Archive for January 21st, 2011

On the 17th of January, 2011.  Mr. Sakurai passed away of heart failure aged 81.  Were it not for this man, who knows what the Skyline range would have ended up as or with.  He was primarily responsible for the Skyline pre and post merger with Nissan.

桜井 眞一郎 (さくらい しんいちろう、1929年4月3日 - 2011年1月17日)

Hired by Prince Motor Company in 1951, he was part of the Skyline range and development from it’s very inception all the way through post merger to it’s more modern shapes (R30/31), post that he became head of the design and development area of Nissan, known as Autech.

Outside of his Skyline children.  Mr. Sakurai was also involved in the development of the “R” series of race cars of the 60′s and 70′s, known as the R380, R381, R382  & R383.  It was likely this involvement that set the Skyline on the path from family sedan to sports sedan with the desire to take the sedan to the race track and the later fitting of the S20 engine and huge successes of the Skyline on the track.


Since the early 1990′s, “the Great Race” has been less than great, a mere raindrop of it’s previous lake like form.  For you see, back in the early days a multitude of classes, manufacturers, cars and cultures were allowed to race against each-other.  Though the race nowadays (and for some time) has been at Mt. Panorama in Bathurst, it’s origins and indeed it’s first three runnings took place at Phillip Island under the name of the “Armstrong 500″.  In 1962 you could find these lovely Citroens, racing against Studebaker Larks and other such steeds.

Citroen's taking off at the grid.

Though initially left eating the dust of the competitors, a Citroen went on to take 3rd in Class A, behind a Studebaker Lark, a Zephyr but ahead of a Valiant.   (more…)