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A look inside Nissan’s incredible secret motorsport HQ

TG was granted very special access to Nissan’s warehouse. And it was excellent

  1. “How much? That’s impossible to tell,” Nissan’s Kazuo Hioki laughs. TG has asked him to quantify the net worth of the cars stuffed inside a nondescript, secret warehouse in Zama, and he’s struggling to count.

    It’s impossible, but you get some idea from just one of the astonishing machines on display. The R390 GT1 car that took part at Le Mans in 1998, for example, is estimated to be valued at well over £1 million. Another, the original Skyline GT-R, is worth a stratospheric amount too.

    Zama of course, will ring a bell to anyone with a passing interest in Nissan’s history. It’s the heritage warehouse northwest of Yokohama in the Kanagawa prefecture that’s home to around 450 cars covering more than 80 years of Nissan’s road and racing heritage.

    It’s not open to the public, but Nissan has granted Top Gear very special access. “It opened in 2010,” Hioki-san tells us. “Before this warehouse, all the cars were just stored in car parks and the like. Probably not the best conditions – out in the open air – so we first moved inside the building across the street, and then here.”

    Photography: Rowan Horncastle

  2. A team of four mechanics look after the cars on a day to day basis, but they’re not started or run very frequently, only being moved for events and shows (like the recent Nismo festival). Hioki-san – who started his Nissan career way back in 1969 and was a former Nismo director – tells us it took around 40 years to build the collection of road cars, of which around 60 per cent were acquired through donations directly to Nissan.

    Donations from people like the royal family, and those who want their ancestry preserved. “We’ve had people come into our office saying, ‘my granddad used to own this car, so please look after it’, and we do,” he laughs. The motorsport stuff of course, belonged to Nissan anyway.

    It’s an astonishing setup, ranging from things like a 1933 Datsun 12 Phaeton, original GT-R, and even a Mid4 prototype. But it’s the racing machinery that’s the real show-stopper.

  3. “The most valuable of the racing cars has to be the 1992 Daytona winner,” Hioki-san explains. He points towards the beautiful R91CP. “But my personal favourite has to be the Primera racing car. That was my baby,” he smiles.

    “That, and of course, the R32 GT-R that won at Spa…” he trails off. That’s the blue ‘Calsonic’ car wheeled out at the Nismo festival, where it wasn’t so much being paraded to the Nismo fans, but rather hustled around Fuji Speedway on three wheels.

    We could go on for days recounting the excellent stuff on display, but we won’t. Rather, we’ll leave you to this gallery of Nissan’s classic racers.

  4. 1993 Skyline GT-R No. 12 ‘Calsonic’

    In-line 6cyl, 2,568cc, 542bhp, 361lb ft, ‘over 1,260kg’

  5. 1998 Skyline GT-R No. 23 ‘Pennzoil NISMO GT-R’

    In-line 6cyl, 2,708cc, ‘over 369bhp’, ‘over 521lb ft’, ‘over 1,200kg’

  6. 2002 Skyline GT-R No. 22 JGTC

    In-line 6cyl, 2,708cc, 454bhp, 506lb ft, ‘over 1,200kg’

  7. 1983 Bluebird Super Silhouette

    In-line 4cyl, 2,082cc, 562bhp, 398lb ft, 1,000kg

  8. 1983 Skyline Super Silhouette

    In-line 4cyl, 2,082cc, ‘over 562bhp’, ‘over 398lb ft’, 1005kg

  9. 1983 Silvia Super Silhouette

    In-line 4cyl, 2,082cc, ‘over 562bhp’, ‘over 398lb ft’, 1005kg

  10. 1999 R391 (Le Mans)

    V8, 4,997cc, ‘over 592bhp’, 900kg

  11. 1985 GTP ZX-Turbo (US IMSA GT Championship)

    V6, 2,966cc, ‘over 641bhp’, ‘over 506lb ft’, 860kg

  12. 1985 R85V (Le Mans)

    V6, 2,966cc, ‘over 671bhp’, ‘over 506lb ft’, 880kg

  13. 1988 R88C (Japanese & World Sports Car Championship)

    V8, 2966cc, ‘over 740bhp’, ‘over 542lb ft’, 850kg

  14. 1990 R90C (Japan Sports Prototype Championship)

    V8, 3,486cc, ‘over 789bhp’, ‘over 578lb ft’, 900kg

  15. 1991 R91CP (WEC, Daytona 24hrs)

    V8, 3,496cc, ‘over 671bhp’, ‘over 578lb ft’, 930kg

  16. 1992 R92CP (JSPC Series)

    V8, 3,496cc, ‘over 789bhp’, ‘over 578lb ft’, 900kg

  17. 1992 NP35 (JSPC)

    V12, 3,499cc, ‘over 621bhp’, ‘over 289lb ft’, 750kg

  18. 1998 R390 GT1 Road Car

    V8, 3,495cc, ‘over 345bhp’, ‘over 361lb ft’, 1,000kg

  19. 1997 R390 GT1 (Le Mans)

    V8, 3,495cc, ‘over 641bhp’, ‘over 506lb ft’, 1,000kg

  20. 1988 Skyline GTS-R

    In-Line 6cyl, 2,029cc, 395bhp, 304lb ft, 1,160kg

  21. 1973 Fairlady 240Z

    In-line 6cyl, 2,870cc, 296bhp, 232lb ft

  22. 1989 Skyline GTS-R (Japanese Touring Car Championship)

    In-line 6cyl, 2,029cc, ‘over 400bhp’, ‘over 300lb ft’

  23. 1993 STP Taisan Skyline GT-R

    In-line 6cyl, 2,568cc, 542bhp, 361lb ft, 1,260kg

  24. 1998 Skyline GT-R

    In-line 6cyl, 2,708cc, 493bhp, 521lb ft, 1,200kg

  25. 1993 Calsonic Skyline GT-R

    In-line 6cyl, 2,568cc, 542bhp, 361lb ft, 1,260kg

  26. 1976 Cherry FII Coupe

    In-line 4cyl, 1,298cc, 146bhp, 95lb ft, 785kg

  27. 1999 Skyline GT-R

    In-line 6cyl, 2,708cc, 493bhp, 506lb ft, 1,200kg

  28. 1972 Skyline H/T 2000GT-R

    In-line 6cyl, 1,989cc, 158bhp, 131lb ft, 1,145kg

  29. 1973 Datsun Sunny Excellent Coupe

    In-line 4cyl, 1,598cc, 197bhp, 775kg

  30. 1972 Datsun Sunny 1200 Coupe GX-5

    In-line 4cyl, 1,298cc, 143bhp, 373lb ft, 638kg

  31. 1977 Violet

    In-line 4cyl, 1,991cc, 197bhp, 156lb ft, 960kg

  32. 1964 Prince Skyline 2000GT

    In-line 6cyl, 1,988cc, 163bhp, 133lb ft, 990kg

  33. 1962 Datsun Fairlady 1500

    In-line 4cyl, 1,488cc, 79bhp, 87lb ft, 870kg

  34. 1995 Skyline GT-R

    In-line 6cyl, 2,568cc, ‘over 395bhp’, ‘over 352lb ft’, 1,150kg

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