When I visit a car show, I reflexively compile my photographs afterwards and start to write an article covering what I saw. I attended All-Japanese Day at Banyo in and photographed a vast number of classics but it was only later, while I was drafting an article on the show, that I realized just how rare and valuable one of the cars was. Unless this is simply an expert modification, you are looking at one of just 197 C110 Skyline GT-Rs, sold over the course of just four months in Japan.
The C110 GT-R featured a 2.0 double overhead cam, inline six carried over from the previous C10 series, with 160 hp and 132 ft-lb of torque and mated to a five-speed manual transmission. The previous C10 GT-R had enjoyed tremendous success in racing but the C110 never had the chance, although a race-spec GT-R appeared at the 1972 Tokyo auto show.
The GT-R’s premature axing was blamed on new, stricter emissions regulations. After its rapid discontinuation, the GT-R nameplate lay dormant for 16 years, returning on the legendary R32.
Underneath, the C110 was much the same as its predecessor, albeit slightly (150 pounds or so) heavier. It was, however, wrapped in bold new sheetmetal. The preceding C10-series Skyline had looked, for all intents and purposes, like a larger 510—it was nicknamed “Hakosuka”, which translated roughly to “box Skyline”.
The C110, however, found new design influences. With its fastback profile and side creases, the C110 resembled a ’68 Buick Skylark. It wasn’t the only Nissan of the era to ape American styling: the C130 Laurel wore its taillights in its bumper and had coke-bottle haunches, while the Cedric and Gloria looked like shrunken American full-sizers.
The C110 Skyline wagon was another matter. With no windows between the C and D-pillars, it looked like nothing else on the road and, while driving it, you probably would have seen nothing else on the road thanks to the gigantic blind spots.
Lesser Skylines used 1.5 and 1.8 four-cylinder engines, as well as lower-output versions of the 2.0 inline six.
Amusingly, the C110 generation of Skyline was referred to as the “Kenmeri” because of its advertising campaign. TV advertisements featured an American couple, Ken and Mary, loving life. These commercials seemed to hit the right aspirational notes for Japanese buyers and are credited for the Skyline’s dramatic increase in popularity, with sales doubling over the previous generation.
Whether or not this is an authentic GT-R or an extremely faithful tribute, I’m not sure. Perhaps its owner will tell us. Nevertheless, numbers matching or not, it was one of the highlights of All-Japanese Day.