Anyone who really knows their Nissan history will be aware of the “Zama Facility” more correctly known as the Nissan DNA Garage. Located in a huge warehouse in amongst all the major Nissan buildings of Yokohama is this secret location. Access is strictly by invitation only and certainly not one for private individuals or small groups.
After six GTROC organised tours to Japan we were kindly invited by Nissan to tour the facility. But, rather than just tour and report back, we were given full permission to take photos, open the cars, look inside and, within reason, make the most of every opportunity open to us. So how does a car club like the GTROC earn such a reward? And what is the Zama facility?
Since the GTROC was founded it has long established a reputation of working closely with Nissan while remaining independent. In that time we have been given many exclusives or received advance notice information. Members of the GTROC have also shown how they can be trusted with confidential information and all are ‘good to their word’; such as the recent MY2012 GT-R launch. Over 20 GTROC members went to these events in Germany and the UK and were given privileged access to information and asked not to repeat what they had heard until the official launch date some three weeks or so later. It was as expected that no invited GTROC member broke this promise despite some forums leaking information ahead of the agreed date. As a result of the respect the GTROC has shown Nissan over the years and because this was an officially organised tour, Nissan were happy to invite us to Zama and to see at first hand, up close all the cars of the Nissan DNA Garage.
Nissan Zama goes back to 1965 when Nissan set up its operations centre there. Back then it was building the Nissan Sunny and Nissan trucks. Now it is a very different place and in the middle of it all a huge warehouse facility with a very small front door and not much else. From the outside you would hardly know it’s there and even when inside the door it’s a very modest reception area and meeting room.
When we arrived we were met by the Facility Curator who looked after us for our visit. After a brief presentation we were shown through a small door. Stepping through it was perhaps the car equivalent of entering the Kingdom of Narnia or walking into the Temple of Artemis. Every car you had ever seen and wondered about on track flying the Nissan colours was there From Super GTs to Rallying Zeds, from Touring cars to Race cars and in amongst them just about every production and famous Nissan you could imagine. To say more would do the place an injustice, the best way to appreciate it is to look at the photos on the GTROC photowall: http://www.flickr.com/photos/71400214@N08/sets/72157629096723122/
The GTROC and those on the tour felt very privileged to have seen the DNA Garage and to take photos. We were also very pleased to be allowed to share them with members of the GTROC and others interested in this amazing facility. With the next tour planned already for 2013 perhaps it would be too much to ask Nissan if we can visit again, but you never know!