There are some magnificent vehicles showcased throughout the Fast and the Furious franchise, but none so iconic as the Nissan Skyline - Brian O’Conner’s choice of car in several F&F films. In fact, despite 2 Fast 2 Furious being one of the least favored movies in the series, Brian’s 1999 Skyline R34 is one of the most celebrated cars.
The silver Skyline with blue decals features in a variety of fan pages and franchise merch. It was modified for the film with a MotoRex body kit and 19” HRE 446 Rims, along with an eye catching Flexivity wing. This set it apart from other Skylines seen in the progression of the series. Alongside O’Conner’s Toyota Supra, Mitsubishi Eclipse, and Chevrolet Camaro, the Skyline still stands firm as Brian’s signature ride.
The racing model GT-R was born of need after a rough track record in the 1980’s. Nissan struggled to maintain their footing in the car industry when the R31 tanked. To bring the brand back to its former glory, the company designed and launched the R32 Skyline, which soared as a street car. They amped this up for the race way with an electro-hydraulic clutch and ATTESSA E-TS all-wheel drive system, akin to the Porsche 959. This beast went on to win all 29 JTCC races, took 1st at the ’91 Spa 24-Hour Race, the Bathurst 1000 in both ’91 and ’92, as well as several Australian races. Thus, "Godzilla" was born.
While fans love Brian repping Godzilla in the F&F universe, there are a few things amiss when it comes to his cars. Here are 15 things that make no sense about Brian’s Skylines.
15 The Perfect Paint Job
In Turbo Charged Prelude, a stretch occurs when Brian proceeds to paint the vehicle himself. Okay, we saw him work at Harry’s and pull up a tool bench beside Dom in the first film, but this is ridiculous. It takes years to become a seasoned painter. Autobody technicians who specialize in painting apprentice for years before getting to a level where they could carry off such a smooth coat of paint. In Canada, for example, it takes 1-2 years of college and four years of apprenticeship before being Red Seal approved. Somehow, through Matrix-level skill absorption Brian primes, paints, buffs, and clearcoats the vehicle to a perfect Platinum Pearl hue. He then applies the trademark blue decals with equal ease.
14 His GT-R Is Pristine After The 2 Fast 2 Furious Bridge Jump
In 2 Fast 2 Furious, there are several amazing stunts and one happens in Brian’s newly modified R34. The car he rebuilt in Turbo Charged Prelude hits the ground running. As the opening race sequence picks up, fans know they’re in for a treat as a partially open lift bridge appears in the distance. It’s not the jump itself we don’t understand. All the cars (manned with stunt drivers), except the S2000, took the jump for real during filming. What’s unreal is that on film, the R34 came out completely unscathed. The real vehicle saw its bumper smashed, wheels bent, tires busted, and oil-pan ruptured.
13 A Skyline On The Streets
Granted, the Fast and Furious team aren’t the most law-abiding citizens. (They did start the franchise knocking off transport trucks, after all.) However, it does seem odd that a group of racers who are trying to fly beneath the radar of the law would flaunt these cars at every turn. The Nissan Skyline GT-R, as beautiful as it is, isn’t seen much around the United States for good reason: it’s outlawed. Why are these gorgeous machines not allowed to drive carelessly on US soil? The Skyline GT-R was never federalized for importation and would only become eligible 25 years after its production.
12 Three Skylines To Play With
In Fast & Furious, Brian uses three GT-Rs to create one perfect vehicle, the blue one he later drives in Braga’s race. Under a “kit car” guideline, the modified vehicle might have been road legal on US soil. What’s odd, though, is his ability to track down three such vehicles to work with. Sure, global importing of Skylines finally became possible in 2008 and this film took place a year later. Still, while rules on driving GT-Rs were still so blurred, it’s unlikely he found three of them. In fact, the KAIZO Industries GT-R R34 used on set was seized in 2012 by government officials and exported to Germany.
11 The 1971 Skyline's Disappearance
After busting Dom out of hodling, or at least out of a bus headed towards it, Fast Five sees the team flee to Rio de Janeiro. Here, Brian rides into a favela to meet Vince and we bear witness to a beautiful classic: the 1971 Nissan Skyline GT-R. Nissan opened production centers in Brazil during the 90s, so the appearance of the car isn’t weird. It’s the car's disappearance which has us scratching our heads. The car is seen for mere minutes and never heard from again. Ditching cars is a standard F&F trait, sure, but this car sells for $200,000 USD or more. So, where’d it go?
10 The Rear Wheel Spin On An AWD Nissan
In 2 Fast 2 Furious, Brian’s Skyline lives up to its Godzilla nickname, blowing past any vehicle in its way. With a twin-turbocharged, 2.6-liter RB26DETT block complete with nitrous, his winning comes as no surprise. What does surprise viewers, or those who noticed, is the rear wheel spinning during all those epic stunts. All-wheel drive vehicles like the GT-R don't allow one set of tires to spin freely without the others. It’s unlikely Brian would have modified the car to two-wheel drive, since that would have been a downgrade. The wheels spun because the F&F production team disconnected the front driveshaft of the Nissan before they filmed the scene. It’s great for effect, but it doesn’t make sense for the car.
