How BRE Got Its Stripes

By Peter Brock
Dec 3, 2022 | Datsun, BRE, Peter Brock | Posted in Features | From the Feb. 2015 issue | Never miss an article

Story by Peter Brock • Photograph Courtesy Nissan

Peter Brock may be best known as an automotive designer who played a key role in the design of the Corvette Sting Ray and Cobra Daytona Coupes, but his real love has always been building and racing cars. His training as a graphic designer helped establish the looks of several well-known racing teams, including Shelby American and his own Brock Racing Enterprises effort. 

Back in late 1968, when we were fortunate enough to score the contract to develop and race Datsun’s hot little 2000 roadsters in the SCCA’s Southern Pacific Division, Japanese cars were almost invisible in the American market. Part of my proposal to the president of the Nissan Motor Corporation in Japan, in addition to making their 2000 a worthy competitor in D Production against the mighty Triumph team that had dominated that class of American sports car racing for several seasons, was to make the Datsun name highly visible to the general public and acceptable in a sport that had up to that time been dominated by cross-Atlantic marques. 

As the new guys on the grid, we had to stand out. And because WWII was not so far in the distant past, we also had to show Japan’s respect for America. I chose a bold red, white and blue “American” livery and accentuated it with speed in the form of stripes to match.  

When I promised visibility, I meant more than making the car instantly recognizable on track. It also needed to be an attractive target for the media shooters who supplied images to the motorsport magazines, which reached a far larger spectator group than that found at many SCCA races. Bold graphics, photographable from any angle, with large numbers were key. 

I’d used the twin stripes longitudinally on the GT350 and the team Cobras I’d designed for Shelby. I chose not to again use that livery, as it had become so identifiable with those cars. I knew something new was needed. 

Instead, I ran the stripes transversely across the hood, picking up the color on the hood. As the stripes continued down the front fenders, they took a dramatic break for the team identity: BRE Datsun. The lower portion of the stripes used a different color than the top. 

Over time, it was a natural progression to make the angle of the stripes a reverse of the windscreen angle on the 240Zs and 510s so subliminally they looked like an arrow shooting down the track. Another advantage of that livery was that it was reversible and adaptable to any set of colors that we might use in the future. 

The identity has been so successful for Nissan that we made it official with our BRE Tribute Vehicle program, licensing literally hundreds of Nissan racers around the world that still use these iconic BRE stripes today.

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OldGray320i Dork
3/10/20 4:48 p.m.

One of the most iconic liveries ever, still looks great.

_ Dork
3/10/20 6:09 p.m.

"Story by Peter Brock" 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/10/20 7:15 p.m.

In reply to _ :

You know that Peter writes a regular column for us over at Classic Motorsports, right? And the next issue has a piece where he explains the difference between the American-made Daytona coupe and the bodies built in Italy. 

_ Dork
3/10/20 7:23 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

I did not. I mostly stay here because I thought just about everything in GRM was CM. Looks like I'll have to float (like a stinky fart) over there and annoy y'all. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/10/20 7:33 p.m.
Appleseed MegaDork
3/10/20 8:28 p.m.

Can you imagine Brock's thoughts on Pantera?  (The band?)

Floating Doc
Floating Doc GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/10/20 8:35 p.m.

I'll have to break out my new copy of CM. I recently subscribed when the huge cluster of car magazines closed.

Join me, support GRM!

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/10/20 9:05 p.m.

In reply to Floating Doc :

Thank you, thank you. 

Kreb GRM+ Memberand UberDork
3/10/20 9:39 p.m.

Is it possible to be 57 years old and a fanboi? If so, that describes my feelings for Peter Brock. Kudos GRM, for bringing this great aboard.

300zxfreak New Reader
3/11/20 7:43 p.m.

There's just something about that boxy little grocery getter that translates so well to the race track. How they do that ?

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