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The R380 outside Japan

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While not exactly Z history, this relates to the Prince, then Nissan R380, and by association, the PS30 or Fairlady Z 432. The test bed for what would develop into the S20 engine. Original version was named the GR8. Original Prince R380 started as a Brabham BT8 chassis No.SC 9 1964. Records from 1993,(See here)indicate it is still retained by the original purchaser (Now Nissan?)

I believe the very successful trip to Surfers Paradise in 1969 by Nissan/Datsun with the R380 MkIII was the only foray outside japan for any of the R380 series.

The last four paragraphs of the last page sum it up. (Well DUuhh! Jim :stupid: )

Some early Datsun racing

Just a bit of historic trivia on the Nissan R381 open cockpit version that run and won the 1968 Japan GP. The developing V12 GRX engine was not going to be ready by race day, so the ever practical development team ordered a few Dean "MOON" as in SoCal "MOON equipped" built Chevy small blocks, prepped 'em... and stuck 'em in!...and won. I think that's cool!! :smoke:

The older R380 Mk III came in 3,4,5,.. with a 910 Porche in 2nd.

Well we've wandered well and truly off the Z path, but I hope you still find this entertaining ?! :)

Jim.

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Not really far off at all, Jim. If you study the development of the S30, you will eventually come to these cars and the racing program. "With the Prince merger confirmed, Nissan decided to cancel its own A680X sports racer project in favor of developing the Prince R380 still further"; Long, Datsun Z, 1998. This is Datsun's sports pedigree.

For those who wish to surf, the photo gallery has quite a few pictures of these cars in the Nissan museum.

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Hey thanks Chris,

I was looking at how we ended up with talk of how a hotrodded chevy small block out of Southern California fits in with the Z car story....hey! there it is!! wasn't Datsun California part of the skunkworks that dragged the 240Z into the world :P :stupid: ROFL

don't pay too much attention to me at the moment....trying to get over nightshift :sleep:

Jiiimm...zzzz

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I was unaware of the A680X Chris, but apparently this issue (dec.1995) of Nostalgia hero has some info on it. Anybody seen it? got it to share?

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I believe the very successful trip to Surfers Paradise in 1969 by Nissan/Datsun with the R380 MkIII was the only foray outside japan for any of the R380 series.

Hi Jim,

Nice links!

Nissan took R380-series race cars to South America and South Africa too.

I sent Lincoln Small some information and photos about the Brabham BT8 ( chassis no. SC-9 ) owned by Prince / Nissan, but he never acknowledged receipt and hasn't updated the pages for a long time.

Some relevant photos and info posted on this thread ( from around post no.50 onwards ) back in 2003: Nissan's collection of old cars

Don't fret about this subject being 'OT' Jim. It most certainly isn't.

Cheers,

Alan T.

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G'day again Alan,

I also was in contact with Lincoln Small re the first R380 and it's BT8 connection. I sent him a few quality pics. His last email said it was rumored 12 BT8 chassis' were sent to Prince Motors, but this could not be confirmed. His last email was Lincoln Small . My last contact was Feb. 2004.

South Africa you say? Interesting!

Was the R382 GRX V12 basically 2 S20s' grafted at the crank?..but 5.9 litre? I read Shinichiro Sakurai had a twin turbo version set up on a work bench!!

Is there any good info out there on the R383 or this earlier Nissan A680X project?

I think I can dig up a few more titbits on the 380 lineage, be a few days though.

Catch ya then eh?

Jim.

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Was the R382 GRX V12 basically 2 S20s' grafted at the crank?..but 5.9 litre? I read Shinichiro Sakurai had a twin turbo version set up on a work bench!!

Is there any good info out there on the R383 or this earlier Nissan A680X project?

Hi Jim,

The GR8 and GRX shared some design details ( especially in the cylinder head design ) but it is probably not fair to call the GRX anything other than a quite different design to the GR8. Of course, they were related.

Car Graphic released an excellent book on the R380-series racers in the 1980s. It has fold-out blueprint sections on the cars and engines, and is quite a production. They don't fit on my scanner......

The A680X - the great missing link! Here's a couple of pics from 1966:

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Thanks for those A680X pictures Alan. Anyone else besides me notice how the cowl panel, windscreen, and quarter windows all resemble a certain other Nissan vehicle (S30 if you need a hint).

Alan, do you suppose there is any direct relationship between this prototype and the S30 cars? Maybe its just me but I sure see a Fairlady in there. Look at how the A pillar comes down to the front wing. Its almost a dead ringer. The roof line is very similar too.

Missing link indeed!

Thanks,

Chris

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Before I read your post Chris, I thought the same thing, but didn't feel game enough to say it :nervous:

Thanks Alan, I've only seen a few pics of the V12 engines. I thought the Cam covers looked just like those of the S20. I don't think I have a pic of the GR8 out of a chassis, but what I could see didn't resemble anything else I've seen. The GR8 has a seperate cover for each cam?

Is that Car Graphic book available...hard to come by....or "forget it!" ?

Thanks for the pics of the A680X. I think they were lucky Sakurai came along :cheeky: !!

Jim.

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Alan you don't happen to have the ISBN of the Car Graphic book? I would love to get my hands on a copy - I have always loved the history behind the R380 and the prince engine developments. Only if I had an enless supply of $$ I can se the R380 (replica would do) next to my Z in the garage (and while I am dreaming how about a track car = R390)

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I'm glad others have noticed the striking similarity in design.

