With its rarity and a level of demand that’s through the roof, you can pretty much forget about ever owning an original KPGC10 Nissan Skyline GT-R.
So, what do you do if you still want a Hakosuka? Well, you get your hands on a lower-spec model and go crazy. And to be honest, that’s probably more fun as you don’t have the fear of messing up or going too wild on a rare collectable. Not to mention, all the scrutiny coming from the purists.
There are countless routes you can take turning a Skyline coupe into something special, and it’s all down to your imagination and the level of investment you’re willing to make.
It’s cool to see people pushing the boundaries, building carbon bodies and doing wild swaps, but at the recent Nostalgic 2 Days event Mizukami Auto from Saitama presented what may well be the perfect approach.
There’s no deviation when it comes to styling; body-wise their KGC10 is a straight-out GT-R replica, with the factory-looking black opaque fender flares (yes, I know the rear is missing on the passenger side but that was to show the work they did in the wheel arch/suspension).
Going down the replica route is not a bad thing, and it’s not looked down upon in any way.
The interesting bits, however, are far from sedate. The Skyline’s retrofitted L28 has been fully reworked with a billet bottom end and mated to a selection of rather tasty parts. The best thing of all is the execution: it employs modern components but still has that vintage feel about it, which I personally think is very important.
It’s a far cry from the 120PS (118hp) L20 this KGC10 left the factory with.
The motor has ditched carburetors in favor of a modern fuel injection system, and it’s all nicely integrated with billet velocity stacks.
The first thing everyone will notice though is Mizukami Auto’s aluminum cam cover, which visually transforms the look of the L-series, giving it a vintage motorsport feel.
The shop had another engine on display, similar in spec but on carbs and running that same head cover in a crackle-red finish. The fuel injected and ECU-managed engine will start easier, idle smoother and have slightly fatter torque and power curves, but many people still prefer the older way of supplying fuel and air. Which one would you go for?
A lower bucktooth front lip and that’s all you pretty much need to enhance the looks of a GT-R-inspired Hakosuka. The stance is on point too; it’s just low enough for a classic but not so much that it would be a chore to drive on the street.
The simplicity has been carried inside where the only modern touches are a retro-style steering wheel and a carbon fiber plate blocking off the space where most owners fit a modern head unit. The old radio is on the very top above the ventilation controls.
Low-back Bride Histrix seats are the perfect choice for the overall theme; they’re modern yet ooze a classic motorsport look.
The Skyline was put through a full restoration which included taking the body down to bare metal, addressing the inevitable corrosion, and replacing all worn parts.
The question is, does this sort of car make an argument for itself against a far more valuable GT-R? Factoring in the cost of restoration and all the parts that were added to make it so unique, the investment becomes substantial.
What you are left with, however, is what must be an incredibly fun and powerful car to drive. Yes, GT-Rs are amazing, but while the S20 sounds glorious edging close to its redline, the 150 or so horsepower it develops feel pretty paltry.
I know what I’d choose, but what would you go for?
Dino Dalle Carbonare