Face to face with my ’90s idol

In 1999 I remember coming across a photo of a yellow and black Nissan in Japan that ran under a series known as JGTC.  Ever since that moment it was love at first sight. This car has adorned my computer desktop, I have built models of it, driven it in Gran Turismo lap after lap and it just seems to have been the one car that I have never forgotten.  It was one of the first Japanese competition machines I ever stumbled across, so not long ago I decided to track it down and do something I never thought as a 15-year old I would have the chance to do – come face to face with it.

Although this set of photos isn’t brand spanking new, it has only just headed to print in New Zealand Performance Car magazine so finally I can share them online.  As I mentioned in my previous blog, I aim to share a bit more of what I shoot (and have shot) with you this year, rather than banking all my images and leaving them there in darkness.

On this particular occasion, I initially headed to the Nissan DNA museum in Kanagawa with plans to shoot two competition machines.  The tricky thing about the DNA museum is that on any given week the collection can change, cars travel around for display throughout Japan so you don’t really know what is there until you walk through the door.

I remember hoping like crazy that this car was there, and to my delight it was.  Usually the cars are pretty tightly packed in, making shooting individuals a bit tricky.  As fate would have it, the car that usually sits next to the Pennzoil R34 was away which meant I had a wee bit of wiggle room so I jumped at the chance to shoot it.

Anyone who isn’t a car nut would just think I am nuts when I tell you I was a bit speechless standing in front of this car, I don’t have too many fanboy moments but this was right up there.

I’m not really sure what it is about this car, maybe it’s the iconic black and yellow livery, or perhaps the wow factor of the huge rubber and staunch lines of the car that hooked me.  I mean, this is no spring chicken, it is almost two decades old now yet has certainly aged very well.

I was pretty happy just snapping away, and then a mechanic with a broomstick appeared.  Doors were opened up, and he even told me I could jump inside (provided I took off my shoes).

Don’t need to tell me twice! The mechanic stayed close by incase there was anything I needed, or wanted to know anything in particular about the car.  Such a standup guy, and very good of him to let a total stranger clamber all over one of the prized race cars he is tasked with looking after.

I ensured that anytime I wanted to hop in or out I made sure it was ok, always pays to ask especially in a place such as this.  Just like any automotive photographer, we all have bucket list cars we would love to shoot and to tick this one off was pretty special.  For me this is the car that got me interested in Japanese tuning and motorsport.

One thing I love about it is that Nissan has maintained the car, but not polished it up to be pristine again.  It still carries all the battle damage from the season it ran.

The DNA Museum is an extraordinary place, and it is truly a sensory overload that can’t be explained well via a blogpost but this was just one car I had to share.  It is pretty rare to meet your idols and have them outdo your expectations, luckily for me this was one of those times!

Bonus images

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