When I first noticed the thumbnails, the same thought went through my mind.

Any details on who designed this & was there any relationship to the S30 design team?

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I've only seen a few pics of the V12 engines. I thought the Cam covers looked just like those of the S20. I don't think I have a pic of the GR8 out of a chassis, but what I could see didn't resemble anything else I've seen. The GR8 has a seperate cover for each cam?

Some pics of a GRX engine taken on the Nissan display stand of the 1969 Tokyo Auto Show. See our 'little friend' in the background of the first shot - the Fairlady Z432-R:

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Alan you don't happen to have the ISBN of the Car Graphic book? I would love to get my hands on a copy

Hi Mike,

Sorry, it does not have an ISBN number....

It was published on 24th November 1979, and actually it was an AUTOSPORT magazine 'Bes-satsu' special publication ( not Car Graphic - my mistake ). You will have to search for it with Japanese vintage book dealers, or on net auctions.

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Alan, do you suppose there is any direct relationship between this prototype and the S30 cars? Maybe its just me but I sure see a Fairlady in there. Look at how the A pillar comes down to the front wing. Its almost a dead ringer. The roof line is very similar too.

Missing link indeed!

Thanks,

Chris

Before I read your post Chris, I thought the same thing, but didn't feel game enough to say it...
I'm glad others have noticed the striking similarity in design.

When I first noticed the thumbnails, the same thought went through my mind.

Any details on who designed this & was there any relationship to the S30 design team?

The A680X certainly deserves a whole new thread topic on its own.

I reckon you could argue it several different ways, both 'for' and 'against' influencing the design of the S30-series Z cars. What is without doubt is that the styling of the A680X was influenced by that of the Ferrari 275GTB, and that Matsuo has quoted the Ferrari as a design he was influenced by. Probably a case of everybody ( including other Italian design / styling houses ) looking at Pininfarina's styling of the 275GTB of 1964 and being affected by it.

I reckon that Matsuo must have known about the A680X and seen it, and would have been influenced by its existence one way or another ( whether he admits it or not ). I think its shape would certainly illustrate the 'zeitgeist' in car design at that point, and if you got a schoolboy anywhere in the world during 1965 & 1966 to draw a 'dream car' it might very well look like the Ferrari 274GTB.........

The A680X was being developed as a race special rather than a high volume production car, and you would have to say that in some respects it was already fairly old-fashioned by 1966. Nissan certainly went the right way when they absorbed PMC and the Prince R380 sports racer projects, and went the way of monocoques and rear engines.....

I don't know all that much about the car, but its mechanical spec was very interesting.

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Alan hit the nail on the head concerning Zeitgeist of design in the middle sixties. Several cars look very similar. I don't subscribe to any theory that any of these cars had anything to do with Matsuo's design. Let me show you some pictures.

First the common picture comparison including Alan's comment about the Ferrari.

Then two pictures - a Maserati and Model C-3 - both from 1966. Matsuo conveyed to me how shocked he was to see the Maserati and how similar it was to the models he was working on.

Finally, a Matsuo design sketch.

Sure there are similarities, but that is pretty much where it ends. Matsuo was influenced, of course, as any designer would be. However, there is no historical basis to conclude a specific derivation. Matsuo was not involved in any of the R380 work that was going on at the time. He was working within an independent studio. There is historical basis to show how the unique design identity of the S30 evolved.

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Err, so what engine did the R380 officially have guys ? I read that in the US some US engines were used, in South Africa ???, and in Japan ?

Can anyone give me the technical spec for the car please ?

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Sean,

The engine info is in this thread already....

R380 ( I ) & R380-II = GR8 engine

R381 ( temporary engine ) = Dean Moon-prepped SB Chevrolet V8

R381 ( finally perfected ) = Nissan GRX V12

R382 = Nissan GRX V12

R383 = Nissan GRX V12

A fair amount of pics and info in this thread :

Thread with Nissan R380 sports racer info

Note: Nissan raced the R380-series sports prototypes in Japan, Australia, S. America and South Africa, but never on mainland USA.

If you need any more specific info, let me know. I might have what you need.

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Mr T,

I'm looking for more in depth tech spec, eg a V12 but running what compression, dry sump etc..... and a tech spec of the car - suspension, brakes, dimensions incl weight etc.

The original request was for the R380 but that's in part because I only knew about that one !

I thought I read that the R380 did turn a wheel in the States (are we being finnicky here and saying "yes, but it never raced" ?) !

Sean

ps, Belated, but your pictures from Gama and Ginza and others' contribution to this thread are fabulous - a Z convention over there with a day in each 'museum' would be worth saving up for...!

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Hi Alan, you made two statements about R380 being raced in South Africa. I can not find any information on my - south African - side that could confirm that. It would only make sense for Nissan to enter those cars into "Springbok Series" or at last to compete in Kyalami 9h - like they did in 73 with Z cars. Could you please elaborate on your statement.

Thank you. Martin

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Hello Martin for the fourth year on a row we been racing in the Classic Spingbok Series in South Africa , I was at Zwartkops ( Pretoria ) and Killarney ( Cape Town ) for three weeks ago and we had a real good time for four years ,

Next year again , and i try to take my 240z down to race it .

Regards Ad Verkuijlen , www.va-motorsport.com www.va-motorsport.com

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