Nissan PR icon Tim Gallagher, the man who makes many things possible with a mere wave of his PR-guy magic wand, leaned against the window of the Nissan IDx Nismo concept said, "You just follow me, OK?"
The final stop on the SoCal IDx Love Tour was Sunday morning at Supercar Sunday, an altogether wonderful gathering of the good, the bad and the occasionally tasteless (black-and-white Rolls-Royce Phantom? Solid gold 3-Series? Kardashian family?). It takes place Sundays 7-10 in the parking lot of the Westfield Promenade Mall in Woodland Hills. The Great Gallagher couldn't have picked a better venue: when Mark Vaughn and Blake Z. Rong drove a full parade lap of the Westfield parking lot in both priceless, one-off concept cars, we reveled in the kind of celebrity once reserved for astronauts and DiMaggios.
The day before, Blake went to the Petersen Museum to watch the concepts make an appearance among the Datsun faithful. They were gathered to meet Pete Brock and John Morton, whose BRE exploits in the 1970s rightfully became the stuff of legend. (The design team drew upon BRE for inspiration, but neither was consulted during the development process.)
Brock, the guest of honor, milled among the crowd, and the crowd never disappeared from his side. Morton, the sharpest wit in the Racers' Hall of Fame, walked among the cars, signing the occasional dashboard, poster or book.
"Hey, John," said a fan while pointing at the NISMO car. "What do you think of these?"
"I've never seen one," said Morton. "It's weird-looking to me." Then he signed a poster on the roof of the Freeflow concept.
Ahead of us, Gallagher started to trot a bit. Being careful not to run down the very guy who had made the drive possible, we both increased speed to what might have been five or eight mph. It was impressive that the tires on either car never rubbed against the wheel arches, neither while turning nor when hitting bumps. At one point, Blake attempted to cross another parking lot gully by turning left where Mark had turned right, trying to squeeze past a Rambler wagon, a DeLorean and a 1955 Chevy panel truck. Gallagher shook his head in disappointment like he had just read my 7th grade report card.
Eventually, Mark lost Gallagher altogether and opened it up to maybe 12 or 13 mph. What a rush. This was livin'. Mark felt like he was in the Five and Dime Club in a long line of Datsun 510 owners on the way to…the other side of the parking lot! Woo-hoo!
More on the IDx Concept cars, including a photo gallery, at Autoweek.com.