Continued from; “Skyline History, Part 2.“
In the early 60′s, the Skyline was to take another path. Autumn of 1960 the Italian designer Giovanni Michelotti was asked by Prince, to design for them a Coupe for the Skyline range. The result was the BLRA-3 Prince Skyline Sport. This car became commercially available to the public in April of 1962. It was available in both Hardtop (R21A) and Convertible (R21B) forms.
The Sport ran the same GB4 engine and using the chassis of the BLSI-3, the wheelbase was identical to all previous models of Skyline but the shell was wider, longer, though obviously a sight shorter than it’s predecessors.
It used the same GB4 1900cc engine but compression was bumped up from 8.0 to 8.5, giving the Sport a scratch more ps and torque, to match it’s sleeker & faster appearance. It also made use of 15″ rims instead of the standard Skyline 14″ fare.
The Skyline Sport became more well known in recent times through it’s inclusion in the PlayStation “Gran Turismo” series, GT4 can see you taking the drivers seat in the BLRA-3, throwing on some aftermarket alloys and biffing it sideways around Tsukuba and many other International race-tracks.
This method of driving one is about as close as most people will ever get, on it’s release, the Skyline Sport was only for an exclusive number of wealthy people. Due to the commission of one of the periods most famous Italian Automotive Craftsmen, the hand made bodywork and interior leather also handformed in Italy. Were all contributing factors in the price of the Skyline Sport being far larger than that of other Japanese cars at the time and out of the reach of most.
September of 1962, the last of the 1st Generation cars was to be sold. The Skyline received yet another face-lift, the front appearance of the Skyline took a relatively dramatic turn from the previous models, one more modern and in line with other vehicles of the time. This new car was to be coded as the S21-4.
As was now typical with the Skyline range there was the Standard and Deluxe versions, though this time the Deluxe was re-badged as a “Super”. Other than the change in name everything that had taken place in previous versions was to be expected here again. The engine was changed and was now a G2, capacity and power remained the same but a 2BBL carburettor was used instead of the previous single barrel type. Despite an increased length and width, the new front treatment and change in engine resulted in a weight loss from previous versions, coming closer to what the original ALSI-1 series weighed. Having said that, the S21 was still a plump 1315kg.
Those familiar with Prince cars of the era will note a similarity or rather a shared feature with the S40 Prince Gloria of the time. The section between the bumper and the grille itself with five vertical bars was also used on the Gloria, though the Gloria’s bumpers were a lot more ornate than that of the Skyline.
The S21-4 was only on sale for one year, before in September of 1963 it was replaced by the S50 series. This drew to a close the 1st Generation of Skyline. 1st Gen. sales totalled close to 34,000 units and with more race focused things on Prince’s mind, things could only get better for the Skyline range.
What is also worth noting is that the 1st Generation of Skyline had both Wagon and Van versions (Wagon = 4doors, Van = 2doors). These vehicles were badged as the Skyway instead of Skyline. You can see examples of them in one of my previous entries; S21 Model Variants. What isn’t shown on those pages is that there was also a double cab utility option for the S21-4, as seen here;
I guess about here would be a good time to note that I am the owner of a 1963 Prince Skyline Super (S21D-4). This rare piece of motoring history came into my hands early this year, it was an opportunity I could not afford to miss even if the purchase of it meant a lack of finances available for my other Skyline of 1973 vintage which I’ve owned for several years now. Ah well, thems the breaks. As they say.
I’m sure most of you reading this would understand the taking of the opportunity whilst it was still there, here’s a couple of pictures of the car from when I first found out about it and went to look at it, when I picked it up, after I’d given it a minor cut to remove the oxidation.
Thankfully the car came with a bunch of spares, though I am still missing a few pieces. If you are reading this and can be of any assistance with parts, please leave a comment and I will get back to you ASAP. Thank-you in advance.
Thank-you for reading this far.