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Homebuilt Klasiko 1972 JDM Nissan Skyline Hakosuka x Pogi 1972 Toyota Trueno

The left-hand drive converted, 2JZ-swapped Hakosuka and its juicy right-hand drive Mango counterpart.

Jan 19, 2021
Photographer: Renz Dimaandal

You know the name Joel Tan (@jt_built) from his wildly popular SR20DET-swapped, '40s-era Willy's Jeep that mingles among the top of Super Street's most popular feature cars of all time, and we expect his 1972 Nissan Skyline GT-R and Toyota Trueno of the same birth year will also have a lasting impression. Both cars feature driver side conversions, a proper old-school feel, and both were built almost entirely in Joel's driveway.

002 1972 corolla trueno Photo 57/57   |   Homebuilt Klasiko 1972 JDM Nissan Skyline Hakosuka x Pogi 1972 Toyota Trueno

Taking Matters Into His Own Hands
The hands-on approach is something Joel takes pride in, evident by our conversation in which he told me all of his cars start life in his backyard. Once the suspension is in and they're officially "rollers," they get wheeled around to the driveway for all of the homemade custom fab, body work and mechanical upgrades. The only portion of his builds getting outsourced is actual paint work while he handles all of the body repairs and prep on his own. The experience is something he's gained over the years, having built his first Jeep in the Philippines well before legal driving age. Ever since that Jeep feature, a project that Joel tells us is currently getting a revamp, he's kept busy working on a number of projects, including these two, and we finally had a chance to catch up and nab some pics

1972 Toyota Corolla "Trueno"
The bright orange Corolla actually started as two chassis he'd purchased in the San Fernando Valley about six years ago. After picking them both up and going through them, Joel sold one to focus on the other. Having already built a widebody Mango with a turbocharged Beams swap, Joel was well acquainted with the platform.

003 orange trueno Photo 57/57   |   Homebuilt Klasiko 1972 JDM Nissan Skyline Hakosuka x Pogi 1972 Toyota Trueno

The Missing Pieces
Restoration is always a factor with a chassis almost 50-years old, and plenty of attention was placed on the body to get things straightened out before a custom PPG orange mix was sprayed over the entire car, interior and engine bay. To give the car the attitude adjustment it needed, black fender flares, a front lip and rear wing were bolted in place, along with period-correct fender-mounted mirrors.

The updated flares house refinished, matte black 13x7-in. Gotti wheels with sticky 215/45 Toyo Proxes R888R, and the ancient suspension has been updated with Techno Toy Tuning front underpinnings. Appropriate Japanese counterpart badging and S.E.V. Marchal headlights with covers finish off the exterior makeover.

004 right hand drive trueno Photo 57/57   |   Homebuilt Klasiko 1972 JDM Nissan Skyline Hakosuka x Pogi 1972 Toyota Trueno

Originally a left-hand drive model, Joel converted the car to RHD, something he wanted to do from the very beginning. He added reupholstered seats and a Nardi steering wheel, but most of the interior beyond the reconfigured seating position is original and complete.

005 toyota 2tg Photo 57/57   |   Homebuilt Klasiko 1972 JDM Nissan Skyline Hakosuka x Pogi 1972 Toyota Trueno

Vintage Grunt
Under the hood is where you'll find a freshened up 2T-G that received some massaging from Steve's Machine Shop and a unique mix of parts applied to its top end. Swirl polish stainless steel valves and GM LS-style Ovate beehive valve springs, along with late-model Toyota lifter buckets back up a set of custom, reground 286 cams. Dual SK Racing carbs supply fresh air and give it the sound you'd expect from a '70s-era Toyota. This car is a driver, and to that end you won't find color coordinated hardware or strategically powder-coated parts - just pure functionality from a slightly modernized version of a Toyota classic that maintains its original '70s charm.

Enjoy Another Serving of Mango and Hako:
'74 Corolla
'72 Skyline GT-X

006 green hakosuka Photo 57/57   |   Homebuilt Klasiko 1972 JDM Nissan Skyline Hakosuka x Pogi 1972 Toyota Trueno

1972 Nissan Skyline "Hakosuka"
Joel picked up his Skyline project from a friend in East L.A. but it wasn't anywhere near the level it's at currently. Beyond the haggard body, the car lacked the basics, including suspension, interior, doors, and even some of the floorboard was missing. The plan was to start building right away but it wasn't going to be the standard combination of parts that you've become accustomed to when seeing these cars brought back to life.

