V.I.S.I.T. – Hakosuka Highway

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Positioned as it is on the eastern edge of the Pacific Rim, California has always been a hot bed of cars of Asian-origin. As far back as I can remember Japanese cars have been a feature of our streets and highways, a fact that was made even more noticeable when traveling elsewhere in the country where their presence was noticeably uncommon. Here in L.A., I’ve seen pretty much every type of Japanese car or truck ever offered for sale in this country, and last week I was fortunate enough to spy one that never, ever was.

Nissan’s C10 edition of the Skyline was the first to be branded as GT-R. That name has since grown in myth and legend. Informally called the HakosukaHako meaning box and Suka coming from Sukairain, the Japanese pronunciation for Skyline – the hot edition of the largish coupe was introduced in 1970. The sedan version debuted a year prior. Powered by a 160-horse 2-litre six, these cars were formidable competitors on the street, while track versions racked up numerous victories racing against the likes of Toyota’s 1600GT and Mazda’s RX3.

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I have never seen a Skyline GT-R of this era rolling on the street before, and I’ve never seen this red beauty at all. I happened to catch it on the 134 freeway, an 8-lane swath that cuts across the base of the Verdugo Mountains. This was the very same road on which I saw the Lexus LFA a few weeks back. This freeway is notable for its vista of the Los Angeles basin, stretching out all the way to the Pacific Ocean, which is occasionally visible form the road when the circumstances are right. On this particular day however, my attention was otherwise occupied.

Sporting California historic plates and a stance that puts it at bellybutton height, it really stood out against all the mundane modern iron on the road that morning. Upon rolling down my window I discovered that it also sounded just as unique and sweet. The driver, potentially a monk owing to the hood he was wearing, obviously sat on the right side of the car, and the interior featured a four-point roll bar.

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Traffic, while not especially heavy that particular morning, was populated with the sort of frustrating drivers who don’t seem to have anywhere to go, and of course think they have all day to get there. That impeded my ability to get many close shots of the car, but I did manage this kind of cool old-versus-new shot of the GT-R next to a fairly modern Maxima. You can really sense how small the older car is in proportion. The last shot I’ll leave you with is from my eventual overtaking of the Nissan, and one that perhaps provides a convoluted homage to the Godzilla nickname of the Hakosuka’s present day successor by way of a memorable Jurassic Park moment.

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Images ©2014 Hooniverse/Robert Emslie, All Rights Reserved

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