There may not have been a GT-R version of the sixth-generation Nissan Skyline, but it hardly shied away from racing. The Dear Super Silhouette Skyline It made a name for itself on circuits in Japan, and the lovely RS Turbo – with its two-tone factory paint job and large gold decals – hardly hid its sporting intentions. Butch Cassidy’s self-approval certainly contributed to the perception of this performance.
It’s no secret that Paul Newman was an accomplished professional racing driver in addition to being a legendary actor. What I didn’t know until today – thanks to the wonderful Instagram page Japanese Racing Cars – Thanks to Bob Sharp’s association with Datsun through the SCCA outfit, Newman used a confident smile to boost Skyline sales in Japan. And it pushed!
“R30” Skyline It was launched in 1981, but thanks to Nissan’s sly TV and print advertising campaigns, the Japanese public knew it as the “Newman Skyline.” There was even a “Paul Newman Version” of the R30. Wikipedia tells us that it was indeed a GT-ES Turbo done up with the racer-turned-actor’s signature decals and patterns.
Japanese Racing Cars reminds us that Newman drove a very similar Skyline Masahiro Hasemi’s heroic group 5 silhouette chassis in a place shot at Daytona. It was certainly not the same car, but a copy. From the post:
Despite the similarities to the original Skyline Super Silhouette entered by Nissan/Hasemi Sport in the Super Silhouette races from Japan, the analog that Paul drove for the ads was simply a replica built by Nissan ostensibly for the event.
So this post busts another myth that Paul Newman “shared” his R30 Super Silhouette wheel with Masahiro Hasemi between 1982/1983. In fact, Hasemi-san didn’t share his monster with anyone, and Paul drove a copy for promotional purposes.
What Newman’s doppelgänger actually looked like:
Here is one of the commercials in which he was featured. At the very end it appears:
It is obvious that “awesome” The R30 is close to Hasemi’s competitive counterpart, but still intimidating. In particular, the “Paul Newman” sticker completely dominates the leg-deep splitter. Remember, these were the days of blurry, colorless CRT TVs, and come hell or high water, Nissan wasn’t going to leave any doubt as to who its celebrity was behind the wheel.
Likewise, print ads are absolutely delicious. Due to Internet Law, I can’t post them in this post, but you can check a few out for yourself here and here. Why not stop as you move through this digital plane? JRC’s Instagram page and follow them? I don’t subscribe to many IG accounts except for friends and family and they are one of a select few.
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