Friday Video: Nissan Skyline S54 GT-B vs Porsche 904

In light of Shinichiro Sakruai‘s passing we’ve been talking about the 1964 Japan Grand Prix a lot. As we’ve mentioned, this event was notable because that’s when Sakurai and Prince Motor Company threw down the gauntlets against the Porsche 904.

We can talk about Skylines versus Porsches till we’re blue in the face, but nothing can describe what it was like to drive what was essentially mid-range sedan with a stretched nose against an established race car whose sole purpose was to devour tarmac at an alarming pace. Therefore, you must watch the video for yourself.

History remembers the blue Number 39 car because it came in second overall, leading a Skyline sweep from 2nd to 6th in a field of MGs, Lotus Elans, Datsun Fairlady Roadsters and Isuzu Bellett GTs. But in the heat of the race, it was the Number 41 car, ivory with twin red stripes, that hounded — and led — the Porsche.

Watch this watershed moment in which the Skyline GT-R was born. After this race, Sakurai-san knew he could transform the modest Skyline into a Godzilla to take on the world. The race begins at 4:39.

[Youtube]

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7 Responses to Friday Video: Nissan Skyline S54 GT-B vs Porsche 904

  1. JT191 said:

    The title is credited as a 1956 race, but most of the cars were not in production in 1956.
    The title captions say it was a 15 lap sprint, not a championship race.
    The track appears to be a figure eight with a crossover, and/or bridge, clearly shown in the footage. Fuji Speedway is not a figure eight and has no bridges,
    The grandstand is shown with a steel T frame and a horizontal roof. Fuji Speedway has concrete gables which looks like folded paper with about 16 points sticking out.
    Does anyone have a date, or has anyone tried to match the drivers’ names or car numbers with any results to see what this race actually is? Because ti doesn;t match the description of the person who posted the video or the assertion that it is the 1964 championship race.

  2. Ben said:

    The user who posted the youtube video is obviously mistaken and admits as much with the question marks after the title. Clearly it’s not from 1956 as you pointed out.

    This is the 1964 Japan GP and it took place at Suzuka, as Fuji wasn’t built until 1966. The race moved there when it was completed. In these early days, the Japan GP was a two-day event that had classes for everything from Skylines to Brabham formula racers to Subaru 360s (racing at separate times, of course). In 1971 the Japan GP was relaunched as a formula car race and in 1973 it became the All-Japan Championship Series. 1964 Was only the 2nd GP and understandably not as grand as you might be used to when thinking of a Grand Prix race.

  3. Bernej said:

    Does this mean nostalgic skylines will go up up in value? :(

  4. Nigel said:

    A very cool video, the thing that struck me was that there was no pit wall.
    (The crew members with the pit boards had a serious amount of guts and or trust.)

  5. Tyler said:

    Ben, do you know of any videos of the Subarus racing? That would be a fun video :D

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