Nissan restores Sunako’s Skyline GT

| 14 Dec 2012

Nearly 50 years after steering a first-generation Skyline to second place at Suzuka, Yoshikazu Sunako has been reunited with his number 39 car.

Since then, the game-changing machine, which has been Nissan’s halo model to the present day, has been subject to a thorough restoration by a team of experts.

The racer featured a longer nose and a straight-six, triple-carburettor engine.

Sunako said: "We extended the car by 20cm. The body balance was very bad and the tyres were out. The car slipped and drifted a lot, but these issues turned out to be good for us and we finished a lap in 2 mins 47 secs – the fastest at the time."

Although Sunako was ultimately defeated by Porsche’s formidable 904GTS, Nissan would fill the rest of the top-six places.

The Skyline nearly didn’t make the race. To qualify, Nissan had to produce 100 of the roadgoing machines, a requirement that was only met when the Prince Motor Company, which had manufactured a batch of cars, merged with Nissan.

The firm has released a video that documents that day.