Musings on the Motoring World

Nissan GT-R50 parallels another Italian-Nissan partnership

If there is a performance car that can be best described as utterly indomitable it is the Nissan GT-R. 11 years since its debut the GT-R is still considered one of the quickest cars on the road with a devastating effectiveness at turning horsepower into real world pace that few can rival even today.

Like its performance, neither has time managed to wrinkle the GT-R’s looks on the virtue of it not being that much of a looker to begin with.

Though the GT-R fanbase won’t give a stuff about Adonis-like beauty from a badge that is known for creations of accomplished brutality, esteemed Italian design studio Italdesign has worked its magic into the GT-R to create a stunning concept car to celebrate the GT-R moniker’s and the design firm’s 50th anniversaries.

Christened the GT-R50, the commemorative car features an extensively reworked exterior, interior, and even mechanicals, and was originally designated as a prototype. However, in the run-up to its public debut at this week’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, Nissan announced that the GT-R50 would be a limited-edition model with 50 examples planned.

Strangely, despite being built for the double golden jubilee celebrations (Italdesign’s in 2018 and the GT-R in 2019), Italdesign has had no prior collaboration or relations with Nissan. Instead, rather amusingly, and probably worth forgetting, the GT-R50 comes 35 years after the debut of Nissan’s last Italian fling, the tragic Alfa Romeo Arna.

The Arna and the GT-R50 are as worlds apart as the time periods they hail from, though some parallels can still be drawn between each car’s circumstances. Both are based on Nissan cars. The Arna’s bones belong to the humble Pulsar, whereas the GT-R50 is built around the already quick GT-R Nismo.

While the GT-R50 is crammed with numerous racing parts from its GT3 race car relative thrown in for good measure and power cranked up by 88kW to 530kW and 780Nm of torque, the Arna was so thoroughly re-engineered by Alfa Romeo engineers that it was effectively a reborn Alfasud.

Last but not least, while Japan lent the base on which both cars are built, the Arna and the GT-R50 was engineered and built in Italy.

Thankfully that where the similarities end, especially (and hopefully) without an Arna-scale debacle in the making. Where the Arna’s amalgamation of Nissan’s less-than-attractive Pulsar with Alfa Romeo’s less-than-stellar reputation for build quality, the GT-R50 will be built on the strengths of both cultures with a revered Italian styling house weaving its magic on the canvas of an all-conquering road weapon from Japan.

Considering the extensively reworked beautiful gold-plated rear section, sleeker nose, unique floating taillights that is reminiscent of the 2020 Vision Gran Turismo video game concept, refurbished interior, and race-grade mechanicals, the GT-R50 will be anything but affordable, with estimates putting its price tag in the 900,000 Euros region. Hybrid hypercar money for most, bargain coachwork special for the affluent few, but a partnership that’ll right history’s wrong. And that in itself is worth every penny paid.

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