The Hakosuka Skyline is one of those special types of cars that holds a place in all of our hearts. Many of us, unfortunately, will never own one, but we can all dream. These Skylines aren’t exactly easy to come by and those who are lucky enough to acquire one aren’t likely to ever let them go. Roy De Guzman, the owner of this ’72 2000 GT, searched tirelessly for his over six years ago. He first developed an infatuation with the Hakosuka because of its unique styling, racing pedigree, and storied history in Nissan’s family lineage. If you were to ask him what he loves the most about his Skyline, he’d tell you that it was the subtle nuances about the car that only a Hakosuka owner would understand—like the smell of the aged interior. Any enthusiast who has developed a loving relationship with their automobile can go on for days about their car and what went into putting it together. Roy, however, has a story that most wouldn’t be able to relate to. In fact, we aren’t even sure how many Hakosuka owners could relate to his situation. It doesn’t have anything to do with how the car runs, looks, or smells, nor does it have any sort of crazy swap that no one has ever heard of. It looks and drives like any other Skyline from that era. The special circumstance surrounding his Skyline is how he came to acquire it.
“I’ve owned another [Nissan] Skyline before this one.” Roy says. “I purchased a GTS-T model back when I first moved to Japan in 2004. I remember always being very fond of Skylines after first seeing one at an old Battle of the Imports event, but it wasn’t until 2005 when I was first introduced to a vintage Hakosuka model. I guess you can say that it was love at first sight, because I made it a personal goal of mine to try to get one after that day.”
Finding a Hakosuka Skyline is a bit of a task, but not totally impossible. A chance of finding one in really good condition, however, is another story. The ones that are usually on sale require some work, because they aren’t in the greatest of conditions. The ones that are pretty mint aren’t typically sold off as the owners tend to hold onto them. Roy happened to find one after he spotted a really clean ’72 model in a sale ad. Not being very familiar with the Japanese language, he had his friend call the number listed and a date was setup for him to go check it out. The Skyline was located in a rural area three hours away but it wasn’t a big deal for him. He had found the car he always wanted so he grabbed another friend and set off to Mount Haruna, Tochigi, to see if it was the real deal.
“We got lost for a while but eventually found the spot where the Skyline was being kept,” Roy says. “It was this huge, gated compound with dozens of cars in different states of completion. Some were Boso-styled, vintage VIP, Kei-class—you name it, they probably had it there. I ring the doorbell by a small gate and an elderly Japanese man comes to greet us. Neither me nor my friend was fluent in Japanese so we simply uttered the word Hakosuka, and he instantly knew what I meant.”
The elderly gentleman walks them into the facility, and Roy soon realizes that there is more than meets the eye with this place. Everywhere they looked were more cars and more garages to hold them. He spots a Hakosuka, but of the four-door variety, red with a race-bred motor parked alongside some Boso-themed bikes and several trophies. Tea is offered to them by the man while they waited in an office filled with old-school racing magazines and collectables. Meanwhile, the white 2000 GT Skyline they had driven three hours to see could be seen in the distance, albeit with different wheels than shown in the advertisement. The interior had obvious wear and tear but the paint was otherwise fresh. It was as good as a four-decade-old classic was going to look, so he was sold. The sizing of the building and the contents within may have been a little peculiar to Roy, but he didn’t really think anything of it. Whoever owned it was probably just a collector with deep pockets—nothing to be alarmed about at all.
Or so he thought, anyway . . .
Roy explains, “The elderly man receives a phone call and suddenly hurries us out of the room. He rushes to an electronic gate in the back and bows steeply as it opens. Then a fleet of black cars enters quickly and stops abruptly, creating a large cloud of dust. It looked like something straight out of a movie!” The head of the three-car armada was a VIP Y50 Nissan Cima (U.S. Q45). Four guys step out and one heads to the second vehicle to open the door of a black Cadillac Escalade EXT, which has been lowered on large chrome rollers. Behind the Caddie SUV is a VIP-styled Nissan Cedric filled with four more husky characters. Roy and his friend didn’t want to assume, but they had a good idea of who these men might be.
“I had heard the rumors, but I never thought anything of them,” Roy says. “Rumor has it that the Japanese aren’t too keen on the idea of their precious Hakosuka leaving their country. I never believed them because the Japanese are such friendly, polite people. I wasn’t sure if these guys were friendly or not, but I wasn’t about to test them.”
