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Saturday, October 30, 2021

Remembered the Nissan GT-R Godzilla ancestor

~The Godzilla Ancestor~This is one of the first Japanese-made racing prototypes after the World War 2 ended. The racing car which became known as the Prince (Nissan) R380 was initially developed by Prince Motors, Ltd. before being merged with Nissan Motor Company, and it could be said also, that the car is the ancestor of today's Nissan Skyline GT-R aka 'Godzilla'.
The original Prince (Nissan) R380 A-I with racing livery No.11 driven by Yoshikazu Sunakothat won its first race of the 3rd Japan GP at Fuji Speedway in 1966. (Picture from: Wikipedia)
As mentioned before, this race car was purposely made by Prince Motors following the defeat of its new S54 Skyline GTs powered by a G-7 straight-6 engine at the second Japanese Grand Prix held in 1964 from the Porsche 904 race car. After some major improvements were made, so Prince Motors launched the R380 with increasingly fierce performance, as the result at the third Japanese GP in 1966, the car was able to beat the defending champion Porsche 904.
The original Prince (Nissan) R380 A-I is powered by a mid-mounted 4-valve GR8 DOHC engine, which is a newly engine designed based on the G7 OHC at the time. (Picture from: Wikipedia)
All of that thanks to the Shinichiro Sakurai's magical hands touches, so that the car was so fierce while on the racing circuit. He is a brilliant engineer who initially worked for Prince Motors then moved to Nissan in 1966 (after Prince Motors was mergered with Nissan Motor Company) and is famous for the engineering of the Nissan Skyline generations.
The 1967 Nissan R380 A-II (in pictured as a speed test car) which for the aerodynamic factors has a total of 80 mm more length than the standard ones with body cover made of fiber-reinforced polymers (FRP). (Picture from: Pen-Online)
The original R380 racing car bodywork is aluminum-made, and mounted on the steel tubular frame structure similar to the Brabham BT8, and then is powered by a mid-mounted 4-valve GR8 DOHC engine, which is a newly engine designed based on the G7 OHC. Besides being known as the first Japanese racing car to use an aluminum bodywork, the R380 was equipped with double wishbone suspension on all its 4 wheels which was the most advanced technology at that time.
The 1967 Nissan R380 A-II (in pictured as a speed test car) bodywork is aluminum-made, and mounted on the steel tubular frame structure similar to the Brabham BT8. (Picture from: Pen-Online)
Unfortunately, the Japanese Grand Prix in 1965 was postponed, so Prince Motors switched to make a speed record in the Yatabe test track by using those racing car in October. At that time, the prepared Prince R380 A-I was managed to set the best time that surpassed the international record in its fourth attemps. But the car's achievement was remained set to be a domestic record considering that the Yatabe test track had not been officially recognized by the FIA.
The 1967 Nissan R380 A-II (in pictured as a speed test car) has a simple cockpit and functionally laid out of the operating system and instruments. (Picture from: Pen-Online)
This does not necessarily reduce the determination of the Prince Motors's crews to bring their R380 to be a champion. Then, it was like the wish came true, the R380 managed to beat the Porsche 906 and Toyota 2000GT at the third Japan Grand Prix in 1966, not one but two R380s managed to reach the finish line as the 1st and 2nd winner.
The 1967 Nissan R380 A-II (in pictured as a speed test car) featured much needed aerodynamic improvements, utilizing a much lower and sleeker bodystyle copied from rivals Porsche plus the gullwing-style doors which hinged upward. (Picture from: Pen-Online)
The R380 continued to be developed even after Prince Motors merged with Nissan in August 1966, and becoming a Nissan R380 A-II upgraded type in 1967. Although it lost in the race to the Porsche 906 at the Japanese Grand Prix that year, the car tried again to set the speed records. At the time, the Nissan R380 A-II managed to set seven international records at the Yatabe track which have been officially recognized by the FIA.
It doesn't stop there, in addition to the Nissan R380 A-III type with improved engines continue to play an active role in the racing circuit, this Japanese manufacturer continues to develop the R380 racing cars using larger engines, such as the 5.5L on the Nissan R381 variant of the 1968 and then the 6L on the Nissan R382 variant of the 1969 which also brought victory to Nissan. And all of that played out until the Japanese auto company stopped racing under the prototype engines in 1970. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | NISSAN-GLOBAL | PEN-ONLINE | WIKIPEDIA | DRIVETRIBE ]
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