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.
The rear end of of the GT-R reminds me of a ‘73 or ‘74 AMC Javelin, both being very over-styled.
It’s funny how much more I appreciate Japanese cars from 1970’s then I did when I was a kid and the designs were new.
I was coming here to post “Javelin”, as well. Though this car is smaller, the proportions still look great. Sometimes, the larger scale of U.S.-themed designs (whether that was actually the intent) doesn’t translate on some of these smaller cars. This one looks great.
I can see a lot of Valiant from the cowl back on the C10 Hakosuka Skyline. The C110 in profile reminds me a lot of my 1978 200SX, some rather awkward lines and odd proportions!
Where did Nissan get that roofline from?
Or maybe they were going for something more like this?
And here I figured Kenmeri was the “Americanization” of some Japanese term.
I had seen a few of the Skyline wagons with that thick rear pillar treatment on trips to Japan, but always figured that the “windows” were filled in in an attempt to recreate a panel sedan. Station wagons in Japan, at least in the late 70s/early 80s, were still considered as commercial vehicles.
On my last visit to Japan, a co-worker had a silver Skyline coupe like the one pictured here. He was unable to sell it before we left for the states, even at a few hundred dollars there were no takers.
Yep, the wagon is a bizarre one, as the Skyline was the performance/premium model in the range. They did a more conventional one for the Cedric sitting above it, but not one at all for the Laurel just beneath it. 510, 610, and 710 all got conventional wagons as well, so the C110 Skyline ‘van’ is real headscratcher.
Thanks, William! – I had NO idea that the GT-R was a reused name. You learn something new every day at CC.
And I agree with the first poster that this car has a Javelin vibe going on.
The front end is all Dodge Challenger, in fact so is the dashboard.
Best example proving Bangle didn’t pioneer jack with “flame surfaced sides”, only this is a million times better looking than anything today.
A friends wife had something similar years ago it had the six cylinder engine but was sold due to being a two door impractical for kids and it was rusty annual checks in NSW were getting tougher on metal termites so she ended up in a VK Dore wagon.
That would’ve been the 240K, Skyline in all but name with a detuned 240Z motor. Very popular here at the time.
I knew a guy with an auto 240K, which was real slow. I can’t imagine the same thing with a 1.5.
Given less than 200 GT-R’s were made, I’m going to guess replica – not that there is anything wrong with that! For one thing it makes you a bit less precious about using the car.
I asked someone about C110 GT-Rs over here, he said no and mentioned a replica up north which may well be this one.
Yup, I just chatted with a friend of mine who was at the show and he said it is a replica. Very nicely done though!
Super nice William. As John states, more amenable to actual driving.
Reminds me of a story about someone who owned a genuine Ferrari 250 GTO. Once prices went galactic in the 1980s on the 28 or so original cars, he built a replica with which he actually did his racing.
It is a 4 doors Maverick with a Challenger’s nose and Buick rear fenders. But the result is fine.
This car seems to bear more than a passing resemblance to the Mazda RX-4 of the same time period. Kinda makes you wonder who copied who.
Interesting point. I love the RX4 and this generation of Skyline, and their great dashboards ? (not so sure about the C110 wagon), although in my opinion the C110 sedan works better than the hardtop, which has too much sheet metal at the rear and so appears unbalanced. The RX4 hardtop is a more resolved design. But at least the 240K had an independent rear which would have been more than welcome on the RX4.
In Australia quite a few 240Ks were sold back on the day, and they had a good reputation. A shame we didn’t get the preceding C10 series, as it looks like an angry muscular relative of the 1600 (510) and I prefer its late 1960s design theme. Inexplicably a handful of northern European markets did see the C10 as an export only 2.4 litre.
Love this generation of Skylines. The weirdo wagon is now near the top of my CC “to find” list. I want to see that thing up close, from every angle. I feel a new obsession taking hold…
I have a hot wheels version of this.
Somehow, early 1970s Japanese styling is now growing on me. Nice car, and do I like the estate variant!