Big things with little cars
Big things with little cars
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Samurai Sunday: Mizuno Works Skyline

Illustration for article titled Samurai Sunday: Mizuno Works Skyline

There are still people here who don’t really “get” this type of Japanse custom car. So it’s time to try and change that. What we have here is obviously a heavily customized Kenmeri Sklyine. But not just any old custom Skyline. This is modeled after a real car, which is owned by and was built for Wataru Kato - the owner of Liberty Walk. Now, their customs are not really my kind of thing. But Kato-san did not build this car. Instead he had this one built for him by Shintaro Mizuno - the owner of Mizuno Works.

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Illustration for article titled Samurai Sunday: Mizuno Works Skyline

The low-down of Mizuno Works is described in an excellent piece on Speed Hunters at this link. Do yourself a favour and read it.

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Illustration for article titled Samurai Sunday: Mizuno Works Skyline
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Now, if you build a custom car for a fellow customizer, you will have to do something special. And Mizuno delivered just that. For Kato-san’s build, they started by stripping the entire car apart and painting the Skyline its pastel blue pearl color. From there, in true “Works” style fashion, Mizuno Works supplied wide over-fenders that bolted directly to the body. Filling the arches, Kato-san opted to widen a set of 14" steelies. The fronts measure 10" wide while the rears are a whopping 13" wide! The Advan tires are perhaps the most insane part. The old race rubbers haven’t been manufactured in decades—you can notice the cracks on the rubber from their age and stretching. According to Kato-san, each tire is worth close to a $1k each today!

Illustration for article titled Samurai Sunday: Mizuno Works Skyline
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To complete the low and aggressive look, chassis upgrades came next. The suspension uses a custom set of Mizuno short-stroke dampers matched with springs as stiff as concrete. The camber was adjusted as negative as possible to give just enough clearance.”Enough” being a relative term here.

Illustration for article titled Samurai Sunday: Mizuno Works Skyline
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The rear has been completely smoothed and given the bumper-less look, while the trunk received a pronounced duckbill spoiler. Up front, you’ll notice a gutted front grille and slanted headlights—to the untrained eye you would think they’re crooked, but this is a style known as “yanki” that’s typical of some hard-core race builds in Japan, just like the external oil cooler.

Illustration for article titled Samurai Sunday: Mizuno Works Skyline
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A stock GC111 two-door Skyline comes out of the box with an L20 straight-six. Its 128 hp is nothing to brag about in today’s modern age, so Mizuno Works sourced an L28 and gave it all the tender love and care it needed. A fresh bottom end features a longer stroke LD28 crank, stronger rods, and forged AS Watanabe pistons. When all was said and done, Mizuno Works bumped up displacement to a true 3.1L with higher compression. The head was carefully ported and polished while a more aggressive cam was installed along with oversized valves from Kameari Engine Works. Mikuni 44mm carbs matched to velocity stacks allow for better airflow, resulting in more power and a wicked sound. Kato-san has yet to put the Skyline on the dyno, but Mizuno Works estimates the motor to be around 300 hp.

Illustration for article titled Samurai Sunday: Mizuno Works Skyline
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This is obviously a very different approach to customizing than what we are seeing in Western Culture. But then again, is it so different to what, say, Magnus Walker is doing? At the end of the day, a car like this is an expression of the owner’s and the builder’s personality. Based on what I am seeing, I reckon I like these guys.

Illustration for article titled Samurai Sunday: Mizuno Works Skyline
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The model is a 1/64 scale model from the Aoshima GranChan collection. And as you can see, it is spot on. Just beautiful.

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