Our coverage of the Sagamiko Forest Skyline and Kyusha Meeting continues with even more Skylines (and other Nissans too, but mostly Skylines). Approaching the event, a cardboard sign warned attendees “Do Not Blip Your Throttle”, a favorite activity of kaido racers. Having good manners so that future meetings can take place is important.
Back in the day there were more surf line Kenmeris than today. They were either uncut or had works bubble Katayama flares. One of our favorites, this Kenmeri sported a classic look, a textbook tasteful kaido racer with nothing but a suspension drop, wheels, and a Laurel side marker. In period, you knew the guy had money and he didn’t have to try hard. He let the 14-inch Yayois make the statement, a more cultured bosozoku.
On one gurachan Yonmeri, all the key cues of gurachan style were amplified to the extreme. The front had been extended with stock body contours in what is known as a “full long nose” constructed via metalwork. The lighting and star motif in custom glitter paint, a typical bosozoku theme, was borne from the Hoshino Siliva and served as the inspiration for the Mad Manga.
With Napoleon door mirrors, a debadging, and accessory rivet kit to fill in he holes, another Kenmeri exemplified many popular mods from back in the day. Of particular interest were Trans-Am flares over deep steelies and Toyo tires. The removed inner taillights gave this style the name “one tail”, appropriately.
Yet another white Kenmeri sported custom off-the-shelf flares, denoted by their reverse contour, an accessory ducktail spoiler, and standard-issue SSR MkIIs.
The lengthened-nose version of the 610, the Bluebird-U is quickly becoming the next big car to modify in Japan. The sculpted front end is a work of art, and attracts kaido racers far more than the regular 610 Bluebird.
With perfect placement of nekome headlights, works wiper placement, and period correct Napoleon Bacca mirrors, a perfectly lilac Hako epitomized the more aggressive kaido racer style inspired by works Skyline GT-R racers.
Body-color painted flares make a big difference, and the tires are Dunlop CR-88-style reissues from Liberty Walk that retail for about $450 a piece.
A very textbook Yonmeri sported “110” on the door as a nod to its chassis code and a paint scheme paying tribute to the Tokyo Motor Show KPGC110 race prototype, except in brilliant purple two-tone. Rounding out the look were Cherry X-1 tails with crystal lenses, chokkan exhaust, glitter panel, custom widened steelies.
With a subtly cut bumper to expose the oil cooler, transparent racing covers for the headlights and a killer stance, one white Hako showed exactly why Skylines are such stunning machines.
The Skyline Japan’s model life overlapped with the dawn of radical modification of the kaido racer. That’s when the cars began to see items like the wild colors, grille kits, and bubble flares. A magenta and silver C210 had those traits and more, including a S130 hood vent, Carmate mirrors, mesh covers for its turn signals, and even details like painted bumper ends.
Back in the day, many cars were a mix of quality mods and seemingly jury rigged add-ons. For example, a silver-green Skyline Japan had exemplary details like first-gen Mazda Titan taillights, a roll bar, Pioneer TS-X11 parcel shelf speakers, and a blended spoiler. On the other hand, it also had a huge rear wing and tacked-on fenders. It was perhaps a bit too period correct. Today owners are building cars in the same style but of extremely high quality and refinement, cars that they wish they could have had in their youth.
Another interesting C210 had a high-contrast Kenmeri works prototype-inspired livery, but confounded onlookers with Mitsubishi Galant GTO taillights, Yonmeri Rear bumper and 430 Cedric/Gloria turn signal lenses. It also sported fine details, like color-matched megaphone exhaust and widened steelies with metal flake lips, just like the rear panel.
One of the most significant cars at the show was a painfully 80s electric blue Skyline Japan. A tribute to the (or perhaps the actual) car featured in Hiro Motor’s ads, it was a pivotal car the endeared him to the bosozoku crowd. Hiro became more prevalent in 1982-83, so side skirts are part of the package. Today, slit mask headlight covers are super rare and highly coveted.
Another Hiro kit was found on a C230 Laurel with a massive Trust banner and somewhat tongue-in-cheek Datsun emblem on the fender.
Even more extreme was a kaido racer Kenmeri symbolizing the style most westerners probably think of when they think “bosozoku”. Again, the 1972 KPGC110 prototype livery makes an appearance, as does the one-tail conversion. A Mazda Cosmo RX-5 grille differentiates the front end. This style was immortalized in the Aoshima Works series model kits.
Not all the cars present were so drastic, however. A simple white white Hako sedan proved that you could have something simple, attainable, and yet so perfect.
A Gloria 430 Hardtop represented the Bubble Era luxury style with muscle car staple Cragar S/S 5 spokes and chrome fender trim.
With a mild lowdown, a Hakosuka wagon was resplendent with full surf line. A snub-nose 1800, it was cheap back in the day, even in Deluxe trim. Today, it’s been equipped with Riverside R107 wheels and Nissan accessory foglamps and modern headlights (though we’d install Cibie or Marchal beams instead).
In Japan, the Skylines were coveted and considered king of the streets, in contrast to the US where 510s were the most popular Datsuns. As you can see, there was no shortage of Skylines, but only a single 510 Bluebird Coupe made an appearance. They didn’t inspire quite the tuning craze that the Skylines did, and their numbers today reflect that.
And for the purists, a beautiful short-nose Skyline with nothing but a mild drop and pinstripe whitewall tires. In a sea of retina-searing paint jobs, this humble little sedan stood way out.
To be continued…
We’ll have more coverage from the Sagamiko Forest Skyline & Kyusha Meeting coming soon, so stay tuned. Until then, in case you missed it, here’s Part 01.