Wednesday, August 20, 2014

1978 DOME Zero Concept

The Dome Zero (童夢-零 dohmu zero) was a Japanese prototype sports car from DOME Co. Ltd. that was exhibited at the 48th Geneva Auto Show in 1978. The 'Dome Project', started by Minoru Hayashi in 1975, had the goal of producing small volume sports cars using knowledge gained from his racing exploits. The Dome Zero was the first of such low volume sports cars.

The initial design of the Zero started in 1976. It was at this time that Hayashi first had the idea to be able to compete at 24 hours of Le Mans. Getting funds to be able to compete at Le Mans became a top priority, and being able to sell some low volume sports cars would help, too.

The DOME Zero uses a Nissan L28E inline six with 5 speed manual transmission. This engine was also used in the popular Nissan 280Z. The simple 143 hp 12 valve SOHC engine helped give this light weight car a similar power to weight ratio as Porsche cars of the time. However, DOME was unable to acquire homogenization from the ministry of transport of Japan due to bureaucracy and red tape. 

Dome gave up and turned to making the Zero for foreign market in the United States. They Created DOME USA and started preparing the Zero P2 Concept which would be the United States model. The P2 had large front and rear bumpers added (for the US market) and various other structural strengthening. It was at this point, Hayashi realized a high profile could be had by making a Dome Zero racing car dubbed the 'RL'. The RL was raced at the 1979 24 Hours of Le Mans motor race, but failed to finish, and only managed a last place finish in 1980. It was at this time that DOME dropped the Zero road and race car projects altogether and continued contesting the 24 hours of Le Mans motor race with other cars until 1986. (wikipedia &

1978 DOME Zero Concept

1979 DOME Zero P2 Concept

Two P2 Concepts were made, a red one and a light green one. 

Below (L) DOME Zero P2                              (R) DOME Zero        

1979 DOME Zero RL Racer

(Photos from,,,,,, &

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