Remembering Japanese cars from the past

Tag: Popular Bosozoku cars (Page 1 of 2)

Popular Bosozoku cars: Tomica Nissan Skyline KDR30

Last week the poll decided the Tomica Skyline KDR30 as a winner in the sudden death between this car and the Impul Silvia Turbo S12. Therefore I feature a Popular Bosozoku Cars special this week: the Tomica Skyline RS Turbo KDR30! :)

The Tomica Nissan Skyline RS Turbo KDR30 Super Silhouette
The Tomica Nissan Skyline RS Turbo KDR30 Super Silhouette

The Super Silhouette Formula was fully according to the rules of the FIA Group 5. In 1979 the rules were changed to Generation 4 in which the FIA allowed the so called “Special Production Cars” in which the FIA allowed cars falling in Group 1 to 4 can be modified extensively but restricted the width, the height (roofline) and the shape of the car to remain original (hence the silhouette name). The loophole was that is only accounted for the body of the car and not for the fenders and therefore cars were still standard width but featured the ridiculously wide fenders. Maybe you can best compare the Super Silhouette formula cars to the current modern DTM racers with their big winged silhouette cars.

In Japan these series were new and were used as a warm up of the Fuji Grand Champion of the year. After 1982 the FIA changed the rules of the Group 5 in favor of Group B, however it continued in Japan as opening races for the JSPC during 1983 and only two races were held in 1984.

The Tomica Skyline was renowned for spitting flames each downshift
The Tomica Skyline was renowned for spitting flames each downshift

After years of absence in production car racing Nissan intended to fully dominate the new group 5 series and returned with a set of Fairladies in 1979 and lost. In 1980 and 1981 private teams used a Nissan Violet 710 and a Silvia S110 and Nissan supplied them with parts like the LZ20B engine. The S110 only had two wins during those early years In 1982 they teamed up with Nissan and had a line up of the Skyline KDR30, Silvia S12 and the Bluebird 910.

And it worked: the Tomica Nissan Skyline KDR30, driven by Hasemi Masahiro (a former KPGC10 driver), dominated along with the Impul Silvia Turbo S110 in 1982 and the S12 in 1983, driven by Hoshino Kazuyoshi, the Super Silhouette formula series in 1982 and 1983 while being backed up by the Bluebird KY910. The Skyline KDR30 had a total of 7 victories: 2 in 1982 and 5 in 1983!

The Tomica Skyline rushing to victory
The Tomica Skyline rushing to victory

You can see an interview with Hoshino Kazuyoshi and Hesemi Masahiro in this video. (unfortunately no embedding…)

Based upon the shape of the Nissan Skyline RS R30 the Tomica Skyline KDR30 was one of the most powerful cars in the Super Silhouette formula. Note that the Skyline RS Turbo only was for sale after the Tomica Skyline KDR30 raced for over a year! Also the RS-X Turbo Tekamen (???), as known as the Iron Mask, was launched in august 1983 which is almost at the end of Super Silhouette Formula era. The car never got facelifted to match up with the RS-X new front end.

Huge spoilers were needed to keep the car on the ground and even the rear end was lengthened to create even more downforce on the rear wheels. To keep the weight down (1005kg!) the car featured a tubular chassis with only partly a monocoque design of aluminum. All exterior was made from fibreglass and of course they needed a 2 liter racing spec engine to power this beast.

How we often see the Tomica Skyline nowadays
How we often see the Tomica Skyline nowadays

The car featured the LZ20B engine. The LZ engine was back then the racing spec engine by Nissan and was based upon the L engine (many flavors) featuring a different head with a 16 valve twin cam. So the LZ20 was basically an overbored L20 engine (2082 cc instead of 1952 cc) with a special twin cam 16 valve head on it. The LZ20 engine was first used in a Nissan Violet A10 doing a safari rally and later on in a Violet KP710 SSS and featured in many formula race cars later on.

The LZ20B used in the Skyline KDR30 was improved a lot over the years and featured electronic fuel injection and turbo charging through a T05B turbo. It was able to output 570ps (563bhp) at 7600 rpm and delivered 539 nm at 6400 rpm. The competing Silvia Turbo S12 and Bluebird 910 did also have the same LZ20B engine but both were entirely different tuned: some sources say the Silvia was only capable of 500ps and it did that at 8000 rpm. For the Silvia it didn’t really matter because it was much more streamlined than the Skyline and Bluebird.

