Lamley’s resident Tomica expert – and Skyline owner – Jay Kho is back with a look at what, for many of you, might be a must-have. That 4-door though…
Gran Turismo Racer
If you are into cars, I’m sure you have heard about the Skylines. And if you’re into toy cars, especially these days, of course you have heard about the Skylines. So what is it with these cars that make them so special? That makes these mythical creatures that every toy company out there is cashing in on the hype?
Skyline was first introduced by Prince Motor Company in 1957. Prince later merged with another car company called Nissan in 1966, in an effort to create a much stronger unit that would ensure its success and its longevity in the car industry, as instructed by its Japanese government.
Early on, to increase their visibility, Prince wanted to create an exciting car that would compete on the race track. If you win races, you win the hearts of many. That is exactly what happened in 1964, using a 4-door Prince Skyline GT-B to compete in Japanese Grand Prix. Did they win the race? No. They were up against a race-car bred Porsche 904, but during the race it made its mark by leading for several laps and winning second place on the podium. That started what would become the legend of the Skyline Gran Turismo Racer.
|Photo credit: Nissan Heritage Collection|
The Skyline GTR didn’t make its name until after the merger with Nissan, and by 1969 had gained popularity by winning multiple races. They did so by using the C10 platform, which we all know now as the Hakosuka, which means box Skyline. Hako means box and Suka is an abbreviation of Skyline, and is pronounced without the U. Pronouncing it right will save you the embarrassment, which I know from experience, of being face-to-face with people you admire, and while talking about cars you are corrected twice, but you are too busy being a fan boy of JDM Legends that it didn’t dawn on you until you walk away after the conversation was over. (Facepalm)
The second Skyline GTR was born in 1972 under C110, and was nicknamed Kenmeri due to the popularity of the 2 characters in the ad campaign, Ken and Mary. Unfortunately the Kenmeri GTR was released in the middle of an oil crisis, and the people gravitated more to the economy cars. Nissan had to drop the GTR performance during that time, so only 197 models were sold in Japan. Nissan Skyline continued on and started creating less gas-guzzling oil-burning unhappy cars, with no GTR.
Fast forward to 1988 with the much-anticipated rebirth of the GTR using the R32 chassis, when business was good and people returned to the race track to burn as much oil as they want. So…what would you nickname a car that was from Japan that performed like a monster that just keeps on winning and totally annihilates its competitors?….no not Pikachu! It’s Godzilla. And so the nicknamed Godzilla carried on and was used as the mark of every Skyline since, from R32 all the way to R34. As great as it was, sadly the GTR badge vanished once again after Nissan decided not to follow up on the R34 and the Skyline disappeared from the lineup…sad day.
Then came the news in 2001, that the Skyline was back again in production and would now will be available for us in the U.S soil! This is pandemonium! Oh joy! But to get one you just could not drive to any Nissan dealership, you had to head on over to the Nissan luxury brand called Infiniti. Yes, the new Nissan Skyline in Japan was rebadged as Infiniti G35-G37 here in the States, but the higher performance GTR was nowhere to be found…until 2007.
Like Godzilla re-emerging back from the depths of the sea, the GTR returned with its own model name, the R35 GTR. The dynamic duo of Skyline and GTR went its separate ways.
Now, some say the R35 shouldn’t be named after that big giant lizard anymore, that it lost its DNA, that it’s ugly, that it’s been tamed, that it’s heavy, and on and on and on. I for one don’t agree, but I will never know because I can’t afford one (I should start a go fund me page, yes?). Is it because the allure is gone, because it is now available to people that have a lot of those green papers with dead presidents on them? Maybe.
So why was it not available to us during its heyday, during the time some consider its prime?
I’ll tell you why. The government banned it because of its insane capabilities, being so stupid fast that they couldn’t be chased by our local black and white cars, and worst yet be named GODZILLA! They were like “Oh hell no, I’ve seen a few of those movies, all the Japanese were running scared flailing their arms in the air! We can’t have that!”
Nope, it was just some boring emission and dot standards. Hooray.
And since this is not an automotive blog, I present you the new GTR set by Tomica which I was able to acquire from our friend @the_toy_pimp in Instagram.
The Hakosuka is nicely detailed with both rear and front GTR badge, and I also love that Tomica decided to use the older style skinny wheels to match the era of the car.
The rest of the GTR also has the badge as it would be on the real car, along with the painted taillights, separated plastic headlights and spring loaded wheels that can sometimes be problematic as it creates wheel gap but not with these, they look great!
Skylines are cool. So are little versions.