Spannerhead Dot

The Loveliest Skyline: Nissan’s R33 GT-R

September 26, 2012 by Matt

Nissan R33 Skyline GT-R GTR Silver

Sandwiched between the groundbreaking, headline-grabbing R32 GT-R, and the later darling-of-the-driving-simulator-junkie-scene R34, Nissan’s R33 Skyline GT-R is sort of the red-headed stepchild of the Skyline generational progression.

Nissan R33 Skyline GT-R GTR Engine Motor RB26DETT

Produced between 1993 and 1998, the R33 GT-R improved on the recipe so successfully pioneered by the R32: A twin-turbo, 2.6l inline six developing an underrated 276 hp, computer-controlled AWD mated to a sophisticated suspension incorporating rear-wheel-steering. The under-the-skin changes were admittedly incremental, including new Brembo brakes, revised turbo components and an updated engine management system, but as with all GT-Rs, the whole remained more than the sum of its parts, and was the first non-supercar in production form to lap the Nürburgring in under 8 minutes.

Nissan R33 Skyline GT-R GTR Purple Violet

The more obvious differences between the R32 and R33 are external. Where the earlier car has an aggressive, leaning-forward stance that approximates traditional long-nose short-deck sports car proportions, the R33’s profile more closely describes a teardrop shape. Its C-pillars and rear fenders converge more seamlessly than its predecessor’s, and the effect suggests the R33 would flow around a racetrack instead of simply pulverizing it, as the R32’s lines seem to communicate it would. The later car looks fleet and effortless, yet it retains hints of the power and capability underneath what with its fender flares and thoroughly ducted fascia.

Nissan R33 Skyline GT-R GTR Interior Inside Cockpit Console Dash Dashboard

Unfortunately, without the extroverted techno-brutality that characterizes the R32’s or R34’s looks, the R33 loses much of its curb appeal with the Gran Turismo set. However, that slightly (however slight a Skyline can be) under-the-radar ethos actually makes me like it more. I have a strong attraction to fundamentally good cars that still aren’t the obvious choice, and the R33 represents that formula among Nissan’s range-topping generations of GT-Rs.

Filed under: Nissan


  1. Kevin says:

    I have a production built Nissan Maxima 93-94 GXE ok my research has come to the point of this being known. The Nissan Cefiro , Skylines , GT-R , and the NISSAN maxima were all built along the same production line. The 93-94 Maxima I own is very similar to its overseas cousins , in that the build of the cars are quite similar in layout. The VGE engine was used in the electromotive IMSA circuit at the time and was successful in the 1989-90 championship of that era.Now my point is is that if these cars were built before the Japanese economic downfall of that time. Then these cars were to be built along the manner of performance for Nissan’s flagship sport sedans. It is of no coincidence that these cars share striking resemblance to one another, only thru a few details do they differ. But the power of the 2.6L RB engine in the GT-R’s ,Skylines , and Cefiro’s and the 89 thru to the 94 Maxima’s are if not similar, but can also be upgraded to boost more power. I am on this journey to connect the family of the abive stated and show how much these cars are quite similar. The VG engine line is still one of the best engines as is the RB 2.6L engines in the Skyline’s and GT-R’s.

    • Matt says:

      Hi Kevin; thanks for commenting. The VG and VQ are definitely some of the best engines out there, but they’re still no substitute for a proper inline 6! Given the choice I’ll always take an L or an RB over one of Nissan’s V6s. :)

  2. Ad says:

    Odd. Considering that I grew up with Gran Turismo, I got charmed by the R33 Skyline the most rather than its former and latter brethren.

    Maybe it’s because I spend more time playing racing games and sims rather than watching pop culture (fnf) :P

    The R32… Eh it’s ok. Looks too much like a kit car.
    I like the R34, and that’s it. Looks too bulky and mean for my taste.
    The R33 has a face that displays a cool sense of nonchalance.

Leave a Reply