crankandpiston’s old mate M7M Photography has been out with the lens again, this time aiming it at the region’s favourite performance bruiser, the Nissan GT-R. Buzz takes time out to explain with the GT-R – and the Skyline lineage – have proved so popular.[Not a valid template]
The fact that I was born in Dubai in 1976 not only means that I’m officially in my late 30s and marching depressingly fast towards the big four-oh, but it also gives me a perspective on this rapidly changing region. Bumping into fellow grizzled veterans usually results in rose-tinted reminiscing about the good old days, and that is especially true of the region’s car scene.
If you were here in the early nineties you’ll recall the Mercedes-Benz S-Class of the day (affectionately nick-named Shabah, meaning ‘Ghost’ in Arabic) being the luxury car of choice, while the boxy two-door Nissan Patrol was what anyone serious about desert driving had in their driveway. The Chevy Caprice was beloved by family men for its bar of soap styling, mattress suspension and cavernous interior, while the grotesque Camaro was de-rigueur with the muscle car set of that period. In direct contrast to modern day Dubai, supercars were a real rarity: even spotting a dime-a-dozen Porsche 911 was a real treat. Back then if you were serious about performance, the Nissan Skyline was the car.
In those days the Skyline had a mystique about it, like a Japanese manga character that had escaped from the land of the rising sun to grace the streets of the region with its sinister presence. The Skyline was only for the truly hardcore, and until the current day GT-R arrived on the scene they were RHD only, meaning you had to be truly committed to own one. That also made them difficult to register, most of them bearing license plates from those emirates with more relaxed criteria for what was deemed roadworthy. Not to mention that almost all of them were tuned to within an inch of their lives, meter long flames from the crater sized exhausts helping them live up to their ‘Godzilla’ nickname.
Fast-forward to the modern day GT-R (still referred to as a Skyline by many) and there isn’t a car that splits opinion more than the bonkers Nissan. Those who deride it for being too digital and catering to the Playstation generation couldn’t be more wrong. All it takes is one spirited drive across a challenging road and it won’t take you long to realise the GT-R is undoubtedly a driver’s car. It’s ability to attack the most challenging road, it’s diff chuntering as it hunts for grip gives it a truly mechanical feel, and it’s tendency to oversteer makes it a challenge to reign in.
For entrants to the Nissan GT Academy Middle East, the Playstation is just the start of a much bigger challenge, one we’re sure they’ll love as much as we do.
– Shots courtesy of M7M Photography
|Twin-turbocharged / V6 / 3800cc
|545bhp @ 6,400rpm
|463lb ft @ 3200-5800rpm
|Dual clutch sequential six-speed rear transaxle / all wheel drive
|Independent double wishbone aluminum / integral tube-frame structure / six-point mounting
|Independent multi-link aluminum suspension / integral tube-frame structure / six-point mounting / aluminum upper/ lower links
|Brembo six piston monoblock calipers / full-floating vented and drilled rotors / 15.35 by 1.28-inch thickness (front) / Brembo four piston monoblock calipers / full-floating, vented and drilled rotors / 15 by 1.18-inch thickness (rear)
|10-spoke RAYS aluminum-alloy forged, premium dark (near black) finish 20 by 9.5 inches (front) / 20 by 10.5 inches (rear)
|Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT600 ultra high performance run-flat tires / 255/40ZRF20 (front) / 285/35ZRF20 (rear)