A Paul Newman edition that won't cost you the Earth
By Cam Tait / Monday, 28 November 2022 / Loading comments
You can’t mention the Nissan Skyline without thinking of the GT-R. From the late 1980s through to the millennium, the Skyline GT-R was one of the most technologically advanced performance cars on the planet, giving supercars of far greater value and power a hard time when it came to a set of bends. And, ultimately, they paved the way for the all-conquering Nissan GT-R – minus the Skyline moniker – that have been tearing up track days for a decade and a half.
But we often forget that the hot Skyline lineage predates the R32 GT-R by a couple of decades. The original ‘Hakosuka’ kicked off the six-cylinder formula that’d become a staple of the GT-R, while the ultra-rare second generation moved to the sleeker coupe silhouette that’s shaped every generation since. Only this would be the last GT-R for the best part of two decades, with Nissan trying something a little different with the formula for the R30 in the early 1980s.
Immediately after the launch of sixth generation Skyline in 1981, Nissan released a performance version to fill the void left by the GT-R. But while the GT-R had majored on power, the new sports model, dubbed the RS, would focus more on lightness. Nissan’s take on the clubsport philosophy, you could say. Weighing in at just 1,130kg, the RS would be a whopping 300kg lighter than the R32 Skyline GT-R that took the world by storm at the end of the decade. This did, however, come at the expense of power. The RS launched with a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre four cylinder engine producing 150hp, matching that of the Hakosuka GT-R 12 years its junior. Turbocharged models arrived shortly after, upping the output to 190hp, but, in the grand scheme of things, factory outputs were starting to become meaningless with the rise of independent tuning shops.
There’s only one way you can make a boxy 80s coupe look a bit racier – make the thing even more boxy. The RS received chunkier bumpers front and rear, along with deeper side skirts and circular rear lights encased in gigantic rectangular shroud. The lower half of the car was finished in black – a design trend that really should make a return – with the model name printed in front of the rear wheel arch. It might just be one of the blockiest automotive designs of all time which, unfortunately, has almost been forgotten courtesy of the GT-R that followed it – a car that wouldn’t have existed had it not been for the success of the RS.
And, fun fact, the R30 Skyline and the Rolex Daytona have something in common. They both have Paul Newman editions, and are each considered the most desirable of their respective lines. Only Paul Newman R30s won’t set you back hundreds of thousands of pounds. It all came about because the actor-come-racing driver was a factory Nissan driver at the time and was the face of its promotional material, so the company thought it’d be a good idea to slap his name on its top-spec Skylines. In all fairness, the only significant change was a different interior upholstery, but that’s enough to make them rather sought after.
That’s exactly what we have with the car here. It’s a later 1984 example, complete with the boxy headlights from pre-facelifted cars and the Paul Newman interior. The ad claims it has the turbocharged FJ20 engine, and something definitely says ‘Turbo’ under the bonnet, though the exterior graphics are still for a naturally aspirated car. Either way, it’s currently undergoing an engine refresh and will be ripe for tuning if the mood takes you. All for £24,995. Can’t say that about many classic Skylines today, can you?
SPECIFICATION | NISSAN SKYLINE RS
Engine: 1,990cc four cylinder
Transmission: 5-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],000rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],800rpm
Year registered: 1984
Recorded mileage: N/A
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £24,995
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