Roy says, each man was dressed in similar clothing and all had outrageous hairstyles. The one who walked over to open the door of the Escalade spoke English and told them that he would translate whatever his boss asked. A guy decked out in a brown-orange leather jacket with Ray-Ban Aviator glasses and a silk leopard-print shirt steps out of the car, donning what Roy claims to be “the most perfect pompadour ever”. He turns to his translator, with a menthol cigarette hanging from the corner of his mouth, and mutters a question in Japanese. The translator then proceeds to ask Roy, “Why do you want to buy this car?” The boss then lets off a mild snort and looks over with his glasses pulled down.
“Hakosuka ichiban, neh?” (Hakosuka is number one, isn’t it?) Roy responds. An awkward silence then ensues while the boss turns to his crew and confers. They follow up with a few more questions before jumping back into their modified vehicles and taking off. One man stays behind to take Roy for a testdrive and to figure out a deal on the price of the Skyline. They agree to meet again a couple of days later when the paperwork and car are ready. Strange as it may seem, these are the type of stories you just can’t make up.
Days go by before he returned to pick up his Skyline. A completely different individual comes to the gate to meet him and they carefully go over all the paperwork. They complete all the documents necessary for transport to the United States, and no men in alligator-skin pants arrive to stir any drama. Roy walks out to see his freshly detailed Skyline and is pleasantly surprised to see that the gold 15-inch RS Watanabe wheels from the original ad are back on the car.
“Five years and a ton of importation paperwork later, I can wholeheartedly say that I have no regrets about buying this Hakosuka. The craziness that surrounded that day only helps to add to the legendary status of this car. I’m not going to lie; I still wonder what those guys were thinking that day and what they were discussing; it’s a day I’ll never forget.”
Behind the Build
Roy De Guzman
Las Vegas, NV
Tuning cars, fixing guns, art design
“To fulfill the dream of owning a different car.”
1972 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT
Engine 2.8L Nissan L28; N24 engine block; Solex 40mm triple side-draft carburetors; SK Sports induction kit; OEM GT-R-spec fuel pump; NGK 8.5mm Super Conductor spark plug wires, spark plugs; MSD 6AL ignition box, Blaster 2 High-Vibration coil; Motul engine oil; Earl’s hoses and fittings; Rubber Soul carb heat shield; Earth-grounding kit; Greddy oil catch can; polished velocity stacks; gold powdercoated valve cover
Suspension GAB Sports 60mm HELP springs, antiroll bar, tension rod urethane bushings; Rubber Soil front strut bar
Wheels & Tires 15x8 +3 RS Watanabe R Type, front; 195/55-15 Toyo Proxes T1R; 15x10 -25 RS Watanabe R Type, rear; 255/50-15 Toyo Proxes T1R; RS Watanabe steel lug nuts; Electron wheel locks
Exterior Rubber Soul GT-R-spec front lip, rear spoiler, fenders; Almond White paint; Raybrig headlights, HID kit; Sport Corn R decals; NOS GT-R emblems; OEM GT-R taillight housing, grille, mirrors
Interior OEM Skyline GT-R steering wheel, shift knob; Razo Grip Sport pedals; HELP Dead Pedal; repainted 2000 GT center console badge to GT-R-spec; Broadway 300mm rearview mirror
Electronics Omori voltmeter gauge; Alpine CDM-9801 head unit; Kenwood KFC 1080IE front speakers, KFC-1690IE rear speakers
Gratitude “Garage Kutsumi and ‘friends’ for handling all the details of the purchase; Chris Connelly from Gaijin Smash for getting me there; Paul Castillo from the HyRev Crew for getting me back; Kawasaki-San from Rubber Soul/HELP for parts, tuning, and advice; Thanh, Freddie, Norm, and Brian from CCR for letting me use the shop; Brian from BCE Designs for all my sticker needs; Import Tuner and Anthony Mair Photography for this opportunity; Kitty at Autolink for letting me use her bay super last minute; Koji and Terri from JCCS; Toyo Tires for their great tires; my crew SquadOne for all their support, especially Jon Jon for helping out at SEMA; my Vegas VIP homies; and, of course, my wife, Linley, for all of her love and undying support.”
Japanese Classic Car Show