BUYER’S GUIDE: Prince Skyline GT-A & GT-B

Prince Skyline GT-B - GR1-197s

I recently purchased a Prince Skyline 2000GT-B. For those unfamiliar with the car, here is an explanation and short video of its historical significance. With interest in landmark Japanese cars at an all-time high, it’s quite possible that the six-cylinder Prince Skyline GTs could be the next blue chip JNC. For those interested in the model, here is a quick reference so you know how to tell the difference between a 2000GT-A and 2000GT-B. 

1966 Clubman Fuji

The first hotted up Prince Skylines came in May 1964. Father of the Skyline Shinichiro Sakurai wanted to capture the GT-II class win at that year’s Japan Grand Prix, and shoehorned a Prince Gloria G7 2.0L straight-six into the engine bay of the base Skyline, where a 1.5L inline-four came standard. The nose had to be lengthened 200mm at the cowl in order to accommodate the motor.

1964 Prince Skyline 2000GT S54

As per homologation rules, 100 units had to be built for road use, and Sakurai’s team barely finished them in time to enter the newly christened Prince Skyline 2000GT into the Grand Prix. Initially, however, the production Skyline 2000GT came with a single 2-barrel carb setup good for 105PS, whereas the race cars had triple Webers capable of 165PS. This first batch of 100 were given the chassis code S54-I.

In February 1965, Prince offered for sale a proper version of the race car with triple-Weber 40DCOE carbs good for 125PS. However, since the model was still called the Skyline 2000GT, these became known as the 2000GT-B amongst enthusiasts, or chassis code S54B-II.

1965 Prince Skyline 2000GT-A S54A-II

Later that year, in September 1965, Prince helpfully renamed the single-carb version to 2000GT-A, and its corresponding chassis code became S54A-II, while the first 100 from May 1964 were retroactively called the S54A-I.

When looking for a GT-B to buy, we noticed that there are quite a few GT-B “spec” models out there. A spec model in Japan is the term used to describe a standard or lower specification model that has either been modified to the upgraded trim, or simply to just look like the higher specification model. This most common application of this phenomenon is with the run-of-the-mill Hakosuka GT-X modified into GT-R clones with the addition of rear flares and a spoiler.

Prince Skyline GT-B - GR1-243s

With the Prince Skyline, the lower spec GT-A is often made to look like a cooking-spec GT-B. The GT-B’s triple-Weber carburetors and their native velocity stacks are just one of the many mechanical differences.

Due to the GT-B’s triple Weber configuration, the fresh air channel on the passenger side is also modified. The GT-B also has under-hood louvers to aid cooling.

0097-8179_Nissan 1964 Prince Skyline 2000GT S54 interior

The GT-B also came with a 5-speed close-ratio gearbox was also available for race purposes on the GT-B. While on the surface more desirable, they are clunky, have an unusual shift-pattern (fifth next to fourth), and are sometimes prone to second-gear problems.

Nissan Skyline GT-B shift knob

Luckily, my GT-B carries a 4-speed (above), which is more than capable in maintaining pace with fast traffic light starts and, with a top gear ratio similar to the 5-speed, easy expressway cruising.

Prince Skyline GT-B shipping - GR1-147s

While the GT-A had blue “GT” fender badges, the GT-B had red ones, a tradition that continued onto the Hakosuka GT-R and beyond. Check the GT-B for a limited slip differential (which back in the day cost less than the clock option!) and firmer shock absorbers. There are also a few subtle sub-frame differences as well, such as rear anti-sway bar mounts.

Prince Skyline GT-B toolbox - GR21-8246

The GT-B also came with a 99L (26.153 gallon) fuel tank with a fast churn-style race-filler in the trunk, where as the GT-A came with only a 40L (10.567 gallon) fuel tank with a conventional side filler outside of the trunk.

Nissan Skyline GT-B trunk cut line

However, as most of these differences are bolt on, it is very easy to make a GT-B spec model. To make sure that the GT-B in front of you is a real one, look for a cut line hidden by the rear chrome spear. This last point is clearly visible from inside the trunk, where the GT-A is smooth, the GT-B has a seam.

