Nissan is bringing back a pair of seminal GT-R paint colors to adorn a new limited-production variant of the R35. The 2022 Nissan GT-R T-spec reincarnates Millennium Jade and Midnight Purple, two signature colors of previous generation Godzillas. Both are hugely important to GT-R heritage and, to us, this feels like Nissan could be sending off the long-lived R35 with a bang.
Before delving into the significance of these colors, a bit about what the T-spec is. Nissan didn’t provide many details, saying only that the limited production cars will be set apart from regular GT-Rs by wider front NISMO fenders from the 2020 Track Edition, body-colored mirrors, black hood ducts, and a carbon fiber wing.
Rounding out the visual identifiers are gold forged Rays 10-spokes hugging carbon-ceramic brakes and brake air guides plucked from the GT-R NISMO. Naturally, T-spec cars will come with the associated badging throughout. From Nissan’s photos we can see T-spec emblems on the rear, grille, door sills, and center console. The official press release doesn’t mention much more than this, but photo cues could point to some important clues about the GT-R’s future. Now, on to the colors.
Midnight Purple was introduced on the R33 Skyline GT-R and immediately became a smash hit among GT-R fans. It ultimately became the R33 GT-R’s identifying color, in the same way Gun Gray Metallic has come to signify the R32 GT-R — despite the fact that only 15 percent of R33 GT-Rs were built in Midnight Purple while nearly half of all R32 GT-Rs came in Gun Gray, .
The color was so popular that in January 1999 Nissan brought it back to mark the introduction of the R34 GT-R. Called Midnight Purple II, it used the R33 GT-R’s shade of purple as a foundation, but added a bit of chameleon color-shift property to it. Nissan built a run of 300 units, and they sold out with 10 days.
Nissan revived the color again in March 2000, christening it Midnight Purple III this time around. It was glossier than Midnight Purple II and is the rarest of the three purples, with only 132 units produced. In 2014, Nissan referenced the purple Godzillas with a Midnight Opal Special Edition R35 GT-R, officially limited to just 100 units worldwide (though some say 115 were built). On the R35 T-spec, the purple looks most chameleon-like of all the versions, with a strong green presence as it color-shifts in the light.
As unique as Midnight Purple might be, the return Millennium Jade is likely much more important. The original Millennium Jade appeared only on the 2002 V-spec II Nür and M-spec Nür, named after the Nürburgring where the car had been tested and held a speed record long before every carmaker was bragging about Green Hell lap times. Sadly, the 1,000-unit run of Nür models were created to commemorate the end of production for the R34 Skyline GT-R.
Remember, the R35 didn’t appear until 2008 and at the time there was no successor earmarked for the legendary nameplate. The Skyline GT-R had been a legend in its own time, having played a hugely consequential role in building the mystique of the JDM car around the world. Millennium Jade marked the final send-off before the hero walked off into the sunset.
Importantly, all Nür edition cars featured a gold valve cover for their RB26DETT straight-sixes, replacing the standard red. Photos of the T-spec also show a gold engine cover in lieu of red. Nissan says the T-spec doesn’t have any additional power, keeping the same 565 horsepower and 467 lb-ft of torque from its VR38DETT twin-turbo V6. We’re believe Nissan’s word this time, but when the Nür came out Nissan claimed it produced the standard Gentlemen’s Agreement 276-horsepower. Real figures, however, were probably closer to 330.
Brilliantly, the T-spec offers a new interior color called Mori Green. The automotive world needs more green (and blue) interiors, and the GT-R’s is a fantastic addition to the canon. The semi-aniline leather seats with pearl suede accents feature a darker shade, while the Alcantara seems to have a lighter olive shade. Either way, it looks stunning.
There have been rumors that 2022 will be the final year for the R35 GT-R as we know it. The next GT-R (after what happened with the Nissan Z chassis code we are hesitant to call it an R36) is due in 2023 and could spawn a hybrid model. Nissan hasn’t made any official proclamations, but given the clues from the Millennium Jade paint and gold engine cover, it appears Nissan is signaling the end of the current incarnation of the R35 GT-R.
Curiously, the US version of the T-spec is described by Nissan as a 2021 model while in Japan it’s described as a 2022. It’s pretty late in the year to be revealing a 2021 model, leaving us to wonder if there will be a 2022 GT-R at all. The Nür was a fitting farewell for the R34 during a time of uncertainty for the future of Godzilla. Twenty years later, history could be repeating itself.