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 |   |  Super Rare 1973 Nissan Skyline GT-R Barn-find is on the Auction Block
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Super Rare 1973 Nissan Skyline GT-R Barn-find is on the Auction Block

What would you pay for an all-original, legendary Japanese fixer-upper like this Skyline Kenmeri?

Conner Golden
Dec 25, 2020

Super Street: For years we've all heard about hot rod and classic car enthusiasts going on and on about some incredible barn-find they heard about and ever since we moved abruptly over to the digital landscape a few decades ago, those stories have only increased. Romanticizing about stumbling across a chassis that's been hidden away for decades, covered in cobwebs and dust, then getting the chance to buy and restore it to its former glory is the stuff of legends. With a solid number of years under our belts, the Japanese car segment can sometimes get lucky and dabble in barn-find jackpots as well, like this 1973 Nissan Skyline GT-R.

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Granted, this car has been up for sale for quite some time and if you're like us, you're wondering why the hell someone hasn't scooped it up and turned it into a giant money pit of restoration or restomod greatness. Well, the asking price is well into 6-figures, for starters. Sure, this is a slice of Japanese automotive history, but this chassis is going to need considerable work, numerous OEM parts and unless you're rolling in dough like that little You Tube mogul from Ryan's Toy Review, this probably isn't in the cards. Still, if someone did grab it and invest the hours and dollars to make it whole again, they'd have one incredible story to tell.

MotorTrend: Surprising your significant other with a new car payment on a Lexus this holiday season? Not cool, bud. If you're going to make rash, irresponsible financial decisions, you gotta think bigger and as such, we suggest hopping on this heaping scoop of rotisserie restoration and "dealing with trans-Pacific international customs to scoop up this barn-find 1973 Nissan Skyline GT-R currently for sale in Hokkaido, Japan. The sale was recently reported by The Drive and resurfaced recently on Reddit.

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This dusty red coupe is one of the semi-obscure second-gen Skyline GT-Rs that only ran for a single model year as part of the so-called "Kenmeri" Skyline family, named after the delightfully chipper young couple (Ken and Mary) featured in the contemporary television commercials. That's right—instead of some evocative nickname like Hakosuka (Skyline) or Godzilla worn by the first-gen and third-gen GT-Rs respectively, this high-revving, tire-squealing sports coupe takes its nickname from a car commercial.

Restomod Kenmeri Greatness:

'75 Skyline GT-X

550hp Kenmeri

It's a complete car according to the listing, meaning the desirable 2.0-liter S20 inline-six is present, returning a very healthy 158 horsepower and 131 lb-ft to the rear wheels through a five-speed manual transmission. Compared to later generations of Nissan GT-R—R32, R33, R34, and the current R35—the driving experience of the first two generations of GT-R is characterized not by sake-spilling twin-turbo all-wheel-drive launches, but the same rear-wheel-drive, naturally aspirated smoothness as a 240Z or Toyota 2000GT.

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You don't have to worry about your S/O's car-dork aunt gifting the same thing either, as only 197 Kenmeri GT-Rs were sold before the ensuing 1973 Oil Crisis eliminated demand and the GT-R nameplate was canceled until the R32 generation debuted for 1989. Of those, only seven left the factory in red, making this Kenmeri GT-R one of the most collectible and rarest Japanese classics we've ever seen come to market. Think of all the bonding you two could do as you clean the carbs and rebuild the brakes—not that this will need more than sympathetic restoration, considering the mothballed GT-R has reportedly covered only 31,000 original miles.

This car has apparently remained up for grabs for quite some time, with some reports pegging this car sitting on the open market for the past four years. With an asking price of around $338,000, that's hardly surprising, but as values of these rare Kenmeri GT-Rs continue to climb, that begins to look less and less ridiculous. Plus, if you can't be bothered to perform the restoration yourself, Nissan would be tickled pink to restore it for you, provided the rather clandestine NISMO restoration program isn't just for R32s and you can afford the staggering $432,000 bank hit. Of course, it's too bad you missed out on the pristine example that sold five years ago in RM Sotheby's Monterey auction; it sold on a relatively paltry high bid of $176,000.

If you think this will be the perfect stocking—er, garage—stuffer, head over to Yahoo Auctions Japan to bid or get in touch with the seller.

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By Conner Golden
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