At first glance, it looks like a small Datsun, an SP310 Fairlady for instance, but the details don’t add up. There is also this peculiar badge:
And a blurred model name on the quarter panel:
The badge would make you think Prince Motor Company, the guys who made the original Skyline which lives on as the Nissan GT–R, but—as far as I know—Prince never made a small roadster.
What makes the whole situation even more baffling is that I ran this photo by my friend Zsolt Csikós, who is a living and breathing encyclopedia of old Japanese cars, and even he came up blank. And when the guy who, roused from his sleep, can tell you year-by-year changes on fourty-year-old non-exotic cars comes up blank, you know you’re in trouble.
Unfortunately, the embedded metadata offers no clue:
SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 04: Kazuki Nakajima of Japan and Williams rides in a vintage car during the drivers parade before the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit on October 4, 2009 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
So it’s up to you now, expert morphologists of a bygone Japan: what the hell was Kazuki riding in before he brought his Williams home to a not particularly shiny 15th place?
Photo Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images