This guide has been written for the Nissan Skyline Silhouette GTS Sedan, produced in limited numbers by Nissan Australia’s "Special Vehicles Division" (SVD) in 1988. Although officially known as the Silhouette "GTS", enthusiasts and the media have attributed the "GTS1" name to this vehicle to distinguish it from the updated SVD GTS released in 1989. For clarity, we have therefore referred to the car throughout this guide as the GTS1. Built in very low numbers, these Skylines have a strong following and are recognised as a unique piece of Nissan Australia’s history. Classic Register is also currently drafting a SVD GTS2 information guide, and hosts a number of GTS1 vehicles on the Register - please feel free to upload your car's details so we can document as many of these rare skylines as possible.

The SVD GTS1 has a number of unique features when compared to its standard counterparts, and was built to provide an exclusive and high performance option for Skyline customers during the period when the R31 GTS-R skyline was competing in the Australian Touring Car Championship. The idea of a higher performance Australian built skyline was initially teased to the public as a concept car (known as the Super Silhouette Turbo) at the 1987 Sydney International Motor Show.This concept car sported a very similar appearance to the final GTS1 design. An intercooled turbo version developed by SVD went on to be used as a pace car in several high profile Australian motorsport events including the 1988 Australian Grand Prix.2 After production of the GTS1 commenced, six were purchased by the Tasmanian police for traffic and pursuit work, an order that would be repeated for the GTS2 in 1990.3

On release, the GTS1 cost $33,950 (AUD)(+/- $50 depending on the source) placing the Skyline approximately $10,000 above other non-turbo 6-cylinder competitors such as the EA Falcon S and VN Commodore S.

Production numbers:

200 units were produced by SVD, each individually numbered with a plaque on the dash, and unique vehicle identification plate. The GTS1 started out as a Silhouette model Skyline, and was built with certain accessories stripped or altered before being sent to the SVD factory for modification.

Period of manufacture:

The GTS1 was built between June 1988 and December 1988.6

1. Exterior features - Nissan Skyline R31 GTS1 Silhouette (SVD)
  • GTS1s were based on the Series 2 R31 Silhouette. All GTS1s were 4-door sedans.
  • All GTS1 vehicles were painted "Classic White" (paint code: 915).
  • Vehicles were fitted with a mild body kit that included a front bumper/splitter (the same as the standard Silhouette model), revised grille and a boot lid spoiler.
  • Unique colour-coded body mouldings were fitted which had a blue beading through the middle, also extending around the front and rear bumpers.
  • Nissan SVD decals were applied to the real left side tail lamp. A "Nissan Silhouette GTS" decal was applied to the right hand tail light, and a "Silhouette GTS" decal applied to the front door moulding strips. See the images for examples of each.
  • Body trims were de-chromed and painted satin black (this included the window frames and door handles).
  • Goodyear Eagle 215/55 VR tyres7 were originally fitted on white 16 x 7 inch 11-spoke alloy wheels, painted the same "Classic White" as the body. These wheels had Nissan embossed centre caps.
  • A fixed central roof-mounted antenna was fitted (as opposed to the standard antenna mounted on the rear passenger mudguard).
  • Tinted windows were applied as standard.
2. Interior features - Nissan Skyline R31 GTS1 Silhouette (SVD)
  • Cloth Scheel front seats (Australian made and hand stitched - customised by SVD).8 The seats had the standard Scheel logos fitted in the centre of the back rest.
  • A two-tone grey cloth with red stripe was applied to all the seats and door card insert panels. The trim fabric type was also available on the non-SVD Silhouette model, however, the seat trim on the SVD cars was customized with the stripes running diagonally with additional seams. All cars were fitted with a loop pile grey carpet and grey headlining (trim code: K).
  • Dashboard plastics in the GTS1 were the same as in the Silhouette model, being a two-tone dark grey over light grey, with silver central panel surround.
  • A leather bound 4-spoke Momo steering wheel was originally fitted. The majority of wheels have an exposed centre boss and black metal spokes, with a small "Nissan" badge on a white background fitted. From several cars and initial articles sighted, however, a centre/spoke padded leather cover was available, embossed with "Nissan SVD". Examples with and without the centre pad are provided in the images. On the rear side of one spoke you will see several stamping marks including: “Momo”, "Made in Italy", "Type M38", and a 4-digit month and year of build (which should be 1987), and the part number "KBA 70056".
  • A security coded Eurovox sound system was fitted standard, as was a security alarm system.9 The original sound system had “Nissan Special Vehicles Division” printed on the tape entry flap.
  • A comprehensive digital trip computer was fitted standard, as carried over from the Silhouette model.
  • A uniquely numbered SVD build badge was applied to the glovebox lid.
  • Wind-up windows were applied to all GTS1 vehicles, and no central locking was applied (both in an effort to reduce weight and cost).
  • A unique owner's manual supplement was provided with the cars, as shown in the images.
3. Model number, chassis number, SVD build number and build dates - Nissan Skyline R31 GTS1 Silhouette (SVD)

