NISSAN GT-R50
MOTOR Magazine Australia|April 2021
Italdesign takes the R35 to the next level
THOMAS GEIGER

AGE DOESN’T ALWAYS bring wisdom. This not only applies to men in the throes of a mid-life crisis, but apparently also to sports cars. Especially when they are famous. And, in Japan at least, none is as famous as the Nissan GT-R.

Instead of taking things a little slower after 50 years, Godzilla, as the Asian answer to the Porsche 911 and Chevrolet Corvette, has been re-imagined. The R35 is taking on a second life. With Giorgetto Giugiaro’s renowned Italdesign, also celebrating 50 years, the design house proposed the GT-R50 to the Japanese giant as a joint project. It said yes.

A small series of a maximum – surprise, surprise – of 50 examples has been commissioned with an eye-watering price tag. Completely draped in carbon fibre, with razor-sharp styling and plenty of racing technology the GT-R50 aims to take the glory of the iconic nameplate to new heights. And that’s also because it costs upwards of 990,000 Euros (AUD$1.5m), which means it’s now the most expensive Nissan ever sold, surpassing even the roadgoing version of the R390.

The two anniversaries actually happened a while ago: Italdesign was first in 2018 (when the first GT-R50 concept was released), followed by the GT-R in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the release significantly, but now they are ready to be shown off – and driven – in Turin. Customers will also start to receive their cars from late autumn this year.

All 50 examples are based on the R35 Nismo, meaning each example needs to be disassembled and put back together with the Italdesign additions. Those include items like a carbon fibre bonnet, roof and entirely new styling. Then there’s the racing-inspired engine, which is transplanted into the front of the GT-R50. Every car, including this mint-green test car, has been developed using the Nardo proving ground and numerous autobahns throughout Germany. And now it’s our turn to get behind the wheel.

The GT-R50 project manager, Andrea Porta, pushes the key into my hand and says simply one word: “Andiamo!” I comprehend the phrase for a minute. He’s just said “here we go”. I certainly don’t need to be told twice.

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