QotW: What’s the best 1960s JNC for vintage racing?

jp3919_Prince Skyline GTB JDM Legends

So the secret is out. This is the subject of our teaser pics last week and the car our friends at JDM Legends built and brought to JCCS. We were honored to have this replica of the legendary Prince Skyline 2000GT from the 1964 Japan Grand Prix gracing our booth at the big show this year. While we go through 1,900 photos from this weekend’s show, let’s wonder:

What’s the best 1960s JNC for vintage racing?

I’ve always had a soft spot for the S54 Prince Skyline. Prior to JNC, I would often daydream of running an iconic Japanese car in historic rallies like the Carrera Panamericana or any number of Mille Miglia tributes. The only thing was that many of those races had a strict cutoff of cars built 1965 or older (though many have since raised the cutoff). The answer I kept coming back to was the noble Prince. It may not be the most elegant car, but it was raw, powerful, and had racing pedigree.

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a toy. Click through to see the winner of the last QotW, “How would you like to see the JNC scene evolve?” 

Isuzu Trooper

We got a lot of different opinions in response to this question, many in direct opposition. Some said there is too much marque-specific pride. Others said not enough! Some wanted stock restorations, others wanted all manner of mods! All were interesting, but the most well written argument came from Bart:

I would like to see Japanese nostalgic cars begin to invade traditional classic car shows. For example, big shows like Hot August Nights here in Reno should broaden their landscape and start letting early Japanese cars into the shows. How cool would it be to see a nice old Celica next to an old Mustang? As the generations of car enthusiasts shifts, I think we will start to see this happen. There’s only so many pink and blue Camaros I can stomach, and I know I am not the only one out there who is bored to death of the same type of cars done up in the same type of style. Variety is the spice!

Second to that, I would love to see a greater appreciation for older Japanese 4x4s. As much as I like cars, I am a 4×4 and SUV guy first, and I like nothing more that to see cool old Japanese 4×4 decked out to the nines, just waiting to put our ugly domestic Jeeps to shame.

Omedetou, Your comment has earned you a rare Hot Wheels x JNC Super Speeders mystery pack Mazda RX-7!

white_hot_wheels_rx7_debut_07

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11 Responses to QotW: What’s the best 1960s JNC for vintage racing?

  1. I’ll have to state my prejudice up front – I race a KE17 Sprinter in historic touring cars here in Australia. I’m just getting started and have some real reasons for choosing the Sprinter, albeit a very humble choice alongside options like the Prince Skyline and Datsun 1600 (510).

    My decision was simple; keep the budget down, make sure parts are plentiful, there are plenty of people who know how to work on the car and dents are relatively easy to fix.

    You must keep in mind that many of the really great JDM/JNC cars are ineligible for historic touring cars in Australia (or Group N as we call it). So whilst the Prince and Datsun I have named are eligible they are also some of the more expensive cars to maintain as a race car (less so the Datsun though).

    Overall (compared to Aust and US cars) they are in fact mid level cost alongside early Mazda rotary powered cars which are not only eligible but also front runners. I also tip my hat to a bloke in Western Australia who runs a Honda Coupe 9 (and have some car envy too). The 240Z is also eligible!

    So bringing it all down to simple cost based logic, I continue to go with my Sprinter decision – but if you said I had an unlimited budget…I’d love a Prince Skyline…

    PS – you can see my car on a FB page http://www.facebook.com/EarlySprinterRegister

  2. E-AT_me said:

    http://japanesenostalgiccar.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/1968-Honda-S800-RSC-12-Hours-of-Suzuka-01.jpg

    /end of contest. Seriously, I think you guys posted a video of this little bulldog warming up and spitting flames. Awesome little car. And because i’m a Honda Fanboi.

