Under the imposing shadow of Mount Fuji, a greatest hits album has been recorded – the 19th in as many years.
For nearly two decades, thousands of faithful petrolheads have made the pilgrimage to Japan’s Fuji International Speedway, to celebrate the best of Nissan with like-minded Nismo fans.
Much like the VW fest in Worthesee, the Nismo Festival is an event for the true disciples – if you don’t know your RB20 from your RB26, you might want to swot up before trying to bluff your way through a conversation.
That’s not to say it’s an ultra-exclusive enclave, populated by hard-nosed anoraks who’ll give you a rough time for mistaking an R382 for an R381. Far from it – it’s a celebration of all things Nissan, from late ’60s V12 racers to Jukes and fire-breathing GT-Rs to Micras. Really. If you love cars, especially those made in Yokohama, you’ll get along just fine.
For those not up to speed on Nismo, it’s a portmanteau of ‘Nissan’ and ‘Motorsport’. And that’s basically a clue as to what the lads at Nismo are all about.
Responsible for the most celebrated road cars in Nissan’s back catalogue – the GT-R Nismos – as well as the R390 GT1 and GT500 racers, Nismo is to Nissan what AMG is to Mercedes-Benz. But Nissan has a very different relationship than Mercedes when it comes to its road cars; Nissan has an inextricable relationship with aftermarket tuners. Unsurprisingly, then, the Nismo Festival is also the stomping ground for a surfeit of aftermarket tuners, each a name in their own right (in the right circles, that is) – Bride, Trust, Enkei and Greddy.
If you’re thinking about going, next year’s event will be the 20th anniversary, and likely the biggest party Nissan’s put on to date. For now, admire these famous (and sometimes forgotten) treasures from Nissan’s back catalogue. While it’s hard to look past the racing brutes of yesteryear, there were more than enough examples of desirable modern metal to keep us entertained. What’s your favourite?
Words: Craig Jamieson