terça-feira, 21 de maio de 2024

Beyond black and white: Iconic GT-R colors, then and now


The Nissan GT-R is renowned not just for thrilling performance, but also its one-of-a-kind design

With functional aerodynamic design including spoilers, air intakes and a rear wing, the Nissan GT-R looks fast – and turns heads – even standing still. That goes double for the many GT-R models adorned with distinctive and even color-changing paint.

For the 2024 model yearOpens in a new tab., the limited-availability GT-R Takumi Edition and Skyline Edition are splashed with two hues that will stir the emotions of any GT-R fan. Called Midnight Purple and Bayside Blue, both paint schemes are familiar to GT-R fans worldwide – and each has a fascinating backstory.

A "taboo," "monster" color

Purple is not a common color on any vehicle; data from 2023Opens in a new tab. suggests just 1% of new cars were painted that shade. But for nearly three decades, a limited-edition, color-shifting shade named Midnight Purple has been one of the most sought-after hues on the GT-R R33 and R34.

Introduced on the R33 generation of the Skyline GT-ROpens in a new tab., Midnight Purple evolved over time, with subsequent versions known as "Midnight Purple II"  and "Midnight Purple III" – the latter particularly made famous by the limited-edition R34 GT-R V-Spec.

When the color launched, putting purple on a production car was seen as almost "taboo" and better suited to aftermarket vehicles, according to Kei Yoshitomi, design manager of Color Design Group, Advance Design Department, Nissan Global Design Center. Nonetheless, he said the design team felt it suited the "monster-ness" of the new GT-R and, "it became a desirable color."

In the past decade, Nissan paid homage to the famous color with special-edition models. The 2014 GT-R Special EditionOpens in a new tab. wore hand-painted "Midnight Opal" bodywork, and modern interpretations of Midnight Purple were offered on the 2021 GT-R T-SpecOpens in a new tab.2024 T-SpecOpens in a new tab. and 2024 T-Spec Takumi EditionOpens in a new tab..

Front right 3/4 view of a black 2024 Nissan GT-R T-Spec, it is parked on a black backdrop.

The 2024 Nissan GT-R T-Spec wears a modern interpretation of the Midnight Purple III color made famous on the R34 GT-R V-Spec.

From racetracks to showrooms

Another iconic color from GT-R history, Bayside Blue has roots back in the Champion Blue hue offered in 1995 on the R33 GT-R LM – a road-going homage celebrating Nissan Le Mans racing wins. However, Yoshitomi notes that was a solid color without the depth of the now-famous Bayside Blue. For the next-generation car, he said, "an evolved, vivid blue was demanded."

Bayside Blue was introduced for the R34 GT-ROpens in a new tab. and is, arguably, the paint shade most closely associated with that era of the car. Inspired by the liveries of victorious Nissan models in the Japan GP racing series, its name came from Tokyo's underground car culture: The city's Bayshore Highway (also known as the Bay Shore Route) was, according to Yoshitomi, famously used by car enthusiasts looking to drive their cars spiritedly. Thus, the special color's name was born.

Vibrant blue toned cityscape at dusk along water with a highway curving overhead.

The Bayshore Highway in Tokyo.

Though officially "retired" for years, Nissan re-introduced the famous color in 2019 for the GT-R 50th Anniversary EditionOpens in a new tab.. In that case, Bayside Blue contrasted with white stripes meant to recall the paint color's racing inspiration. It has been available on GT-R ever since, harkening back to the famous R34 models and the successful racing machines of the 1990s.

GT-R's devotion to striking colors makes it a bold outlier in the industry, where 81% of new cars globally in 2023Opens in a new tab. were black, white, silver or gray. In fact, throughout its run, the R35-generation GT-R has offered numerous eye-catching color options. Some highlights – no pun intended – include:

Front right 3/4 view of a blue 2020 Nissan GT-R 50th Anniversary Edition curving around a racetrack.

Bayside Blue returned to the GT-R's color palette in 2019 to celebrate the nameplate's 50th anniversary.

For Yoshitomi, who joined Nissan in 1992, there's another color that has always been a personal favorite: Millenium Jade. The latest version of that color is offered on the GT-R T-Spec. And, regardless of which is your favorite, he said bold hues are a core part of what drivers love about the iconic car.

"Body color cannot contribute to GT-R's performance, however, customers expect an emotional factor on high-performance vehicles," Yoshitomi said. "Striking body colors are one of the important factors to increase the emotional factor."

What's in a name? GT-R enthusiasts often refer to different versions of the car by codenames. Here's a quick guide to ones used throughout this story:

  • R32: Debuted in 1989; arguably the first chapter of modern GT-R family heritage, this Skyline GT-R introduced all-wheel drive and a twin-turbo inline-six engine.
  • R33: Launched in 1995 after being shown as a prototype in 1993, this model benefited from numerous enhancements to handling and performance.
  • R34: Introduced in January 1999, highlights included adoption of a six-speed manual transmission, along with many design and mechanical enhancements.
  • R35: Introduced for the 2009 model year, this generation was the first to be offered for sale in the United States. Nissan has made countless enhancements to its design and dynamic performance to become the supercar offered in showrooms today.

Nenhum comentário:

Postar um comentário