Dome Zero: the success of the sports nippon that never got to sell

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All copies made of the Dome Zero, the red corresponds to the P2.

This extraordinary prototype japanese was one of those few projects made more with the heart than with the calculator. For the history, the Dome Zero was the vain attempt of a small team of japanese enter the market of sports production, however, this passionate initiative born really in the sixties was the precursor of that which is without any doubt one of the technology centres, renowned in Japan in the field of motorsport.

Conceived in the mid-seventies and presented at the Geneva motor show of 1978, where he was the undisputed star, the Zero was the dream of building sports cars of a then tiny racing team of Japan. A country which at that time had little tradition in the sports segment of the market.

Far from being a mere exercise of style, this sporty, futuristic-looking, which oddly already has close to 40 years, it was a real project that was thought to be production. However, and for reasons that have never transpired, the small company found it impossible to homologate the vehicle in their home country. The project resulted in the creation of a second prototype, intended to be sold in markets like the u.s. and the adventure of participating in nothing less than the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with a Sport Prototype based on the Zero.

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Presentation of the Dome Zero in Geneva 1978.

although it was never brought to production, so it was not sold even a single copy despite having been submitted in its final version, the Zero P2, in several car shows, interestingly, what is true is that we can not remove the project from failure. Since the company did not a few benefits with the rights of image of the Zero, especially for the creation of toys. Which allowed for the survival of the company and therefore, the successful career that has had a Dome over these last decades.

The Dome Zero went down in history as the failed attempt of a small initiative of japan to manufacture a supercar, however, the reality could not be more different. The Zero was only the letter of presentation of Dome, a team competition for newly created while it was trying to enter the market of supercars, the truth is that he created the Zero as an activity of the company.

And although it failed to commercialize, nor a single copy, it is certain that the sale of the merchandising rights to the model were the necessary funding that managed to lift what is now Dome Racing Ltd. One of the specialists of competition, renowned in Japan, in charge of the projects of racing from brands like Toyota or Honda in very different categories. As the models of Honda in the Super GT, including the current NSX and the now-defunct HSV-010 GT, the racing version of the generation is not cream of the NSX, which was eliminated by the cuts of the company caused by the great financial crisis of 2008 and that Dome was commissioned to develop and make a run in the spectacular championship japanese until 2013, in which it has been the only participation in the championship of a model that has not had the production version of.

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The Zero in front of the current facilities of Dome.

going Back to the seventies, the Dome Zero was intended to really be an alternative to the sports of the time, although its aggressive looks really really hid a mechanical source Nissan 6-cylinder in-line 2.8-liter. This had 145 horses, about 100 hp less than the Ferrari engine less powerful of the time, the V8 3.0-liter that we could find on the 308 GTB and the Dino 308 GT. However, its small size of just 4 metres and with a height not reached the subway, he allowed a slight weight less than 950 kios, so that its benefits are to the height of the sports models of the time.

With 5-speed manual transmission, Dome stated in its day a maximum speed of 220 km/h and an acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in around 7 seconds. A Ferrari 308 GTB of the first series, fed by Weber carburetors and an output of 255 HP, which was presented to 255 km/h of maximum speed and an amount of acceleration of 6.2 seconds to do the 0 to 100 km/h. Not bad for the little japanese that I had almost half the power.

The rest of specifications, little is known, it is understood that was built on a tubular frame of metal, as all the models of the central engine of the period, with the six-cylinder engine maximum power fed by 3 carburetors Solex located behind the passenger compartment. Rode ventilated disc brakes at the wheels 13-inch front disc and solid rear axle, which had wheels of 14 inches.

Of the interior, enjoyed an aesthetic straight out of a science fiction movie of the time, there are numerous images, in which it calls powerfully the attention to the design of elements such as the dashboard digital in inverted V shape and, above all, the shift lever, in some of the units located to the right of the driver, between the steering wheel and the door, and in other cases at the centre, with some peculiar forms. As you can see in the images of the gallery attached.

The sharp line in the wedge of the Zero was a success from the first moment, although the car shows of the time were fraught with similar models, like the Bizzarini Manta, the Bertone Stratos or the Maserati Boomerang, the truth is that this current design came to the streets without tamper only with the Countach original, which seems almost inconspicuous next to the Dome Zero.

once the mark has not managed to approve the first model in its home country, according to the company because it was impossible for a company so small fight against the bureaucracy nippon in this sense, is concentrated in a second version, almost identical, called P2, which differs only in minor details, such as the bumpers, black plastic larger, designed to homologate the model in north America, where it was precisely developed for Dome USE. Likewise, created a racing version of the Zero called RL, with the involved with little success in Le Mans, in 1979 and 1980.

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From above: the Dome P2 next to your version of Le Mans and a Toyota Celica racing prepared by Dome.

After the adventure failed from Zero, and already with the necessary funding
thanks to the sale of toys of the model, were able to build their
first real facilities, of which went out there a few and
successful models of the F3, F3000, Sport Prototypes
, and even the failed
attempt to of Formula 1 of the Dome at the beginning of this century. Turning
Dome in a bellwether technology in Japan. Without forgetting the project Jiotto Caspita, another of the great supercars of japan, in which he also took part Dome, and as the Zero, never materialized into a production version, due to the recession of the time.