GT Kai: A JDM Classic In Canada

Seeing a big SH team in Japan, experiencing the local car culture and the Tokyo Auto Salon, refreshed some memories from my past summer chasing speed and meeting a JDM legend face to face.

Mention ‘Nissan Skyline’ among car North American car enthusiasts and talk will almost always turn to the R32, R33, and R34s variants. But for Canadian Mike Beaumont, another Skyline model is always at the forefront of his mind – his 1972 2000GT-X.

#iamthespeedhunter - Keiron Berndt - Hakusuka - 2017-2N

Commonly known as the Hakosuka (translation: Box Skyline), Skylines of this generation are very few and far between in Canada, even more so if it’s a clean, well built, and regularly driven 2000GT-X version.

Early last summer I had the privilege of meeting Mike and his modified Hakosuka at a local show, and truth be told, it was the first 2000GT-X I’d ever laid eyes on. Right away, it was obvious that Mike was absolutely head over heels in love with his Hako'; even when explaining the most mundane or frustrating elements of the build, I couldn’t help but feel how much enjoyment had come from the process.

Later in summer I found myself in Edmonton, Alberta, and was able to carve out some time to shoot the classic Nissan in the wild.

#iamthespeedhunter - Keiron Berndt - Hakusuka - 2017-54N

According to Mike, his 2000GT-X was in great condition when he purchased it, but it was missing a couple bits and pieces, and the paint needed a bit of love. It had also previously been dressed up as GT-R, possessing a GT-R wing, GT-R splitter, modified rear fenders, and a set of fender flares.

#iamthespeedhunter - Keiron Berndt - Hakusuka - 2017-3N

In making the car his own, Mike took inspiration and design cues from the phrase from GT改 or GT Kai, which roughly translates into ‘GT Modified.’ The original intention was to keep the GT-R lines and traditional styling, but mix it with roots of the GT-X.

Once the paint was taken care of, next on Mike’s agenda was sourcing the missing pieces. For some of the lucky among us, ordering parts is as easy as buying it online or calling a friend’s shop, but when you’re talking about a 45-year-old JDM car, it becomes a little more difficult. After countless hours on the phone to Japan and many emails run through Google Translate, the missing pieces were found, purchased and shipped to Canada.

#iamthespeedhunter - Keiron Berndt - Hakusuka - 2017-13N

With the exterior details hashed out, Mike turned his focus to the interior. I’m a huge fan of this Nissan Compe steering wheel and Nissan Prince center cap; it just suits the car’s feel perfectly.

Custom carbon fiber gauge pods and center console add a certain modern flair to the classic interior without ruining the original aesthetic.

#iamthespeedhunter - Keiron Berndt - Hakusuka - 2017-4N

You can’t look respectable in a nice suit while wearing your greasy work boots, and nor can your car be complete without the right set of wheels. Mike went shoe shopping in Japan, and picked out a set of Work Equip 03s which were custom-built in 15×8-inch +22 for the front and 15×10-inch -28 for the rear, with gold centers all around.

#iamthespeedhunter - Keiron Berndt - Hakusuka - 2017-47N

While this Hako’ might be the star at many car shows across Canada, Mike still drives it whenever he can, and am I ever thankful that he does. The sound coming from its old school L-series engine is one that can’t really matched.

It may not be as extreme or aggressive in spec as others seen on Speedhunters before, but Mike has some big plans.

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While the plan includes the odd cosmetic adjustment and addition, the main focus is a fresh heart transplant, and replacing the tired yet tried and true L20 with a warmed over L28 out of a 280ZX.

#iamthespeedhunter - Keiron Berndt - Hakusuka - 2017-40N

Starting with an F54 block fitted with flat-top pistons and topped with a port-matched 10:1 compression ratio head, Mike plans to add a long list of other performance parts before backing it up with an RB20DET 5-speed gearbox fitted via a custom adapter plate.

#iamthespeedhunter - Keiron Berndt - Hakusuka - 2017-18N

I have a strong affinity for Porsches and BMWs, but spending time with this Hakosuka gave me a slight yearning for something Japanese, other than my Integra.

#iamthespeedhunter - Keiron Berndt - Hakusuka - 2017-58N

I learnt a lot about classic Japanese cars while piecing together this this article and corresponding with Mike, and I now may or may not be shopping for something classic and JDM. I’m certain my wallet won’t approve, though…

It was an absolute honour to spend the day talking to a fellow enthusiast. Even though we had different tastes and passions, cars brought us together, and there’s something to be said about that.

Keiron Berndt
Instagram: keiron_berndt
Keiron Berndt Photography

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24 comments

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1

I saw this same car at Driven 2017. Quite a small world!

2

Was at Driven Edmonton, Calgary, and Winnipeg

3

Love seeing an Edmonton local get a spotlight. I think it's well deserved considering the amount of time, money, and passion it takes to maintain and own a car like that up here. Congrats Mike!

4

Thanks bro :)

5

Spent two weeks in Edmonton in November 17. Not sure how you guys live in that cold. I like it cold but that was crazy.

6

Speak for yourself. I LOVED Chicago in February.

I don't know how a person could live in a place like Los Angeles where it's always summer and seasons don't even exist AS A CONCEPT.

7

how come the rear quearters have overfenders, but the front don't?

8

The front fenders are flared metal aftermarket ones from Garage Ishizaka. Compare to oem fenders and you will see the flare is bigger and covers the whole arch, not just the top.

9

Thanks Mike

10

It's how the original GT-Rs came from factory.

11

Thanks Paddy :)

12

*quarters

13

I was hoping to see some fuel injection. I was a little disappointed. Still nice car tho.

14

Keeping it old school

15

Where in Edmonton is that wall located?

16

97th street, across from Canada Place

17

Thanks man!

18

I'm just enjoying seeing more posts from Canada! I need to make a road trip into Alberta for a show or two this year, even to just check things out!

19

Bearing in mind that i will spend three weeks near Edmonton this summer this is very cool to see. I hope there will be a couple of good car events/meets to visit in June/July

20

Driven Edmonton is on June 23rd

21

97th street, across from Canada Place

22

Oh snap! That is awesome to hear, i'll be sure to check that out man. Thanks a lot!

23

Sorry, didnt mean to say 97th street. Driven is at the Grant MacEwen underground parkade

24

Well written! Enjoyed!

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