In the last two installments of our 2016 New Year Meeting coverage, we prowled the parking area to find as much diversity in marques and models as there were in customization styles. In our final installment of the 2016 New Year Meeting we find something even better than that — and possibly better than what was in the show itself — JNCs in motion, driving to, around and from the show. Behold the streets of Odaiba.
Spotted as the day began were a pair of Subaru 360, surely arriving to support the Subaru 360 club. The came in succession, one a very early pre-1962 model with simple chrome headlight rings and the other a bezeled-headlight 360 Custom (which is what Subaru called the wagon versions back then).
Waiting in line for the show was a TA22 Celica rocking temporary tags, Vitaloni California door mirrors, and a period spoiler. It appeared to be a competent street cruiser from back in the day, revived with new Work Equip 03s and flared wheel arches. It’s not hard to imagine a Celly like this turning heads on the streets of SoCal.
Right in front of it, however, was a distinctly Japanese GX71 Toyota kaido racer with a massive integrated spoiler punctuated by kenmeri Skyline GL taillights and a pair of crimson takeyari. Also, note the actual Kenmeri photobombing the in the background while actually bombing down the street.
In Part 01 we saw a small contingent of the very definition of a cute ute, the Mazda Porter Cab kei truck. One in particular was quite fetching, a green — aren’t they all? — one lowered on off-white steelies. Well here’s how it got to and from the show, on the back of a Prince Clipper flatbed. There’s an Xzibit joke in here somewhere.
Cuteness was soon replaced with a Toyota Soarer festooned in all the period-correct aero of the mid-1980s. Part Gundam, part Group 5 racer, it was tremendous in all its color-matched glory (even the SSR Star Sharks were color-coordinated).
We realize the more extremes of 80s customizing may be jarring for some. Perhaps, then, a more palatable option would be a tastefully lowered GX71 Mark II with proper white aero kit and wheels, nicely paired with a zokusha-colored Yamaha Excel.
The back end of the Mazda Cosmo see in Part 03 was just as wildly mesmerizing as the front. It would be sacrilegious to cut up such a rare beast now, but back in the day these cars were the epitome of aspirational cars to modify.
Speaking of Cosmos, a great grandfather of the rotary engine soon rolled by. Though it is a late-type body, its teal-with-white-roof paint job may have been an homage to one of the early Cosmo Sport prototypes.
Edging past a Volk-clad seventh-gen Suzuki Carry was as masterful Toyota Master Ace Surf. Though its paint was faded, the decal package and new school TE37s made it ridiculously cool.
A tsurikawa-equipped tiffany blue Suzuki Alto 5-door proved that one could build a kaido racer on a budget. A kei-do racer, if you will.
In Part 03 we saw a Fukuoka-style GX71 sitting in the expansive parking area, but it caught just as many eyeballs driving down the street, particularly among sideburned and semi-pompadoured gents that look like they could run in the same circles. On the other side of the street, a long line of cars waits waits to enter, including yet another GX71.
One of our favorites was an olive green Nissan Violet (aka Datsun 710 in the US), dead on accurate with Riverside alloys in circa 1981 “Oh My Highway Racer” style.
Elsewhere on the streets, a Levin Trueno AE86 on Advans looked like it could have come straight from a late-80s drifting session on Hakone Turnpike. Its single-wiper conversion would have been in the style of a Group A racer like the R32 GT-Rs back in the day.
A peerless Celica XX was caught waiting by the curb, sitting perfectly on Watanabe Type-R 8-spokes that matched dead on the model’s unique blacked-out rear section. Curiously, an imported Dodge Ram 1500 sat nearby, not an inexpensive vehicle to keep in Tokyo.
While the Violet above may have been one of our favorite cars, our favorite driver was an ojisan arriving in a Z20 Soarer. Without the takeyari, it would have been an period correct VIP dress-up sled. The presence of the bosozoku pipes, however, hint that the owner was perhaps a veteran of genre. Back in the day, ojisan was a thug.
This was the final scene at day’s end, with Soarers, Skylines and Mark IIs lined up to leave. Paint gleaming, tsurikawa dangling, and engines revving. What a great way to kick off the Year of the Monkey.