Two birds, one car.
It’s no secret that the prevailing opinion regarding Japanese carmaker Nissan’s halo sports car, the GT-R, is that it’s unashamedly Japanese in its appeal and execution. 50-years on, the GT-R and its Skyline-based forebears have stood as one of the greatest examples of Japanese engineering capability, and five decades of knowhow have contributed in no small part to the current GT-R’s nickname ‘Godzilla.’
The GT-R isn’t the only automotive icon that’s celebrating its golden jubilee though. Famed Italian design house Italdesign will also turn 50 this year, with its half-century portfolio including some jaw-dropping cars like the Alfa Romeo Brera, the BMW M1, Lamborghini Gallardo, and the DeLorean DMC 12.
With both companies enjoying huge successes over the last 50-years, what better way to signal their intent for the future than teaming up to create a one-off car commemorative model? Enter the Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign.
Straight off the bat, there’s no escaping its GT-R roots. Under the skin you’ll find a heavily-reworked 2018 Nissan GT-R Nismo, though its aesthetic revisions are more than enough to justify its hallowed place. There are gold elements everywhere, signifying the golden jubilee of Nissan & Italdesign, contrast beautifully against the Liquid Kinetic Grey paint. The shiny stuff surrounds the grille and appears almost like a separated element, flanked by slim LED headlights that are underscored by vertical front cooling intakes.
The roofline’s been lowered some 54mm over the standard car, with an even lower central portion denoting a very modern take on the classic ‘double bubble’ roofs of old racing cars. That roof touches down in a widened, beefy rear that makes the car look squat and taut, while the GT-R’s “Samurai sword” air vents sitting behind the front wheels have been lengthened and painted in gold, with a GT-R50 badge sitting below it.
Coming round the rear, the GT-R50’s most striking elements show themselves. Designed to look somewhat modular, the rear windscreen has been made longer than the standard car, and the taillights have received a reimagination by hollowing out the quad-round units and giving them a ‘halo’ look that appear to float, almost. Above those sit an active rear spoiler which, when retracted, looks unbelievably sleek.
While the exterior has been heavily revised and pushed far away from the donor car, the cabin’s changes were slightly less outlandish and feature more familiar elements. There’s plenty of gold abound, while the dash has been given a race-inspired revision. The dash and steering wheel have been upholstered in Alcantara, while the seats receive smatterings of black Italian leather.
The GT-R50 is more than just an (extensive) aesthetic exercise, though. Under the bonnet, the boffins at Nissan’s motorsports division have made merry with the venerable 3.8-litre biturbo V6 mill, and have extracted from it some 530KW and 780Nm, signifying a jump of 88kW and 128Nm. The performance boost comes thanks to GT3-specification turbos, larger intercoolers, throughly-redeveloped internals, and enhanced ignition, intake, and exhaust systems. Further, a revised six-speed dual-clutch transmission and optimised ATTESA E-TS all-wheel drive system ensure that all that grunt can get to the ground efficiently, thanks in no small part to reinforced diffs and driveshafts.
In addition, there’s also things like Bilstein DampTronic continuously-adjustable dampers, Brembo disc brakes (six piston callipers up front, and four piston callipers at the rear), all of which hide behind unique 21-inch allow wheels. There are also special Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres front and rear, ensuring grip.
As gorgeous as the GT-R50 may be, there are no plans for this car further than being a one-off commemorative edition. Nissan’s global design boss even said that the GT-R50 “is not the next-generation GT-R,” so precious little will likely be carried from this design exercise into a production model. Shame though, because it’s all rather pretty, isn’t it?