It was to be the ‘Skyline for Ken and Mary’, the 1973 Nissan Skyline GT-R (called KPGC110) which intended to move the game on from the KPGC10 Skyline GT-R.
But only 197 ‘Kenmeri’ Skyline GT-Rs ever made it out of the factory. Not because there were fewer than 200 couples called Ken and Mary willing to buy a Skyline, but for a few other reasons.
Not least was the oil crisis and, in Nissan’s own official reasoning, “stricter emission standards,” but the C110 generation Skyline also fell short of the C10 in its own right.
Not only did the 2.0-litre straight-six S20 engine carry over from the older model – it wasn’t a bad engine at all, but it received no treatment and had the same 118kW and 177Nm outputs – the GT-R was also heavier by 25kg and had drum brakes all ‘round. The Hakosuka had front discs.
Okay, 25kg isn’t dire, but with no performance improvement the Kenmeri was destined to fall short of its daddy’s legend.
It also did have a very strange TV advertisement. Ken and Mary wander around in a railyard briefly, before Mary points to a detached train cargo carriage. Suddenly, the two are driving through the snow in a Skyline, and there’s some oddly haunting vocals over the whole thing.
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With only 197 built in its production run between January and April of 1973, and likely several lost to write-offs and disrepair, the Kenmeri is the rarest Nissan GT-R generation.
Two exist in Nissan’s own heritage car collection, one white and one red, though even Nissan admits to it being the “Phantom GT-R.”