10 Reasons Why The Hakosuka Nissan Skyline Is The Coolest JDM Classic Of All Time
It is often wrongly believed among domestic car fans that Japanese cars are not what they are cracked up to be. Though it is true that the number of Japanese cars fitted with big-block V8s churning out more than 450 hp is low, it does not mean that Japanese car companies have not come up with some serious rubber-burning machines over the decades.
When it comes to classic Japanese cars, nothing beats Nissan’s Skyline “Hakosuka.” The Hakosuka is one out of many Japanese cars JDM fans would never dare modify. Not only is the Japanese sports car great as is, it is also one of the best cars to ever roll off Nissan‘s assembly lines. The Hakosuka will most likely remain the most legendary classic Japanese car ever made.
Nissan was not always the company it is today. During World War 2, the Japanese car manufacturer was solely focusing on supporting the war effort. However, Nissan moved away from manufacturing vehicles such as the 142 truck and focused essentially on producing passenger cars following the war. Around the same time, Nissan was actively acquiring other car brands.
The second generation Skyline is one of the Japanese sports cars gearheads would remortgage the house for. In fact, it is an absolutely stunning vehicle, originally released under the brand Prince. The four-door version, the 1965 Prince Skyline 2000 GT-B, is fitted with a 2.0-liter inline-four engine that makes 123 hp and 123 lb-ft of torque. A year prior, Prince came out with a sports coupe designed by Michelotti. Though less powerful than the 2000 GT-B, it must have been an inspiration for what was to come.
9 First Draft
Since the Skyline was first released in 1957 under a different brand, it is quite normal that the emblematic Japanese sports car underwent several facelifts as it changed names. In fact, the Skyline went from being a regular passenger car to becoming a true bully. However, the Hakosuka that JDM fans idolize took time to materialize.
Nissan introduced the Skyline GT-R in 1969. Inspired by the Prince 2000GT, the Skyline GT-R was far more aggressive and powerful than its predecessor. The Skyline PGC-10 comes stock with a naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter S20 inline-six engine that develops 160 hp and 133 lb-ft of torque. It was, at the time, the best sports sedan available in the Japanese market.
The Skyline PGC-10 was undoubtedly the meanest sports car released in Japan in 1969. It was at the pinnacle of Japanese engineering. However, this simply was not enough for Nissan. The Japanese carmaker wanted to have its crown jewel look like a true race car. Consequently, the Hakosuka went back to the drawing board, only to shed some weight and gain in aggressiveness.
A year following the release of the Skyline PGC-10, Nissan decided to trim some fat. Losing two doors and a considerable amount of weight, the two-door Skyline performed extremely well at the track. Still equipped with the great S20 powerplant, the Skyline GT-R KPGC-10 is one of the best Japanese sports cars of the ’70s.
The late ’60s and early ’70s were dominated by American-made muscle cars. From the insane Shelby GT500 Eleanor to the Corvette Stingray L88, it is clear that anything of a different caliber would not garner any attention. While this was happening, Japanese carmakers were releasing a large number of compact sports cars that would ultimately become classics.
Every gearhead knows that whoever wins on Sunday, sells on Monday. This old adage also applies to Japanese cars. Upon taking place in professional racing, the Hakosuka annihilated its competition. Toyota and its Celica Coupe 1600GT simply could not keep up. Both the PGC-10 and KPGC-10 racked up a total of 50 victories between 1969 and 1971. However, the 1971 Mazda RX-3 stopped the Hakosuka’s rise to supremacy.
6 Power Department
Over the decades, tons of outstanding engines were released. In the United States, names such as the Boss 429 or the LS7 are widely known. When it comes to powerplants built in the land of the rising sun, some of them have reached the status of legends. From the SR20DET found in the Nissan Silvia to the twin-turbocharged 2JZ-GTE shoehorned in the Toyota Supra, Japanese car manufacturers came up with incredible engines.
With the 2.0-liter S20 inline-six engine, Nissan showed that bigger displacement was the way to go. While the competition was focusing on four-cylinder units, Nissan decided to move forward with a variant of Prince’s GR8 race engine. The S20 was not only found in the original Skyline GT-R. The Fairlady Z, the very car that preceded the 240Z, also came stock with the S20.
When it comes to cars destined to tear up the track, the name of the game is performance. The first things that come to a manufacturer’s mind when engineering a sports car are weight and power. Consequently, whenever a car is ready to zoom down a racetrack, comfort is nowhere to be found. Oftentimes, the street legal versions of those cars are equally rustic.
When Nissan revisited the Skyline in 1969, the company made sure to remove all unnecessary apparatus that would prevent it from killing it at the track. With that being said, the civilian version of the Hakosuka is not entirely stripped of everything. The car maintained a decent and inviting interior that matches the exterior perfectly.
4 Professional Racing
Professional racing in Japan is often eclipsed by the underground car scene that inspired the debatably likable movie The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift. While the D1 Grand Prix showcases some of the most insane professional drifters, other racing championships simply failed to attract the same amount of local and international fans. However, professional racing in Japan has seen some of the most sought-after ever made.
Using a variant of the engine found on Prince’s R380 racing car, the Hakosuka logically took part in professional racing. The PGC-10 won the pole position at the JAF Grand Prix in 1969. The KPGC-10 went on to win several races after that. The Hakosuka 50 winning streak was unlike anything else seen before in Japanese professional racing.
3 Only In Japan
Motorists globally tend to have access to limited choices of cars. From exorbitant import taxes to stringent environmental regulations, it is practically impossible for some gearheads to get their hands on truly astonishing machines. Other factors, such as high fuel prices, or simply the fact that a given manufacturer simply refuses to sell some of its cars abroad, prevent piston heads from ever trying the best cars ever made.
The Hakosuka is one of the Japanese cars that look insane with some cheap mods. However, it would be sad to modify a classic car with such a rich history that was only made available in Japan. That is right. The Hakosuka was never sold anywhere but in Japan. With foreign drivers taking part in Japanese racing during the late ’60s and early ’70s, gearheads worldwide must have heard tales of the legendary Hakosuka.
It is well-known that classic Japanese cars have a solid fan base. In fact, some of them are so remarkable that they fetched a decent amount of change at auction. Back in 2020, an all-original and unrestored 1971 Datsun 240Z in stunning condition was sold for over $300,000. It may sound insane, but this 240Z is not the only Japanese car worth that amount of money.
Surprisingly, the Hakosuka did not increase in value in a way that would make it inaccessible to 99% of piston heads. In fact, a Hakosuka in concours condition sold for $242,000, which makes it unreachable to only 95% of classic Japanese car fans out there. With only 1,945 PGC-10 and KPGC-10 Hakosukas ever made, it is quite normal that such an outstanding and decisive car would fetch this amount.
In recent years, gearheads have heard about everything related to iconic nameplates such as the Mustang or the M3. While it is true that cars of that caliber deserved to be studied, it is unfair to leave out nameplates from Japan that have been around for over 60 years. With that said, the Skyline never failed to attract the sympathy of American and European gearheads.
The Hakosuka paved the way for numerous insane Nissan sports cars. The very last Nissan Skyline, being the R-34 GT-R, is considered as one of the most valuable, stylish, and modular sports cars to ever come out of Japan. While the R-34 differs drastically from the Hakosuka, the spirit of the very first GT-R can be found in every single R-34. The twin-turbocharged 2.6-liter RB26DETT inline-six that produces 327 hp (officially 276 hp) and 289 lb-ft of torque is the logical successor of the 2.0-liter S20 engine.
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