70s Datsuns set international records in Tokyo auction

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

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BHauction RECORD BHauction RECORD
BHauction Z432R BHauction Z432R
BHauction Z432R engine BHauction Z432R engine
BHauction Hakosuka BHauction Hakosuka
BHauction Kenmari front BHauction Kenmari front
BHauction Z432 BHauction Z432

The million-dollar Datsun and the record-breaking GT-R you’ve never heard of

Japan-based auction house, and purveyors of Japan’s finest hidden collector cars, BHauction held their Tokyo Terrada auction over the weekend.

The auction offered the most desirable classically collectible Europeans both old and new; from a 60s Ferrari 250 GTE and 1989 F40, as well as a Lamborghini Countach and even a couple of 80s F1 cars.

But it’s the obscure Japanese domestic hero cars that made the headlines, and absolutely shattered records.

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The headline was the AU$1,167,886 (JPY¥88,550,000) sale of an incredibly rare Datsun Z432R factory racer, of which Datsun is believed to have built between 30 and 50.

The Z432R name refers to the "race" version of the 240Z ‘Z432’, of which there were 420 produced. Its nomenclature refers to the four valves per cylinder, three Mikuni carburettors and dual overhead cam configuration of Datsun’s famous S20 inline-six engine; lifted from the original ‘Hakosuka’ GT-R Skyline of 1972, whose engine in turn was previously lifted straight out of Prince’s Grand Prix-winning R380 race car.

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The orange Z432R now holds the mantle of "the most valuable Datsun ever", by a country mile – outselling a stunning 1963 Ferrari 250 GTE (AU$595,032) and a 2006 Porsche Carrera GT (AU$725,650) in the very same auction.

The Z432R’s more pedestrian sibling, the (still, but slightly less, rare) Z432 sold for AU$214,755.

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The donor car for the rare 240Z’s engines also joined them at the auction; with a fully restored Datsun KPGC10 ‘Hakosuka’ Skyline GT-R selling for AU$446,870, well above its AU$300,000 top-end estimate.

READ NEXT: 1972 Datsun C10 'Hakosuka' Skyline GT-R Review

The Hakosuka GT-R was the birth of the fearsome nameplate, and has become an icon in recent years while the later R32 has been considered collectible for some time on local shores.

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Between the two however, there was another forgotten sibling; the KPGC110 Skyline GT-R. Colloquially known as the ‘Kenmeri’, Nissan debuted the car at the Tokyo Motor Show alongside a race-prepped concept car, making its motorsport intentions clear following the Hakosuka’s unprecedented 49-win streak in Japanese touring cars. However the Oil Crisis of 1973 forced production to end after just months, with just 197 road cars escaping the factory.

One of the 197 Kenmeri GT-Rs with just 43,460kms sold for an unheard-of price of $624,216.

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More modern Japanese collectibles have been quickly gaining in value around the world, as previously unaware western markets are becoming more appreciative of these cars’ unique motorsport provenance, world-leading engineering and rarity.

It seems local collectors in Japan have noticed the trend, and are perhaps looking to secure these incredibly rare gems as they increase in value.

We had a contact on the auction floor in Tokyo who observed that almost all the bidders were local Japanese collectors, with only two foreign bidders present. They also noted that BHauction (only established in 2017) is Japan’s first high-end auction house and has quickly established its network of buyers and sellers to interact in a more exciting and novel way.

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A pristine 1982 Ferrari 512 BBi still sold for a respectable AU$319,193, and a rare 1992 Porsche 911RS Clubsport fetched AU$326,550; but previously safe 'blue-chip' sales such as the 1989 Ferrari F40 and 1984 Lamborghini Countach LP5000S were left unsold by the auction’s close.

Are we entering a new age of Japanese collectibles? Recent trends certainly indicate as such.

 

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