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Classic Motorsports "top 10" Japanese Race Cars of all time!


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tell you what Alan and Alpha, you can add to this post. Who would you choose?! I will put together a poll with a mixture of your suggestions and my suggestions..

I will tell you that I am NOT a student of the international Datsun scene so other than Big Sam I dont know who you would want to include.

Feel free to chime in and add something instead of complaining. What I listed was MY list, and are MY choices. Feel free to add yours.

Ron

Ron,

This thread seems to have very little in common with its title now. And that's not a complaint, that's an observation.

In view of the fact that the thread has turned into a plea for Nissan's participation in / sponsorship of an American 'historic' car event, I came up with the following:

OK, here's a list of TEN cars. All of them are currently owned by Nissan and NISMO in Japan, and all of them are in running order and can be demonstrated at something close to full racing speed on a race track.

They would need to be brought over from Japan to the USA along with a skeleton staff of mechanics and spares to run them, but I would not have thought that this was an unsurmountable problem logistically or financially.

They might need two or three Japanese drivers that are familiar with them too. I would choose Moto Kitano and Haruto Yanagida, as between them they have driven the majority of these cars either in period, or at Japanese events within the last few years. These two are part of Nissan's racing heritage ( whether they like it or not ) and ought to be interviewed by a few English-speaking journalists before they forget more than they remember......

*R380-II - GR8 engine - 1967.

*R381 - Chevrolet V8 engine - 1968.

*R382 - GRX-3 V12 engine - 1969.

*Skyline GT-R ( KPGC10 ) - S20 engine - 1971.

*Cherry X-1 ( KPE10 ) - A12 engine - 1973.

*Sunny Excellent ( KPB110 ) - LZ14 engine - 1973.

*Fairlady 240ZR ( HS30 ) - LY28 engine - 1973.

*Skyline Super-Silhouette - ( KDR30 ) - LZ20B engine - 1983.

*NP35 - VRT35 NA V12 DOHC engine - 1992.

*Group A Calsonic Skyline GT-R ( BNR32 ) - RB26DETT engine - 1993.

Now, who wouldn't want to see that group fired up and driven hard?

This is not my "Dream Team" by any means; I could easily come up with a list of over 100 Japanese race cars that I would like to see driven hard on a race track once again - but 95% of them don't exist any more. The remaining 5% still exist but are not all in full running / racing order. That list would only start to approach the title of this thread, and it would be fun to discuss - but I'm trying to be practical here.

The above ten cars COULD be sent virtually anywhere in the world to be demonstrated. Probably too late for the Mitty, but people need to be lobbying NOW for events two or three years in the future. Many of the major auto manufacturers in the world now participate in events such as these, and do it as a part of their advertising and promotions budget. The current regime at Nissan need to do it too. Even one or two special ( rarely seen / historic ) cars would be better than nothing, and would generate many column inches of free coverage that would otherwise have to be paid for. Nissan are still struggling internally over matters such as these ( and they still don't have a proper museum in their homeland ) but they need to catch up with their peers and the time to start is now.

Alan T.

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Well!

Her Majesty barked a little? Sorry guys. I'll stuff a sock in her muffler.

The presentation that will be made in Dallas from the Florida Z Association will be Daytona, the first week of October 2007. If the ZCCA approves of our plans and budget, we'll be cranking. I'm director of the car show and our plan is to hold it in the garage area of Daytona International Speedway. Come to the Dallas convention and meet our group.

Just in the United States, Nissan holds an outstanding racing record and Daytona is no exception to the winning streak. For example:

the 1990 IMSA GTP champion ZX-T GTP/Electramotive

the 1991 Daytona 24-hour 2nd place finisher R90CK

the 1992 Daytona 24-hour winner R91CP driven by Hasemi, Hoshino, and Suzuki

the 1994 Daytona 24-hour winner 300ZX Cunningham

These would have to be considered for the list.

Chris

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Chris,

Daytona, FL first week in Oct. 2007! Count me in! Let me know if you need any volunteer help. I'd be glad to help take pics. Make sure you get Ron's BRE 240Z there too. I bet Greg Ira (gira) would display/run his EP 240Z. He and the car are in FL. Guy Marvin has a real nice ITS 240Z as well.