The Tomica Skyline being pushed from the pits to the track
The Tomica Skyline being pushed from the pits to the track

To keep the car on the track SSR provided the front rims of 15 inch and the rear rims of 19 inch in diameter. Note that the turbine lookalike rims only featured during the 1983 and 1984 season: in 1982 it featured Rays mesh type rims as seen in the picture above. The Dunlop tires were 270mm wide and at the rear 350mm, that is almost as wide as the current Formula one spec! Also the car was slowed down by four Lockheed disk brakes with four pistons per caliper!

In this old video you can see a highlight on the Skyline KDR30:

You can really see the LZ20R, the intercooler and the big lockheed disk brakes well in this vid

And in part 2 you can see it perform during a race:

Also this car gets confused with the Group C Nissan Skyline RS Turbo C which also featured the number 11 in some occasions. It looks quite similar but is not the same car. This car was ordered by a Nissan dealer in South Africa to feature in the Kyalami 9 hour endurance race in 1982 and had to meet the Group C specifications. It is lower than the Super Silhouette Formula counterpart (different height regulations) and has a different front and rear. The car was used in a few other Group C races as well but was never really successful.

Nissan Skyline RS Turbo C (Group C) is a different car
Nissan Skyline RS Turbo C (Group C) is a different car!

Nowadays the car is still regarded as an incredible piece of history. It marked the return of the Skyline to the racing circuits which was very important for the Japanese audience. It even resulted in the hope the GT-R designation would return on the Skyline but Nissan waited with that till 1989 with the debut of the R32. You can still buy lots of merchandise around the Tomica Skyline KDR30 Super Silhouette formula: diecast models, model kits, posters and it even featured in Gran Tourismo 2 as a price car in the 80’s Sports Car Cup. :D
The Tomica Skyline available as diecast model
The Tomica Skyline available as diecast model from Ebbro

The funny thing is that I was unable to find a Tomica diecast of the Tomica Skyline KDR30 Super Silhouette so far… So if anyone found one: let me know! ;)

I really understand why the looks of this car got copied in so many ways: it looks like an unleashed beast when driving on the circuit! It was an incredible and outragious car at the same time! And eventhough it only shared its front and tail lights with the original Skyline RS it is still an icon for the whole Skyline R30 generation.

[I posted this article earlier this week on

Popular Bosozoku cars: Nissan Fairlady S30 part 2

Some time ago we did a feature on the bosozoku style Nissan Fairlady Z S30. This week we feature a video with Daijiro Inada looking at the Nissan Fairlady Z S30 (and its successors) including a very nice bosozoku styled version of a Grand Champion Fairlady Z copy by Daisuke Shouten!

Part one:

Very funny to see Nomuken making the mistake of how to start a carburetted car: he wants to start the Fairlady by turning the ignition key. Lucky enough they show him how it is done properly. Funny enough: Daijiro Inada can’t drift, but surely he can start a carburetted car properly! :D

Part two:

Note that this bosozoku styled Fairlady Z has the rear lights of a Skyline C210 Japan and a (badly fit) G-nose. In my opinions this is one of the best looking bosozoku styled Fairlady Zs I’ve seen so far!

I posted this article earlier this week on

Popular Bosozoku cars: Nissan Silvia S110

It was inevitable: one of the Silvias had to feature sooner or later! This week we feature the Nissan Silvia S110, the car that became famous through Kazuyoshi Hoshino during the Super Silhouette Formula till the cars appearance changed to the newer Silvia S12 bodyshape. This car inspired many Silvia S110 owners to convert it into a Grancha style lookalike!

Nissan Silvia S110 Zokusha

This one is a very very accurate copy of that S110:
immitation of Hoshino's Grancha Silvia Turbo
immitation of Hoshino’s Grancha Silvia Turbo

And this one a bit less accurate:
Less acurate immitation of Hoshino's Grancha Silvia Turbo
Less acurate immitation of Hoshino’s Grancha Silvia Turbo

And it is even not the hatchback!
Less acurate immitation of Hoshino's Grancha Silvia Turbo
Less acurate immitation of Hoshino’s Grancha Silvia Turbo

And this pimped out shakotan styled Silvia S110 doesn’t look too good either:
shakotan styled Nissan Gazelle S110
shakotan styled Nissan Gazelle S110

But that’s a matter of taste of course… ;)

Factory stock Nissan Gazelle S110
Factory stock Nissan Gazelle S110

Nissan Silvia history

The predecessor of the Nissan S110 was the ill fated S10: a “traditional” looking sports coupe with a not too hot engine. It was a big failure in Japan and got easily outsold by the Toyota Celica (and the Carina hardtop coupe) and Mazda RX5/RX3. Nissan decided to make the S110 the best car ever! Nissan saw the immense popularity of the rotary Mazdas and thought a rotary engine would be the solution. They forgot that Mazda already had 15 years of experience in rotary engines and Nissan’s attempt was a big failure: it proved to be very unreliable. Nissan decided to release the car with the new Z engine instead to get the production started.

