Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to step back in time and attend, not the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, but step back and see the debut of the Toyopet Crown, Honda S500, or Mazda Famila Coupe ? Or pretty one-offs that never made production, like the Prince 1900 Sprint or Isuzu Bellet 1600MX ?
Well, this book is perhaps the next best thing. It’s basically a series of entries on selected cars shown at each year’s Tokyo Motor Show, with photos and information for each one. What’s really handy for western fans is that most of the information is English translation, as well as Japanese. (Frustratingly, the translation omits some detail, but most of the information is there I think).
It is a great sweep through the formative period of Japanese car-making history, reminding one of the achievements of now-gone makes such as Ohta, Hino and Isuzu, and giving a clear sense of development from local assembly of foreign models in the fifties to original and forward-looking designs in the sixties.
The cars shown are a mix of production debuts, blue-sky concepts, and perhaps most intriguing, the ones that got away – the might-have-beens that never made production, yet appear tantalisingly plausible in the photographs. The ’63 Toyopet Corona Sport Coupe and ’66 Daihatsu Sport are perhaps my favourites of these.
Higher res: http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/YFB7SejebRHL_Xlx8Zq_cw?feat=directlink
Obviously with such a book, you learn a little about many cars rather than getting any detailed insight into one or two. In particular, you see the cars but not why they were designed, how they fitted into each company’s strategy at the time. However, the sheer range of cars featured, including many rare and obscure models, makes it a delight to read and well worth the reasonable Y1200 price.
Japanese Showcars 1 Tokyo Motor Show 1954~1969