1997 Nissan R390 GT1 at Art Center Classic
The Art Center College of Design in the hills above the Rose Bowl in Pasadena hosts a car show of sorts known as the “Classic” each year. The Art Center staff, lead by Stuart Reed – the head of the Transportation Design department – selects a them and invites cars that reflect the theme. This is a unique show that has unique cars, a chance to mingle with alumni working as designers in the industry, and see the students and their work who will shape the future of transportation design.
Chassis001 will feature several of the cars and exhibits from the 2015 Classic, held on October 25.
Today’s feature? The 1997 Nissan R390 GT1 that ran at LeMans courtesy of the Nissan Heritage Collection. The project brought together iconic names like TWR (Tom Walkinshaw) and Ian Callum (of Aston Martin design fame). The regulations required a road car base, so unlike others who build the race car and reverse-engineered a road car, Nissan build the road car first. The car was not a success but is remembered fondly by sportscar racing enthusiasts. Of the three cars, only one was classified as a finisher (12th). #21 was driven by Martin Brundle, Jorg Muller and Wayne Taylor. It suffered a clutch problem and then an overheating gearbox oil cooler. In the early morning hours, Jorg Muller damaged the underside of the car running over curbs which added to the car’s problems and forced a retirement.