With a couple of birthdays to celebrate, Italdesign and Nissan have created a monstrous anniversary present to themselves, the 710bhp GT-R50. By Ben Miller
THE NISSAN GT-R has spent much of the last decade or so morphing from blue collar performance hero to startlingly expensive supercar in its own right – witness the £150k Nismo version. Now, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of both GT-R and Italdesign, Nissan’s all-wheel- drive supercar’s gone supernova with this exclusive (50 units) and astonish- ingly expensive (€900,000) GT-R50.
While Nissan hasn’t officially yet confirmed a production run, such was the level of interest at the Goodwood Festival of Speed that 50 GT-R50s will reach customers. For their money, the lucky few will get an exotically re-bodied Nismo GT-R with an uprated chassis and powertrain, a bespoke interior and ex- tensive use of aluminium and carbonfi- bre in the Italdesign-sculpted bodywork.
Here’s your guided tour from Nissan senior vice president of global design Alfonso Albaisa (right).
- ‘Italdesign approached us’ ‘Italdesign called me over to their stand at the 2017 Geneva show – they made the initial approach. Then they called again and came to Tokyo with some drawings, which were nice but they weren’t GT-R. It all clicked when I saw a list of upcoming Nissan anniversaries, including GT-R at 50 – I loved the idea of these two anniversaries and 50 custom cars by Italdesign. We started sketching last summer, and the hustle really began when the decision was made to bring the car to Goodwood. We had six months to make the car, and this is not a normal concept car – it’s efectively production car number zero.’
- ‘A labour of love’ ‘For a long time Italdesign has been creating show cars for the VW Group that feel like real cars; they’re underpinned by proper structures – Italdesign can do this better than anyone. And the GT-R50 is happening; it’s go. The response, with people ordering already, has been amazing; very impressive. And it’s only 50 cars – it’s not like we’re building 1000 of them! It’s a labour of love.’
- ‘The contrast of grey and gold’ ‘For me the contrast is really interesting between the grey surfaces and this technical gold finish, inspired by the heat-resistant foils used in motorsport. At the rear it’s like the armour of a Japanese warrior has parted and you can see the muscle beneath. I like this mix of the grand tradition of Italian coachbuilding mixed with mad-scientist Nismo technology.’ (The GT-R50’s engine is a hand-built version of the Nismo GT-R’s V6 with 710bhp and 575lb ft of torque.)
- ‘The body is Italian artistry’ ‘It’s easy to design a show car – we do them all the time – but this is production- ready. The inner body is the current GT-R Nismo – the artistry of Italdesign is how they work with this to create the new car. With it we’ve subtly re-proportioned GT-R. The roof is dropped 40mm. It’s a one-piece aluminium roof, invisibly welded to the aluminium rear quarter panels, and we’ve deepened the body a little. Much of the rest of the bodywork is carbonfibre. The proportions are still this high cowl and a cabin that’s quite forward for a front-engined car. Visually the message is still “I’m a very fast brick – catch me if you can”.’