Fuelled by Passion: GT-R Fans and Journalists Relive Thrilling R35 Moments

The arrival of the R35 GT-R astounded the global automotive community with its unparalleled performance, futuristic design, and exceptional value within the supercar realm. As the current-generation GT-R (R35) prepares to conclude its U.S. market journey, it leaves behind a legacy rich in exhilarating tales. Introduced initially at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, the R35 began its U.S. sales in 2008 for the 2009 model year, marking its debut in North America and swiftly amassing a legion of devoted enthusiasts.

Praised consistently for its track prowess and off-road performance, the R35 set new benchmarks in the world of high-performance vehicles. Autoblog’s review captured its essence succinctly: “The Nissan’s bite is every bit as angry as its visual bark.” Over the years, accolades poured in, with Hagerty noting in February 2024, “Then and now, the GT-R is a guided missile, a point-and-shoot car that works very hard to make you look good.”

Enthusiasts, automotive journalists, and Nissan insiders were invited to reminisce about their most cherished moments with the R35. Michael Harley, recalling his experience as an Autoblog editor, vividly recounted the summer of 2008 when the R35, resplendent in “Solid Red,” turned heads wherever it went, instantly elevating him to celebrity status. Its performance capabilities during canyon drives were equally unforgettable, showcasing the grip of the ATTESA ET-S all-wheel-drive system and the innovation of its dual-clutch gearbox.

For John Davis of MotorWeek, the R35’s allure was encapsulated in its dynamic prowess on the track at Roebling Road Raceway, where its ability to deliver exhilarating speeds while maintaining precision handling left an indelible mark. Jonathan Buhler, a Nissan enthusiast and employee, fondly recalled navigating the legendary “Tail of the Dragon” in a pre-production R35, a journey that underscored the car’s exceptional handling and performance.

Sean Lee, founder of the Purist Group and avid GT-R collector, emphasized the GT-R’s enduring significance in automotive culture, highlighting its robust engine and its ability to uphold Nissan’s heritage in racing. Meanwhile, Frank Markus of MotorTrend reminisced about the collective astonishment when the R35 claimed the title of MotorTrend’s 2009 Car of the Year, thanks to its ability to outperform competitors three times its price.

Matt Hardigree of The Autopian reflected on the R35’s dominance during its debut era, noting its conceptual aesthetics, competitive statistics, and accessibility relative to other supercars of its time. Brian Moody, recounting a memorable encounter in Los Angeles traffic, captured the infectious enthusiasm the GT-R inspired in younger generations, underscoring its status as a cultural icon.

As the final chapter for the R35 GT-R in the U.S. draws near, these stories serve as a testament to its legacy—a legacy defined by innovation, performance, and an unwavering devotion among its admirers.

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