My Car Quest

January 28, 2022

The Nissan Prince R380 – A Winning Race Car

by Mike Gulett –

The Prince R380 was Japan’s first purpose built “pure racing car”. It was built in 1965 by Prince Motor Company to compete in the Japanese Grand Prix primarily against Porsche (the 904 and the 906). After Prince merged with Nissan Motors in 1966, the R380 was modified into the Nissan R380-II.

Prince R380

Photo by Nissan Motor Corporation

The R380 is a mid-engine layout and the chassis is based on a reinforced Brabham BT8 design imported from England. The engine, named the GR8 (inline-six, 2.0-liter capacity), was developed by Prince and eventually produced more than 247 horsepower.

Because of the cancellation of the Japanese Grand Prix in 1965, the R380 would be used to test high speed aerodynamics. This resulted in the R380 breaking five E-class land speed records in late 1965.

At the 1966 Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji Speedway, Prince would enter four R380s, and a trio of newer Porsche 906s would also be competing along with Toyota 2000GT and Jaguar. The R380s would take the overall victory, with Yoshikazu Sunako’s R380 ahead of Hideo Oishi’s second place R380.

The next year a Porsche 906 would win leaving the R380-IIs to settle for second, third, fourth, and sixth.

Nissan Prince R380-II

Not bad for a small company (Prince) developing their first mid-engined race car and coming out of nowhere to beat the mighty Porsche. They look great too, sort of Ferrari or Porsche like. But that’s fine the goal was to win races and they did that.

These are rare cars and I have never seen one in person. I have something else to look forward to.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Prince R380A-I Specifications

Overall length / width / height
3,930/1,580/1,035mm

Wheelbase
2,360mm

Tread (front/rear)
1,280/1,260mm

Curb weight
620kg

Engine
GR8 (6-cyl. in line 4-valve DOHC)

Engine displacement
1,996cc

Engine Max. power
Over 147kW(200PS) /8,400rpm

Engine Max. torque
Over 172Nm(17.5kgfm) /6,400rpm

Suspension (front/rear)
Double wishbone / Upper I arm, Lower reverse A arm, Double radius arm

Brakes (front/rear)
4-wheel Disc (Girling)

Tires
5.00L-15 / 6.00L-15 DUNLOP R7

Data supplied by Nissan Motor Corporation.

Nissan Prince R380

Summary
The Nissan Prince R380 - A Winning Race Car
Article Name
The Nissan Prince R380 - A Winning Race Car
Description
The Prince R380 was Japan's first purpose built "pure racing car". It was built in 1965 by Prince Motor Company to compete in the Japanese Grand Prix primarily against Porsche.
Author

Comments

  1. Wes Stewart says

    Cool. The second photo (red-white) appears to be the Nissan R380A-II.

    https://www.nissan-global.com/EN/HERITAGE/Nissan_R380-2.html

Speak Your Mind

*