Nissan A680X

1966 Model


Nissan had just seen the Prince Motor Company win Japan's most prestigious race, the Japanese Grand Prix, using their Prince R380 race car. Nissan had done well in the race, comfortably winning in the class they had entered, but in the race to outright victory Prince had comprehensively beaten them. With all this activity going in in the opposition camps it was no wonder that Nissan decided that they too needed a racing prototype.

Like the others, Nissan knew little about building a racing prototype. Prince had acknowledged their own lack of experience in racing chassis design and instead decided to purchase a Brabham BT8 chassis on which to base their car, which was hugely successful for them. Nissan instead decided to stick with what they knew and instead based their car, which was to be known as the Nissan A680X, on the chassis of the Datsun Fairlady sports car. The Fairlady had a great chassis with excellent torsional strength, though in reality it was no match for a Brabham space frame chassis.

 Much of the design work was carried out by a Nissan engineer called Noguchi Takashi. When designing the body he called on the help of a Nissan designer called Kazuo Kimura, who had come up with the concept for the Nissan Silvia, and had helped design the car. Aerodynamic testing was pretty primative back then and there were no wind tunnels. Takashi and Kimura instead used hydraulic testing, which sounds impressive but actually only involved pushing scale models through the water to gauge resistance. The end result ended up looking like one of those Alpha kit cars that you add to a Datsun 240Z to make it look like a Ferrari 250GTO. The body of the A680X would be constructed entirely of fibreglass.

 Meanwhile, outside help had been called upon for the engine, and the engine was going to be something quite radical. Yamaha in the 1960s, and even still today, do a lot of engineering consultance work for other companies. Nissan had used their services in the past, with Yamaha doing anything from little jobs like designing the soft top frame for the Datsun Fairlady right up to complex things like building the Nissan Silvia prototype. At the time Yamaha were hard at work designing a new overhead cam six cylinder engine for Nissan, which would be used in the next generation Nissan Cedric. The engine they were working on would be known as the L20, and later versions of this engine would power most of Nissan's range for the next two decades. Nissan asked Yamaha to develop a twin cam cylinder head that could be adapted to the L20 engine for their race car, and the resulting engine was called the Nissan B680X.

The B680X engine was a 1998cc double overhead cam, four valve per cylinder engine with three 42DCOE Weber carburettors, two spark plugs per cylinder and two distributors. The engine produced an impressive 190hp at 6400rpm, though was still short of the 200hp the Prince R380 had. Details about the twin distributor set-up are sketchy, but from what I understand it was some sort of attempt at a crude variable timing design.

 The car was ready for testing by early 1966. At the Fuji Speedway the car clocked the full 6km version of the circuit in two minutes and eight seconds. The promising thing was that this was a full two seconds faster than Toyota had managed to achieve with their new 2000GT, the bad news was that this was still three seconds off the pace of the Prince R380. Nissan continued to develop the car until it was announced that the Nissan Motor Company and their rivals at the Prince Motor Company were going to merge. It made no sense to continue developing a car that was clearly slower than the Prince R380, especially when the Prince name was about to be dropped and the R380 was soon to be wearing Nissan badges.

 Nissan still found themselves with a rather potent engine that was sitting in a Fairlady chassis. Rather than let this go to waste the engine was fitted to a Fairlady race car that was to be known as the Fairlady S. This car only raced once and was never seen again.


1966 Nissan A680X Specifications

Length - unknown
Width - unknown
Height - unknown
Wheelbase - 2280mm
Weight - unknown
Top speed - unknown
Transmission - unknown

Engine Specifications

Model - B680X
DOHC 6 Cylinder
Capacity - 1998cc
Bore & Stroke - 78x69.7mm
Power - 190hp@6400rpm
Torque - unknown
Compression - unknown
Carburettors - triple 42DCOE Weber
Final Drive - unknown

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