Hold back the tears, the angry comments and the profanities. This does seem outrageous. One may find themselves saying, “Who dares mention that the Nissan GT-R is not a sports car?”, or something of a similar note. But wait, before you rise up with your pitchforks, maybe a gist of the Manila Sports Car Club’s (MSCC) guidelines for membership will give you an idea to why they only accept certain cars, and give exceptions to others.
Commonly, when people see two doors, they would assume that it is a sports car. Regular cars would have four or more doors to accommodate passengers. The number of doors do not determine the character of the car, or the purpose with which it was designed.
Let’s tick off a few boxes for now. The Nissan GT-R has two doors, but it is not a sports car. Moving on.
Another quality of sports cars that we have to consider is the number of seats and the cabin space. Let’s look at something like a Honda Civic EG Hatch. The thing has two doors – save for the rear hatch – yet it can seat two more people at the back. Is it a sports car? No, definitely not. Drivetrain does not have anything to do with it either. Just because the Civic is front wheel drive, doesn’t immediately disqualify it from being a sports car. Problem is, the Civic is meant to be a compact economy car, that happens to have good suspension geometry, and a light chassis. It is not a sports car, it only has elements that make a sports car.
Checking off another box that makes the GT-R a non-sports car, it has seating for four. Although the MSCC explicitly states that some sports cars can have 2+2 seating, it still depends on other aspects. As far as the seats are concerned, they have to be superfluous, or the equivalent of a courtesy to the owner; an afterthought if you will. Though not spacious the rear seats in a GT-R still exist, and is a factor for its omission from MSCC’s list.
So, what is a sports car? Think about it this way, it has to have its own dedicated platform that a brand builds from the ground up. From the start, the team dedicated to designing the platform should be intending it for sport.
Also out of the running for being a sports car are the souped up versions of more common cars. Anything that was previously an economy car that has certain practicalities is out of the running. Hot hatches in general are souped up versions of their less powerful and less exciting counterparts. Hence they are not sports cars, rather they are cars that have qualities of a sports car.
The GT-R is not based on another platform that is an economy car. It is based on a global platform that is not unique to the GT-R itself. Nissan’s FM platform is shared among many other models in Nissan’s and Infiniti’s line up. How a car is built around its platform matters. The 370Z however, is accepted into MSCC’s rulings, and shares the same platform as the GT-R. The difference is that the 370Z has been designed to seat two, and only two.
It is a little bit confusing. Exceptions can be given, but it muddies the waters a little bit. Still the GT-R is still not a sports car. By name alone, the GT-R leans towards the niche of a Grand-Tourer and not a pure sports car. Of course just because it isn’t a “sports car” doesn’t mean it is any less of a spectacular machine to drive – as you can read in our in-depth review.
Here is MSCC’s list. Try looking at the Nissan section for the GT-R.
AC: Ace, Aceca, Cobra.
ALFA ROMEO: 8C2300 (1931-34), Disco Volante (1952), SZ-1, SZ-2 (1959-61), TZ-1, TZ-2 (1965-88), Giulietta Spider(1955-62), Veloce (1955-62), Tipo 33 Stradale (1867-69), Duetto & Spider (1966-93), 126 Spider, GiuliettaSprint (to 1962), Veloce (1955-62), Montreal (1970-77), SZ and RZ (Sprint Zagato or ES-30. 1989-91, 1992-94), 8C Competizione (2007-2008). 4C (2013 +). By way of exception: 105 GT Junior, 105 1750 and Sprint, 105 GTV and GTA.
ASA: Ascari, Ecosse.
ASTON MARTIN: 1 .5 lite Le-mans (1927-36); DB1 to 6; Vantage V8/V12 (2005-2015), Vanquish (2012+).
LAMBORGHINI: All cars, except Espada. (For the avoidance of doubt, LM002, Urus, similar models, all SUVs are excluded.)
LANCIA: Aurelia B24 Spider (1955-56), Beta Monte Carlo (1975-84), Aurelia B20 GT (1951-53), Appia GTE Zagato (1960), Flaminia GT (1956), Flavia Sport (1954-57) , Flaminia Sport & Supersport Zagato (1958), Fulvia Coupe (1965-76, all variants, including the HF), Fulvia Sport (1965-73. all variants), Stratos (1974-76), Zagato (1979); Rally 037 (also known as Lancia-Abarth 037, 1981-1982).