9 Some of Brian’s GT-Rs Were Actually GT-Ts
In Fast & Furious, the fourth film in the franchise, Brian combines three Nissans into one. He buys a red R35 and a white R34, pulling parts from the first two to modify a blue R34. The resulting Skyline winds up with a 3.8-liter V6, Flexivity wing, OMP roll-cage, RE30 wheels, KI suspension, and Continental Sport Contact tires. To say it looked streetworthy is an understatement but there were a few issues with the GT-R. For example, it wasn’t one; it was a GT-T disguised to look like a GT-R. Why? Because filming a Fast & Furious film requires a lot of sacrifices. As Letty would say, “To the car Gods, man!” Remember, this is the film where a Skyline gets blown sky-high.
8 The R34 Goes Unnoticed
Some fans may have missed the 6-minute, 26-second film between the first and second films but Turbo Charged Prelude is very real. The short follows Brian’s run from the law after going rogue. When the police finally catch up, he’s forced to leave his car behind and travels to a lot in Texas. Here, he finds the legendary Nissan Skyline GT-R R34, which he fixes up with a C-West body kit, HKS titanium exhaust, Sparco seats, roll-cage and more. What’s weird about this? Well, for one: obtaining these parts and installing them would take serious time and connections. Obtaining a Turbonetics intercooler and K&N Ram air system isn’t something you can do in the Costco Tire Center. Yet, somehow, the R34 flies beneath the radar.
7 The Nissan That Did Nothing
In Fast & Furious 6, another GT-R makes an appearance. This time, parked gracefully at the Toretto family homestead at 1327...the house only ever had a number, not a street name. Okay, we know, this one isn’t a Skyline but it was the Skyline’s successor. With all the style and beauty of the 2002 GT-R seen in the franchises fourth installment, we’re unsurprised Brian chose this 2012 model. We are shocked that it did nothing. No wild stunts and no racing, this car cruised the streets at speed limit and made every stop sign until it's final demise. Why? The vehicle was on loan by the studio and had to be returned in impeccable condition.
6 The GT-R Was In A Texas Car Lot
During Turbo Charged Prelude, the 1999 Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 was found battered in a Texas car lot, waiting for some love. This was weird—and not only because the vehicle was not available for sale in the US whe new. It was also a foreign car with right-hand drive. Few select countries were open to import at the time of the R34’s release, including the UK, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Australia. The first model to be available for worldwide import was the R35 in 2008. As fans, we’re glad Universal incorporated this mechanical eye candy but it didn’t make a lot of sense for the time.
5 Eight Shifts On A Six-Speed
The Fast and Furious franchise is known for over the top dramatics, especially in race scenes. This includes cars doing stunts they shouldn’t be able to land, enduring extreme impacts with little damage, and, in 2 Fast 2 Furious, it includes shifting way too many times. Brian’s 1999 Skyline has six forward gears but during race scenes, we see him shift at least eight times. Where’s he putting the gear? Of course, fans who don’t know cars would have no idea, but it’s the principle of the matter. It’s unrealistic but makes for great cinema. Oh well, who needs realism in the movies, anyway?
4 One Skyline Was Actually A Dune Buggy
In Fast & Furious, we already discussed that some GT-Rs weren’t as they seemed. However, it wasn’t only GT-T’s which were used to recreate the Skyline look. The GT-Ts made sense because of their close relation to the GT-Rs and they allowed the production crew to stop disconnecting the front wheel shaft, which they’d done in 2 Fast 2 Furious for stunt driving. (GT-Ts aren’t AWD.) However, production took their deception even further when they used a dune buggy—yes, a dune buggy—to create the blue Skyline GT-R R34 for off-roading scenes. To do this, they created their own R34 body out of fiberglass and fitted it over a dune buggy frame.
3 Poor Suspension On A GT-R
Skylines are notoriously well-made vehicles. The engines on these machines are all assembled by hand with care. They’re powerful but controlled, making the drive extremely smooth, even at high speeds. This isn’t how the F&F franchise portrayed any of O’Conner’s Skylines. To give them that vibe, the Skylines had to be altered. Production admitted to tweaking the vehicles, so they “misbehaved” appropriately. The front drive shaft was one thing but they also fiddled with the suspension so the car could perform all those wild stunts. More modifications were made to the actual GT-Rs in earlier films. By the middle of the franchise, the production crew got the hang of assembling cars for stunt purposes.
2 His Skyline Gets Caught During A Chase
2 Fast 2 Furious sees a lot of back and forth in terms of Brian’s law affiliation. He starts out a rogue officer on the run but is convinced to help the FBI in a potential cartel bust. Before Brian is brought in for interrogation, the police must catch him. Of course, standard0issue law enforcement vehicles just don’t compare to a legit Nissan Skyline GT-R, especially one that's been extensively modified by an experienced street racer. These police cars must not have received the memo, though, because they’re able to keep up and disable the vehicle by EMP regardless of their own cars' abilities.
1 Brian Decides To Drive A Lancer Evo
One of the strangest departures from reality occurs in 2 Fast 2 Furious, after Brian is convinced to join the FBI and take down the cartel boss. Sure, his Skyline had been hit with the EMP, which disabled it so that he could be caught—the fact that the cops would be able to keep up is one thing. But when he takes on the new job, why would he accept a lowly Mitsubishi Lancer Evo to replace his own Skyline? The Lancer Evo is a respectable car and was definitely the better choice when compared to Roman's (Tyrese Gibson's) Eclipse but still, both of them would much rather have kept using the Skyline after their initial run-in with the Mitsus.
Sources: Complex, Car Throttle, and Road and Track.