Factory stock Nissan Gazelle S110
Factory stock Nissan Gazelle S110

The Silvia and Gazelle twins

There are actually two cars with the S110 chassis number: the Gazelle and the Silvia. The Gazelle had a rectangular grille, just as high as the headlights, while the Silvia has a slightly narrowed grille. The Gazelle/Silvia were produced that all Nissan dealerships could carry the S110. The Gazelle was only sold in Japanes and Australia while the Silvia got exported to Europe and the US (as the 200sx).

Nissan Silvia and Gazelle engines

The Z engine featured a 1.8, 2.0 and 2.2 liter displacement. The S110 really got its excitement after the introduction of the FJ20E with its facelifted RS model: the DOHC 4 valve EFI 2 liter engine produced 150HP. It featured a big port with dual valve springs and a wide angle bucket on shim valvetrain (only found on the Nissan S20 engine before) and was essentially a blueprint for the later RB and CA engines!

Factory stock Nissan Gazelle S110
Factory stock Nissan Gazelle S110

Nissan Silvia and Gazelle interior

The interior was basically an incarnation on the space age designed interior of the Silvia S10. It had a wide console stretching over the transmission tunnel. The material was, like every other late 70s/early 80s car, basic plastic in a two tone scheme.

Rally pedigree

Outside Japan the Nissan Silvia S110 also had a strong rallying following: a UK company called Blydenstein created a homologated version of the DatsunNissan Silvia S110 with a FJ24 engine: basically a FJ20E with increased displacement and a carburetor stuck on it. It dominated the British rally scene in the early 80s till it was outlawed by the Group B regulations.

Nissan 240RS: Nissan Silvia S110 with FJ24
Nissan 240RS: Nissan Silvia S110 with FJ24

In march 1983 the Silvia S110 got succeeded by the Nissan S12 in Japan. It wasn’t until 1984 that the S12 was available in other countries.

My take on the Nissan Silvia and Gazelle

I understand why the Nissan Silvia/Gazelle S110 is a very popular bosozoku style car: everyone wants to share a bit of that Hoshino spirit! Even though I prefer the later S12 styling more, I think the car itself is a very beautifully styled sports coupe! I would drive one any day! :)

[I posted this article earlier this week on]

Popular Bosozoku cars: Daisuke Shouten

Last week we featured three videos of Daijiro Inada and the Mark II platform. The poster of that video also posted part one of Daijiro Inada and Daisuke Shouten!

For people who are unfamiliar with him: he creates the most bizarre bosozoku rides! It is more a sport for him to create something exceptional than to perfection a zokusha into something beautiful!

Have a look at his bizarre creations:

I love the Corona JZT141 sedan! It looks bad and with the 1JZ swap it is bad!

[I posted this article earlier this week on]

Popular Bosozoku cars: Toyota Mark II platform

Most of you probably already saw a video posted by white_raven in the comments of last weeks rare popular bosozoku cars posting

Well this video is actually the first of a set of 3 videos about the Toyota Mark II platform. It starts with three bosozoku styled Mark IIs (RT72, MX31 and GX71), a clean tuned Mark II (JZX90) and finishes with the Verossa JZ110 drift car.

Part one contains last weeks bosozoku styled Corona Mark II RT72 and the first part of a bosozoku styled Mark II MX31:

Good detail is that this RT72 has the 8R engine and not the 8R-G, so it is not the GSS model.

Part two contains the second part of the Mark II MX31, the bosozoku styled Mark II GX71 and the clean tuned JZX90:

Note that the GX71 did get a 7M swap, so actually it became a MX71.
BTW: I love the way the tsurikawa is dangling behind the MX31 at 0:25 and scraping over the highway: the only correct way to make use of a tsurikawa! Anyone got a spare one for me? :D

And part 3 contains Hirota’s 2007 JZX110 Verossa drift car:

So a big thanks to white_raven for finding these videos!! :)

Hopefully these videos will stay on Youtube for a while, but I’m afraid they will disappear very soon…

[I posted this article earlier this week on]

Popular Bosozoku cars: Nissan Skyline C210 Japan

This week we feature one of the most popular bosozoku style cars: the Skyline C210, also known as the Skyline Japan. Only the Skyline C110 and Nissan Laurel are more popular than the Skyline Japan.