Prince Skyline GT-B in Tokyo- GR1-380s

However, if you happen to see an S54 simply passing by on the street, the easiest way to tell whether it’s a GT-B is with a quick glance at the rear flares. The GT-B’s are ever so slightly wider than a GT-A’s. Hopefully these tips will aid in your quest to get a real GT-B if you so desire.


Ken Lee is co-founder of  Cars on Film and you can see more of his work here on JNCSkorj is co-founder of Filmwasters and you can find more of his work at Cars on Film and here on JNC

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41 Responses to BUYER’S GUIDE: Prince Skyline GT-A & GT-B

  1. Gavin Doolan says:

    Nice, we got a handful of these in Australia but I never see 1 on the street. They also had a brief racing history at Bathurst.

  2. Jim says:

    That is by far the best (and from my own research) the most correct summary of the Prince Motor Companys S54 GT-A and B history. Some very interesting pics too.
    Your last paragaph will have a lot of GT-B II owners being unjustly called out! That is only true for the Nissan badged cars.
    Must start a thread covering as much detail as we can muster on the intricacies of the S54 story. It is fascinating.
    We’ll have to find you a 5 speed Ken! The closer ratios really makes the G7-B sing, grew horns outa my head and hair on my knuckles. Imagine an Ed (Big Daddy) Roth character! 🙂

    • Kim says:

      Hi guys i stumbled across this site..I have a Prince Skyline GT model S54BE-2

    • Artsyken says:

      Hey Jim. Thanks for sharing fact about GT-B II not having a cut line. Didn’t know that. Interesting fact is that most GT-B’s in Japan are Type III so not many Type II to compare with. I’ll check it out next time!

      Definitely need to start a thread and dig out more info about these wonderful cars.

      Will have to find a 5 speed and install someday! Cheers!! Ken

  3. ready says:

    Wow 26 gallon fuel tank. That is awesome.

    How much do thse go for?

    • Kuroneko says:

      Yeah, there’s a story somewhere about someone filling one up, and the attendant comes over to see where all the fuel is going. As to prices, there’s at least two on Goo and Car Sensor this week…

  4. Kim says:

    Hi guys i stumbled across this site..I have a Prince Skyline GT model S54BE-2

    • Kuroneko says:

      Jump on over to the forum and post some pics then? Would be great to see another export B!

      • Kim says:

        hi i will try to put some up but it hasnt been restored uncle bought it brand new it was im pretty sure the first one sold in qld what i can remember them saying when i was uncle died when he was 40 n then my day inherited it..n i remember what a beautiful hum that vehicle had so beautiful to ride in..triple webers n longer bonnet

  5. Kim says:

    i also have the original manual to this vehicle A4 book..lots of information in manual

    • Artsyken says:

      That’s such a cool story! Would be great to see the car restored in the future!

      • Kim says:

        hi yes when i can afford it i will restore it, it has only been in our family..n being female lol i would have it done if i was a male..the car has great memories for me aa my uncle n dad n mum have passed on all with cancer n i would love to do it but in time i suppose..i have had offers on it as is …from.just visitors who are blown away from.whats under the bonnet

  6. Kim says:

    It originally from what i remember the colour was an offwhite but god knows y but my dad painted it dark green lol..great guy n put the vehicle to the test speed wise..few stories thete lol..he actually rolled it years ago but being the tough vehicle it is he only did damage to drivers front guard..i still remember driving it myself..omg what a dream car..i have a pic of my uncle with the vehicle when he first bought it..of course its only a black n white pic.i feel more excited about my vehicle reading what u guys have posted..glad i stumbled onto this site

  7. Kim says:

    yep lucky was up bush up.nth qld

  8. Kim says:

    i dont think i will ever sell the prince but out of interest what would one be worth restored

  9. Jim says:

    Older restoration, you would start north of $30,000. Newer resto, the cost of recent resto would have to come into it. As an example I’m associated with a S54Be3 that was finished recently …. professionally done at absorbed…. well above Australian $75,000!!!
    Very broad spectrum as so many variables Kim.
    P.S. still in Nth QLD??

