For most people, the Nissan Skyline will forever be a car that you will either love it to it’s core or you will never understand the hype. Pretty much a household name these days, the Skyline has always been something that tried to prove a point and most of the time, it actually did. From humble beginnings of a four-door sedan to possibly one of the most desirable JDMs out there, we’ll go in depth on how the Skyline gained a cult following.
Way before the Skyline gained the GT-R moniker, the Skyline started in life as a four-door sedan under Prince Motor Company. See, Prince Motor Company is one of those companies that was once an aerospace company during the war. However, they started making cars in 1946 with electric cars. However, in 1957, they created the first Skyline. Made to look like a 1950’s Chevrolet, the Skyline was meant to be a luxury car.
As time goes on, a new Skyline emerges just after 6 years since the first generation was introduced. This second generation was given a much more European styling cues that featured similar styles to BMW’s 700. This Skyline was one of the most desired cars at the time in Japan. In 1965, they release a Skyline 2000GT to compete in racing, paving way to the sports car that lies ahead.
A Hako Was Born.
In 1966, Prince Motor Company merged with Nissan. However, the Skyline and Gloria was the two models that was brought over to Nissan. Two years later, Nissan unveiled the C10 Skyline or more commonly known as the “Hakosuka”. A 2000GT and 2000GT-X was made available until the arrival of the GT-R. Launched in 1969 as a four-door sedan, it was estimated that a total of 832 were produced. A year later, the KPGC10 (2-door) was then sold. It is claimed that there are 1197 in existance.
The Hako received an inline-six 2.0L S20 engine producing a punchy 160hp with 180Nm of torque. However, the Hakosuka was never the official name by Nissan. Engineers called it the C10 while fans referred to it as Hakosuka (pronounced as Ha-ko-ska) due to it’s boxy nature. “Hako” which translate to ‘boxy’ in Japanese while “suka”, which is short for ‘sukairain’, the type of Japanese mountain road from which the car takes its name.
Ken and Mary’s Skyline.
Similar to it’s predecessor, the Kenmeri too was never officially named that way. Actually called the C110, it actually means “Ken & Mary” due to a western couple named Ken and Mary, in a series of commercials that was made to promote the model. Despite having a boxy body that now resembles an American muscle car, the Kenmeri was the first Skyline to feature quad circular taillights.
Aside from being powered by the same S20 inline-six from the Hako, it gained a few upgrades that the Hako didn’t get. Among which are 4-wheel fully independent suspension. Also, the Kenmeri was the first Japanese car to receive disc brakes on all four corners. Although, the biggest difference between the Kenmeri and Hako was that the GT-R only came in a coupe body with no sedan or wagon in sight.
Combined with the boxy body and circular tail lamps, it remained a signature design language of the Skyline. Despite the Skyline name lived on, the GT-R badge was dropped in 1973 with the Kenmeri just after 197 examples. The GT-R returned after a 16 year hiatus in 1989 with the Godzilla of a car, the R32 GT-R.
The Rise of the RB.
If you think the R33 was one of the forgotten generations of the Skyline, surely you have forgotten about the R30 & R31 generation. Though these models never received to full-on GT-R treatment, they surely received their small share of the Skyline prowess. However, the R30 received a model called the 2000 RS Turbo which was powered by the FJ20ET while the R31 was the first Skyline to be fitted with an RB-engine. Particularly an RB20.
Moreover, the top-of-the-line R31 GTS-R was a 210hp model, highest at the time featuring an RB20DET-R. As the R31 GTS-R was based on Group A race specifications, it was sold as a limited edition. A total of 800 units were sold and all of them were painted blue.
Feared among many, Godzilla.
Nicknamed, The Boat.
The Last Of It’s Kind, The R34.
However, the R34 was the last Skyline to be given the GT-R moniker before Nissan splitting the Skyline and GT-R name entirely into separate models. The GT-R name now lives on the VR38DETT-powered R35 while the Skyline name is currently a rebadged Infiniti Q50 for the Japanese market. For a while, the Skyline name was actually made into a crossover variant. Oh god Nissan, why?
Written by | Danial Malek
Brochure photos courtesy of GTR Registry