Spent a fascinating couple of hours the other day with some mates at Nissan’s Heritage Car Collection in Japan. Tucked away inside this anonymous factory building within Nissan’s Zama factory, this is one of the best alternative car museums you’ll ever come across.
Actually, it’s not much of a museum at all, really, but row upon row of cars all neatly parked up inside this giant hangar of a building, cars stretching out as far as the eye can see. As you walk in, the first sound you hear is that of your jaw hitting the deck. See it for the first time, or even the fifth time, and you will be gobsmacked.
Imagine line after line of Skyline GT-Rs, Z cars, Silvias, race and rally machines, pre-war Datsuns, concept cars, fire trucks, Nissan one-offs and more…much, much more.
There’s some 400 cars, all ‘as they were,’ so this is no precious, brand-orchestrated, designer display of Nissan’s back catalogue, but a refreshing down-to-earth array of some great and beguiling Japanese cars.
Recently smartened up and moved to a new building, the Nissan Collection covers a broad canvas, from the familiar to curios you’ve never heard of (electric-powered Infiniti Q45 convertible for sumo wrestlers, anyone?).
The competition section is just fabulous: all those Le Mans Group C cars, the many thunderous Skyline GT-Rs, David Leslie’s BTCC Primera etc. There are rally cars galore, too, including Nissan’s Safari and Monte winners. And those 1960s Japanese Can Am cars from Prince and Nissan look sooooo cool.
Okay, so Nissan’s produced its fair share of dross over the years and, if the collection seems a bit short on 100A Sunnys and Cherrys, here’s a bit of news: it’s ultimately the aim to have an example of every car Nissan has ever made. Imagine that.