In this installment, we take a look at two very different types of cars: original barn finds and restorations whose every last nut is factory correct, and those that were treated like instruments of war. In other words, all the stuff that’s prized by predictably obvious “traditional” collectors.
In Part 01 a determined onlooker prevented Skorj from getting a shot of this Mazda RX-2 Capella Rotary, but San Mamiya lucked out with a clear view. Later in the day it was even put back on the ground. Though described as a “restored race-spec” RX-2, it appears to be a replica, though a very faithful one, of Yojiro Terada’s old race car, complete with meticulously recreated 12A and every imaginable part from the Mazda Sports Corner catalog.
Replicas of the Datsun Cherry X-1R works racers are gaining in popularity as well. In the last year many have come out of the woodwork, most of them modified. They can make a solid nostalgic street fighter when they’re not being picked over for their taillights to put on yonmeri zokusha.
The suspension experts at Tein took a different tack this year. Instead of slammed shakotan slabs, the displayed what appeared to be the 1992 winner of WRC Safari Rally, the ST185 Celica GT-Four. Beneath its battle scars, the Castrol livery paired well with Tein’s company colors.
Red Megaphone, known for their Skylines, showed something unexpected — a bone-stock 610 Bluebird-U. After standing in the shadows of its elder brother, they are growing in popularity and more are emerging as barn finds. Nissan themselves shipped one from Zama and showed one at JCCS last year, so the prominent US showing may have something to do with it, but most likely it’s simply because Skylines and 510 Bluebirds have grown beyond reach.
It’s touted as a rare car and longer than 4-cylinder variant, but still affordable and of the same lineage as the storied Bluebird model. They also make a good bosozoku sled, and many were modified in period and you can see them at meets. In this pale green color, this particular example looks like a life-size Tomica. If only it had a red interior.
Sharing booth space with the Bluebird-U was a bone stock Kawasaki Z400FX. The “FX” moniker stands for Fighter-eXperimental, as its design was inspired from the Japan Air Self-Defense Forces fighter jets. An unmolested FX is an extremely rare sighting as the bike was hugely popular with the bosozoku, whose penchant for modifying them have depleted once-plentiful supplies.
Takeey’s is a classic car dealer known for some really good representations of Japan’s icons. Their lineup runs the gamut from Kunimitsu replica Hakos to stock CSP311 Silvias. It kind of boggles the mind that they can still find one with all the trim in tact and offer it for sale, as only 554 were built. What may keep a surprising ratio of them on the road is underneath it’s still a Datsun Fairlady 1600 Roadster.
The Nos2Days show is put on by Nostalgic Hero magazine, and as is the custom, a perimeter of Nostalgic Hero cover cars welcomed showgoers from a red carpet. Among them was a rare R130 Luce Rotary Coupe, the only front-wheel-drive Mazda rotary ever made, this one festooned to the hilt with an optional vinyl roof and side stripes that would have appeared in period as accessories.
One of the rarest cars at the show was a 1970 Daihatsu Fellow Buggy. Made of FRP and with only about 100 produced, it’s amazing any of them survived. Their rarity make them highly sought after by a certain segment of collector today.
Though named Fellow, its psychedelic-font moniker is a misnomer. Rather than the kei chassis of the standard Daihatsu Fellow or sport Fellow Max, it was built atop a Daihatsu Hijet frame. Power, however, came from the 360cc water-cooled two-cylinder — pretty advanced for a microcar of its day.
As the early style RA25 Celica Liftbacks get harder and harder to find, RA28s with the larger subframes are being sought out. Interestingly, this particular example, instead of its standard 14-inch wheels, wears 13-inchers with rare TA22 hubcaps.
In case the imperial family decided to visit, a Nissan Cedric Royal Limousine was conveniently on hand to make them feel at ease. Built by Nissan’s house tuner Autech, the long-wheelbase Y31 was intended for heads of state or visiting dignitaries, Funnily, after falling into what are presumably civilian hands, this one has been fitted with a not-so-stately front aero kit and tsurikawa hanging in the rear window.
Last but not least was a classic two-tone Z10 Soarer restored to the absolute nines. It helped that it started as a cream puff, but still, the level of work was astounding. We’ll start to see more and more like it too, as those who coveted these cars in the 80s are millionaires now and commissioning incredible restorations.
To be continued…
Stay tuned for the next installment of our Nos2Days coverage. In the meantime, in case you missed it, check out Part 01 and Part 02, as well as articles from Nos2Days 2015 (Parts 01, 02 and 03), 2014 (Parts 01, 02, 03, 04) and 2013 (Parts 01, 02,03).
Skorj is co-founder of Filmwasters and you can find more of his work at Cars on Film and here on JNC. Ken Lee is co-founder of Cars on Film and you can see more of his work here on JNC. San Mamiya is an illustrator whose work you can find on here on JNC, Instagram and BigCartel.