Have you looked at prices for a Nissan Skyline GT-R lately? Not just hakosukas, but any of them? Prices continue to climb, and though it might be worth it, the legends are out of reach for many. Masumi Nakano has always loved the hakosuka, and was inspired by his father to get something a little different than the Land Cruiser he had before. The result, after four years of hard work and a focused vision, is the absolutely stunning '72 Skyline here.
Despite the "GT-R" badging, this is not a "real" GT-R. It's a Skyline 2000 GT-X. The GT-X was the top trim model of the '68 to '72 Skyline C10 series and was available in a coupe and sedan body style. It's also the best way to get a hakosuka that you won't feel bad about modifying, or spend six figures acquiring. The GT-X is a significant step down the affordability scale but comes with niceties like power windows, and some even had factory air conditioning.
Masumi's Skyline wasn't perfect when he acquired it. One of the most challenging aspects of his build was to remove any rust that had begun to form, and prevent it from returning. From there, he focused on the exterior. Factory-fresh GT-X models had more chrome, including a piece front and center on the hood and a filler panel between the rear taillights: on Masumi's car, all the chrome accents have been removed and shaved, or repainted a satin black, and the rear has received the GT-R treatment by removing the rear taillight filler panel. The fender flares that have been added mimic the race-spec GT-R, as the street GT-R originally only came with fender flares on the rear wheelwells. The final exterior touch was a one-of-a-kind black and orange paint job that you're surely not to find on any other hakosuka in the world.
After painting and lowering the car, Masumi knew he had to have the right wheels to pull the classic and modern style together, so he went with a staggered set of RS Watanabe wheels: 15x9-inch up front and 16x9.5 in the rear. The GT-X sits low, but from camber to fender gap, we think Masumi got it right.
Under the hood the original L20, which made about 113 hp, has been swapped in favor of an L28, which is the larger displacement version that was found in Z cars in the States. With the trio of Solex 44 carbs, Masumi thinks it makes about 150 hp. Visually, the engine is nearly identical to the smaller displacement L20, making it an ideal swap since he wanted to preserve the classic style with newer elements. Take a second and admire the wire tuck—just the basics are showing. Also notice the throttle linkage for the carburetors: The Skyline 2000 GT had a throttle cable instead, which ran directly over the top of the valve cover. It's the little details that add up to one clean build that doesn't look like it's trying too hard.
Masumi calls the style of his GT-X "JDM," which to him means a blend of the classic hakosuka lines with new styling trends. That's why, mixed in with the many restored OEM pieces, are personal touches like the M&M shift boot and an aftermarket tachometer. Masumi says the GT-X is far from finished but adds that equal length headers are on the list of future modifications. One thing he loves most about his Skyline is the ability to go to both old- and new-school events, since the hakosuka straddles the two worlds and allows him to meet many new friends along the way.