007 left hand drive skyling Photo 57/57   |   Homebuilt Klasiko 1972 JDM Nissan Skyline Hakosuka x Pogi 1972 Toyota Trueno

To offset his RHD-converted Mango and shake things up, Joel decided to convert the Skyline to left-hand drive. This required cutting up multiple dashboards and piecing them back together before the top was refinished in alcantara and aftermarket gauges added. A pair of Seibon carbon Kevlar bucket seats are bolted in place with custom floor plates and in the rear, a custom 4-pt. roll bar by @heliarc_hustler. Pop the trunk and a one-off gas tank sits just inside the cargo area while the rear suspension has been converted to a custom cantilever setup. A bold move, especially with an iconic chassis, but it's right in line with the LHD conversion and the swap Joel chose - all of which, he notes, were done to build something entirely different than everyone else.

008 2jz gte swap Photo 57/57   |   Homebuilt Klasiko 1972 JDM Nissan Skyline Hakosuka x Pogi 1972 Toyota Trueno

The Toyota Connection
Part of Joel's vision included the controversial cross-platform engine setup. Rather than going with Nissan's RB power plant, something that's been done time and time again, he opted for Toyota 2JZ power. The engine was sourced through JDM of California and now uses a single Borg Warner turbo in lieu of the factory twins courtesy of a custom exhaust manifold. A rack and pinion from a KP61 Starlet was also installed to make it all work, and with the engine taking up so much space under the hood, the intercooler is placed entirely outside of the bay with pie-cuts that snake around a Koyo aluminum radiator. Joel credits his friend John Esteban for lending him a hand with the wiring harness and getting that initial startup under his belt.
After quite a bit of custom fab work, the Toyota inline-6 fits well inside the confines of the Skyline's chest and did its part to draw people in when it was positioned at the front of Toyo Tires' Treadpass during SEMA 2019. It even piqued the interest of the GR Toyota reps that attended SEMA and made it a point to stop by to chat with Joel and check the car out multiple times throughout the week.

009 2jz skyline Photo 57/57   |   Homebuilt Klasiko 1972 JDM Nissan Skyline Hakosuka x Pogi 1972 Toyota Trueno

What also caught everyone's attention during the weeklong industry gathering is the custom Colin Legarde Motorsports green paint. Applied by @denzmechanic, it's far removed from the typical white or silver restomods of this generation. Colin Project wheels and Toyo Proxes R888 sit beneath flares with an aggressive stance that doesn't give in to extreme camber to get its point across. Since it appeared at SEMA, the intake tube and filter, which originally sat beyond the headlight bucket, were reworked and brought back into the bay. The hood exit exhaust was also toned down and leads down and out of sight. The changes give the car a more street friendly approach so that Joel can enjoy it whenever the mood strikes.

Never Stop Challenging
It's by no means perfect, but this Skyline build, like all of Joel's cars, served as a challenge to do as much as he possibly could by himself in his driveway with occasional help from friends. It's the epitome of import tuning, which started and continues to strive in home garages all around the world. It also serves a healthy reminder that its ok to not only step away from the norm, but to bet on yourself from time to time and embrace the trial-and-error effort, which is every bit as important as enjoying the finished product.

By Rodrez
957 Articles
Homebuilt Klasiko 1972 JDM Nissan Skyline Hakosuka x Pogi 1972 Toyota Trueno
Tuning Menu
Owner: Joel Tan
Instagram: @jt_built
Car: 1972 Nissan Skyline
Engine 2JZGTE VVTI swap w/single turbo conversion; Borg Warner 366 turbo; custom turbo manifold; HKS wastegate, blow-off valve Vibrant Performance elbow; custom pie-cut intercooler piping; Koyo radiator; W58 transmission
Suspension Custom cantilever; coilovers
Wheels & Tires: Colin Project wheels; 225/50-14 Toyo Proxes R888
Exterior Custom mint green paint, fender flares; GT-R wing
Interior: left-hand drive conversion; Seibon carbon Kevlar bucket seats; Takata harnesses; @heliart_hustler roll bar
Car: 1972 Toyota Corolla
Engine 22TG engine, Steve's Machine Shop machine work; oversized swirl polished stainless steel valves, LS style Ovate beehive valve springs, late model shim over Toyota lifter buckets, custom 286 cam regrinds; SK dual carburetors; Racetoys wiring; Action Clutch Stage 1
Suspension Techno Toy Tuning front suspension
Wheels & Tires: 13x7 Gotti; 215/45 Toyo Proxes R888R
Exterior Marchal headlights w/covers; Trueno badging; custom rear wing, fender flares, front splitter, fender-mount mirrors
Interior: Nardi steering wheel
Thank Yous: Thank you: JDM of California, Koyorad, Seibon, Takata, @heliarc_hustler, Colin Project, Toyo Tires, @denzmechanic, @jeffchaerdesign rendering, Odyssey Battery, @g2wraps livery, @jgarage and @g2graphic, Allen, John, Stan, Johnfob, Colin Legarde, David, @moonlightrunner, Norman Alarcon, my family - especially to my wife Cheryl and baby Amarah



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