The first Nissan GT-R 50 pays homage to the Kenmeri Skyline

Nissan has released images of the first production Nissan GT-R50. Part of the extremely exclusive supercar’s $1.1 million price tag stems from the fact that each one features a hand-made body by Italdesign. It may be an exorbitant expense, perhaps, but it’s one that allows for some degree of customization. And as it happens, the first one appears to be a tribute to a 48-year-old Skyline GT-R show car.

That car would be the 1972 Kenmeri Skyline GT-R shown at the 19th Tokyo Motor Show. Finished in a dark teal with gold outline pinstriping, it was showcased in race guise to promote the continuation of the GT-R’s dominance in Japan’s touring car competitions.

Unfortunately, in what was supposed to be its debut year, the OPEC oil embargo struck and Nissan’s axed the Kenmeri from its motorsports program before it even had a chance to race. Still, the car was seared into the minds of the Nissan faithful, and remains one of the most memorable Skylines of all time.

So how does the GT-R50 pay tribute to the Kenmeri? Well, there’s the color, a bluish green that appears to be a modern interpretation of the teal show car. Then there’s the pinstripes highlighting the contours of the car, stretching over the hood, fenders, rear quarter panels, and C-pillars.

However, the most obvious cue is that those lines expand as the travel across the rear wheel, kicking up as they arrive at the rear. On the Kenmeri, its purpose was to highlight the Skyline’s signature “surf line” on the rear quarter panel. On the GT-R50, there is no surf line but the lines create one. Obviously the lines aren’t a slavish copy of Kenmeri show car’s, but they are subtle enough to be modern while referencing the GT-R’s great-great-grandfather.

If you remember the GT-R 50 prototype, it had a gold secondary color covering the tail. While the Kenmeri show car had a body-colored rear, production Kenmeris featured a black panel surrounding the taillights. Here, the GT-R 50’s two-tone design is brilliantly employed to evoke the Kenmeri’s rear view by having a black posterior encompass its floating quad afterburner taillights.

Interestingly, interior shots reveal a dashboard and center console that is basically the what’s found in the conventional GT-R. The GT-R 50 prototype’s custom cabin had the sculpting of a proper supercar, whereas the Playstation displays of the standard R35 look a bit out of place when paired with such an insane bod.

Nissan hasn’t disclosed who the owner of the first production GT-R 50 is, but it’s clear the owner is a GT-R connoisseur. It’s also not clear what the “20” on the rear flank, where the show car said “Skyline,” means.

We know many will balk at the thought of a $1.1 million GT-R, even if it has the 720-horsepower engine out of a GT3 race car. There will always be those eager to point out that a GT-R NISMO with 600 horses costs “only” $210,740. Haters shall hate.

When we test drove the GT-R50 prototype last year, our experience with it made us think that the car stood for something beyond just power-to-dollar ratio. Unlike every other coach-built supercar in the million dollar club, the GT-R has had to gain membership while its Nissan badge was also affixed to econoboxes, vans, and taxis. It’s had much farther to travel, starting at the very bottom of the automotive hierarchy.

Now it has arrived, able to command a seven-figure price tag based on nothing but pure performance cred both on the street and at the track. And the fact that the first one of these absurdly priced machines is an homage to a historic Skyline GT-R of old? Well, that just proves our point.

 

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8 Responses to The first Nissan GT-R 50 pays homage to the Kenmeri Skyline

  1. Lee L said:

    I have to say that aside from the rear-end I don’t really see the resemblance, but it is a fantastic looking car for sure.

  2. speedie said:

    I don’t see it either. There is absolutely no similarity in the colors.

  3. Sam said:

    I think this GTR has looks and performance to rival McLaren and Porsche, but the resemblance to the Kenmeri remains questionable.

  4. Ben Hsu said:

    It’s less outright resemblance and more homage. Instead of dark greenish-blue and gold, it’s light greenish-blue and black. What else could the pinstripes outlining the rear quarter panel, C-pillars, and rear window mean? Especially when they flare out where the surf line would be.

  5. Alexander said:

    I’d guess the 20 just refers to the year (2020), similar to 73 which signified the year the kenmeri was intended to participate in racing?

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