, miniature cylinders instead of the typical 4. The piston stroke is ultra-short (just under 2 and a half inches), which helps for higher revs with less vibration, and these pistons are fed by a dual-overhead cam system, something of a rarity in 1969.  

Twin cams were relatively new at the time the GT-R was first developed, and were the equivalent to the valve-timing & lift tricks we see nowadays, because the idea was to introduce more combustable material into those cylinders in a more efficient manner, then disperse of it equally as efficiently. This was uncommon; even top-line Ferraris and Lambos of the day still used single cams.  
Finally, instead of carburetion, the '71 GT-R relied on mechanical fuel-injection to feed the air-fuel mixture more directly and more efficiently. This was another fairly new device at the time; a bit complicated, but a step in the right direction for such a small engine. Originally, Skylines raised their power with up to three carburetors before switching to fuel-injection.

It's obvious Nissan was desperate to pack their machines with only the latest and the best, and so are we to assume this technology can possibly carry over into Gran Turismo?
This is one of the few motors that will accept either NA tuning or a turbo in either GT2 or GT4. There are only two stages of NA tuning available, which will convert the engine from a pingy 160 hp to a 235 hp roar if all other engine mods have been added in GT2. With engine balancing and Stage 2 NA tune, there are 500 rpm of extra space before redline. Apparently, Nismo decided against developing a 3rd step of tuning in this game. Maybe the advent of turbo-charging made them go with these parts, instead. Who knows....
The main advantage to using NA tuning is that it's cheaper than a turbo, but there ARE three steps of turbo-charging available in GT2, which will boost power all the way to 344 @ 7,600 rpms, with 240 ft-lbs. of torque @ 7,000 rpms.

This is obviously a high revving engine no matter what level of modification is being used, and Polyphony Digital effectively phucked up when they placed peak horsepower beyond this engine's redline. So when driving this car, it's a good idea to let the tachometer go up to 500 rpm past the red-line to grab that last bit of power. For this reason, automatic transmissions should be avoided.
Since this car will hit its top-speed of 130 mph in less than a minute, you won't need to buy the close or super close gearbox at all in GT2, though close gearing does come in handy at some tracks in the 4th game. 1st gear peaks out at 36 mph, and 2nd gets to 59, making stock gearing perfect for courses like Autumn Ring or Grindelwåld. You'll sometimes need the racing gearbox once you've got the power up to Stage 2, though, just to give this car a higher ceiling.
It's a bad idea to use any of the differentials unless the car is over Stage 1, because they can kill some of the GT-R's excellent maneuverability. If you're obsessed with LSD units, buy the fully-modifiable one and keep all settings low. This car rarely has the wheel-spinning torque that would necessitate use of LSD, anyways. Off-road driving could be the main exception here, of course.
The first thing to notice from the 2nd game to the 5th is how closely the car still accelerates in both games. GT2 featured a zero to 60 time of 9.4 seconds, and in GT5 it's now 9.333. Getting to 100 took slightly less time in GT2 than it did in GT5, perhaps because GT2's Skyline has a slightly shorter gearbox.

Unfortunately, this shorter gearbox in the GT2 car maxes out of revs earlier, meaning the '70 Skyline HT in GT5 made a higher top speed without interference from the rev limiter.

Otherwise, the two cars have much in common. Both can accept NA tuning or turbos. Time for the next section.    

---------------CHASSIS / HANDLING------
It was the early '70s, and unlike today, front-wheel drive cars in racing were mostly unheard of, with the Austin Mini being one of few early exceptions. Four-wheel drive was mostly reserved for Jeeps and trucks--most cars of the day were rear-drive.
But this doesn't mean the Skyline GT-R is prone to typical rear-drive problems of the day. Other than an annoying habit of understeer over 80 mph, these Skylines handle well, with a back-end that is eerily tame. Oh there are some moments where this lightweight coupe is leaning a bit out of a corner, and the inside-rear tire starts to slip, especially as power gets upgraded highly. But back off the gas, straighten the car out--and problem solved; unlike driving one of the muscle-car dinosaurs of the original GT-R's day.
Real-life drivers who raced these cars (GT-Rs)  quickly learned that early braking was needed to counteract understeer in the corners, despite their light weight. Some drivers even snatched their hand-brake mid-corner in an attempt to get a tighter angle and kill understeer in its tracks when racing; hence, during the early '70s, the art of e-brake sliding was arguably born. All this looks cool in replays (and helped Skylines build a repuation as an exciting car), but in reality many drivers complained that all this extra brake and steering work would tire them out.
Now add some power. A lightly modified engine (Stage 1) will oversteer in a pleasant way, and you'll find that you'll REALLY have to screw up to get the '71 GT-R to spin out. In fact, I sometimes put sport tires up front and leave the stock ones in the rear to help balance this car's handling, and STILL find that it's hard to get the rear-end to slide out! The rear suspension, which is equipped with semi-trailing arms and coil springs that don't wrap around the shock-absorbers is obviously the GT-R's strength.

