This year marks the 50th anniversary of Tomica, Japan’s favorite diecast metal cars. The childhood toy of almost every car aficionado in Japan, they are as imprinted onto the minds of enthusiasts there as Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars are in the US and UK. To commemorate the occasion, Tomica has a number of activities planned. At a press conference yesterday, they announced collaborations with three actual carmakers.
In 2020, Tomica will release three miniature cars with design input from the design teams at Honda, Nissan, and Toyota. Tomica asked the companies to each come up with a 50th anniversary graphic that represented half a century of the diecast brand. The cars chosen were sports models from each manufacturer, and each carmaker will create a 1:1 scale equivalent to be shown at events across Japan.
Honda’s pick was s being the Civic Type R (though we would have probably chosen an NSX) finished in red, gold and gray on an underlying white car. The colorway is reminiscent of Mugen colors that have graced race cars such as the Motul EA Civic that dominated Group A’s Division 3 in 1987.
Nissan’s choice was the R35 GT-R, and the livery was a no-brainer. The red-on-black colorway comes straight from the Group 5 R30 Super Silhouette race cars of the 1980s. The most famous car of the series in fact had Tomica sponsorship back in the day, and so there was no question the R35 would wear the same graphics.
However, Nissan did put this decision up for a vote, and the legions of dedicated Nissan fans who know their history chose wisely. A few minor changes have been made, such as substituting the gold “4-Valve DOHC RS-Turbo” wording with “24Valve DOHC V6 Twin Turbo” that more accurately describes the VR38DETT.
Lastly, Toyota will create a white fading to black livery that accompanies the new GR Supra. Ironically, when describing his childhood experience with Tomica, Civic Type R chief engineer Hideki Kakinuma said that he fell in love with the original Tomica Toyota Celica Liftback casting. He thought it was so cool, that when he could buy his own car, an RA28 Celica is exactly what he chose.
It’s not that Toyota didn’t consider retro options. In the design studio, there are renderings of a Shelby SCCA 2000GT’s blue hood, the red-striped Fuji 24 Hours winning 2000GT, and even a yellow colorway with side stripe that looks from a distance to be the Celica 1600GT graphic. In the end, Toyota went with a modern design.
Each car will cost ¥800 and they will be available released first at various shows, then at retail stores across Japan. The Civic debuts at Tomica Expo Osaka in April, the Supra at the Tokyo Toy Show in June, and the GT-R at the Tomica Expo Yokohama in August.