While the exterior is beautiful yet unassuming, when you open the solid doors with a satisfying click that just reeks of vintage quality, the interior beckons you in with all manner of gadgets and period-correct style.
These include a pair of ’80s-era Pioneer TS-X60 speakers, an ignition kill switch, Auto Meter Sport-Comp Monster tacho, AEM air/fuel ratio gauge and a manual controller for the air suspension. The custom panels have been finished in black vinyl to give a classy, OEM-like feel.
On the functional side of things, you’ll find a one-off roll cage made by Saito, Bride Exas III bucket seats, and a relocated battery for reasons that will soon become clear.
The C211’s original L20 engine has been replaced with an L28, the same powertrain found in the Cedric, Gloria, and even the Patrol right up until 2002. Not only does the L28 have a larger displacement, it also has a redesigned cast iron block, increasing crankshaft support bearings from five to seven. This improved durability made the engine run much quieter and smoother. To keep things nice and tidy, Furukawa-san decided that 3.0 was a much cleaner number that 2.8, so the new block was bored out an extra 3mm to accommodate 89mm forged pistons.
The upgraded engine is being fed by triple 45mm Weber carburettors, and with support from the new pistons, big valves and reinforced valve springs, it’s churning out a healthy 280hp. That’s a whisker off double the original output of the L28 and 43% more powerful than the Skyline’s original L20. What’s more, K’s Trading in Saitama has been beautifully restored, painted, chromed and polished the engine like a black diamond inside a pearl-lined jewellery box.
By now you’ve probably realised why the battery is behind the driver’s seat. Taking inspiration from lowriders and hot rods, Furukawa-san always dreamed of a super-clean, shaved and tucked engine bay, and this aspect of the build was completed by a custom metalwork and paint shop called Hasty, also in Saitama. As you can see, it’s pretty minimalistic and ultra-clean. Driving the latter point home, when Furukawa-san opened the hood he removed some plastic cling film from the bay area near the carburettors. He had put it there to prevent fuel splashing onto the pristine paintwork.
Even though this precious pearl arrived on a trailer like the Queen of Saitama, her looks are definitely not all for show. Cruising around in the 30+°C heat, I kept asking if the old girl’s engine temperature was OK. “Everything is absolutely fine,” Furukawa-san confirmed. I for one was absolutely melting, so credit where credit’s due to K’s Trading for building a totally useable, reliable and beautiful motor.
In a world where so many people buy cars as projects just to be the first person to modify them with the latest trends – only then to sell them for the next big thing – it’s refreshing to meet people like Furukawa-san who build their cars to keep. Maybe it’s more of a classic car thing, where owners have kept their cars for over the 10-year mark, and during that time they’ve been refined so thoroughly that they become truly special and truly connected to their custodians.
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