| In 1966 the Prince Motor Company merged with the Nissan Motor
Company. From that moment on the Prince name would no longer be used. Prince
designers and engineers would continue to operate seperately within Nissan,
continuing on with their own projects, but from 1966 on all the old Prince
vehicles would be known as Nissans. Including the Prince R380 race car
The previous Prince R380 had been very successful, it had done what it
had set out to do, which was to win the Japanese Grand Prix outright, and
along the way it set several speed records as well. For the 1967 Japanese
Grand Prix many changes were made to the car, and the new car would be
known as the Nissan R380-II.
The body of the R380-II was completely changed from that
of the old R380. Again it was fitted with light weight alloy panelwork,
but the new model was a much sleeker and vastly more attractive vehicle
than before. With it's flowing lines it's new body looked more like a contemporary
McLaren rather than a Porsche.
Some mechanical modifications were made to the engine as
well. It continued to the the old Prince GR-8 engine from the R380, though
it's cam covers now said Nissan instead of Prince. The triple Weber carburettors
were removed and replaced with a mechanical fuel injection system. The
compression ratio was also increased from 11:1 to 11.9:1, all of which
increased it output from 200hp to 220hp.
Again a four car team of cars was entered in the Japanese
Grand Prix, but this time they were up against three Porsche 906 Carrara
6s. This time out it didn't end as well for the team, with a Porsche winning
and the R380-IIs coming in second, third, fourth and sixth.
They decided to take the car back to the Yatabe Test Track again to see
if they could beat some of the records set by the previous Prince R380.
The Nissan R380-II went on to beat the Japanese speed record and the world
E-class records set by the previous model. It covered 50km at an average
speed of 266.75kph, it covered 100km at an average of 264.57kph and it
covered 200km at an average speed of 261.88kph. It also set the record
for the greatest distance covered in an hour, which was 259.98km.
The speed record car was restored by Nismo in 2005, and is
regularly displayed at Nismo and Nissan events. The R380-II was replaced
by the Nissan R381 in 1968, which had a rather unusual engine of a Japanese