The Nissan R390 GT1 is a total legend, particularly the single homologation special road car. An entire generation knows the car from Playstation, but few have ever seen it in person. I did. And I found something.
Again, one of the fun things about the Nissan R390 GT1 road car is that it’s kind of thrown together. The paint is all orange peel. There are exposed fasteners painted and not all over the body. The headlights are from a Nissan 300ZX.
Also the 3.5-liter turbo V8 it used from the earlier Group C era ended up forming the basis for the turbo V8 used by McLaren years later.
But there are two other tiny factlets that I’ve never seen discussed elsewhere that popped up.
The Nissan R390 GT1 Uses Fiat Taillights
This was entertaining. I’ve read before about the R390s very prominent Z-car headlights, but had never heard much about the somewhat anonymous round taillights. Only when I got up close did I see the stamping up top: FIAT.
It didn’t take too many Google searches to find they matched up with the Fiat Coupé in production at the time.
Humorously, the Fiat Coupé was designed by Chris Bangle, so there’s a bit of the Internet’s Most Hated Car Designer in the Internet’s Most Beloved Forgotten Le Mans Car.
The Nissan R390 GT1 Speedometer Tops Out At 170 MPH
This one turned out to be weirder than I thought it’d be. It wasn’t hard to spot that, wait, hold on, that speedo only reads up to 170 mph.
This is entertaining to see on a car that topped 200 miles per hour at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (in race trim, admittedly). It’s also entertaining to imagine that, were it accurate, the Internet’s Most Beloved Forgotten Le Mans Car would have a lower top speed than, uh how fast I went riding in a pervious-generation Panamera GTS a few years ago. Obviously I don’t think the speedo is accurate, it’s just that Nismo stuck in whatever speedo it had lying around.
What’s odd there is that this car had what appears to be a different speedo in 1997, as seen in this photo from Nissan:
Compared to what it has had since 1998:
This is actually a totally different dash, which is again weird for a one-off car built to meet a rules requirement for racing. And none of this was on the race car at all. That thing’s dash looked like this:
So those are two puzzling but intriguing as well as totally inconsequential details of the Nissan R390 GT1. Satisfying, right?