Tag Archives: Prince Motor Co.

Die-cast: Autoart 1973 Nissan Skyline GT-R

Skyline 2000 GT-R (KPGC110) a rare, racy hatchback …

Just as the oil crisis was putting the kibosh on performance cars in the U.S. in 1973 it also was squishing a newly revised Nissan offering in Japan.

The cool Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R, the second generation GT-R, was a performance oriented fastback that for all its styling looked like a surefire winner in both Japan and the U.S. market where it was likely headed. Think sportier Datsun B210 if you must, but it also looked like a kissin’ cousin to the sporty Toyota Celica fastbacks of the time.

The GT-R was code named KPGC110 and just 197 were made as the oil and emission restrictions of the time put a quick end to its production. That makes this GT-R among the rarest Nissans.

Leave it to Autoart to create a stellar 1:18 scale reproduction of the Skyline so you can round out your 1970s performance car collection, or Datsun/Nissan cache. My sample was the snazzy silver version, going for $230, but chock full of amazing details.

The History

Skyline models were originally made by Prince Motor Co. The Japanese firm had made aircraft during World War II but transitioned to cars afterward, even making an electric car originally. Yet its Skyline model, launched in 1957 was a success and by the 1960s was being raced. Nissan bought up Prince in 1966 and the boxy Skyline GT-R model of the day, coded KPGC10 ended up winning 52 races in three years into the early 1970s.

The second generation Skyline 2000 GT-R kept the same engine, but became the first Japanese car with four-wheel disc brakes, aimed at improving its racing ability. The rear-drive car used the S20 engine a 2.0-liter inline 6-cylinder that made about 158 horsepower. A five-speed manual was standard.

GT-R also carried a rear spoiler, black fender cladding, a mesh grille and independent suspension all around. Styling included quad taillights, which remain a GT-R feature still. Ultimately production of the car lasted just four months.

The trunk opens to reveal a full-size spare sunken into the floor.

On the folklore side of things, the short-run Skyline was nicknamed the Kenmeri Skyline, the name taken from a popular TV commercial for it at the time which featured Ken and Mary, an American-looking couple.

One more thing. At auction last year a 1973 Skyline went for $455,000. Impressive!

The Model

               I like the bare bones look of performance in this rich silver fastback from the bolted-on style black fender flare cladding to the black open-face steel wheels with four bolts showing and blackwall tires. No fancy chrome hub caps or rally wheels here!

               Atop the front fenders and lining up with the front edge of the wheel wells are large twin black mirrors to help assure a driver gets a wide view of what’s on either side. This has the feel of an early rally car, but with all the features required for street driving.

               Open the large hood and that inline 6-cylinder with Nissan and 2000 atop its block looks massive for such a compact car. All the wiring and plumbing are here along with a master cylinder for those disc brakes, and massive red air cleaner along with battery, hood dampers atop the suspension towers and of course a fan and radiator with cap.

               A fine black mesh acts as the grille with quad headlights framing it and a black Skyline 2000 GT-R license plate below. Front wheels are steerable and the trunk also opens to reveal a full-size spare (remember those?) neatly sunken into the floor and a jack molded alongside.

               Taillights are an authentic clear red with chrome trim on the outer and inner rings, and the Skyline features a GT-R logo on the blacked out tail along with the keyhole and a Skyline logo too. The rear bumper, like the front, is chrome with imbedded turn signal lamps and two thin exhaust tips jut out below the bumper. On the trunk’s lip is a body-colored spoiler.

               Tires are labeled as Bridgestone Radials with sizing number, all in a flat black on the tires, so you’ll need a lighted magnifying glass to properly read those, if you care to.

               Chrome trims all the windows and door releases, which are flat on the doors, and the door trim along the rocker panels also feature a chrome strip.

Inside is a black interior with deeply ribbed bucket seats up front and a bench in back while the dash is silver-faced with accurately detailed gauges. The steering wheel is a black three-spoke sport model with silver spokes. A park brake handle is found on the console just behind the tall shift lever with what looks like a wooden ball shift knob.

The door panels are somewhat shiny black with a textured panel midlevel, plus a chrome trim strip, door release and window crank.

Again, a sumptuously detailed, and rare, model from Autoart.

Vital Stats: Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R

Bare bones black steel wheels with four lug nuts say this Skyline is serious about racing.

Maker: Autoart
Scale: 1/18
Stock No.: 77471
MSRP: $230

Link: Autoartmodels.com