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R30 Super Silhouette in the states AND running?

Gosh I think I would just fall over backwards from the sight...

It was already pretty special to have the Mazda techs fire up and warm up one of the 787B at Laguna Seca Historics a couple years ago, but when later in the day Paul Frere took it out on the track for some demo laps... aaaahhhh

And then last year Toyota brought an old IMSA Celica, next to a couple year old JGTC Castrol Supra, and the '99 TS020 #3 car that should have won the race was it not for a flat tire. They brought them but they didn't run them. Still though any chance to marvel at the TS020 is a great day as far as I'm concerned... Unless there's really no "car guys" or "car gals" at the head of Nissan I also don't understand what's taking them so long to get on the Historic bandwagon outside of Japan.

How could a manufacturer NOT want to participate in the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Revival, or Monterey Historics if they were only going to do one event outside of their home country... Go figure... Someone copy this link and forward it to your friends that work at Nissan and let it hopefully go up the corporate chain to someone who cares too.

Heck, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think I heard a rumour that Honda was going to drag some of its historic racing cars out to its own booth for Monterey Historics '06... That would be pretty sweet as well. :)

-e

-e

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OK, here's a list of TEN cars. All of them are currently owned by Nissan and NISMO in Japan, and all of them are in running order and can be demonstrated at something close to full racing speed on a race track.

They would need to be brought over from Japan to the USA along with a skeleton staff of mechanics and spares to run them, but I would not have thought that this was an unsurmountable problem logistically or financially.

They might need two or three Japanese drivers that are familiar with them too. I would choose Moto Kitano and Haruto Yanagida, as between them they have driven the majority of these cars either in period, or at Japanese events within the last few years. These two are part of Nissan's racing heritage ( whether they like it or not ) and ought to be interviewed by a few English-speaking journalists before they forget more than they remember......

*R380-II - GR8 engine - 1967.

*R381 - Chevrolet V8 engine - 1968.

*R382 - GRX-3 V12 engine - 1969.

*Skyline GT-R ( KPGC10 ) - S20 engine - 1971.

*Cherry X-1 ( KPE10 ) - A12 engine - 1973.

*Sunny Excellent ( KPB110 ) - LZ14 engine - 1973.

*Fairlady 240ZR ( HS30 ) - LY28 engine - 1973.

*Skyline Super-Silhouette - ( KDR30 ) - LZ20B engine - 1983.

*NP35 - VRT35 NA V12 DOHC engine - 1992.

*Group A Calsonic Skyline GT-R ( BNR32 ) - RB26DETT engine - 1993

Sadly Nissan will not even haul the BRE 510 across the country, so I would not count on a contigency from Japan.

Alan, this is a great list of Nissan /Nismo cars. a brief explanation of their place in history for those of us who dont know would be apreciated. Upon receipt I will put the poll together.

The above ten cars COULD be sent virtually anywhere in the world to be demonstrated. Probably too late for the Mitty, but people need to be lobbying NOW for events two or three years in the future. Many of the major auto manufacturers in the world now participate in events such as these, and do it as a part of their advertising and promotions budget. The current regime at Nissan need to do it too. Even one or two special ( rarely seen / historic ) cars would be better than nothing, and would generate many column inches of free coverage that would otherwise have to be paid for. Nissan are still struggling internally over matters such as these ( and they still don't have a proper museum in their homeland ) but they need to catch up with their peers and the time to start is now.

Alan, very well put, Nissan is sadly behind the curve here. I dont know who can right the ship....

Knock it off with the bad karma. Mr K. will be at the 2007 convention because Chris Wenzel and eight other guys are busting their arse to see that it happens.

Your right, and I will....I agree 26th, Chris and his team are busting butt to make this happen, and I want to support them in any way possible. This is not the time or the place for this....

the 1990 IMSA GTP champion ZX-T GTP/Electramotive

the 1991 Daytona 24-hour 2nd place finisher R90CK

the 1992 Daytona 24-hour winner R91CP driven by Hasemi, Hoshino, and Suzuki

the 1994 Daytona 24-hour winner 300ZX Cunningham

Chris these will be added to the list as well, thanks for your input, hope to see you at the Mitty!

