Back in the day, when I was a young whippersnapper in Australia, my friends and I used to have dreams of owning a sweet import Japanese sports car so we could go drifting in the Dandenongs and pretend we were in some mountain drift racing group. We were fucking stupid, now that I think about it.
Years later the impulse towards suicidal driving is gone but the love of Japanese cars still remains. Cars like the Toyota Supra or MR-2, Mazda RX-7, Honda S2000 or NSX, Mitsubishi Evo, Subaru WRX, all such automobiles as to set the pulse racing with thoughts of irresponsible speeding and reckless endangerment of other motorists on the rubber-streaked roads of Melbourne, Victoria. High amongst them all though, were the offerings from Nissan: the turbocharged Silvia and the 180SX, the svelte Fairlady Z or best of all, the mighty Godzilla itself, the venerable GTR Skyline. The mere thought of owning such street machines was enough to bring a hotheaded youth to full tumescence. To us, Nissan was the company that made cool, fun, daring and above all, fast cars. Spotting that GTR badge on the dull streets of Melbourne was akin to seeing a mythical creature from a better plane of existence. To us in college, they what dreams were made of.
Fast forward 12 years or so and I live in Japan, the home of all these amazing cars. Now even though my enthusiasm for fast cars and irresponsible driving has waned a great deal in my recent years, it was still a thrill to be asked by Car Design News to do a photo spread on the Nissan Design Center located in Atsugi, near Tokyo. I mean, this place is where the magic happens – where car designs of the future will be born and turned into beloved motoring icons. Truly one of the highlights of my career thus far, although I was a little worried because the only rental car I could get was a Honda, which was a little embarrassing. I mean, it could have been entirely possible that they wouldn’t have let me drive a car from a rival company into the facility. A part of me wondered that they might have blown the Honda up on sight. Luckily no such totalitarian measures were in place and the 2 day photoshoot went off without a hitch, so please allow me to show you some of the photos from inside the Nissan Design Center!
Firstly of course we have some interior shots of the lobby and various other areas, just to give you a sense of the place:
Then we did the obligatory portraits of the various interesting people who work there – chief designers, executives and whatnot:
After all that was my personal favourite part of the photoshoot, which was seeing the designers craft a 1:1 prototype for a new car out of clay. In the photos below the car is actually of an Infiniti design, which I believe is a subsidiary of Nissan. Anyway, what a cool place to work, and not a bad place to photograph either! The sheer skill required for a team to carve out a hunk of clay by hand into the exact dimensions that the design dictates is absolutely mind boggling.
Well that’s it for today! Hope you have enjoyed another automobile-themed blog post from the archives, I’ll be back (hopefully) soon with the last of my car-related posts for now, and I’ve got a few random gear-related blog posts in the works as well! See you next time.