This Skyline may be well known amoung the visitors here, our logo is showing one of the headlights of this Skyline:
Bosozoku style Skyline C210
Bosozoku style Skyline C210

In my opinion the best bosozoku styled Skyline C210 and maybe even the best styled of all bosozoku styled cars I’ve seen! It has got almost everything right: the oil cooler, headlight and grille swap from a Laurel, wide over fenders, wide sideskirts, big grachan styled lip and spoiler. Only thing missing is the sharknose but that would ruin this car I guess.

Speaking of sharknoses:
Sharknosed Skyline C210
Sharknosed Skyline C210

A good example of the many sharknosed Skyline C210s I’ve seen. Sharknoses are most probably popular on the Skyline Japan because of its longer bonnet (6 cylinder engines only) and boxy image. It makes the bonnet look even larger, like on the G-nosed Fairlady Z S30, and it just looks right in combination with the trunk sloping downwards.

Also very beautiful and popular on the Skyline Japan is the kyusha look:
Kyusha styled Skyline C210
Kyusha styled Skyline C210

This example is just about right: a small cooling duct for the turbo in the bonnet, small overfenders, a decent spoiler and a 70s sports lip. The removal of the left headlight in favor of the air intake is also a nice choice, however without it the car would have been perfect.

In august 1977 Nissan launched the C210 as the 5th Skyline: the successor of the Skyline C110 (better known as the Kenmeri Skyline) which featured a coupe, sedan and estate as bodystyles. It got, just like the Kenmeri, its nickname from the Skyline tv advertisements which praised it as the “All new Japan Skyline”

The car was just as popular as the Kenmeri eventhough this Skyline never got a GT-R badge nor raced! Due to the oil crisis Nissan ruled out any performance designation on their cars to prevent a bad image.

Factory stock Nissan Skyline C210

However after a few years the oil crisis was already forgotten and racecars entered the turbo age. Nissan responded in April 1980 with the Skyline GT-EX featuring a 2 liter L20ET turbo engine and this was the first Japanese production vehicle ever to make use of a turbo engine!

Back then this turbo engine was very crude compared to what we are used to nowadays: the L20ET did not feature an intercooler nor a blowoff valve however it did feature an emergency release valve in case the pressure became too high, so imagine how this car must have felt when driving it: big turbo lag and the turbine stalling when you release the throttle while the exhaust gasses have no where to go! Scary!

Talking about engines, the Skyline C210 had only a limited range of engines: the coupe and sedan only featured the Nissan L engine ranging from 1.6 to 2.0 liter and of course the 2.0 liter L20ET turbo. The estate did feature a 2.8 diesel engine and the export models did feature a 2.4 and 2.8 variant of the L engine. This turbo engine delivered an extra 15HP above the normal 2 liter engine and outputted 145hp. It may not sound as much, but remember this was dated only at the beginning of the turbo age!

Factory stock Nissan Skyline C210
Factory stock Nissan Skyline C210

The TI models (1.6 and 1.8 4 cylinder cars) got rectangular taillights while the GT models (2.0 and turbo 6 cylinder cars) got the round taillights.

The 4 cylinder cars were 10 cm shorter between the front wheelarch and the front door than the 6 cylinder cars. This was basically the same solution as used with the Celica XX: to fit the 6 cylinder engine the chassis was lenghtend.

Factory stock facelifted Nissan Skyline C210
Factory stock facelifted Nissan Skyline C210

In august 1979 the C210 gets a facelift: the round headlights are replaced by square headlights.

The facelifted version of the car is very well known from Seibu Keisatsu (????) as the black Skyline GT-EX Turbo Super Machine-X cop car:

It was featuring a lot of nifty 80s cop stuff like an automatic high speed camera, electrically operated patrol light, a gun behind the grille and of course a complete computer!
The exposure of Skyline thanks to the GT-EX turbo Super Machine-X boosted sales of the Skyline C210 so much that Nissan decided to donate brand new models as the new police cars. In this way the 280ZX, Skyline R30 and S110 Gazelle were plugged by Nissan this way

In august 1981 the life of the Skyline C210 ended and it was replaced by the Skyline R30.

I really understand why this car is one of the most popular styled cars: it has got a turbo (ahum)) and it just looks right with or without a lot of modifications!

[I posted this article earlier today on]

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