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I wouldn't be able to name 10 cars, but I would have thought the R32 Godzillas that appeared at Bathurst some years ago would be up amongst that list somewhere.

They were winning so easily they were banned.. LOL

Alan, I'd be interested in learning more about the cars you mentioned as well.

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Alan, this is a great list of Nissan /Nismo cars. a brief explanation of their place in history for those of us who dont know would be apreciated. Upon receipt I will put the poll together.

OK Ron, here is my list again - this time to follow up with photos and brief explanations:

*R380-II - GR8 engine - 1967.

*R381 - Chevrolet V8 engine - 1968.

*R382 - GRX-3 V12 engine - 1969.

*Skyline GT-R ( KPGC10 ) - S20 engine - 1971.

*Cherry X-1 ( KPE10 ) - A12 engine - 1973.

*Sunny Excellent ( KPB110 ) - LZ14 engine - 1973.

*Fairlady 240ZR ( HS30 ) - LY28 engine - 1973.

*Skyline Super-Silhouette - ( KDR30 ) - LZ20B engine - 1983.

*NP35 - VRT35 NA V12 DOHC engine - 1992.

*Group A Calsonic Skyline GT-R ( BNR32 ) - RB26DETT engine - 1993.

First photo is the recently-refurbed Nissan R380-II pictured at the last NISMO Festival, which took place in December 2005 at Fuji Speedway in Japan. This car is claimed to be the actual car that set a great number of international speed records at Yatabe in 1967 ( the second record-breaking run for the R380 at Yatabe ).

Second is the also recently-refurbed Nissan R381, again pictured at the 2005 NISMO Festival. This car is the 1968 Japan Grand Prix winner, and the innovative twin-pitching 'active' rear wing is fully functional.

Third up is the Nissan R382, which was rebuilt a couple of years ago. This car is the 1969 Japan Grand Prix winner. The 6-litre GRX-3 V12 DOHC engine had to be built up from several display engines that had not run for over thirty five years.

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Next group:

Nissan Cherry X-1 ( KPE10 ) - this car competed in the 'TS' race of the 1973 Japan Grand Prix meeting. Its A12 4-cylinder OHV engine was a low-tech 'screamer', and the TS races were where Nissan duked it out with their rivals at Toyota.

Nissan Sunny Excellent ( KPB110 ) - this car was the winner of the 'TS' class race at the 1973 Japan Grand Prix meeting. Its 16-valve DOHC LZ14 engine was essentially a Formula Pacific race engine, producing 200ps on Nissan's 'ECGI' injection setup at over 10,000 rpm. Again, this class was the arena where Nissan fought their battles with Toyota - winning hearts and minds on the race track in the hope of winning sales in the showroom.

Fairlady 240ZR ( HS30 ) 1973 - this car has a slightly mysterious history, but was built as a full 'Works' Group 4 'aerodynamic' race car in-period. It ended up as one of the Nissan Racing School fleet of pensioned-off race cars and then sat in NISMO's collection for many years. A few years ago it was restored by NISMO, and it features many trick original Works parts - such as its 'LY28' SOHC crossflow engine. The car is painted to replicate a famous livery used by the Works cars in period. Now usually driven at NISMO events by arch exponent of the S30-series Works circuit race cars Mr Haruto Yanagida ( of 'Central 20' renown ) who still drives with verve and excellent speed.

Skyline Super-Silhouette - ( KDR30 ) Tomica / Hasemi Motorsport - this car should need no introduction. Built for the short-lived 'Super Silhouette' formula in 1982/83 - this car dominated the series. Its LZ20B engine was turbocharged to produce 570ps and a distinctly on/off nature ( whilst spurting huge flames from its side muffler outlet )that led to the necessity of a unique driving style from pilot Masahiro Hasemi.

