It’s been a little over a year since we had the chance to visit Nissan’s Yokohama headquarters. The relatively new glass and steel tower was opened in 2009, replacing the long-standing Ginza HQ in the heart of Tokyo. While, like most automaker showrooms in Japan, the main focus is on newer cars, Nissan does a fairly good job of putting its history on display.
The building itself sits right on the edge of Yokohama port. It’s easily accessible from Yokohama Station, just a seven-minute walk away. Simply look for the giant “NISSAN” logo on top of the building as you head southeast.
On March 3, a special section was set up to commemorate the passing of Yutaka Katayama, who passed away in February. A Datsun Fairlady 1600 roadster and a Bluebird 510 were brought out from Nissan’s Zama collection to pay tribute to a man Nissan described as a lifelong ambassador of the brand, while a video interview with him played on a loop in the background.
Though he is known mostly to Americans as an advocate of the 240Z, as we mentioned earlier this week Mr K’s dedication to motorsports was second to none. His support of American racers as early as the 1960s, with the Fairlady roadster and the Datsun 510, made Nissan what it is today, thus the cars commemorating his passing hold a special significance. The special display will continue until March 31.
Also on display from the Nissan Heritage Collection was one its more recent additions, a 1969 Tateguro Gloria Super Deluxe. Complementing the L20-powered Gloria already in the collection, this high-spec model sports the same Prince 2.0L G7 straight-six that powers the Skyline GT under its hood.
Complementing the Gloria was a 1966 H130 Nissan Cedric Special Six. The pair marks the last time these twins were distinct models before they were combined into a single platform after the Nissan-Prince merger. These will be on display until March 27.
If you need a more futuristic vehicle, one capable of eschewing fossil fuels and fighting space aliens, Nissan offers a Leaf outfitted with laser beams from Ultraman Galaxy S series. If for some reason you are dying to see this car in person, you have until the end of the month.
Looking at the Nissan Eporo, it would seem that the future is already here. The robots are programmed with collision avoidance self-driving technology that will soon be on all cars. Each Eporo can communicate with the others, and as such they can move together in close formation and around obstacles like a school of fish. The Eporos are part of an ongoing display.
From the very new to the very old, a display of Nissan badges past, arranged in order starting with a leaping hare hood ornament off the prow of a 1935 Datsun Type 14. These emblems are also part of the permanent display.
More historic pieces are shown in the form of pistons from the legendary Nissan S20 engine that powered the original Skyline GT-R and Fairlady Z432.
To celebrate Nissan’s return to Le Mans this year with the GT-R LM NISMO, a replica of the R390 GT1 that finished third at Circuit de la Sarthe in 1998. Nissan has about three of these, so we’re not sure if this is the same one that was hanging at the NISMO headquarters last year. This too will be displayed until month’s end.
Because one Godzilla isn’t enough, the showroom also houses a fleet of brand spanking new R35 GT-Rs. There are Jukes, Notes and Cubes too, of course, but the prevalence of everyman models often makes us forget that Nissan is still cranking out phenomenal machines after all these years. If you ever find yourself in Yokohama, the gallery is definitely worth a look.
Too bad they don’t have an RL411 as the transition to the 510 SSS for the Production Sedan Road Racer series! The USA team wanted to compete in this series as practice before the introduction of the 519 SSS so convinced Yokohama to cooperate with Gardena to figure out how to cram the 311 Roadster 1600 cc engine into the 411 chassis so as not to totaly embarse the USA Datsun race team! I love the result!
The Zama collection is missing a lot of US-market stuff, understandably, but what you describe is something the Nissan USA collection should really have.
They do now! In 2016 Nissan USA at the JCCS showed a beautiful pristine RL411 that they had acquired in 2015.
Looks like a visit that’s worthwhile. I do miss the location of the old gallery though. It seems all the galleries and museums are headed out of downtown Tokyo. The Transport Museum moved out a few years ago too. The last time I went to the Tokyo gallery, they had an impressive line up of vintage racers from the sixties and one of the 210’s from the Australian Rally in 1958. I would love to see them in the new setting. Thanks for pointing out it’s vicinity to the train station.
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