GT BBR (XRZ41), 1976-1978
The 1st generation Zenshi GT made its appearance in 1968 as Zenshi’s first major racing machine, which then became their first mass-produced 2+2 sports car. It was known for being a car made in Japan that possessed qualities from both the east and the west, having an optional V8 engine powering the rear wheels of the lightweight car.
In 1975, the GT underwent a major facelift, which is known as the “Okiru” facelift (meaning “Get Up” in Japanese), due to the drowsy look the fixed headlights gave on the front. The facelift fixed the problems prominent with the earlier models, but was more or less the same compared to the older models. The base 2.0L LW1 I6, however, was replaced by the newly developed LW2 2.3L I6, an engine shared by the Zenshi Luris and Grandea.
In 1976, the GT was featured as the main character’s car in a hit crime film, known as Chaser, a movie that can be inferred as “the Japanese interpretation of Dirty Harry,” where the GT was given an ample amount of screen time in a hectic car chase scene. a month later, Zenshi released a special edition GT based off the model featured in Chaser known as the BBR (Black Brazen Racer), the trim name referencing how the car was described in the film. The car was given a deep black coat of paint, Griffin emblems on the side, and on the inside; rich brown leather upholstery, and a wooden steering wheel and shift knob to top it all off.
The BBR wasn’t just an appearance package, however. One major component of the BBR that made it stand out from the regular GT was the engine: In place of the 193 HP 4.1L TY41 V8 engine, was a newly developed TZ40 4.0L V8, which was lighter and more powerful, cranking out 207 HP to the rear wheels. The suspension was refined for sharper handling, and the twin exhausts were given a refresh, courtesy of ZMD.
The BBR was, if anything, a precursor to the GTZ, being a “higher” high-performance model than the standard GT V8, but was considerably rare during the time of its sales due to being highly limited in production; only 120 were made in 1976, 80 in 1977, and only 36 in 1978. The legend lived on to spawn in newer Chaser spin-offs, using the exact same model until the rise of the XRZ42 in 1980.