Nissan Skyline History – 7th Generation (1985 – 1991)

Nissan-Skyline-GTS-R_1988_KHR31

Nissan Skyline History – 7th Generation (1985 – 1991)

 The Nissan R31, the seventh-generation Skyline, was launched on August 19, 1985.

The 6-cylinder twin-cam engine, last used on the C110, was reintroduced with the R31 and together with its breakthrough HICAS 4-wheel steering system and card entry system (both world firsts), this model attracted much attention.

At launch, the R31 was available as either a 4-door sedan or a 4-door hardtop, but in May of the following year a coupe was added to the lineup. 

Since the R30 was very successful, Nissan did not change much of the outward appearance of its successor, the R31 series.

At its debut, the car was introduced only in all forms of 4-door versions.

Due to the popularity of luxury cars, this Skyline was aimed at the luxury department and seemed to have lost its focus on sportiness.

The base model was the 1800I, now using the CA 18, a 1.8l DOHC 4-cylinder with 100hp.

Skyline GT Passage Twin-cam 1985 : KRR31

Nissan-Skyline-GT-Passage-Twin-cam_1985_KRR31

SpecificationsPENTAX Image

Overall length / width / height
4,660/1,690/1,385mm
Wheelbase
2,615mm
Tread (front/rear)
1,425/1,420mm
Engine
RB20DET (6-cyl. in line, DOHC), 1,998cc
EngineMax. power
Over 221kW (300PS)
EngineMax. torque
Over 343Nm (35.0kgm)
Suspension (front, rear)
Strut, semi trailing-arm
Brakes
Disc (front & rear)
Tires
240/625-16
  • Note:Competition car
    Exhibited at the 1985 Tokyo Motor Show.

 

The seventh-generation Skyline (R31), commonly known as the “Seven”, was launched in August 1985. With this model, the 6-cylinder DOHC was reintroduced and in autumn that same year, a race-specification machine was exhibited at the Tokyo Motor Show, where it attracted longing looks from visitors. From 1986 it competed in the All Japan Championship, in which driver A. Suzuki clinched the Constructor and Driver categories.

But the R31 also saw the introduction of a new engine family, the RB20 engines which worked in the Passage GT. Especially the RB20DET, a 2.0l DOHC inline-6 turbo with 180hp at 6400rpm, stood out here as a very potent machine. It was the first in a great family of engines that the later GT-R’s RB26DETT and other Skyline engines up to the R34 series also belonged to.

 

The GTS Coupes

People had to wait for a two-door until the GTS hit the showrooms in May 1986. This coupe got the RB20DET engine from the Passage GT. It was renamed GTS-X in 1988 and got an improved RB20DET version with now 190hp.

More important about this car, though, was the appearance of the HICAS (High Capacity Active Steering) all-wheel-steer system for the first time in Skyline history. This system is still used on today’s top Skyline versions and improves the handling of the car immensely.

The most famous of the GTS models was the GTS-R, though, which was developed especially for racing. The 180hp in the standard model may not have been bad, but were still short of the 205hp featured in the R30 RS-X. This is why Nissan introduced the R31 Skyline GTS-R in 1987 with a RB20DET engine tuned to 210hp thanks to a different turbocharger and different exhaust manifolds. The engine tuning was supported by an improved suspension and tuning on many other parts of the car, to give the GTS-R a sportier overall character. With only 200 built examples, this is still a highly desired car today.

Skyline 2000GTS-R (1987 : KHR31

Nissan-Skyline-2000GTS-R_1987_KHR31

SpecificationsPENTAX Image

Overall length / width / height
4,660/1,690/1,365mm
Wheelbase
2,615mm
Tread (front/rear)
1,425/1,420mm
Curb weight
1,345kg
Engine
RB20DET-R (6-cyl. in line, DOHC), 1,998cc
Engine Max. power
154kW (210PS)/6,400rpm
Engine Max. torque
245Nm (25kgm)/4,800rpm
Transmission
5-speed, floor shift
Suspension (front, rear)
Strut, semi trailing-arm
Brakes
Ventilated disc (front & rear)
Tires
205/60R15

The seventh-generation Skyline (R31) was launched in August 1985 and this model is well remembered as being the first to reintroduce the 6-cylinder DOHC engine (discontinued with the C110). In May 1986, the coupe GTS appeared, and in August 1987, after a minor change, the coupe GTS-R (RB20DET-R: 210PS engine) – based on Group A race specifications – was sold as a limited edition (800 units).

 

Skyline GTS-R (1988 : KHR31

Nissan-Skyline-GTS-R_1988_KHR31

Specifications20080727_SkylineNats_94

Overall length / width / height
4,660/1,690/1,325mm
Wheelbase
2,615mm
Tread (front/rear)
1,460/1,465mm
Curb weight
1,160kg
Engine
RB20DET-R (6-cyl. in-line, DOHC), 2,029cc
Engine Max. power
294kW (400PS)/7,200rpm
Engine Max. torque
412Nm (42.0kgm)/6,000rpm
Transmission
5-speed, floor shift (F5D77)
Suspension (front, rear)
Strut, semi trailing-arm
Brakes
AP ventilated disc (front: 14in.; rear: 12in.)
Tires
230/660R17
  • Note:88 European Touring Car Championship entry
    Race specifications

On August 21, 1987, the GTS-R – base car for Group A races – was launched as a limited-edition model (800 units).

The GTR-S was a pure sports model, equipped with a Garrett high-calibre turbocharger and stainless steel exhaust manifold, increasing engine output from the GTS’s 190PS to 210PS (both net values).


The vehicle shown was a racing car manufactured by NME – Nissan Motorsports Europe, the subsidiary established in England as a European base for Nissan Motor Sports International. It was used by Allan Grice and Win Percy to compete in the 1988 European Touring Car Championship (ETCC).
At the 24-hour Spa-Francorchamps race in Belgium, one of the world’s three top endurance races, Anders Olofsson – a member of the Nissan team for the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship (JSPC) – joined Grice and Percy and the trio came in 6th overall.

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