Model number:

As the GTS1 was based on the Silhouette series 2 Skyline, a model number of CJR31FSE was applied to all vehicles. We note that the 6th digit "F" referred to the manual transmission fitted to all GTS1s.

 

Chassis number:

The GTS1 is allocated a standard HR31 chassis number from the factory, as the cars essentially started off as Silhouette models before being sent off for modification by Nissan's SVD. The chassis number will begin with "V", followed by a 5-digit unique number. The chassis number is located in several positions:

1. Stamped on the vehicle’s Nissan build plate (mounted on the passenger side upper-bulkhead next to the SVD build plate).

2. Stamped into the upper-central bulkhead in the engine bay (next to the Australian compliance plate).

3. Embossed on the vehicle’s compliance plate (mounted on the driver’s side bulkhead in the engine bay).

4. Stamped into the vehicle’s SVD build plate (mounted on the passenger side upper bulkhead next to the Nissan build plate).

Naturally, it is important to confirm that the chassis number noted on the SVD build plate is the same as that located in positions 1-3 as described above.

 

SVD build number:

The SVD build number will appear in two locations:

1. On the SVD build plate (mounted on the passenger side upper bulkhead next to the Nissan build plate).

2. On the badge fitted to the glovebox lid

 

Observations with respect to build numbers and build dates. 

Build dates will appear on both the Nissan chassis plate and the SVD plate as demonstrated in the images. We have undertaken a small sample analysis of Nissan chassis plates and SVD plates on the GTS1 vehicles, and note that there is generally a 1 - 2 month gap between the Nissan build date, and the SVD build date, which makes sense in terms of build-delivery-rebuild time. From the small sample data we have, we also noted that several GTS1s had the same SVD build date, but there are gaps in the SVD build numbers between these cars of up to 24 units. For example, SVD car number 165 and car number 189 were both built on September 16, 1988. This, along with several other shared build dates with smaller gaps between the build numbers, suggests the vehicles would have been built in a number of batches (in some cases possibly quite large batches) throughout the production period. This is, however, only an observation based on assumptions with limited data. Anyone with further information on the production process is encouraged to contact us or comment below.

 

3. Engine number and unique features - Nissan Skyline R31 GTS1 Silhouette (SVD)

The GTS1 was fitted with the RB30E engine, which was essentially the same engine block as applied to the standard Silhouette model. Naturally, a number of modifications were made to the GTS1 engines and ancillaries to ensure a substantial power increase occurred. See the mechanical features section of this guide for specific details.

 

Engine number format:

The RB30E engine will have a number in the format: 1#####A

With the RB30 engines allocated to vehicles at Nissan between April 1988 and December 1988, the engine numbers applied to the GTS1 will generally be between 140000A and 170000A.10

 

Engine number location:

The engine number on the RB30E is provided in two locations:

1. Stamped into a small flat area on the inlet side (driver's side) of the engine block. This small flat area is located toward the front of the block, slightly lower and forward of the oil filter. Below the engine number, "RB30" will be cast into the engine block.

