MASUMI NAKANO’S ’72 NIS­SAN SKY­LINE GT-X

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Have you looked at prices for a Nis­san Sky­line GT-R lately? Not just Hako­sukas, but any of them? Prices con­tinue to climb, and though it might be worth it, the leg­ends are out of reach for many. Masumi Nakano has al­ways loved the Hakosuka, and was in­spired by his fa­ther to get some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent than the Land Cruiser he had be­fore. The re­sult, af­ter four years of hard work and a fo­cused vi­sion, is the ab­so­lutely stunning ’72 Sky­line seen here. De­spite the “GT-R” badg­ing, this is not a “real” GT-R. It’s a Sky­line 2000 GT-X. The GT-X was the top trim model of the ’68-’72 Sky­line C10 se­ries and was avail­able in a coupe and sedan body style. It’s also the best way to get a Hakosuka that you won’t feel bad about mod­i­fy­ing, or spend six fig­ures ac­quir­ing. The GT-X is a sig­nif­i­cant step down the af­ford­abil­ity scale but comes with niceties like power win­dows, and some even had fac­tory air con­di­tion­ing. Masumi’s Sky­line wasn’t per­fect when he ac­quired it. One of the most chal­leng­ing as­pects of his build was to re­move any rust that had be­gun to form, and pre­vent it from re­turn­ing. From there, he fo­cused on the ex­te­rior. Fac­tory-fresh GT-X mod­els had more chrome, in­clud­ing a piece front and cen­ter on the hood and a filler panel be­tween the rear tail­lights: on Masumi’s car, all the chrome ac­cents have been re­moved and shaved, or re­painted a satin black, and the rear has re­ceived the GT-R treat­ment by re­mov­ing the tail­light filler panel. The fender flares that have been added mimic the race-spec GT-R, as the street GT-R orig­i­nally only came with fender flares on the rear wheel­wells. The fi­nal ex­te­rior touch was a one-of-a-kind black and or­ange paint job that you’re surely not to find on any other Hakosuka in the world.

Af­ter paint­ing and low­er­ing the car, Masumi knew he had to have the right wheels to pull the clas­sic and mod­ern style to­gether, so he went with a stag­gered set of RS Watan­abe wheels: 15x9” up front and 16x9.5” in the rear. The GT-X sits low, but from cam­ber to fender gap, we think Masumi got it right.

Un­der the hood the orig­i­nal L20, which made about 113 hp, has been swapped in fa­vor of an L28, which is the larger dis­place­ment ver­sion that was found in Z cars in the States. With the trio of Solex 44 carbs, Masumi thinks it makes about 150 hp. Vis­ually, the en­gine is nearly iden­ti­cal to the smaller dis­place­ment L20, mak­ing it an ideal swap since he wanted to pre­serve the clas­sic style with newer el­e­ments. Take a sec­ond and ad­mire the wire tuck—just the ba­sics are show­ing. Also no­tice the throt­tle link­age for the car­bu­re­tors: The Sky­line 2000 GT had a throt­tle ca­ble in­stead, which ran di­rectly over the top of the valve cover. It’s the lit­tle de­tails that add up to one clean build that doesn’t look like it’s try­ing too hard.

Masumi calls the style of his GT-X “JDM,” which to him means a blend of the clas­sic Hakosuka lines with new styling trends. That’s why, mixed in with the many re­stored OEM pieces, are per­sonal touches like the M&M shift boot and an af­ter­mar­ket tachome­ter. Masumi says the GT-X is far from fin­ished but adds that equal length head­ers are on the list of fu­ture mod­i­fi­ca­tions. One thing he loves most about his Sky­line is the ability to go to both old- and new-school events, since the Hakosuka strad­dles the two worlds and al­lows him to meet many new friends along the way.

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