The Nissan Skyline R31 is among the most popular classic cars you will find, with many drivers still in search of one of these models today. This generation of the Skyline was also known as the 7th Skyline or the Nissan Pintara in the case of Australian models with four cylinders. It was in production from 1985 to 1990, with 309,716 units sold. Those units spanned a five-door station wagon, two-door coupe, four-door sedan, and four-door hardtop.
Improving on the R30
The Skyline R31 built on the previous generation, the R30. It still had a loose basis on the Laurel platform from the Skyline C32. Compared to previous models, however, the R31 was a bit squarer and larger.
The appearance of the R31 screams ’80s to anyone familiar with the decade’s automotive styling. The body lines are straight, following a mildly triangular shape between the large taillamps and headlights. The door handles were chrome colored and made from metal. You will also find plenty of plastic on the R31, from the wing mirrors to the door trim to the bumpers. The hubcaps are nice and bold with gray coloring. The trunk continues the boxy styling with incredibly large taillamps that are unlike those on other Skylines.
This was an important model for more than styling changes, as it also introduced multiple new technologies. One of these was Nissan’s introduction of its proprietary four-wheel steering system, High Capacity Active Steering. It is also noteworthy that out of all the Skyline models, only the R31 series had a four-door hardtop on offer.
Introducing the RB-Series Engines
One of the innovations of the Nissan Skyline R31 was the introduction of the RB-series engines. Many call the HR31 RB engines “Red Top” powertrains since they had red cam covers. Over time, there were three versions of this engine, with the first being a 24-valve DOHC model with the Nissan Induction Control System for injection. Later models had engine management via the Electronically Concentrated Control System and swapped out six small intake runners for six larger ones. The turbocharger also grew.
If you get inside the Skyline R31, your eyes will be drawn to the dashboard. Although it is plastic, it makes the cabin feel as if it belongs in the space age according to some owners of the Nissan Skyline R31. You will find an average speedometer and controls to adjust instrument cluster brightness. You also get a button to adjust the radio antenna. The cloth seats are soft, which, unfortunately, means you can feel the springs.
Among the Skyline R31 models, the most sought after is the GTS-R Coupe, which only had 832 units. This was enough to let it qualify as a Group A Touring Car for racing due to homologation. This model arrived in 1987 and had a reworked variation of the typical RB20DET engine. This powertrain had a larger turbocharger with a tubular steel exhaust manifold and a significantly bigger front-mounted intercooler. The racing version got more than 430 horsepower.
For those interested in finding a Nissan Skyline R31, it will not be hard at all, although if you want a specific version, you should be prepared to look for a long time.