You can put the pedal to the metal thru long turns without any fear of losing it, like 90% of the time. I read a web site somewhere which claimed Skylines of this era would sometimes win against American and European cars equipped with more power, solely because they could out-manuever them. In Gran Turismo, we can surely relive some of these moments. I just did.

I'm pretty sure I've driven this car in GT4, just never got around to writing about it. Nowadays, I'm too busy with GT5 and other pursuits to get around to all this additional testing and driving.  Oh well.

In this game when completely stock on its Soft Comfort tires, the '70 Skyline HT 2000 GT-R behaves much as it has been described in real-life, and much like it did in GT2. Understeer comes first, and dominates about 90% of the GT-R's cornering situations. Oversteer only shows up when the car is forced with a little too much gas out of tighter areas, in 1st or 2nd gear. In other words, for more experienced drivers, this is still an easy car to drive.  

The previous generation Skyline (the S50) also has this understeery trait at first. The difference is the KPGC10 feels more confident than the S50, and works with us a little more. Overall, the '70 Skyline still has the '67 GT-B's better habits: there's a feeling of safety and precision as we steer into turns, but there's also a little more stability once we're deep into them.

Install some sport tires, and now the GT-R loses some of its understeer and becomes deliciously grippy instead. Just grippy enough that we can work with it, but not so grippy that things start to get messy. It now enters turns of all kinds, while the driver (me or you) has the option of turning-in with precision, or cranking that steering wheel so that the car gets into more of a slide. There's so much variety now, it's difficult to put it all into this review.

Sometimes, you'll be able to get a cool-looking 4-wheel slide going. Other times, the GT-R will smoke up only its inside tires. Other times, we can play with this car's cornering, making entry completely safe and clean, but creating a more dramatic exit. It all depends on lots and lots of factors, especially if ABS braking is canned. But the bottom line is, all of this stuff is available to more experienced drivers, though. Don't read this review and try to become the next Kunimitsu Takahashi Drift God if you're still a green driver. This car can work with us, true, but it has its limits.  
One of those limits, of course is understeer. Even with sport tires, understeer is still with us, and can still occasionally ruin cornering lines if the driver makes small mistakes. It never truely goes away; after all, the GT-R was designed for it, as a kind of safety-net.

Rear-end issues (what issues there were on the car's stock tires) are rarely a problem, though, and get further diminished with sport tires to barely a whimper. The only exception to this are occasional moments of body-sway when entering turns with too much steering input. Since the front-end is now grabbier, the rear tends to follow suit at times, and can get sideways more easily. The good news is, all of this is still easy to deal with for some of us. 

I described this car's rear as "eerily tame" in GT2, and this is still true in GT5. But as power gets raised, so do a few conumdrums. Nothing we haven't seen before in more powerful, less capable rear-drives, though. And the GT-R still works with us. 50 consecutive wins in a row? Let's give 51 a shot.  


1). A bit of a lightweight from day 1, especially compared to modern Skylines. Sharp-looking [R] body available in GT2, too.
2). Stellar maneuverability. Finally, a rear-drive that can be pushed and truely thrown into corners with feint-motion, and most of the time it complies with few complaints. Tossable in GT2 and in GT5.
3). More character and personality than many later Skylines--more distinctive looks, I should say.
4). Engine can be modded with either turbo or NA tuning.
5). Rear-end oversteer is rare, very controllable when it does happen. Limited slips aren't always necessary, but they can help with power distribution as more horses are added.
6). High redline and revs to match. And that sound...that lovely grating inline-6 twin-cam sound. In the days before Integras and GTIs, this car musta been the sheet!

2). Also at times, the back-end can get squeamish out of slower areas. Wouldn't be such a prob if there was some torque to come to the rescue but...
3.) Unmodified engine is weak....high in revs but doesn't exactly dole out the foot-pounds. Not much quicker than the previous generation of Skyline, matter of fact.  
4). This car is rare and hard to find even when it does show up (GT2 or GT5). It can only be won as a prize in GT4.
5). Stock gearing is short and eventually limits top-end. Racing gearbox may be needed.
6). High price for marginal engine performance (at first).
7). Not much of a drifter's delight till you put some sim, N, or hard comfort tires on (depends on game). Personally, I'll take this car's half-baked slides into corners and leave it at that. Despite the car's rear-drive and obvious rear-trunk overhang, this one's mostly about grip.

Published: June 3rd, 2004

Edited for GT5 content: October 30, 2011


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