Close up: Roadster Garage Hakoste

January 23, 2010 by  
Filed under Car Shows, Events, Latest Articles

Here’s a car that is certain to divide opinions. We mentioned it in a previous post but now, let’s have a little bit of a closer look at the controversial Nissan Hakoste.


One end is square, the middle is rounded and then we are back to square again at the rear. It looks like a shocking family car from America in the 70′s. All it would need is the fake wood pin stripes down the side and voila – Chevy Chases’ National Lampoon’s Hakoste.


Let’s take a closer look. While holding the best intentions, Roadster Garage have created one of the more confusing cars that I have come across in recent memory. I can understand Honda Odyssey headlights in the front end of an S13 Silvia and I can even easily comprehend RB26 twin turbo transplants in to 1970′s S30 Zed’s.


But stuffing a 1970′s front end on a 1990′s Stagea? That’s square peg into round hole material. After pondering the car for a few minutes, I looked over to find a group of Japanese exhibitors standing around on a smoke break, screwed up my face and slowly shook my head. One of them smiled and nodded in response. I shook my head again. Once more, he nodded. Then I said ” Zen zen wakkanai, sono kuruma.” ( I just don’t get that car at all. )


“Why?”, he asked. “It’s cool isn’t it?”

“It’s different”, I replied, “…but I don’t think it works. The Hakosuka is a box. The Stagea has modern lines. It makes no sense!”

He laughed and agreed with me. Aesthetically speaking, we both knew this car looks awkward.


I saw the car during my rounds at the 2010 TAS but didn’t really stop to take a closer look. It wasn’t until I was heading home and walked past one of the exits for the cars that I spotted it, sitting all by itself, waiting to be taken home. It struck me that it caught my attention that fast. My heart jumps when I see a Hakosuka ( lit. “Box Skyline” ) in the metal and my instant reaction was exactly that – I thought I was looking at a KPGC-10. The very next moment, I realized it was the “HakoSte” and yet, something curious drew me closer to it.


I wanted to get a better look. Perhaps it was the lighting… maybe it was nostalgia or it could even have been severe fatigue. Whatever it was, this car has drawn divided commentary since its conception, so instead of injecting this post with more of my own personal opinion, I’ll just pass on the shots!






Which way do you think the thumbs go when it comes to this car?

Text: Adam Zillin

Photos: Adam Zillin

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17 Responses to “Close up: Roadster Garage Hakoste”
  1. Justin Karow says:

    I don’t care what anyone says I like it :) I’d be happy to drive around in it for sure… that might have something to do with being based in Japan but regardless I think it just works. There’s a pretty angry engine under there too.

  2. Derek says:

    No info on the said engine?

    I would like an S20 please. I saw one at the event but I can’t remember what it was in…

  3. Adam Zillin says:

    Every time I look at this car it screams “Mitsuoka”.

  4. Section09 says:

    Saw it in person. It looks awesome. It’s cars like this that keep us coming back. Think about it, if this were another R34 front Stagea, we wouldn’t be talking about it.

  5. Freddy! says:

    Man..i like really looks nice..some pics where kind of iffy..but this sealed it fro me..Thanks 7tune!

  6. N/Aontherun says:

    I think if the tail lights were more flush it would look better. Maybe a set on dished old school ssr wheels or panasports :)

  7. N/Aontherun says:

    Comments Sub’ed

  8. Dima says:

    Hot wagon it’s cool ! And rare. I like it.

  9. I’m not a fan… It just doesn’t work for me.. I mean yeah, the front is kinda cool with the old hakosuka look, but the rear doesn’t go well with the rest of it at all. The chrome on the front looks cool, but the rear bits and rear lights kinda ruin it..

  10. Tevin says:

    i like the front end but the rear end doesn’t do it for me. how they kept the stock tails on and somehow put the Hakosuka taillights in, i don’t like. i’ve seen this a lot recently but what does the red slash through the license plate mean??

  11. Justin Karow says:

    Tevin: The red slash through the number plate means it’s a temporary numberplate. They last for only a few days (5 if I recall) and you are only allowed to (officially) drive around the area that’s stamped on the plate alongside and below the numbers. In my experience the police never bothered to check where my plates were registered from so it’s possible to drive anywhere with them within reason.

  12. Adam Zillin says:

    I have also needed them from time to time for… vehicular endeavors…

    The かり (temporary) number or “slash plates” can only be used on a temporary basis – usually around a week is fine but you need to specify the boundaries within which you will use the plates, i.e, from what where to where. I’ve never been stopped with these plates on and unless you’re doing something pretty reckless you can use them fairly liberally.

    The police do actually have better things to do than to stop people with slash plates, haha.

  13. LonePhantom says:

    I actually kind of dig it. The unfortunate part with it is the tail lights. They look like they were kind of rushed , compared to the rest of the conversion.

    very novel concept, and definitely not for everyone!

  14. Justin Karow says:

    I’m not quite sure how they could’ve done the tail lights any differently without major work. The tail gate shutline goes through the outermost light so bar smoothing over the gaps where possible I don’t know how they could improve on it. The chrome corner garnish on the bumper is a nice touch though.

  15. SteveN says:

    I love it.. it’s a shame the fabrication took a bit of a shortcut at the tail lights though :(

  16. leongsoon says:

    I like it! I like how they’ve managed to blend the lines, and the sculpting for the rear fender is gorgeous. Shame about the rear bumper and rear lamps though; leaving the original lamp markings is poor.

  17. LS1RX7owen says:

    the tail end of the car is a mess, they should have tried something different, what they ended up with just isnt cohesive at all. the front is fine, very unique idea and well executed I suppose.

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