Featured Car: Mike Castillo’s Skyline 2000GT

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When genuine KPGC10 Skyline GT-Rs are selling for upwards of US$110,000, it’s no surprise that there’d be plenty of interest in the replica genre. After all; not everyone’s got a spare hundred grand to throw down on an old car, but every classic JDM enthusiast wants the GC10 GT-R, and most if not all would be very content with a well-built replica. Michael Castillo’s 2000GT is one such example. Read on to discover more about this gorgeous car.

Heyo Mike, thanks for letting us feature your Hako! Can you give us the basics?

Yep, it’s a 1971 Skyline 2000GT GT-R replica, running the L28 motor. I’ve had it for about 8 months, and it’s pretty much stock!

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Well it’s looking damn nice. Can you tell us a little more about what’s happening under the hood?

Well it’s got the L28 of course, with triple Mikuni 44 carbs, light flywheel and a header, and hand-made polished stainless steel dual exhaust.

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Reckon you’d be happy to leave it like that?

I think so! But you just never know, I just may have something in mind!

Now obviously you’ve done some work on the interior and the body to get it all looking so damn good, fill us in.

On the inside I’ve got a Nardi steering wheel, Carrozzeria rear speakers (the letters light up at night), everything else in the interior is stock, so I’m pretty lucky with the condition of it. The exterior’s got a front airdam, a fiberglass hood and trunk, GT-R grill and badges, Okinawan lit front license plate, Cibie H4 low & high beams, and of course the oldschool heart rings!

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Mike I have to segue here; I can’t hold back: What’s with the heart rings! I’ve seen them before and I know there’s a sort of cultural significance there, but tell me more about it.

Haha, sure. I bought them through the Japan auctions—very expensive item! It was about US$80 for two of them, shipped. i had to get them, i don’t know of anyone else who understands them or what it’s all about. Basically, my friend in Japan told me they started from the trains; the original handles were cut from the trains and used as ornaments. Then the designs evolved, hence the heart-shaped rings. Many old “gang hotrodders” as they were called stole them and put them on there cars or bikes, so I guess it’s just inspired by that—much like any other “bosozoku” inspired car mod!

Aaah, only in Japan eh! Although with guys like yourself, I guess that won’t be true for much longer, haha.

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Moving on, I love the choice of rims! Those are Longchamps, right?

Yeah, they’re SSR Longchamp XR-4s. 15×8.5 -7 offset rear 15×7.5 -8 offset front.

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Really nice look! It’s so common to see Watanabes on these cars, so I always love seeing something different. Your Skyline looks like it’s had quite a lot done to it, was it all your work?

A few friends and I put the car together. Finding parts was a bit of a pain, and expensive, but well worth it. the engine work was done by my tuner Paul Bischof from Speedshop OSR. He dyno tunes and fabricates, and he does great work, so I can definitely recommend him!

Paint was done in okinawa, the car was actually hit pretty hard and was fixed at a shop, truth be told. When the car was taken to the shop, the owner said they didn’t have time for more cars to work on, but then when he asked what car I had, my buddy told him it was a ’71 Skyline. Next thing you know, the workers at the shop stopped what they were doing and pulled the car in and started working on it immediately!

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Haha, I guess that’s an upside to having such a rare and unique car, everyone wants to be your best mate! Do you have any future plans for the car?

Oh, possibly! I don’t want to say too much, but we’re looking at the idea of an RB conversion, so we’ll see how that goes. Can’t say too much right now.

Fair enough! I look forward to hearing more about that! How often do you drive it?

I take it out about twice a week to stretch its legs and make sure everything’s still in good working order.

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Sounds like a good balance of preservation and enthusiasm, haha. So do you race it at all? Are you a member of any car clubs, and do you show it at events?

It’s not really a race car for me, but I would like to take it to a track someday. Someday!

I’m not in any car clubs at the moment, but I’d love to start one someday. I showed the car in one local event, and I’m planning to bring the car out more since most of its 5-6 years in storage.

Yeah man, get it out there! Show people what good classic Japanese cars can look like when treated right.

What got you interested in old skool JDM?

It all started in 1996 when i got my first car; a 1975 Toyota Celica with an 18RG running dual mikunis. My best friend had a Mazda RX-4. After getting beaten every time, I moved to a ’71 240z and that’s when i fell for Datsuns!

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I’d consider that a reasonable first love! What other oldschool JDM cars do you love?

1st gen Celicas, Mazda RX-3s, RX-4s, TE27 Corollas, TE72 Corollas, Laurel C130, C110 Skylines, DR30 Skylines, pretty much a car nut!

Well I can’t fault you for that list, that’s for sure. What’s your funniest memory about this car? Saddest?

When my 5 year old asked why he gets the ugly Celica when he grows up, and not the Skyline! No sad memories yet, thankfully!

Hahaha, the kid’s got taste! Mind you, I’d hardly call the Celica ugly, haha.

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What’s the best thing about this model car? Worst thing?

Best thing is that there’s not many 4 doors available, so I’m lucky to have one. Plus I can easily take my family around town for a cruise. Can’t think of a single bad thing about this car.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Sure, I’d like to thank my girl Elly and my 2 boys Kristian and Jorden for loving me and my cars. Paul B and Reggie, Arnel— thanks for the xr4 caps! Mat Big Hat for sourcing parts for me, Pat S for starting me on the oldschool life. Thank you grandJDM for the oppurtunity to get to know my car. Definate plans are in the works. Next year will be a time to remember.

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Thanks for letting us feature your car Mike, cheers!

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3 Responses to Featured Car: Mike Castillo’s Skyline 2000GT

  1. dat16v said:

    So sweet.I always thought that KPGC10 coupes were it until I saw this! Well done!

  2. Lachy said:

    Yep! The four door GT-R was released first, in 1969. It was only in 1971 that the two door KPGC10 came out to replace it. THIS is “the first GT-R”. You know I love your cars Mikey :) Hope the C110 is still being worked on!!

  3. dat16v said:

    Yeah I knew about the four doors. I meant I didn’t think they looked any good and that the coupes were the only ones that could look any good. How wrong am I !! :)

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