There are some car enthusiasts who insist that Nissan’s glory days are behind it. That cars like the R34 Skyline GT-R, 240Z, and 300ZX were a high watermark that the brand hasn’t been able to live up to in recent years. But even legends like that can be forgotten, and this 1994 Clayton Cunningham Nissan 300ZX IMSA racer who’s spare body (and a number of other bits and pieces) was found in a storage unit last week is no exception.
In 1994, the No. 76 300ZX was powered by Nissan’s VRH35 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine. In race specification it made 641 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 520 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. The entire engine only weighed just 370 pounds. No. 76 also raced at Sebring and Daytona that year where it took home first place with American race car driver Paul Gentilozzi behind the wheel.
According to Gentilozzi, the specific car that was found last week raced at Le Mans that year (you can tell because of the driver names on the door panel). Cunningham Racing ran two cars at Le Mans in ’94: the No. 75 and the No. 76. The No. 75 car went on to win the IMSA GTS class and place fifth overall at Le Mans. The No. 76 car that had Gentilozzi, Dutch F1 driver Eric van de Poele, and Japanese racecar driver Shunji Kasuya behind the wheel was the third car to retire from the race and DNF’d due to a fire right before the race started.
The 300ZX was a proven race winner, and how history has already forgotten about that once great racer is surprising to say the least. We have no details on what will happen to the parts that were found, but for the most part they look to be downright unusable. We hope that, at the very least, the body panels make their way to someone who can put them to good use and maybe bring back some of the 300ZX’s lost glory.