Home Automobile Throwback Thursday: Kato-san’s Liberty Stroll x Mizuno Works Kenmeri

Throwback Thursday: Kato-san’s Liberty Stroll x Mizuno Works Kenmeri

Throwback Thursday: Kato-san’s Liberty Stroll x Mizuno Works Kenmeri


2024 Intro

This time subsequent week, a number of the most well-known names in Japanese efficiency and {custom} automobile tradition will likely be placing the ultimate touches on their 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon cubicles and the brand new demo vehicles inside them. For the previous decade, Liberty Stroll’s TAS sales space has consistently been probably the most talked about, and we don’t must inform you why. And if Kato-san’s newest social put up is something to go by, LB Works is certainly maintaining traditions in 2024.

Ten years in the past on the 2014 present, it wasn’t a supercar that piqued Dino’s curiosity – it was a GC111 Nissan Skyline. Particularly, the Liberty Stroll x Mizuno Works Kenmeri. From what we are able to inform, the Skyline will likely be again at TAS subsequent week, however this time as a part of a particular collaboration that solely its coloration might trace at. With that in thoughts, for this week’s Throwback Thursday put up we’re revisiting Dino’s function on his choose of essentially the most fascinating automobile at Tokyo Auto Salon 2014.


2014 Function

I like Kato-san at Liberty Stroll. He’s my type of automobile man. This can be a man that has labored laborious to create a model that over the past couple of years has had everybody all over the world speaking. He meddles with perfection, he does the unthinkable to supercars, issues that anger uptight purists in a quite passable method. Give it some thought this manner: how boring would the automobile world be with out characters like Kato? I salute him for his braveness and respect the enjoyment he will get out of it. In spite of everything, life is brief. We should always get pleasure from doing the issues we do, proper?

However away from the mainstream, away from the works-style supercar factor that has introduced Liberty Stroll a lot press recently, there may be one other aspect to Kato that I like much more. Whereas the remainder of the web salivates over the slammed Ferrari 458s that Liberty Stroll dropped at TAS this yr, I really feel an ideal must take you off on a tangent and focus on what, for my part, was one in all, if not the most fascinating automobile on the Tokyo Auto Salon this yr, and one I averted concerning an excessive amount of in my present protection. I assumed it’d be way more acceptable to move right down to the outskirts of Nagoya the place Liberty Stroll is situated and dedicate an acceptable period of time to Kato’s newest private mission.


The LBW x Mizuno Works Kenmeri is a GC111 Skyline that mixes substance with type and is spiced up with an unquestionably Kato-ish form of aptitude. Japanese traditional vehicles like these are all the time fascinating to me as a result of they are often constructed, tuned and restored in quite a lot of methods and sometimes are a direct reflection of the proprietor’s character and style. Very like the supercars that LBW builds for its prospects, Kato’s kyusha assortment might upset those who consider the period-correct, factory-perfect look is the one one to go for. Whereas I consider essentially the most sought-after restricted version vehicles do want to remain inventory or near it, what the hell is flawed with having a little bit of enjoyable with extra run-of-the-mill fashions? This GC111 Kenmeri wasn’t a uncommon KPGC110 2000GT-R in its earlier life, so Kato didn’t suppose twice about going full out and making use of an ideal mixture of yanki type and efficiency, creating one hell of a press release.


The Skyline was inbuilt collaboration with legendary kyusha restorer and engine builder, Mizuno Works, who took the prepped and stripped chassis and actually went to city on it. Unique Mizuno Works overfenders have been bolted immediately on to the freshly painted exterior which was lined in a number of layers of ‘Ice blue pearl’ a {custom} pastel blue blended with blue flakes that assist give the classic surfaces a really distinctive form of depth.


Rear overfenders adopted too – the widest ones that Mizuno Works supplied, as they needed to prolong over the custom-built metal wheels that Kato selected for his automobile.


