If you have a shelf full of automotive scale models gathering dust on your shelf, then Nissan has a tool in its arsenal that looks perfect for keeping your toys looking shiny and new. The team at the automaker's engineering site in Farmington Hills, Michigan use the device for performing durability tests on paint finishes, but the device would probably buff a Matchbox car to a high gloss, too.
According to Nissan, the miniature car wash is fairly compact at about the size of a popcorn machine. The spinning brush turning at 180 revolutions per minute replicaties damage to the paint. For an even tougher challenge, the engineers can sprinkle what they call "Arizona test dirt" onto the scale model before it receives any punishment. The fine particles cause additional abrasion to the surface of the vehicle for a tougher challenge on the clear coat's ability to protect what's underneath.
Unfortunately, Nissan doesn't generally use scale models to perform this testing, and the company says the demonstration with the toy here is "for illustrative purposes only." Instead, the engineers apply the paint to a rectangular plate, and it goes through multiple trims through the machine. This way, the engineers can still gauge the durability of various finishes.
It's interesting to see a tiny Z car undergoing this test because a new generation of Nissan's venerable sports coupe is on the way in the not too distant future. During the Los Angeles Auto Show, Nissan North American VP of Product Planning Michael Bunce confirmed to Motor1.com that development for a the next Z was still underway but a few years from a debut. He also divulged that it would look "more outrageous" than before.
Gallery: Nissan Mini Car Wash Video
Miniature Nissan car wash means better paint, worry-free washing
- The smallest car wash you’ve never seen keeps busy at Nissan Technical Center North America in Farmington Hills, Michigan
- Nissan engineers test paint samples in the scaled-down car wash to ensure exterior paint holds up to the demands of a modern car wash, which can scratch clearcoats and abrade paint
- Special dirt, called "Arizona test dirt" by testers, is applied to paint samples during the test cycle to replicate real-world grit and ensure that Nissan paint is tough and long-lasting
FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. – A miniature car wash, about the size and shape of a popcorn machine, plays an important role at the Nissan Technical Center North America in Michigan. Equipped with a spinning brush that has vibrant blue bristles, this highly specialized (and fun to watch!) machine allows engineers to test paint samples to make sure Nissan's exterior paints hold up to the tough environment of automatic car washes.
Long before a Nissan ends up on dealer lots, engineers have made sure that every shade of exterior paint will stay looking great, even if our customer frequently takes his Altima or her 370Z through the rigors of an automatic car wash.
To mimic an automatic wash cycle, Nissan's miniature car wash spins the brush at around 180 rpm, causing the bristles to harshly slap the paint sample as water jets spray and "Arizona dirt" replicates the harsh and abrasive real world.
In the video below, the red 1:16 scale model of the 370Z is for illustrative purposes only. In actual testing, Nissan paint is applied to rectangular plates (such as the yellow sample seen in the photos), which are placed into the miniature car wash and tested multiple times to ensure a top-quality finish that lasts.
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About Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
Nissan is a global full-line vehicle manufacturer that sells more than 60 models under the Nissan, INFINITI and Datsun brands. In fiscal year 2016, the company sold 5.63 million vehicles globally, generating revenue of 11.72 trillion yen. Nissan engineers, manufactures and markets the world's best-selling all-electric vehicle in history, the Nissan LEAF. Nissan's global headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, manages operations in six regions: Asia & Oceania; Africa, Middle East & India; China; Europe; Latin America; and North America. Nissan has a global workforce of 247,500 and has been partnered with French manufacturer Renault under the Renault-Nissan Alliance since 1999. In 2016, Nissan acquired a 34% stake in Mitsubishi Motors, which became the third member of the Alliance – a grouping with combined annual sales of almost 10 million units a year.
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