    • Kim says:

      Hi Jim thanks for that info…yes just moved back up to nth qld 3years ago..lucky prince was still up here otherwise i wouldnt have had it as i was in mky floods 2008 n lost everything.. 7ft its great to have something left like the prince

  10. Jim says:

    Hmmm… gotta lotta family spread over FNQ, Atherton Tablelands and beyond. Most know my passion for the Prince marque but never been able to uncover anything yet. Found the odd Gloria but that’s all. Get registerd on the forums and put up some pics Kim, times a ‘wastin’ 🙂

  11. Don says:

    Hi Guys
    I am in the middle of restoring my 3rd GT over a 12 year period. First 2 were BE3’s and current project is a B2.
    No E in the number so not an export car but privately imported to Aus. My second resto was Ken’s blue car. Just a small correction re the flared rear guards though. The B2 did not have the flares and the shells seem to have been carried over to the A3’s. So only the B3’s got the flares.
    Cheers Don

  12. Juzza says:

    Hi guys iv also got a prince skyline im chasing any spare parts if you have any i need intake manifold and tripple webbers also a gearbox to suit l7 motor thanks love to get in contact from fellow prince owners 0412569336

    • Jim says:

      If you are fair dinkum about needing parts for YOUR Prince Skyline, and would like to meet some genuine Prince folk (Generally all Prince and Skyline crazy!.. it’s awesome :)) get on to the Prince Skyline GT Register in your neighbourhood via “info(@)princegt(dot)com(dot)au”
      Just avoiding the bots there but you know what to do.
      Quite a few members keep up with this good forum. Be good if you sign up and post a few pics of your classic Japanese iron!

  13. Jim says:

    Going back over this article, Ben’s Pic of the No.39 S54B tribute car steering wheel…….. that centre piece, if indeed it is as the cars raced, is particularly intriguing!
    1: it’s a 5 speed (possibly as added later in the originals racing life?)
    2: Why the reverse pattern?
    Originally I just thought ” yeah, GREAT idea with the old ZF copy box’o’ cogs.” From experience the dog leg O/D with reverse above was so different to anything I’d experienced, sad to say I buzzed reverse more than once while rowing through that pattern…. So I thought when I saw that pic it was just that, an “in your face” reminder whilst racing that this box was different…….. but that different?!? reverse pattern? Or is my experience sadly lacking? Does anyone recognise or can otherwise explain the pattern There are some pics around of the amazing attention to period correct detail the restoration team at Nissan went to during this car’s build. I find it hard to believe these guys would have let a goof or flippant change like that leave the premises?!?
    Someone put this Prince tragic out of his misery?! 🙂

    • Charles Prowse says:

      I was from NZ on a a working holiday in 1969. Bought a 1967 Model GTB from a dealer in North Sydney for $3300. Imported it into NZ in 1971. Quick car for its day But very heavy steering at low speeds. Was a dog to get out of tight parking spaces, and yes the 5 speed gearbox was a bit agricultural Wold see off Torana GTR”s Sold it to someone in Auckland in 1976. Don’t what happened to it after that. Perhaps someone out there knows a bit more about what happened to to the car. Was mentioned in NZ Classic Cars magazine during the 80’s

  14. chris says:

    I have a factory manifold for one , if someone is looking for one

  15. Ross says:

    I’m not sure if all these differences applied.
    In the early to mid 70’s both my brother and i each owned Princes; his was a GTA and mine a GTB. His had a four speed tranny and straight diff, while mine had the five speed and LSD. This was in Victoria Australia.
    Both had the triple Webers and 26 gallon fuel tank. Still petrol was only seventy odd cents a gallon then, so it didn’t matter. I can’t state positively that the Webers on the GTA were an aftermarket upgrade as we both bought the cars second hand, but they looked like they were meant to be there. And I really doubt that anyone in their right mind would fit a 26 gallon bomb in the boot as an aftermarket add-on. I never did like it, but I’d been told the Price T series were designed as rally cars.
    Through the mists of time, the only difference in trim that I can recall, was that his round tail lights didn’t have the bit of round chrome in the middle and (I think), that the instrument console was a different shape. His speedo was still in mph while the GTB was in kmh.
    Plus his was white and mine was a carmine colour.
    They were definitely power machines and just a little unstable. I always felt they were a bit long for their width, and they twitched a bit under heavy braking. I can remember the GTA, with my brother driving, spinning at over 100mph when he braked too hard to catch a red light he hadn’t noticed. The speedo went from 100mph down to zero and back again depending on where we were in the spinning cycle. We spun three times and came to a rest at the red light pointing in the right direction…..
    Far too powerful and tempting for young drongoes, as he proved later by flipping it in a pretend rally session.
    I had heard at the time, that Japanese traffic restrictions mandated a narrow wheel base.
    Fantastic cars, and the sight of that line of Webers used to gladden my heart terrifically. V8s and four barrel carby’s were just children’s toys!
    I’m just glad that I never had to attempt to tune them!

