"How often do you get to ask, 'What if we created a GT-R without limits,' and then actually get to build it?" Clearly it's been an interesting few months for Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan's senior vice president for global design. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the GT-R obviously deserved something special, and it surely doesn't get any more memorable than being asked to head up the manufacturer's first collaboration with Italdesign, the famed studio established by Giorgetto Giugiaro in 1968.
Of course, the fact that car and coachbuilder both reached the same half century milestone in 2018 makes the partnership seem almost preordained. "This is a rare window in time when two big moments intersect: 50 years of Italdesign shaping the automotive world and 50 years of Nissan generating excitement through our iconic GT-R. So to celebrate this convergence, Nissan and Italdesign created this custom GT-R to mark 50 years of engineering leadership," said Albaisa.
So what do we get? Well, the GT-R50's styling was left to Albaisa and his design teams in London and America. Italdesign were tasked with the development and engineering of the prototype, as well as the actual build. The car is based on the current Nismo variant of the GT-R, but shares no panel with its donor. As you can see, Nissan has rather gone to town: the one-off is wider, longer and lower than the conventional model, and dramatically sleeker.
Some of its sleekness is derived from that new roofline, which is fully 54mm lower than standard. There is exaggeration of the GT-R's signature features going on everywhere: the power bulge is more pronounced; the LED headlights are stretched; the 'samurai blade' cooling outlets are made more prominent; the wheel arches more flared; the rear window line descends longer with the back end culminating in those floating taillights and that dramatic adjustable rear wing.
If that weren't enough, you'll notice that Nissan hasn't been shy with the gold accents, which extend into an interior that now features two different carbon fibre finishes. It's all rather in your face, which is probably appropriate when you consider the GT-R50's underneath. Fully 720hp has been coaxed from the endlessly tuneable 3.8-litre V6, which uses the Nismo-spec turbochargers derived from the GT3 race car. It's joined by revised camshaft profiles, higher-flow fuel injectors and optimised intake and exhaust systems.
At the back there's a reinforced dual-clutch sequential six-speed transaxle, with stronger differentials and drive shafts. The suspension retains Bilstein's DampTronic adjustable damping system and the brakes are by Brembo; the wheels though are custom-made 21-inch affairs wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres that are fully 10.5 inches wide at the rear. You'll probably be happy for that kind of contact patch with 575lb ft of torque on tap from 3600rpm.
Of course, the GT-R50 won't actually be heading to showroom near you, and nor is it intended as a prelude to the next generation GT-R (due in 2020, and certain to be a hybrid). No, this is about, "an exciting celebration of two anniversaries in a provocative and creative way - wrapping one of Nissan's best engineering platforms and Japanese design with Italian coachbuilding," said the fun-loving Albaisa. As ever, celebrate your opinion of his handiwork below...