I won’t go into too much detail here regarding the history of Nissan Motorsport’s Datsun 160J SSS Turbo race cars… I’ll save that for a future post… but for now here’s a brief outline of the story. Nissan had been dabbling a little with turbo technology from the start of the 1970’s, and in 1974 it unveiled its wild, 300 horsepower LZ20B, Turbo powered Violet SSS (KP710 model). Unfortunately, the timing was pretty poor, as the fuel crisis had hit hard in Japan and it wasn’t really viable for Nissan to take its fire breathing, gas guzzling Violets racing in there. So the racers were shipped off to Malaysia, where they were entered into the Selangor Grand Prix, via Datsun importer Tan Chong and Sons. In the export markets the Nissan Violet was known as the Datsun 160J, so the cars were title and liveried accordingly…
After success in Malaysia, it would appear that the winning #123 car, was shipped back to Japan where it received a couple of new looks. First it re-appeared in 1975 wearing the red, white and blue livery, as seen above, before re-emerging again in 1979 sporting yellow Harada Racing colours, in the fledgling Fuji Super Silhouette championship. This was the Group 5 series that would eventually yield the now famous S110/S12 Silvia, 910 Bluebird and R30 Skyline Silhouette cars.
But what of the other car? Well, it’s known that car #120 in the Malaysia Grand prix was identical to car #123, but there was also another 160J, running under #121 which was entered in the improved production class with the other two, so it’s possible there were actually three 160J Turbos, but it’s still unclear at present. But getting back to the known cars… clearly #123 seems to have found its way back to its homeland, but since 1980, its whereabouts remains unknown.
But what about car #120? Here’s where the story gets very exciting! Car #120 lives! It remained in Malaysia with Tan Chong and Sons until the early 90’s when it was sold off. Thankfully, it is in the hands of a caring owner who knows just how unique and special it is. What’s more, its restoration is well underway. You can learn more about the car and follow the rebuild progress online at http://fcyap.blogspot.co.uk/
Car #120 is still wearing its original livery, albeit a little faded, and it is in remarkably good shape. The 16 valve twin cam LZ engine is still intact and the car looks to be complete. As a big fan of the KP710 model, I’m personally really looking forward to seeing how this amazing car progresses. Meanwhile, if you have any information on this car or any info or pictures of the 160J Turbos please get in touch with me or FC Yap via his blog.
Finally, if any of you Datsun fans think you’ve seen these cars before… well you probably have…. in the form of a 1/24 scale plastic model kit. Japanese kit maker Nichimo produced a model kit of the Violet Turbo when it first appeared and the kit has been re-released at least six times over the years in various guises, as both a race car and a street custom. The kit is still available in certain places online in it’s most recently released version, that of the original Malaysian Grand Prix car. You can see this and some of the other versions of the kit in the post I wrote about 710 kits back in 2008.