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This particular racing version of Uncommon Rides was made attainable by the Infiniti Q50 First Drive occasion in Nashville, Tennessee, which additionally offered the supply materials for this Q50 evaluate and this Q60 Image Time. Our Uncommon Trip right this moment additionally occurs to be my 100th contribution to TTAC. Time flies!

Let’s have slightly take a look at some Japanese racing royalty, beginning with some historical past.

Image: 1966 Prince R380, image © Corey Lewis

The Prince Motor Firm was a short-lived Japanese producer, producing vehicles from 1954 till its merger with Nissan in 1966. The corporate started life as an airplane producer in World Conflict II: the Takichawa Plane Firm.

Specializing in luxurious vehicles, Prince based the Skyline and Gloria strains. Two extra lasting nameplates, the Homy van and the Laurel sedan, had been Prince designs that went into the Nissan merger unfinished and got here out the opposite aspect as Nissan automobiles. Filtered down by the years, the Nissan Gloria would arrive in North America as the unique Infiniti M (ultimately the Q70), and the Skyline because the Infiniti G (ultimately Q50/Q60).

Image: 1966 Prince R380, image © Corey Lewis

This R380 was the primary (and solely) try by Prince to create a purpose-built race automobile. Growth began after modified Prince Skyline fashions had been defeated by mid-engine Porsche 904s on the 1964 Japanese Grand Prix.

Image: 1966 Prince R380, image © Corey Lewis

Underneath the rear hatch lies a 2.Zero-liter inline-six engine. The engine used right here was the identical as in Skyline manufacturing fashions, however reworked to supply a whopping 200 horsepower for race obligation. The modified Skyline engine mated to a British Hewland five-speed handbook transmission. Hewland continues to be in enterprise, making transmissions for race collection right this moment.

Image: 1966 Prince R380, image © Corey Lewis

Manufacturing of the R380 would happen between 1965 and 1968. Sadly for Prince, the first yr of manufacturing netted solely disappointment — the Japanese Grand Prix was cancelled for 1965. As an alternative of racing, Prince used the R380’s downtime to check high-speed aerodynamics and break some velocity data.

Image: 1966 Prince R380, image © Corey Lewis

The Japanese Grand Prix returned in 1966, and Prince was prepared with 4 R380 examples. These vehicles captured first and second place, besting even the newly designed trio of Porsche 906 fashions.

Image: 1966 Prince R380, image © Corey Lewis

Nissan took over Prince that very same yr, and for 1967 reworked the automobile into the R380-II. However these revisions weren’t sufficient to beat advances made by Porsche that yr, and Nissan positioned second, third, fourth, and sixth place. Porsche received by a margin of two full minutes.

Nissan continued on to make a number of racing successors by 1980, all traced again to this authentic Prince R380. Some Prince construction and affect remained in place at Nissan for a number of years, as properly. Within the Japanese market, Nissan maintained a dealership line referred to as the Nissan Prince Retailer. The road was ultimately consolidated into Nissan Blue Stage, although not till 1999.

So lengthy, Prince.

[Images © Corey Lewis/The Truth About Cars]

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