Ryo-san from Liberty and I spent quite a lot of time loading the Kenmeri on and off the transporter to get it to my chosen shoot location, so I can affirm simply how low this rattling automobile sits: exactly 5mm off the bottom, which makes it one huge headache to maneuver round. This form of experience top is achieved by operating particular Mizuno 92 short-stroke dampers at every nook with rigorously chosen springs which are nothing wanting rock laborious to ensure the automobile doesn’t self destruct itself over minor floor imperfections. This automobile is at the moment set low for present in the mean time however since its foremost use will likely be round monitor and exhibitions, I doubt Kato has any plans to set the experience top any greater.


Persevering with on the seems to be, you’ll discover that all of it consists of a only a few easy touches, beginning off with the painted bumper and bucktooth lip spoiler up entrance. The entrance grille has been gutted out, the headlights given the must-have yanki tilt that’s so typical of the deliquent sub-culture and an exterior oil cooler slapped onto the entrance – that must-have, vital trace again to the Hakosukas and different home classics that used to race in these lengthy and gruelling Fuji endurance races within the seventies.


There aren’t any fender-mounted mirrors right here, however quite a set of extra flowing Vitaloni gadgets, color-matched to the remainder of the physique.


Transfer on to the rear and the Mizuno Works three-piece ducktail spoiler serves up an abrupt finish to the Kenmeri’s flowing seventies silhouette.


I additionally thought it solid essentially the most badass shadow I’ve seen!


That simplicity ends as quickly as you swing round and take a gander at that rear finish. The entire rear part has been smoothed over, shaved, rendered bumper-less – no matter you need to name it – a real kaido racer form of contact that offers that must-have bosozoku really feel to any form of kyusha! Rotated Nissan Cherry tail lights are the one addition; there isn’t even a recess for the license plate. That’s unlawful for any road automobile, so one more well mannered approach to present the center finger to the authorities – half of the rationale these form of vehicles are constructed within the first place.


Getting a automobile like this to take a seat excellent is as vital as the small print themselves; there have to be a ridiculous form of experience top. Examine. A good quantity of unfavorable camber is an absolute should. Examine. The fenders flares should swing down over the tire’s sidewall in direction of the protruding lip of the wheels. Once more, test. For added bonus, it’s a must to run the widest attainable wheels which as I discussed already is completed with a set of custom-widened 14-inch steelies measuring an enormous 13 inches throughout the rear and 10 inches on the entrance. It’s near unimaginable to seek out the precise form of rubber to attain the precise form of look so like on Kato’s different kyusha rides, the Kenmeri runs classic Advan race tires.


Sure there are many cracks as a consequence of age and the plain stretching that has been executed, however that’s simply one thing it’s a must to be ready to take care of for the precise form of look.


Mix all the particulars above and you don’t have anything wanting shakotan perfection; a low-slung, fear-inducing, menacing creation which you simply can’t assist however stare at.


And that’s exactly what I did: a number of staring, and plenty of capturing in an try to get all of these particulars.


Like all of Kato’s classic vehicles, the Kenmeri wears the Liberty Stroll emblem on the windscreen, written in a mixture of Hiragana and Katakana characters, but it surely was the little black on white sticker beneath it that I used to be extra considering. Mizuno Works is one title that’s extremely revered on this scene; everybody is aware of about them and the superior work they do, so there was positively no extra ready. I HAD to pop the hood.

Powered By Mizuno Works


Yep, it’s laborious to be dissatisfied when you’ve a view like this ready for you!


Kato actually had Mizuno Works go to city on the L28 that the GC111 runs. The motor was stripped down, taken utterly aside and subjected to a whole overhaul and rebuild which noticed it spiced up – a bit understatement there – alongside the best way.


At its coronary heart is an all-new backside finish based mostly round an extended stroke LD28 crank, I-section connecting rods and cast AS Watanabe 89.25 mm cast pistons. Mixed, this enables the capability to develop by 300 cc to three.1L, additionally operating greater compression. A substantial amount of work has gone into the highest finish which has been hand polished to spice up stream within the combustion chamber, in addition to the consumption and exhaust ports. An Engine Works 77-degree camshaft actuates the Kameari Engine Works outsized valves, 46mm for the consumption and 38mm on the exhaust aspect.


