They might have lacked the hallowed ‘R’ badge, but it’s not to say that the Skylines that came in between the KPGC10 and the BNR32 are any less worthy of attention. From the Skyline Japan to the R30 you see here and the R31, there are some models in Nissan’s back catalog that have bucketloads of character and are slowly but surely capturing the attention of collectors and fans of Japanese nostalgic cars.
Enter a little specialist from Tottori Prefecture in the Chūgoku region of Japan called Restored. Over the years, Restored has put its name to some of the finest kyusha creations we’ve seen at shows like Nostalgic 2 Days and the Tokyo Auto Salon, the latter being where I found this particular car.
This 1981 Skyline RS was on display in the International Conference Hall at the Makuhari Messe where Sanei Shobo, the publisher of Option, G-Works, Drift Tengoku and REV Speed, had set up a cool display of past magazine feature cars. This two-tone DR30 has previously featured on the cover of G-Works, and while from afar it may just look like a well restored old Skyline, once you get close you quickly realize that it’s so much more.
Starting with the engine, the Skyline’s factory-fitted FJ20E has lost the ‘E’ denomination which stood for electronic fuel injection and been retrofitted with a pair of side-draught Weber carburetors. It was all part of a grand plan that saw the inline-four rebuilt with fresh internals, in the process boosting capacity 200cc to 2.2L. For the exhaust, Restored collaborated with specialist Exart who knocked up a one-off header and a full dual pipe system running out to the back of the car. In 1981, a stock FJ20E developed 148hp, but it’s not hard to imagine that this engine is producing a bit more now, not to mention having quite the responsive character that fine-tuned carbs are able to deliver.
Exterior-wise, the Skyline was spotless. Perfect panels, immaculate paint and still proudly sporting the factory two-tone look with the black lower portion of the body. But wait…
Upon closer inspection you realize that the black isn’t at all paint, but rather carbon fiber. Proper auto-clave, pressure-baked pre-preg – the real deal. The bumpers, hood, fenders, doors, lower rear sills and the trunk are all made from the composite material, shaving substantial weight from the RS chassis.
You just can’t argue with this type of approach; bringing an old car back to its former glory using modern methods and materials to make it look and feel special. It’s nothing short of the perfect touch.
The interior is just as clean, and aside from the addition of two very red Recaro SR-6 seats and a vintage Nismo steering wheel it’s all factory ’80s fresh.
The Skyline is lowered on adjustable Bilstein coilovers and wears 15-inch RAYS Volk Racing TE37V SL 2016 Limited wheels, of which their gold logos match in perfectly with the ‘RS 4VALVE DOHC’ insignia on the sides. Wilwood calipers take care of the braking and complete a build with a level of finish and modification I’d like to see a lot more of in Japan.
Dino Dalle Carbonare