When I visited the East Car shop in Toride earlier this fall, I planned to shoot one of their finished projects and as soon as I arrived, this white Hakosuka Skyline jumped right out at me. The Hakosuka is one of the quintessential vintage Japanese cars and a perfect fit for our Nissan month. Like I stated in the previous story about East Car, the shop’s specialty is restoration, so this is obviously isn’t the fastest Hakosuka around, but it’s a great example a top quality traditional restoration with a few tasteful modifications thrown in for good measure.
According to the Japanese imperial time table, the car is a “Showa 47″ model year, AKA 1972 in the west. Don’t let the GT-R badge on the grill fool you, the car is a standard Skyline 2000GT originally powered by an L20 inline six. Many of the Hakosukas in Japan are sporting GT-R badges on the grill regardless of whether they are genuine GT-R’s or not. It’s just what you do. An homage to a legend if you will…
When the car was first brought to East Car, it was a rusty basket case. As you might now, Japan is a very humid and rainy country and this wreaks havoc on the bodies of these old cars. This heavy rust the biggest obstacle to car restorers here. Using parts sourced from all corners of the country, East Car was able to transform the rusted out Hakosuka into the beautiful machine you see in the photos here. Akihiko-san had a big photo album showing the progress of the restoration from start to to finish, and it was pretty impressive to see how far this car has come. Just about every part on the car was replaced over the course of the resto, which took around six months in total. As expected, the exterior remains almost original except for the addition of the GT-R over-fenders in the rear, which are a very common modification for Hakosukas.
Under the hood, you’ll find that the tired old L20 was thrown out in favor of a bigger L28 SOHC inline six, the most common engine for vintage Nissans. In this case, the engine has been bored to 3.0L for a little extra power and the set of Weber side-draft carbs are a must for any L-series engine if not for the power, then just for the wonderful sound that they make. Akihiko wasn’t sure of the exact power figures, but I would estimate somewhere in the 170-200hp range? As you can see in the photo, the engine bay is spotless just like the rest of the car.
The interior was also completely redone using some of the parts from East Car’s stash and plenty of upholstery work. Everything here is original, it even has the factory style steering wheel which I thought was pretty cool. The only modern thing I noticed inside the car was the CD player. Perfect for blasting some tunes by Yokohama Ginbae or another old school Japanese rock and roll band. The transmission is a standard 5-speed manual.
Is there anything better than a Hakosuka with a set of RS Watanabes? Probably not. The wheel specs on this car are 15″x6.5J -13 in the front, and 15″x9J -13 in the rear. It’s not quite “super gangster” fitment, but considering how the rest of the car is built it works well. The stock suspension was replaced with a set of custom short stroke coilovers with pillow bal top mounts.
In the end, the finished car is a perfect example of a lightly modified Hakosuka that has undergone full restoration by an experienced builder. Japan is a very trendy place where new automotive styles come and go all the time, but Akihiko says that restored kyu-sha like this one will never go out of style, and I agree with him.
These cars will only get rarer and more valuable as the years go on. Hopefully the prices don’t go too high before I have a chance to pick one up! If and when the time comes, I might just have to give Akihiko and the guys at East Car a phone call…