Offering the mandatory mixture of air and gas are a triplet of Mikuni 44 mm carburettors mated to appropriately chosen velocity stacks, tuned to provide trade-off between low-end torque and response, and outright top-end energy. On the facility aspect of issues, the automobile hasn’t actually been placed on the dyno, but it surely’s not unusual for these form of Mizuno Works absolutely constructed, stroked L28s to run round 100hp per liter.


How concerning the exhaust I hear you ask? Nicely there isn’t a lot there… but! For now there’s only a non-brand set of chrome steel headers mated to, effectively, no exhaust. So sure it is vitally loud and really obnoxious, however in an excellent method in case you get my drift. Customized headers – or takohashi as they’re referred to as in Japanese slang (octopus legs) – are on their approach to being fabricated together with an exhaust system to assist quieten down the eardrum-shattering straight-six sound.


Ensuring every cylinder combusts all of its air and gas combination as cleanly and effectively as attainable, an Extremely MDI unit has been added to extend the spark depth the NGK plugs present.


As the unique Nissan chassis plate suggests, this inventory C-GC111 Skyline two-door was powered by an L20 straight-six, not essentially the most potent of engines offering round 130 PS (128.2hp) regardless of providing the standard, raspy straight-six wail synonymous with all classic Skylines.


So it appears Kato has made certain that the bespoke shakotan kyusha exterior is matched by ample energy, offered by a motor constructed by nothing wanting a legendary store.


As you’ll be able to see above, the shakotan time period is well-deserved, as a result of as I discussed earlier, there’s not more than 5mm clearance supplied by the bottom level beneath the automobile. However seems to be and efficiency apart, there’s one ultimate space that Kato has executed to perfection.

The Proper Type Of Particulars


The inside. Swing open the heavy metal doorways and also you reveal a cabin that fantastically combines an genuine stripped classic racer really feel with simply the precise form of touches.


Take the period-correct Datsun competitors steering wheel, the one ‘deal with (because the Japanese name it) that this form of automobile would, and ought to be outfitted with. It’s a contact of perfection in what’s an in the end minimalist form of cabin, stripped out of the necessity to dump as a lot weight as attainable however on the similar time assume the identical form of qualities that seventies Japanese race vehicles had again within the day.


That’s why you discover aluminium sheet overlaying areas the place inventory manufacturing facility trim has been eliminated, just like the door playing cards, parcel shelf and the whole sprint panel.


There truthfully isn’t a lot to take a look at, bar some well-selected bits of analogue instrumentation like this Kameari Engine Works gas strain gauge on the {custom} heart console, serving to Kato regulate a reasonably important engine parameter.


The inventory instrumentation has been eradicated, as a substitute a easy set of 4 Omori gauges that begin off with the principle unit, the tachometer sitting in heart place proper behind the steering wheel. The revs are actually the one factor Kato has to fret about, as there’s no speedo to distract consideration. On the left, three extra Omori clocks give correct readings of oil temperature and strain, in addition to water temperature.


The Liberty Stroll Kenmeri wouldn’t be a correct yanki kyusha if it didn’t have just a few particulars to set it aside from extra authentically constructed, period-correct classics, and one such element is certainly the Mizuno Works half cage, painted in a quite contrasting shade of yellow.


Any Nissan fanatic lusts after a set of unique Datsun sport seats and so they’re exactly the seats that Kato went for, ticking all the precise bins in terms of authenticity and the precise form of search for these type of vehicles. The addition of a Carrozzeria headunit and a pair of parcel shelf audio system would possibly look barely misplaced but it surely’s all a part of the look and elegance.


It’s laborious to justify vehicles like this to an viewers that isn’t predominantly Japanese. Even the vast majority of Japanese individuals don’t get the shakotan factor, however there’s nothing to actually ‘get’. It’s a method of retaining an outdated type alive; a name again to the seventies and the beginning of Japanese motorsports all coupled to an underground method of doing issues. You don’t just like the look or outcome? That’s okay, Kato and others which are into these form of vehicles couldn’t care much less; all they need is to get pleasure from their vehicles in their very own distinctive method. And to me there’s nothing flawed with that, simply as there’s nothing flawed with bolting overfenders onto Ferraris and Lamborghinis. Name it the Liberty Stroll method…


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