Super Street Network

Due to the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation, our website is currently unavailable to visitors from most European countries. We apologize for this inconvenience and encourage you to visit www.motortrend.com for the latest on new cars, car reviews and news, concept cars and auto show coverage, awards and much more.MOTORTREND.COM
 |   |  1975 Nissan Skyline GT-X: The Ken & Mary Connection
Subscribe to the Free
Newsletter

1975 Nissan Skyline GT-X: The Ken & Mary Connection

The unintentional Kenmeri build that should serve as a template for restomod greatness

Rodrez
Jun 24, 2019
Photographer: Streetmetal

You hear or read "Nissan Skyline" and you can't help but to visualize an R32 or 34 draped in the requisite JDM aero and packing a powerful RB under a vented hood just begging to pound the concrete through all four wheels. And, if you don't immediately conjure up the thoughts listed above, you might automatically turn to the cuter, slightly more boxy, yet legitimately legendary Hakosuka. It's completely natural—we get it. However, it's the often forgotten, quirky, '70s-era Skyline that Nissan found great retail success with that's rarely regarded.

1975 Nissan Skyline Kenmeri GT X Custom Fender Flares Photo 27/27   |   1975 Nissan Skyline GT-X: The Ken & Mary Connection

Television commercials in the '70s and '80s were by far the most effective form of moving product. Long before paid social media ads, awkward podcast script reads, and digital influencers, bombarding viewers with imagery and a strategic narrative were the keys to success. Coming off of a very successful motorsport effort with the Hakosuka, Nissan's next generation Skyline ad campaign was to be based on an American (at least in appearance) couple named Ken and Mary who, in the series of commercials, appeared to be enjoying the countryside, taking in some fresh air and doing a bit of exploring. While it doesn't sound like much in terms of selling a then new Skyline, the idea proved to be right on target as the C110 Skyline was a huge seller for the brand and inherited the nickname "KenMeri," after the ads seemed to take on a life of their own.

1975 Nissan Skyline Kenmeri GT X Taillight Garnish Photo 27/27   |   1975 Nissan Skyline GT-X: The Ken & Mary Connection

The GT-R version of the KenMeri chassis was extremely short-lived (just over six months in production), being that it came into play during a tumultuous time in global history due to an oil crisis and stricter emissions standards that followed had people leaning toward gas economy rather than performance offerings. The result, less than 200 GT-R models ever sold. Today, the lower tier models are what you'll typically find under a series of restomod updates that will often include GT-R-esque bits as an ode to the ultra-limited flagship of that era.

1975 Nissan Skyline Kenmeri GT X Noriaki Miyamoto Photo 27/27   |   1975 Nissan Skyline GT-X: The Ken & Mary Connection

Noriaki Miyamoto of Common Snapper and Barramundi Wheels fame wasn't at all in search of any level of the '70s icon. In fact, he was quite content scooting around in his nicely built S30 Z-car 8 years ago when a good friend of his who actually owned a Kenmeri offered to let him take it for a spin. Call it love at first drive, purely impulsive, or just plain converted, Noriaki was hooked and knew right away that he'd be a Kenmeri owner before too long.

1975 Nissan Skyline Kenmeri GT X Barramundi Design Bester Wheels 01 Photo 27/27   |   1975 Nissan Skyline GT-X: The Ken & Mary Connection

The aftermath of that joyride is what you see pictured, after years of tinkering, restoring and tastefully modding. More often than not, restoring an older car like this means replacing gaskets and seals under the hood in an attempt to keep it roadworthy. In Noriaki's case, it meant ditching the factory pistons for high-compression slugs to work with new H-beam rods and up top, titanium retainers and a new cam were added to the list of items you can't see. What you can see, once the hood's been popped, are the Jenvey individual throttle bodies that cast a shadow over a custom exhaust manifold on one side and Ignition Projects coils on the other. All of this is controlled by Motec management and surrounded by far more visible sheet metal than Nissan intended as anything deemed unnecessary has been deleted or relocated and old, weathered hardware has been updated after the fresh paint dried for a clean finish.