2. The engine number is also embossed on the vehicle's Nissan data plate on the engine bay bulkhead.

 

4. Mechanical features - Nissan Skyline R31 GTS1 Silhouette (SVD)

Engine specifications:11

The GTS1 was based on the standard RB30E 3.0l (2962cc) fuel injected SOHC engine (as used in many other Australian R31 skylines), however, several modifications were made to the engine accessories to increase power. These modifications included 2.25 inch stainless steel extractors / exhaust system, a stage 1 re-profiled camshaft (developed by Wade Engineering in Melbourne)11 and an oil cooler. Nismo Australia reportedly also assisted with the design and development of the engine improvements.12 The car's compression ratio was revised to 9.0:1, resulting in a 14% power increase on the standard RB30E engine. The GTS1 produced 130kw at 5,500rpm, and 255Nm of torque at 3,500rpm. ​This provided for a 0 – 100 sprint in 9.2 seconds (results vary depending on source), and a top speed of 220km/h.13

Other mechanical specifications and enhancements:14

  • Returned springs, Bilstein gas dampers, 27mm front sway bar (vs 25mm on the standard car). The Fred Gibsom Racing Team (Gibson Motorsport) was involved in the suspension setup development.15
  • Speed-sensitive power assisted steering.
  • Goodyear Eagle 215/55 VR tyres mounted on white 16 x 7 inch 11-spoke alloy wheels.16
  • Larger front disc brakes than the standard car, and upgraded pads all-round. The GTS1 received the GTS-R disc brake package (discs / rotors and callipers) at the front (274mm x 22mm rotors).  Rear discs are 260mm x 10mm. The GTS1 also had a revised master cylinder design (split point).17
  • 5-speed manual transmission (no automatic available on the GTS1).
  • A limited slip differential was fitted standard. The final drive ratio is 3.7:1.18
  • Inbuilt alarm system and comprehensive digital trip computer was a standard feature.
  • Central locking, power windows and cruise control were deleted from the GTS1 to keep costs and weight down.19
5. Tasmanian police vehicles - Nissan Skyline R31 GTS1 Silhouette (SVD)

Very little information has been found for the GTS1 police vehicles purchased by the Tasmanian police. Forum.r31skylineclub.com has a couple of images on display including original articles which confirm that six vehicles were purchased. Initially, it was thought that these vehicles were additional to the batch of 200 civilian vehicles, however, two ex-police vehicles have come up in recent years, being numbered 151 and 159. This would indicate they were part of the batch of 200 cars.

Attached are several original images courtesy of the Tasmanian Police History Museum.

6. History, original documentation and promotional material - Nissan Skyline R31 GTS1 Silhouette (SVD)

Attached is a small collection of original brochures / advertisements for the GTS1. They are displayed here for historical purposes.

If anyone has copies of early documentation (such as brochures, advertisements or specification sheets), please contact us so we can display the information for enthusiasts.

7. End notes and references - Nissan Skyline R31 GTS1 Silhouette (SVD)

 

Please note, this guide has been written based on a variety of period magazine articles, online sources and enthusiast input. You should not rely on this guide to make any purchasing decision and we make no representation that all information is accurate. You should always seek independent professional advice when looking to purchase a unique car. If you have additional information, photographs or corrections you believe could improve this guide, please contact us so we can improve this page for everyone's benefit.

The following sources (as referenced in the text), among input from many owners and enthusiasts, have contributed to the creation of this page. If you have any further information you believe can be added, please let us know by contacting us or commenting below.

1. Modern Motor Magazine, May 1987.

2. Per discussion and examples on https://forum.r31skylineclub.com/news.php.

3. Original newspaper article extract on the famous & notable R31 skyline thread: https://forum.r31skylineclub.com/index.php?topic=152014.0 confirming the Police ordered six GTS1 vehicles.

4. Modern Motor Magazine, November 1988.

5. Based on early documentation obtained from the Nissan factory sighted by a 3rd party source, and confirmed by the model code on GTS1 chassis plates.

6. Based on vehicles sighted during research, and discussion of GTS build dates on several forums.

7. Modern Motor Magazine, November 1988.

8. Per information provided on svd.asn.au (note - Previously the SVD owner's website, the site is no longer active).

9. See original GTS1 brochure.

10. Information based on engine number data analysed. 

11. The majority of this data has been taken from an original GTS spec-sheet.

12. Wheels magazine, 1988, page 97.

13. Per information provided on svd.asn.au (note - Previously the SVD owner's website, the site is no longer active).

14. Modern Motor Magazine, November 1988.

15. Modern Motor Magazine, November 1988 p.38 and Wheels Magazine, 1988, p.97

16. Information per original GTS specifications sheet.

17. Modern Motor Magazine, November 1988 and original GTS1 brochure.

18. Information provided on https://wiki.r31skylineclub.com/index.php?title=R31#GTS1 and in Wheels magazine, 1988, page 97.

19. Wheels magazine, 1988, page 97.