Prince Skyline Sport at Concorso D'Eleganza

nissanskylinesport
You can tell from the name itself that the Concorso D’Eleganza Villa D’Este is not your typical Denny’s parking lot car meet. It’s held at the end of every April held on the shores of Lake Como, Italy, one of the most gorgeous locations planet Earth has to offer. The show stems from the days just before the Great Depression (the, um, first one, in 1929) and lasted through WWII. So what’s a Skyline doing there?

In its heyday the Concorso D’Eleganza became a steel cage ring for Italy’s most famous design houses like Ghia and Carrozzeria Touring. Each year before the judges, they’d try to outdo each other with the most beautiful car bodies. In the process they created automobiles commanding prices in collectors’ circles today that would fund your wildest J-tin dream garages with dough to spare. The Italian government put a stop to all the fun in 1950, but in 1995 the event was revived as a celebration of that time.

It was an era when the world turned to Italy for automotive design. Stylists like Giovanni Michelotti penned bodies for the likes of Triumph, Volvo, BMW, Alpine and Prince Motor Company. It was that last one that resulted in the BLRA-3 Skyline Sport, a perfect candidate for this year’s “Italian Style Goes International” category.

prince_skyline_sport
The Skyline Sport concept debuted at the 1960 Turin Motor Show. Like other coachbuilt cars of the day, the Michelotti body was hand built and then mated to a chassis found in the company’s regular lineup – in this case, a Gloria of the same era. The Gloria also supplied the four-cylinder GB4 engine, producing 94PS. Remember, coachbuilt cars weren’t about speed, they were about style.

All of this was pre-Nissan, when Prince was considered the high-end marque for well-heeled Japanese. When it went on sale in 1962, the price tag rang in at ¥1.85 million, almost double what a first-gen Skyline 1500 cost. According to Nissan, only 60 were built during its two-year run, including a handful of ultra-rare convertible versions.

We’ve always felt that the Sport looked a bit out of place in the Skyline lineage and not at all fitting with the hustle and bustle of 1960s Tokyo. But when it’s parked against the backdrop of lakeside hills dotted with Italian villas, it looks perfectly at home, doesn’t it?

For more information on the event, visit the only automotive website with a URL longer than ours, concorsodeleganzavilladeste.com, or read this brilliant writeup on Jalopnik.

Thanks to Mark G. for the tip! [Images: UltimateCarPage.com]

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15 Responses to Prince Skyline Sport at Concorso D'Eleganza

  1. colink said:

    beautifull car

  2. Mr.L.J. Nordvik said:

    I second that!

  3. BlownArrow! said:

    Awsome!…..

  4. Bob said:

    Very, very cool. Sharp looker, that one is. :)

  5. Jim said:

    Can anyone else see Lancia Appia (late 50′s?)similarities in this? It certainly looks at home in Italian landscape!

  6. Kev said:

    It must have been impossibly glamorous in its day in Japan. Everyone’s driving around in little 360cc boxes and here you are in this Italian coachbuilt convertible.

    They’re quite elegant inside too. Here’s one we snapped at the Tokyo Nostalgic Car Show last yr:

  7. solidstripe said:

    Are they pillarless or is it just me? Such beautiful lines, inside and out…

  8. Ben said:

    I must say, I never really liked these until I saw that first pic in this off-white color with Lake Como in the background. The bright blue and gold ones just looked a bit off.

    solidstripe: alas, I don’t believe it was…

  9. MarkG said:

    Wouldn’t it be nice to see a mint Mazda R130 Luce Coupe exhibited in this class at next year’s event?

  10. Ben said:

    MarkG – I was thinking the exact same thing. Think an Isuzu Piazza will ever make it? ;)

  11. MarkG said:

    I assume the Giugiaro Group know the whereabouts of the original concept Piazza – the “Asso di Fiori”. Perhaps the Maestro himself could drive it to the event.

  12. Ben said:

    Heh heh, you said “Asso.”

  13. leongsoon said:

    I agree with Ben, until today, all I’ve seen are blue or similarly gaudy coloured ones. Never liked this model until I saw the first pic. Wow!

  14. Sarcasmo said:

    The Nissan formerly known as Prince………. Skyline.

  15. ARISTOPOULOS said:

    SPECIALY INTERESTING FOR ME,AS I OWN THE SEDAN MODEL , THE ALSIL II (MOD 1962) ON WHICH I HAVE TAKE PART SEVERAL TIMES IN ITALY (ALSO FIVA WORLD RALLY ITALY 1999 TORINO).
    I WILL BE GRATE FULL IF SOMEBODY INFORME THE E MAIL OF MR.TADAKATZU KOJIMO,
    THE GENTLEMAN DRIVER OF PRINCE SKYLINE SPRINT