There’s something gloriously unpretentious about using a cold, unglamorous warehouse to display more than 400 vehicles from a car company’s impressive 78-year history.
The lock-up at Zama in Japan that’s home to Nissan’s greatest hits is essentially just a large indoor car park, but one that’s home to some absolute gems and real forgotten stars that define what Nissan is today.
This isn’t the glitzy hands-on experience of BMW Welt in Munich or Porsche’s museum in Zuffenhausen. The warehouse is about an hour’s drive from Tokyo and buried deep within an industrial estate. There’s not even a door, just a red metal shutter that’s only clue as to what may be behind it are the words ‘Nissan DNA Garage’.
When the shutter is pulled up, any enthusiast’s jaw that doesn’t hit the floor needs their head examining. To the left are some of the earliest Datsuns from the 1930s and to the right are the firm’s GT1 racing efforts. Straight ahead are racers from Japanese Super GT Skylines to BTCC-spec Primeras. In the distance is everything else, from K-car concepts to presidential saloons, rally cars to prototype racers and more Skylines than a Fast and Furious film.
Every car has a story, but of course there are a few models that really stand out. The gorgeous original 1961 Fairlady Z is one (the curator’s favourite, no less).