One of Japan’s earliest racing cars, the Prince R380, will be shown by Infiniti at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
Japanese premium car manufacturer Infiniti is preparing to bring something special to the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance: the world’s only remaining Prince R380 racing car.
This Japanese racing car was built by the Prince Motor Company in 1965, and after taking several land speed records won the the 1966 Japanese Grand Prix – beating a trio of Porsche 906s in the process.
As a fairly new company – formed in 1989 – Infiniti doesn’t have too much of its own history to draw from. As the premium arm of Nissan, it can draw many parallels with Prince – generally regarded as the country’s first luxury car manufacturer. It was absorbed by Nissan in 1966. To celebrate this interesting company’s racing history, Infinity will display the R380 at this year’s Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in the Japanese Prototype class.
Prince developed this bespoke mid-engined racer following its narrow defeat at the Japanese Grand Prix in 1954. It was powered by a modified Prince Skyline GT in-line six-cylinder engine – producing around 200bhp – and a five-speed racing transmission.
Four R380s were built in 1955, and although used for high-speed testing, didn’t race until 1966 due to a cancelled Japanese Grand Prix during 1965. After taking Fuji Speedway by storm, Prince took the victory with the R380 driven by Yoshikazu Sunako in first, just ahead of Hideo Oishi’s second place R380.
‘The Prince R380 is a very important race car, and we are eager to share it with automotive fans from all over the world attending the Amelia Island Concours,’ said Alfonso Albaisa, executive design director for Infiniti. ‘Prince Motor Company, during its short time, definitely made history, and its engineering and design legacy continues to live on.’