1975 Nissan Skyline Kenmeri GT X Barramundi Design Bester Wheel Photo 27/27   |   1975 Nissan Skyline GT-X: The Ken & Mary Connection

The expertly laid paint continues on the car's exterior, highlighted by restored headlights and factory chrome pieces, offset only by black fender flares that cover the wheel and tire package. Speaking of the rolling attire, being that Noriaki has his own wheel brand, it was only right that he fit his Skyline with Barramundi Design "Bester" style wheels in matte bronze—a step away from the machined look that the Barramundi line is synonymous with.

1975 Nissan Skyline Kenmeri GT X Nardi Steerping Wheel Photo 27/27   |   1975 Nissan Skyline GT-X: The Ken & Mary Connection

A look inside the cabin reveals a classic brown and black theme that suits the car's birth era and, like most cars from this time, wires in the dash sit proudly in plain sight. Being a car that gets driven regularly, a selection of gauges on a switch panel mounted to the center console help keep tabs on the built mill.

1975 Nissan Skyline Kenmeri GT X Driver Side Rear View Photo 27/27   |   1975 Nissan Skyline GT-X: The Ken & Mary Connection

Noriaki Miyamoto never intended to own a KenMeri of his own, but a quick encounter in the driver's seat was all it took for him to change direction. Eight years later, his version of Nissan's 40-plus year old television commercial success is a prime example of just how good an often-overlooked chassis can be when in the right hands.

1975 Nissan Skyline Kenmeri GT X Rear Bumper 04 Photo 27/27   |   1975 Nissan Skyline GT-X: The Ken & Mary Connection
By Rodrez
944 Articles
1975 Nissan Skyline GT-X: The Ken & Mary Connection
Tuning Menu
Owner: Noriaki Miyamoto
Occupation: Common Snapper, Barramundi Design owner
IG: @commonsnapper
Engine: L-type injection/Jenvey ITBs; 89.5 high-compression pistons; H-beam rods; 75 asw camshaft; titanium retainers; custom-built exhaust manifold; Motec M84
Suspension: Kanden Suspension kit
Wheels & Tires: 16x8.5 -22 front, 16x10 -39 rear Barramundi Design Bester; 205/45 front, 245/45 rear Kumho V700
Exterior: Marchal headlight lens; custom aero
Interior: custom gauge panel; Nardi steering wheel; reupholstered seats; rollbar

BROWSE CARS BY MARKET

MORE FEATURES

The show must go on, as they say, and so that’s exactly what organizers of the much-loved annual Tokyo Auto Salon did, taking the 3-day event that usually happens in Chiba’s Makuhari Messe convention center and translating it (metaphorically, not literally; it was still largely in Japanese) into both streaming video and 3D. Auto Salon
Bob HernandezJan 20, 2021
Super Street: Anytime we talk about a vehicle prototype, the overwhelming response, once some of the initial smoke has cleared (and people are done cursing out the manufacturer and demanding that their design team be fired immediately), centers heavily on claims that the production car will look nothing like the demo car. In some cases,
RodrezJan 20, 2021
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
RodrezJan 19, 2021
The “most powerful 3-cylinder in the world,” applied to Toyota’s much talked about GR Yaris still sounds a little strange when you hear it, but you can’t deny the nasty 250+hp and over 260 lb-ft. of torque that are delivered through an eager AWD system, all packed into a relatively lightweight (by modern hatchback standards)
RodrezJan 18, 2021
As if to pour a little salt into the wound that the hottest hatch in ages, the AWD Toyota GR Yaris, is not being brought to North America, the interwebs has begun to conspire against us by teasing us with modified versions from some of the biggest tuners in the biz. In December, those sneak
Bob HernandezJan 15, 2021
Sponsored Links

SEARCH ARTICLES BY MAKE/MODEL

Search
CLOSE X
BUYER'S GUIDE
SEE THE ALL NEW
NEWS, REVIEWS & SPECS
TO TOP