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November 30, 2015

A Walk Through Time: The Nissan Zama Heritage Collection (w/ 33 Photos)

Photos by Ulysses Ang
With a history spanning over 80 years, Nissan is currently the sixth largest automaker in the world and is home to some of the most iconic models ever made such as the Skyline GT-R, Fairlady Z, and Sylvia. With a name originating from “Nihon Sangyo” meaning Japan Industries, Nissan has a distinction of being one of the few automakers not named after its founder, a nod to its social responsibility.

Nissan started out in 1914 as the Kwaishinsha Motor Car Works which produced its first car three years later called DAT. DAT is the acronym of the company’s investors’ family names. As early as its founding, DAT proved to be a very global company with American engineer William R. Gorham working to bring cutting-edge auto making technology from the USA. Gorham is instrumental in making Nissan the first Japanese automaker to adopt the assembly line system.

The company named itself Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. in 1934.

Curating important cars and trucks spanning eight decades sounds like a monumental task, but it’s something that the company itself has taken to heart. It began in 1954 with a single car—the 1933 Datsun model 12 Phaeton. Today, the Nissan Zama Heritage Collection has over 450 cars including 114 racing and rally cars. However, due to limited space, only 350 or so are displayed at any given time. It’s impressive nonetheless given 70 percent of the collection is kept in drivable condition with specialists from NISMO and the Nissan Technical Center working to keep them running. And get this, one or two vehicles on the average actually join the Zama Heritage Collection on an annual basis with vehicles either donated by owners or purchased by Nissan themselves.

Getting to the Nissan Zama Heritage Collection isn’t for the faint of heart. Located in a nondescript warehouse that used to be a manufacturing plant, access isn’t that easy from any railway or bus station. In addition, they only open the collection a few times every month so it’s good to check before you attempt the journey.

Spending just 20 minutes strolling around the huge collection, here are some of the vehicles you can see there.

Getting to the Nissan Zama Heritage Collection:
  • By Car: 6.3 kilometers from the Yokohama-Machida Interchange on Tomei Expressway or 16.5 kilometers from Atsugi Interchange on Tomei Expressway.
  • By Train/Bus: Exit the west entrance of Minami-Rinkan Station on the Odakyu Enoshima Line. Take the Kanagawa Chuo Kotsu bus bound for “Nissan”, get off at Hibarigaoka 1-chome; continue on foot for seven minutes in the direction of travel.
  • If you can’t afford the trip, you can take a virtual one since Nissan has made roughly half of the collection available online.

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