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One discovery kicked the excitement into high gear, however. A flawless 1973 Nissan Skyline 2000GT-R coupe was sitting glistening up on a display stand. The Skyline name evokes shivers and smiles from legions of car fans around the world. Five generations of Nissan Skyline GT-Rs have been produced since the first in 1969, with a long hiatus between 1973 and 1989. The last official Skyline GT-R may have been produced back in 2002, but the legend is as strong as ever today.
And it's easy to see why. The gorgeous orange Skyline on display at Nissan features an attractive silhouette and tidy proportions, with just the right amount of trim and add-ons to hint at the sporting potential of the car. There would be no mistaking this for anything but a high-performance machine up close, but it is stealthy enough that at a glance in the rearview mirror an unsuspecting driver might be caught off guard.
With around 158 hp and 131 ft-lbs of torque out of the inline-6 S20 engine, the numbers don't sound all that impressive today. When you consider that the 2000GT-R weighed just a hair over 2500 lbs (for reference a 2016 Nissan Versa compact weighs nearly as much), however, it had performance in line with other comparable sports cars of the day.
If these classic Nissan Skyline 2000GT-Rs continue to attract attention today it's not because of the outright performance metrics anyways. These cars were built with careful attention to the feel, sound and appeal of a purpose-build sports model. The Nissan S20 inline-6 DOHC engines from the 70s are capable of incredible performance with some deft tinkering, and are highly sought after as tuner engines for a variety of models.
While I love seeing classic cars being driven, it's great that Nissan has this piece of history on display in their world headquarter lobby. It lets people like me get a close look at a car I won't likely see again for a long time. If you're a car fan and find yourself in Japan, considering skipping Tokyo Disney and instead go visit the Nissan headquarters. The Skyline 2000GT-R is sure to leave you with a big smile on your face!