Every now and again, one of your dream cars pops up on an auctioneer’s website in immaculate condition, with a list price so far in excess of what you’ll ever be able to afford it’s not even worth sulking over. That’s what just happened for me at Sotheby’s in Monterey, as Lot 303 was sold to an incredibly lucky person for the vast sum of $176,000 (£112k).
The car in question is a 1973 Nissan Skyline H/T 2000GT-R ‘Kenmeri’ - nicknamed after Ken and Mary, the characters in an old Nissan advert - and it’s absolutely immaculate. With just 23,000 kilometres on the clock, you may call me a hypocrite for lusting after an old, low-mileage car, but this particular example has been ‘properly serviced and maintained by renowned GT-R specialists in Japan,’ meaning it hasn’t been left to rot in the corner of someone’s shed.
So what’s significant about this generation of GT-R? Rarity, mostly, as well as the fact it was the last car to run the iconic S20 engine. The original ‘Hakosuka’ Skyline was introduced in 1969, powered by the 161bhp S20 straight-six dual overhead camshaft engine. This block was used with great success in touring car racing, and when the KPGC110 came along at the end of 1972, it played host to the engine’s final run.
Due to the oil crisis at the time, no one was buying performance cars, and stricter emissions regulations were being implemented. Nissan pulled out of motorsports and stopped selling the GT-R just six months after the KPGC110 first went on sale. A mere 197 examples were sold during this time, all of them in Japan.
This specific 2000GT-R wears chassis number 000127, and has been maintained by GT-R experts throughout its life. In 1985, this Kenmeri went to Sport Corner, Nissan’s dedicated GT-R service shop, to have its engine, gearbox and differential overhauled. It was then bought by former Nissan racer Kenji Tohira, who gave the car its second thorough service in 1998. This car features the optional factory air conditioning, a clock, a radio with antenna, its original tool box, jack, and spare wheel.
With such a rich history and a life in which it has been proudly looked after, it’s easy to understand how this beautiful, rare car fetched so much at auction.