    • Don Adams says:

      Hi there
      The GTA was sort of a poverty pack version of the GTB. There were many detail differences
      Over the GTA, the GTB had the triple Webers, the large fuel tank (99 litres), full instrumentation, 5 speed box, LSD, tramp bars. dual circuit brakes and possibly more that I’ve forgotten or never knew. Any of these items on an A would be after market add ons.
      The narrowness of the track was because the car was created by starting with the 1500cc 4 cylinder car and stretching the front 200mm. Like Holden did with the Torana about 5 years later.
      I’ve just finished the resto of my third one, the second of which went back to Japan.

  16. peter says:

    I still have My BE2 that I raced in the mid 1980’s.

    • Don Adams says:

      Hi Peter
      Presume you are in Aus (or NZ)
      Does the Register know of you and your car?
      Is it restored or squirrelled away in the shed?
      As a person who changed cars every couple of years I can’t imagine owning the one car for 35 odd years.
      I currently have a BE2 after 2 BE3’s.
      Agent 86

  17. seiho says:

    if anybody have skyline GTB,please contact me.

  18. Steph kitchener says:

    Loved reading all this. I had 66 model back in72 the first and only thing i purchased on hire purchace which ended sadly when i could not make the payments and the car was grabbed by the finance company…. i always loved that car it went like a bat out of hell with that strange 4 speed shift pattern. The trtriple

  19. Nostalgia I had a 66 GTA in Melbourne Australia. Always wanted the triple weber look of GTB but just as well I did not have as great cars but GTA was powerful enough for me at 22 yrs

  20. John Beckley says:

    Love these. And most impressed with you guys that know what they are. I had 1 of each in the 80s the gtb motor had been transplanted into the earlier rougher prince. Widen rims and flared gaurds to accomodate. Bit bogany bit still a cool old street car for a young chap.
    Business opportunities seen both cars sold for a sunny wagon! The gtb I had was one was one of 2 that came to nz new. The other being Carlos Neates. I believe his was ex works higher hp one and believe it is now in ausy. I also had a set of twin ring light pistons still in the box.
    Would have should have could have kept these cars in hind sight……
    Love to have squirt in one again. Still, really happy these cars are being recognised and looked after. These are the birth of not only the gtr skyline but the heart of Japan’s car culture. I applaud you.

    • John Beckley says:

      Both of my cars were GTB one 4 speed and one 5 speed have got photos if anyone thinks it may be interesting. I bought them out of Dunedin as a pair

  21. Gerard says:

    I had the privilege of owning a ’66 Skyline GTB back in ’72-73.
    It was quite fast for it’s time and made a glorious noise with those webers but had a horrendous fuel consumption. I sold mine to a bank clerk in Nowra NSW. He came with his bank manager to check out the car before purchase and reckoned it was as fast as his 240Z

    ps. How do I attach pictures to the post?

  22. Alan Stephens says:

    In the early 70s i owned a GTb and regret to this day not keeping it. It had all the above with updated spark including advanced timing from redwelled twin point distributer and high flow lynx air cleaners. It would run to 8000rpm with max power around 7200. I run castrol R in it so it really smelled like a racing car lol. I fitted harder springs and shocks and run 195 rubber at the back with small flared guards. Being young and crazy i put it through 100 mph drifts with out to much stress. Biggest downfall was the 5 speed. I replaced 2nd syncro twice. Whats never been mentioned was the 13 pint sump, so dont know if that was original. At one stage i did a full engine rebuild and even back then parts were not easy to get. A love that got away

  23. Chuck says:

    I bought my GTB 5 speed in 1969 from a dealer on the lower North shore in Sydney $3300. It was about 18 months old. Took it back to Auckland, NZ in 1971, and i found out at that time there was only 3 others like it in NZ. Archibald motors in Christchurch sold them i think. Top speed about 115 mph. I remember it was very heavy in the steering at low speed. Sold it About 1976. Always wonder what happened to it.

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