Now that Nissan CEO Mr. Bean has revived the Datsun brand, it’s probably appropriate that he visit the Zama warehouse, where the company’s legendary collection of 400-plus classic and racing vehicles are stored.
The Zama warehouse is just that — a warehouse. It’s not a museum, not open to the public, and the vehicles are maintained and restored by dedicated volunteers and retired Nissan employees. Many of them have long wished that Nissan’s head honchos would put these vehicles in a proper museum, but as of yet it’s been wishful thinking.
The video starts out by asking, “Who says nostalgia isn’t what it used to be?” but so far it’s been clear that Bean’s resurrection of Datsun has nothing to do with nostalgia and everything to do with making a quick buck in emerging markets. Ghosn’s visit and brief ride in a 1938 Datsun Type 17 gives those wishing for a museum a slight glimmer of hope, but even if nothing comes of it at least you can view some video footage of Nissan’s huge living archive.
I’m in need of clarification. Was Prince like the Infiniti of Nissan back in the day?
Prince was the Japanese auto manufacturer that Nissan bought over, so no 🙂
Prince Motors was one of Japan’s smaller automobile companies formed Post WW-II. An outgrowth of an earlier automobile company reformed after WW-II, The Tama Electric Car Company then later Tama Motors. Staffed with lots of younger Engineering talent, Prince was perhaps Japan’s most technologically innovative auto company by the mid 50’s to early 60’s.
In 1954 Tama Motors became Prince Motor Co. and by 1955 it would produce the first Skyline. With the consolidation of the Japanese Auto Industry in the early to mid 60’s, Prince Motor Co. would be merged into Nissan Motor Co. Ltd by 1966.
Quite a few inaccuracies there, Carl.
Prince Jidosha Kogyo was formed in November 1952, and was part of a bloodline that started with Tachikawa Hikoki ( Tachikawa Aircraft ), through Tokyo Denki Jidosha ( Tokyo Electric Car ) and Tama Denki Jidosha on the one side, and Nakajima Hikoki, Fuji Sangyo and Fuji Seimitsu Kogyo on the other. I think anyone who has an interest in the origins of PMC and the DNA of the company ( any Datsun / Nissan would surely be interested too ) would be well advised to look back to the aircraft manufacturing roots of the company rather than the well-intentioned by slightly unresolved Tama electric vehicles angle. Many of the original Prince Motor Co. staff ( including the company President ) were ex-Nakajima and Tachikawa employees.
Prince’s first Skylines – the ALSID-I and ALSIS-I models – were introduced in April 1957, rather than 1955.
Thanks Carl and Alan
Could be a “quick buck” move – on the other hand it could be the beginning of the establishment of a new wholly owned subsidiary of Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. much like Infiniti. If that is the case, Nissan could establish an entirely new Dealer Network of “DATSUN Dealers” here in the U.S. at some point in the future, without having to mix DATSUN with the existing NISSAN Dealers. The new Datsun Dealers could then compete with KIA/HYUNDI. Mixing SCION with the existing Toyota Dealers isn’t working out as well as Toyota had hoped here in the U.S.
I’m leaning toward quick buck. Mr. Bean is a shrewd businessman, not a car guy. There’s a decent documentary on Netflix called “Who killed the electric car?” It’s a good watch all around, but it also shows Ghosn’s personal demeanor and sheds light on his business model. I would put my money on him catering to the youthful hipster throw-away car market, building cube shaped vehicles and such.
I was born the year Datsun became defunct (totally unrelated, not my fault) and I would certainly love to see them reemerge to build really cool cars like the 510 and 240 in my period of existence.
Many of us DATSUN Enthusiast would love to see the DATSUN Brand along with its rich heritage returned to North America. It does seem to be a waist of the rich competition history, both on the Track and in the Showrooms, that the DATSUN brand represents – used to market sub $10K cars in emerging markets.
Agreed – Mr. Ghosn is all about “business” and indeed that is what he was brought into Nissian to address. Nonetheless he was a Z32 owner/driver before ever going to work for Nissan. So maybe there is a glimmer of hope there.
hmm.. (he’s thinking) how did they hide all these junk cars all these years in this expensive warehouse? well, i know what i’m going to do when i get back to the office..
Ninjas will take care of him if he makes a wrong move…
Ninjas? Or yakuza lolz. I dont care what make or what name it falls under. Make the cars and make them affordable and they will sell. Make ugly shitty cars and lose money. Simple really.
Enough bickering about things we can’t change. It was another rare glimpse inside the facility and I’m grateful we can even watch it. Does anyone know about the cars at 0:46? I see a Tama on the right and some Bluebird 210’s on the left halfway back. In the left foreground appear to be some sort of Prince truck… can anybody ID them? 🙂
And all these years I thought Mr. Bean only drove Minis. 🙁
always love to see Zama! I hope to go back one day!
Great to see the Datsun Legend him self, Carl Beck post in here.
….even if half of what he writes is wrong?
Ghoson is a nightmare that makes money..
Without Ghosn Nissan would not exist in the shape or form it does and right now Nissans reputation is as solid as it ever was. I don’t know him personally but at least he kept the boat afloat. Just ask Saab…