Journal: These American Racers Are The Reason We Love Classic Nissans

These American Racers Are The Reason We Love Classic Nissans

By Michael Banovsky
February 22, 2016

Photography by Michael Banovsky

Fifty years is a long time, but you wouldn’t have known it on Saturday. At the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles, Brock Racing Enterprises held a car show, interview panel, and gathering for its friends, fans, and colleagues.

It all began not with the Datsun Roadsters, 510s, and 240Zz that we all love, but with Hino, a Japanese marque that Brock worked with in the early ’60s, bringing the brand to U.S. race tracks. Once Toyota bought Hino and shuttered its racing operations, Carroll Shelby was chosen to run Toyota’s official cars—a move that sent Brock to Nissan’s doorstep.

After Nissan’s (Datsun at that time) U.S. operations kept saying no, Brock figured out how to reach out to the company’s Japanese management: and things changed immediately. In its first year with Nissan, BRE was already winning races with the “uncompetitive” Roadster.

BRE’s list of accomplishments is way too long for this article, which is to say that Brock and his team quickly began to dominate pretty much any category they entered. Fifty years on, it was awesome to see former BRE team members and fans mingling at the Petersen during a car show and a Q&A session.

BRE itself is still going strong, and you can follow its activities on its website. A special thanks to the Petersen Museum and BRE for inviting us along.

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Bryan Dickerson
Bryan Dickerson(@pdxbryan)
5 years ago

I agree Elfmann,
No full shots leaves one feeling….unfulfilled.

5 years ago

Why is there no full pictures of cars? It seems to be happening more and more on this site. Why bother with the details if you can’t even see the car they are on. Kind of pointless to even open an article like this one.

Pedro Macedo
Pedro Macedo(@linkerman)
5 years ago
Reply to  Elfmann2000

Agreed. There’s a serious lack of pictures of the whole cars in this article.

Robert Breining
Robert Breining(@robert-breining)
3 years ago
Reply to  Elfmann2000

Good set of photos Michael! I’m totally with you: If I cannot get a good overall shot I prefer to snap details of the cars.

Bryan Dickerson
Bryan Dickerson(@pdxbryan)
5 years ago

It is so cool what Brock and his comrades created with Datsun. 40 years ago I had an unexplainable attraction to 510s and still do along with thousands of others of multiple generations. Brock, the man who helped create the Covette Stingray and the Cobra legacy, obviously has a deep effection for these Datsuns, and the history they created toether, to this day. Another thing that is so interesting is that Zs, 510s and roadsters are still relatively affordable even with their unsurpassed legacy. Lets hope it stays that way.

Harv Falkenstine
Harv Falkenstine(@harv)
5 years ago

These american racers are the reason 510s have a cult following. Brock is the reason we have stripes that go down the sides of race cars copied by many over the years -take a look at the M series striping on BMWs. The 510s were the beginning of the import tuner industry. Brock assembled a great team that have all left their mark on the racing world. Nissan should rekindle their association and have BRE/NISMO options for their performance cars.