Summary of this week’s magazine contents:
1) R35 GT-R Story
This article reflects on how the GT-R Concept was showcased at the 2001 Tokyo Motor Show with almost no advance notice, its existence even a week before not having been made public. When shown, there was no word on the mechanicals underneath the silver skin, but served, in conjunction with Carlos Ghosn’s speech, to announce that the GT-R was back! And this time not as a Skyline grade, but as its own distinct model.
In his speech, Mr. Ghosn announced to the world, “that there are 3 letters known around the world G, T, R” – and that Nissan was developing the new GT-R, which would be sold around the world, would serve as Nissan’s manifestation of “driving pleasure” and finally would continue to strongly live on (note: sorry for the translation from the Japanese, I’m sure in the original English it sounded better).
As a “car guy” he had driven an R34 GT-R at test tracks and on the winding roads of Hakone, and at the same time, recognized that, due primarily to video games, the JDM market only Skyline GT-R was well known around the world – beginning with kids, then game freaks and then car fans. The new GT-R thus would have to be a world car that showcased Nissan’s technology and performance.
2) Mechanism and Factory
In developing the new GT-R, the concept of “Premium Midship Package” was created. This is not simply having a “front midship” engine and an independent rear mounted transaxle with electronic 4WD which resulted in ideal front and rear weight distribution; this really refers to the philosophy to which the R35 was developed.
In order to develop a world beating supercar, Mizuno-san, the man in charge of the car’s development, recognized that a car essentially does 3 things: it runs, it turns, and it stops, and that a car can do this because of friction between the tires and the asphalt. And how much force a tire can exert on the asphalt depends on how much weight is on that tire. With the proper amount of weight on each of the 4 tires, one gets world class control, speed and safety; without proper weight distribution a car’s rear will slide out during cornering, etc.
A car utilizes three forces when it is in motion: gravity, inertia, and aerodynamics (the power of the wind). The Premium Midship Package, by using these three forces to properly place the proper weight on the 4 tires, thus generates performance that has astounded the world.
3) Racing Legend
An unexpected test car is revealed at Nismo Festival 2007.
On December 2, 2007, the fans at the Nismo Festival were treated to the usual Fairlady Z-based GT500 racing cars…but then there was a surprise appearance by a carbon fiber monocoque bodied, unpainted R35 GT500 prototype driven by Nissan racing driver Motoyama. The car was announced to be in preparation for the 2008 season. Compared to the current Zs, and its rivals the SC430 and NSX, the GT-R was in a completely different league technically. Naturally, the crowd went wild. Having seen the new GT-R at the Tokyo Motor Show just weeks earlier, everyone was expecting Nissan to field GT-R race cars in Super GT racing, just not this quickly!
The Nismo Festival is an annual celebration for Nissan and motorsports fans. Started in 1997, it was originally a low budget event put on by Nismo employees. Since then it has involved into the grand spectacle it is today, feature current and former works drivers, and Nissan racing machines modern and legendary. Because of its beginning as a grass roots effort, to this day the Festival still has a “laid back” feel to it.
4) How to Build
This week: The Front Bumper.
Although evident from the pictures, we assemble the outer bumper, inner bumper fascia, the grill support, and both grills. Oh yes, and also the GT-R badge.
5) History of Nissan
This week: The Datsun Type 12 Phaeton
In 1911, the Kaishinsha company was established. After several name changes, in 1934 this became the Nissan Motor Company. One of the first cars produced was the “Dat” car, and then, in 1931, the “son of Dat” was released, although it was named “Datsun” – and became the representative Japanese small car.
There were 206 of these Type 12s produced in 1933. With a water cooled, 747cc 4 cylinder engine producing a maximum of 12ps at 3000 rpm, it had a top speed of 50 km/h. Competition was the Austin Seven. No license was necessary to drive at the time, and dealerships held driving lessons for the owner-drivers, primarily doctors and business owners, and with stylish advertising, Datsun helped to modernize the Japanese car industry.
Next Week: More R35 GT-R Story, and we assemble the right rear wheel.