The Japanese tuning house Liberty Walk has created a what they call the LB-ER34 Super Silhouette Skyline. The red-on-black paint scheme will be instantly recognizable to fans of Skyline race cars of the 1980s. Revealed at the 2020 Tokyo Auto Salon, it was one of the show favorites and in true Liberty Walk fashion, held some surprises under the skin.
The biggest news of the out 2020 Auto Salon (other than the plethora of Supras) may have been the fight that almost broke out between Liberty Walk and tuner Boom Craft over the loud indoor revving of some engines. However, we’ll just focus on the cars, and the fact that this might be the most smile-inducing Liberty Walk creation to date.
With massive box flares, splitters, and wing, the Super Silhouette R34 pays homage to Masahiro Hasemi’s KDR30 Skyline that competed in Japan’s Group 5 series in 1982-83. Also known as Silhouette Formula, the category allowed extreme race modifications as long as the overall “silhouette” remained somewhat analogous to the street cars.
Underneath the bodywork, the cars were pure racing machines sharing little with their roadgoing counterparts. Hasemi’s R30 Skyline-based racer, for example, ran an turbocharged LZ20B inline-four making a claimed 570 PS (562 horsepower). Not only were the fire-spitting racers thrilling to watch, their striking visual cues inspired a generation of bosozoku customization styles.
Liberty Walk’s tribute wasn’t just an act of throwing on a bunch of panels onto the underlying R34. The body of the original car had to undergo significant modification to accommodate parts like the vented hood. As a result, if you want to drive one, you will have to supply your own R34 to Liberty Walk and have them build it. It’s not just a matter of buying the kit.
The most shocking revelation, however, was the absence under the hood of the RB26 traditionally associated with the R34. Instead, an old-school carbureted Nissan L-series, like the kind you’d find in a Hakosuka GT-X or Fairlady Z, resides in the engine bay bored up to 3.1 liters.
This is wholly appropriate, as the original DR30 street car was came with an FJ20 turbo four, while its Super Silhouette race version ran a LZ20B competition four based on the L-series. By installing a straight-six L-series, it acknowledges the roots of the R34 in a meaningful way (cough, cough) while giving a nod to the bosozoku street racers in which the L-series was practically de rigueur.
The interior features a deep-cone racing wheel, a pair of BRIDE racing seats, a proper yellow roll cage, and a complete lack of interior panels or rear seats. Presumably, if you were to order one you could keep more of the interior in tact if you so desired.
The company is also coming out with “Silhouette Works” versions of the R35 Nissan GT-R, Ferrari 458, and Lamborghini Huracan. Though obviously these cars never raced in Group 5, the body kits eschew the trademark Liberty Walk bolted fender flares for smoother — though still extreme in their wideness — flares and aero kittage.
Because of the difficulty in adding on the bodywork, Liberty Walk will only sell these as a complete car. The shop may not be able to accommodate a large number of orders, so the company is still trying to determine how many will be built. The R34 lends itself well to the Hasemi Skyline treatment, and it would be cool to put this up against the R35s in the same livery. Though the Liberty Walk treatment can seem over-used at some venues, the Super Silhouette R34 is a fresh direction for the brand that makes us grin with nostalgic glee as well.