Oh, Nissan. Why do you tease us so? First you taunt us with your lovely but frustratingly not-yet-available prototypes, and now we find that the picture of a man holding your new 400 HP, 3 cylinder Le Mans engine is heavily photoshopped? Come on, Nissan, stop jerking us around and just find someone who can actually lift the damn thing.
The engine sure sounds impressive, making 400 HP/280 lb-ft of torque out of just a liter and half and weighing a scant 88 lbs. And, sure, if you have an engine that weighs as little as an average teenage female gymnast, you want to show some guy holding the engine. Really, that's what we all want to see when you're bragging about light weight, anyway, so it absolutely makes sense that you show that.
What we don't want to see is some clumsily Photoshopped image of a guy (to be fair, that guy is NISMO president Shoichi Miyatani) holding his arms like he's carrying a laundry basket and the engine pasted in there. How do we know it's fake? Well, proving the old meme right, all you have to do is look at some of the pixels. The pixels in question make up the glaring white, poorly masked halo around the edges of the engine that are what remain of the original engine picture's previous background.
The engine itself looks to be a slightly lower resolution as the person, and scaled-up to fit, which causes some blurring where the extra pixels had to be interpolated since there was no other information available. It's a pretty sloppy Photoshop job once you look at it up close, which I hadn't had the chance to do until intrepid reader JR sent us a high-res version of the pic.
So, NISMO, I'm issuing you a challenge: get us a picture of someone — even if it's not your well-respected president— holding this three-pot lump for real. No Photoshop trickery, I want to see muscles bulging and a strained smile that attempts to hide the severe back pain you'll likely feel dead-lifting almost 90 pounds of metal.
I know you can do it. And next time, think twice before trotting out a faked picture of something like this. This is the freaking internet, after all. It lives for shit like this.
We contacted NISMO about this, and got this response, which shows that he probably did lift the engine — but they may have photoshopped a better version of it in:
Thanks for your interest in the ZEOD program. Regarding your suggestion that the photo was, to use your word, "faked," we assure you this is not the case. The engine weighs 40 kg and can be held as shown in our press release photo.
Like most press photos used in the industry, this photo has been retouched. Our mock-up of the engine includes a rudimentary steel stand bolted to the bottom for display purposes. Engines are not designed to stand up on a table, but rather to be bolted into cars. Therefore, our engine model has a stand attached for display purposes. Additionally, engines have many ancillary items attached to them within an engine bay that enable them to function in a car, such as belts, cables, cooling hoses, transmissions, brackets, fuel lines, etc…
We had the opportunity to do a photo shoot when NISMO president Shoichi Miyatani was in Daytona. We did not have the ZEOD and its engine, but had a display model of the engine. In our photo the steel stand was removed in the retouch process and some details were added and enhanced for aesthetic reasons.
We assure you that Miyatani-san did, in fact, hold the engine, steel stand and all, for the photo shoot as seen in the original. Attached is the original base image we've worked from
And by the way, unlike most other models in show business, we didn't have to retouch Miyatani-san. You can tell from his genuine smile that he, Nissan, NISMO and our engineering teams are quite proud of their accomplishments in this revolutionary program and look forward to making history at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
... and along with that statement, they included this image as well:
That's the actual image they sent. It's got a stand on the engine, sure, and there's some detail differences in the engine, and it's missing some belts and other bolt-on ancillaries, but it's also only 426x640 — way too small an image to see the problems we just pointed out in the released press photo.
They didn't address at all the fact that the whole engine is clearly at a different resolution than Miyatani-san, and the truth is I still think this imaged is faked, only now they sent a slightly different fake.
To be fair, I don't think the engine itself is a fake — I believe that NISMO has, in fact, made such a powerful, light engine, and that just makes this all the more baffling. Why fake any of this at all? And, when called on it, why fake more?
Of course, I do completely believe they did not have to "retouch Miyatani-san." I entirely believe NISMO when they say his "genuine smile" is real, so I happily concede that: the smile is not retouched.
In case you want to inspect the disaster on your own, here's the original, full-size image. Enjoy.