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Next:

Nissan NP35 - this closed-roof sports car was built in-house at NISMO for the 1992 JSPC. Its 3.5 litre normally-aspirated VRT35 V12 DOHC engine produced 630ps at over 12,000 rpm is a joy to hear on song. I selected this car because it is unique, it is running and active, and I think it is absolutely beautiful.

Killing two Skylines with one stone: The KPGC10 Skyline GT-R was the model that brought the majority of wins in the GT-R's famous '50 Victories'. I think it needs very little explanation here, and surely an American ( or Australian, NZ, European, British..... ) audience would love to hear a race-tuned S20 engine on song? I don't suggest any particular car here, as privateers in Japan have some of the cleanest and fastest examples that are still active.

The CALSONIC-sponsored Group A Nissan Skyline GT-R needs no intro here either. The CALSONIC-liveried cars were always the hottest Works entries with the latest updates and the most powerful engines. They also had - arguably - Nissan's hottest drivers at the wheel. They won so many races that the series had to have its rules changed. I watched these things make RS500 Cosworth Sierras and BMW M3s look like pedal cars at tracks like FISCO, Sugo, Tsukuba and Suzuka. They still look fast today. The CALSONIC-liveried cars are probably the most readily recognised, but the TAISAN / STP and Reebok liveried cars ran close, along with a gaggle of others.

Not forgetting the 'Winfield' sponsored examples in Australia either.

Again - as I have tried to make clear - the list I made consists of cars that COULD be taken anywhere in the world and run with little problem. Totally academic considering Nissan's intransigence, but a practical suggestion nonetheless........

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I wouldn't be able to name 10 cars, but I would have thought the R32 Godzillas that appeared at Bathurst some years ago would be up amongst that list somewhere.

They were winning so easily they were banned.. LOL

Dont forget where the skyline racing started in Australia. Glen Seatons R31 skyline which took on the other group 1 touring cars (including holden V8's ) with its 4 cylinder fj20 turbo.

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I'm glad to see you post pictures of your favorites.
I'm surprised that you haven't included a "works" rally car!

As I mentioned before, this is not my personal all-time 'Top 10'. In fact, I don't think any of the particular cars I posted would be in my all-time top ten of Japanese race cars.......

The list is intended as a practical suggestion for vehicles that are of historic interest, currently running, owned by either Nissan or NISMO in Japan, and could feasibly be taken anywhere in the world to be demonstrated.

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Awesome information Alan. It never ceases to amaze me that these cars still exist and are run every now and then in Japan. Amaze is probably not the right word.... more like, ecstatic! For now, I can only hope Nissan Australia does something with the Winfield Skylines next year with the release of the new GT-R. Somehow I doubt it though. They wouldn't even let me park my 240Z next to the 350Z at the entrance of the hotel at it's official debut... "A Datsun?"

Your comment about none of the aforementioned cars being in your top ten list makes me curious. Not even the R380-II? I realise I am going way off-"topic" here... but if you are not too busy I am sure I'm not the only one who would love to hear your impractical list :)

Thankyou too Ron for letting this be a constructive thread. I wish you luck with your talks with Nissan.

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Chris,

Daytona, FL first week in Oct. 2007! Count me in! Let me know if you need any volunteer help. I'd be glad to help take pics. Make sure you get Ron's BRE 240Z there too. I bet Greg Ira (gira) would display/run his EP 240Z. He and the car are in FL. Guy Marvin has a real nice ITS 240Z as well.

Chris, PM me with the proposed dates for '07. Thanks
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Thankyou too Ron for letting this be a constructive thread. I wish you luck with your talks with Nissan.

Absolutely! The point is for everyone to share their opinion.

One of the editors of Classic Motorsports Magazine (the title sponsor of the Mitty) asked a few of us to post on the boards to determine what are the 10 best Japanese race cars of all time. I am sure when he sent this around that he was referring to cars that could be found in the USA as they are looking to put that group of cars together for the mitty.(a little late but better than not at all).

But for my own knowledge I wanted to know what is out there and a more global opinion. Which Alan and a few others provided.

Regardless, I will forward the choices on the poll to Bill McDonald at CMM.

And perhaps find a way to get to the Mitty afterall...

R

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