The first Skyline GT-R was unleashed to the public in February 1969. Based upon a stretched front four-door sedan, the “Hakosuka,” it was powered by the race-derived S20 inline six-cylinder and featured dual overhead camshafts, a cross-flow head with four valves per cylinder, and a hemispherical combustion chamber fed by triple dual-throat Mikuni-Solex sidedraft carburetors. A sportier two-door coupe would then debut the following year. Though the Hakosuka GT-R was built in limited numbers in both coupe and sedan form, it was the final iteration that would be the rarest of them all.
The redesigned Skyline Coupe (type C110) was launched in November 1972, with the high-performance 2000GT-R version released in January 1973. Like its forbearer, the new Skyline was christened with a unique nickname. The “Kenmeri” was so dubbed after Nissan’s marketing campaign that featured the loving “neo-American” couple Ken and Mary. However, the GT-R was not so cuddly and, like its indomitable predecessors, featured the same powerful S20 engine. This advanced engineering made it extremely desirable amongst enthusiasts in its homeland, the only market where it was available. However, stricter emissions regulations for 1973 quickly put an end to GT-R production; ultimately, only 197 examples were sold.
This 2000GT-R, chassis number 000127, has been expertly and thoroughly maintained throughout its life. Notably, it bears a Sport Corner Service Plate on its firewall. The Sport Corner was founded by Nissan to specifically service their GT-Rs, and, in fact, well-known Nissan engineer Shigeki Shiraishi worked there for many years before opening his own GT-R shop, Shiraishi Engineering. The service plate notes that this Kenmeri had its engine, gearbox, and differential overhauled (noted as “O/H”) in September 1985. It was subsequently well tended to and minimally driven by its enthusiast owner.
By 1998, the Kenmeri had travelled only 21,500 kilometers and was subject to its second major service at this time. At the hands of former Works driver Kenji Tohira, the engine was fully serviced at his well-known garage, Technical Shop Limited. As confirmed by its registration documents, this GT-R has been sparingly driven throughout its life. Japanese titles note only 22,000 kilometers as of February 2004, 22,100 in December 2006, and only 22,172 kilometers at the time of cataloguing. The Skyline also features optional factory air conditioning, a clock, and a radio with antenna, as well as its original tool roll, jack, and spare wheel.
As the last production Nissan to feature the legendary S20 engine, the Kenmeri GT-R holds a special place in Skyline folklore. As only 197 examples were sold over just a four-month period, it is also the smallest production run in Japanese nostalgic car history. Considering the competition roots of the GT-R, many of those examples have also been lost to racing or modification, making an original, unmolested example all the more special. Enthusiasts opine that there may be fewer than 40 survivors extant, less than a handful of which ever left Japan. The GT-R is a car of legends, and this Kenmeri Skyline is certainly worthy of its status as a cult icon.
160 hp, 1,989 cc DOHC 24-valve S20 inline six-cylinder engine with triple side-draft Mikuni-Solex carburetors, five-speed manual transmission, front-strut suspension, independent semi-trailing arm rear suspension, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 102.7 in.
• The rarest production Skyline GT-R; only 197 examples sold
• Properly serviced and maintained by renowned GT-R specialists in Japan
• Less than 23,000 original and documented kilometers
• Rare factory A/C; includes its original tool roll, jack, and spare wheel
• One of the most sought-after Japanese nostalgic cars
This beautiful example will go up for auction at Sotheby’s in Monterey, California on August 13th-15th 2015 – with No Reserve.