A BIG DAY OUT
What began as a small group of classic Nissan/Datsun Sk yline owners coming together for a drive, and subsequently connecting on Facebook, has become, as the pictures show, something of a dream-day-out for ever y classic Nissan ent husiast (t his motor-noter included).
A drive-day-goer, Peter Landan, was one of the main organisers. He was one indiv idua l inv ited to t he Facebook collective as a lov ing owner of both a C110 ‘Kenmari’ Sk yline and an early 70s ‘Hakosuka’ C10 Sk yline (as well as a few ot her rare Japanese gems).
Landan is a career car-nut, hav ing raced and ra llied for over 20 years and was fortunate enough to have lived in Japan back in 1971
– the same year the t wo-door ‘Hako’ arrived in showrooms. Around si x years ago, Landan retired from racing and decided to get into collecting early 70s Japanese stuf f – not necessarily Datsuns or Nissans – but he started with a US-sourced t wo-door 510 and well… as you can see things snowballed from there.
For the day Landan brought out his gorgeous white ‘Kenmari’ coupe, as well as the modern-day iteration of the famed GT-R – the black R35.
The Kenmari was about 90 per cent restored by a Toowoomba-based company called Spraydat restorations, before Landan took on the project and spent six-months giving it the GT-R tribute treatment.
Conversely, the humble red Prince Skyline of the 1960s provided the earliest Skyline in attendance – and in between were two more Kenmaris, three Hakos (two two-doors and a four-door) and a complete set of N1 R-chassis cars – an R32, R33 and R34 – belonging to Terr y Tung-Yep.
When asked if he had always been a Nissan-guy, Terr y harked back to the time he spent look ing for his ver y f irst car.
“I tracked down an MGB but didn't know how to mention it to dad," said Terr y. "I told him I found my f irst car”.
“'What is it? ' he asked.
“An MGB, it's in rea lly beautif ul condition, it's got hardly any k ilometres and ever y surface is squeak y clea n," I replied.
“You're killing yourself," he responded bluntly, so young Terr y (now aged 69) was left with the choice between a Holden or a Datsun 1600. He (rightly!) ended up in the old Datto.
Terr y is one of t he ot her main drivers of t he event, and his t hree R-chassis Sk ylines represent the cream of absolute Nissan unobtanium.
The N1 option denotes Nissan's most stripped-back and lightest sporting models. Among t he extensive list of changes – t he cars have no rear wiper, no radio and no air conditioning (though they could be optioned back in) – is f urt her chassis stif fening including more welds, and even thinner paint in the name of weight sav ing.
Making his cars even more rare, they're all built upon V-spec or V-spec II specification, meaning more power and better handling. In the case of the most modern R34, it too boasts the N1 option pack, but represents just one of 18 cars globally built upon V-spec II specification. For those in the know, in terms of production numbers at least, that makes the car even rarer than the fabled Nismo Z-Tune of which just 19 were sold (we believe there is one remaining in Australia).
Terry and Peter' scars are no garage queens either: both have their toys in regular rotation,
“I ALWAYS LOOK AT CARS COMING UP AT AUCTION WITH A BIT OF CHAGRIN WHENEVER THE KILOMETRES ARE REALLY LOW... PEOPLE WON'T WANT TO DRIVE THEM”
gett ing out on t he open road as of ten as t hey ca n.
Terr y says: “I a lways looked at cars coming up at auction with a bit of chagrin whenever the k ilometres are rea lly rea lly low.
“When you see a 34 with 15,000k ms, I sort of think, err… Yeah the prices tend to be higher and a lot of people won’t want to drive it.
“I drive t hese cars wit h a bit of gusto… not like a grandma, but if I can keep t he cars below 100,000k m over time, I’ll be happy."
So what are t hey like to drive?
Well t here seems to be a def inite progression in terms of drivabilit y as you progress t hrough the generations from R32 to R34.
“You get a lot of feel t hrough t he wheel and seat in t he R32, t hough it is prone to understeer," he said.
“The R33 is a lot more chuckable and the Attessa and Hicas (dynamic four-wheel torque-split and four wheel steering) come on a lot quicker than the 32."
The steering rack gets quicker through the generations, as does the turbo spool which comes on in the R34 around 2900rpm as opposed to around 3500rpm in the R32 and R33.
These photos are a treat for classic Nissan fans, and we can only sa lute those who ta ke t heir pride and joys out onto t he road reg ularly.
Classic Japanese cars are def initely on t he upswing, with these examples becoming increasingly ra re and sought-af ter.
Whether you’re looking for a classic Datsun or a newer R-chassis hero, rust is an issue and due diligence is highly recommended as many of these cars are sourced from Japan where the amount of salt used on winter roads can var y between islands.
ABOVE From Prince, through Datsun, to Nissan. All eras spoken for.
ABOVE Early 70s C10 sedan. It was this generation that first wore the GT-R badge.
BELOW LEFTTerry's matching set of N1 GT-Rs.
BELOW RIGHTEveryone knows of the R30 Skyline, but what of the RHR30 Skyline hatch?
ABOVEMountain roads are the natural playground for GT-Rs
TOP LEFT Peter's 'Kenmari' coupe complete with GT-R visuals
TOP RIGHTKevin-San's gorgeous 'Hako' was previously restored in Japan.