A true unicorn has surfaced in a junkyard in Nampa, Idaho when a 1960 Prince Skyline found its way into the inventory at Jalopy Jungle. What’s more, it is an unobtainable left-hand-drive example of an already extremely rare specimen. While this vehicle is far from a prime example of an ALSI-1 Skyline, it is one of only a handful of export models known to exist.
The car has lived an extremely rough life, but its rarity lands it firmly in the realm of “save at all costs.” There are more known existing Duesenberg Model Js than there are known existing ALSI-1 Skylines. When you limit early Skylines to LHD export models, we would be shocked to find more than a dozen left in the world.
We should note that this restoration project is not for the faint of heart. This Skyline will require a complete rebuild and many of these parts are completely unattainable. There is a not insignificant amount of damage, the most notable being in the left quarter panel where it looks like some kind of impact took place.
Given the rarity of this vehicle, a replacement panel will be nigh impossible to find, and it will be easier to have the metalwork fabricated instead. On the bright side, for a 50s era vehicle the body lines of this car are relatively simple, which will help keep the fabrication costs down.
The second most extensively damaged section of this vehicle is the left rear door. Much like the quarter panel, it will need new metal to be fabricated. It does appear, at least, that the door handle has minimal damage to it and so the latch box could be savable. Lastly on the body, the hood is completely misshapen. It will require substantial metalwork, and it may be even more difficult than that of the door, depending on the reinforcement structure on the underside.
The interior is a mess. While all of the fabrics are completely destroyed, the bones appear to all be there. In the world of pre-war restorations and 50s American cars, this is considered to be less than ideal but workable. Luckily, there is an entire industry of companies that offer restoration services for everything from the cracked steering wheel to the upholstery. It is not outside of the realm of possibility to completely restore this interior.
Under the hood of this Skyline, the engine is largely complete sans several rubber pieces. It is believed that this is a 60-horsepower GA-30 engine, though other Prince Skylines found in America have had the more powerful 80 HP GB-30 engine. Before beginning the restoration of the engine, confirm the engine by referencing the serial number located on the block.
The serial number located on the chassis does note that this is a 60 HP GA-30 engine but there is a precedence of vehicles presumed to be original with inexplicably mismatched engines.
We’re not going to lie. A restoration project of the magnitude won’t be easy, will likely take years, and cost tens of thousands of dollars. However, today we have the power to save this tremendously rare and unique Skyline. Even some of our Japanese friends extremely plugged into the classic car community have never seen an LHD version before. Someone reading JNC must have the skill and wherewithal to take on this project. Hot rods and 50s-era American cars are routinely restored with the equivalent amount of labor this car will require. Let’s restore this car to its former glory.
The staff of Jalopy Jungle are on board with letting the car get saved. They recognize its importance. We at JNC are willing to help connect whoever takes on this project with those who can lend a hand, both here and in Japan. If you, or someone you know, are interested in taking on this restoration project please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos: Alexis Campos