We've seen quite a few restomods over the years, but more recently we've noticed a significant boom that's dramatically increased the number of "restored and modded" builds floating around. The art of repairing and reconditioning an older chassis, along with perhaps the most daunting task of sourcing those impossible-to-get, ancient OEM goods, has become a mainstream affair - and one that's taken on a life of its own in the import enthusiast space.
Most of the time, restomods fall into one of two categories. The first is the pristine, no expense spared sort of build-up that frequents car shows and looks better than the day it rolled out of the dealership parking lot decades prior. The second often revolves around something nicely pieced together but intended for some road time, and the owner's intentions are to stack some miles on their hard work and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Both are fine by us; we just love the detail and the extent to which some builders go to acquire those all but nonexistent parts, as well as incorporating custom fabrication and a touch of modernization to bring it all together in nice, tidy package.
When Shunsuke Matsutani laid eyes on this '72 GT-X, it wasn't looking nearly its best. In fact, it was badly damaged, the result of a mishap at the track that resulted in what very well could have been deemed a total loss. Matsutani saw opportunity and purchased the car as-is, with the sole intention of bringing it back to life with a taste of its original self, a touch of well-thought out modification, all in pursuit of putting the car to work on the Suzuka circuit.
The cute, boxy body lines hit a significant growth spurt with the addition of a Pandem aero kit that brings the body lower in the front and wider at the shoulders and hips. Painted a slick gunmetal tone, the Pandem flares and front lip are matched by a set of headlight covers that reveal a single headlamp on each side and in the middle, a classic external-mount oil cooler takes center stage.
The additional space under the fenders meant that the 15x9-in. front and 15x10 rear Watanabes would have plenty of room to perform their duties on track, carrying Toyo's sticky R888R rubber. Matsutani dramatically improved the handling of the 47-year-old icon by adding suspension upgrades from Number7 Racing Products—a company that he actually owns.
The aged powerplant wasn't going to cut it for Matsutani so he had the L28 bored out (now 3.0L) and fitted with 89.5mm pistons at the hands of the L-series gurus, Kameari Engine Works.
The shop also added their 77G camshaft, 46mm intake and 38mm exhaust valves and to bring in the good air, a set of Mikuni Solex carbs were bolted in place in order to help facilitate those fun-filled 10,000-rpm jaunts.
The stripped down and simplified look and feel of the engine bay is translated into the cabin where the dash and door panels remain, but everything else, including the carpet, is long gone. A Bride Gardis seat keeps the pilot locked in place with the help of a Number7 Racing harness. A Grip Royal steering wheel, custom shift knob and raised floor plates complete the driver-to-vehicle connection.
Matsutani always wanted to race a Skyline on the circuit and drive it on the street and for the past 5 years, he's been doing just that—sometimes daily driving his C10 in between weekends at the track. Having applied his vision to the Skyline and enjoyed his time behind the wheel, his next goal with the car is simple: "To be the fastest around Suzuka Circuit!"