Nissan marks a half century of production of its sports saloon
25 April 2007

Nissan celebrated five decades of production of the Skyline saloon at a swish party in Tokyo yesterday. This 50th anniversary bash, staged at Tokyo Midtown, absolutely the most glamourous of megabuck Tokyo city developments, brought together Skylines old and new, as well as some of the men behind this Japanese sporting legend. Men such as Shinichiro Sakurai, the 78-year-old development chief for the original ALSI 1.5-litre Skyline (Japan’s first sports saloon) and Tatsuo Osawa, chief product specialist for today’s new V36 Skyline, a car that’s definitely big in Japan right now and selling well over target, gathered to celebrate. The party, held exactly 50 years to the day since the very first Prince Skyline was launched in April 1957, also saw the unveiling of the new V36 Skyline Coupe, essentially Japan’s version of the 2008 Infiniti G37 Coupe. This rear-drive, 3.7-litre coupe goes on sale in Japan later this year and is on track to be one of the first Infiniti models when Infiniti goes live in the UK in 2008.

Marking the occasion

Nissan is celebrating the Skyline’s five decades and twelve generations with a whole range of marketing events in Japan, but this party was chief among them. Actor Ken Watanabe was on hand (Letters from Iwo Jima, Memoirs of a Geisha and The Last Samurai) to help give the party some pizzazz. There’s even a new Skyline song (“I will be”), written by Japanese musician Joe Hisaishi, that features in the latest Skyline ads.Then came the masterstroke, a fashion show called the “Skyline GT Collection,” in which catwalk models dressed up in contemporary gear inspired by each Skyline generation, with music from each of the years (1957; 1963; 1968; 1972; 1977; 1981; 1985; 1989; 1993; 1998; 2001 and 2006) in tandem. So, to the sounds of The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Chic, Madonna and, err, Gilbert O’Sullivan and more, the girls, one by one, came out and strutted their stuff on stage. Meantime, outside, Nissan had also set up a big family line-up of classic Skylines. This exhibition stays open to the public until May 8.

Peter Nunn

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