  3. dankan said:

    A Honda S500/S600 would be the right age, and would let you have a ball in the process. They were raced in era, so parts exist, and it has an authenticity very few other options would have. Plus you have the option of coupe or convertible, so you can either be really serious, or have the wind in your hair…

  4. xs10shl said:

    There are so many great options, like the battle-tested Datsun 2000, and the exotic Isuzu Bellett GTR. But if I were charged with having a shot at winning AND simultaneously blowing people’s minds, I’d opt for a race-prepped Mazda r100.

  5. Gene said:

    Easy, a Toyota 2000GT. If you had the pockets (and balls) to buy and race one. Why not?. I’ve seen a lot of youtube videos of Skylines, Bellets, Corollas ETC ETC being raced in modern times. But not one video showing a 2000GT being (slightly) abused on a track. I know they are very rare but that was what they were made for. If i was Uber rich I’d do it. Buy a 2000GT, paint it green and yellow and race it. Imagine hearing the 3M engine being run at WOT, heaven.

  6. Dave said:

    Vintage racing, as in Monterey Historics…excuse me, Motorsports Reunion…or does that include vintage rally as well? Vintage rally feels more relaxed and quirky, whereas vintage racing seems a bit more stuffy and serious. And 1965, such an arbitrary cutoff; it also means the Cosmo Sport is out of the running, terrible! I think obvious choices include Toyota Sports 800 and Honda S600. They’d be fun and representative of some of the best Japanese sports cars of the ’60s. To shake it up a bit, I’d go with something weird, the Hino Contessa. I’ve always had a soft spot for them. They look a bit quirky but also pretty in their own way. I think the later ones actually did ok on the race track. The really special one is the Contessa 900 Sprint. Yeah it’s somewhat based on a Renault, but it’s still Japanese. It’s quite sleek and looks striking; designed by Michelotti (who also penned the Prince Skyline Sport), it reminds me a bit of the Alfa Sprint Speciale as well as the Karmann-Ghia. It’s rear-engined, too, and was tuned by Nardi. It’s an oddball but a pretty one, and I think donning some vintage racing attire it’d look very cool running with other vintage racers, either on track or rally stage. Few people would know what it is, and it’d throw a wrench into many people’s perception of old Japanese cars.

  7. Tanner said:

    Definitely the Suzuki Fronte 360 (LC10). Just look at this amazing list of specs for the SS version:
    -36 Crazy horsepower
    -A mere 1000 pounds of weight
    -A stout 77 inch wheelbase with width and height of 50 inches; Onle ten inches taller than the GT40
    - Rear wheel drive with the engine in the rear; nothin’ sportier than that
    -And best yet, this isn’t just some Passenger Kei car; Used by both Sterling Moss and Mitsuo Itoh, a high speed rally was taken along the Italy coast, from Milan to Napoli, with and average speed of a blistering 86 MPH.

    Car used by Moss:
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d5/Suzuki_Fronte_360SS.jpg/800px-Suzuki_Fronte_360SS.jpg

    You don’t need to think twice about the choice; it’s obvious.

  8. DGH said:

    The Prince Gloria Super Six S41 with the G7B-R engine, racing in style and comfort. It ties next to the S54B Skyline for the coolest 60′s Prince/Nissan. It’s also slightly less common parts hunting would be the downside. Never the less there is nothing like a screaming 2 litre six on set of Webbers.

    The dion tube rear suspension, should be able to handle with the best of the period.

  9. Bart said:

    Ben! Awesome you picked my comment!! Thanks!! Maybe next year my Trooper RS will be done and at the show! It was awesome to meet you! Sorry I didn’t have more time to talk, we were running around like mad. I don’t think I sat down once all day! XD

  10. derek said:

    i didnt think that jdm legends built the skyline. i thought they cleaned it up and changed a few things but basically purchased it as is.

  11. Patrick Strong said:

    Maybe it’s a bit too obvious, but I’ll vote for the 1965 Honda RA272, the first Japanese car to win a Formula 1 race (as well as Richie Ginther’s mount for his sole F1 victory.) It would be a real treat to see it dicing with its contemporaries from Ferrari, Lotus, and BRM at a top-level vintage event. What do you say, Honda?