Sedans and kei cars might be nice, but we know most of you old schoolers came to see the sports coupes. These compact and lightweight machines are what makes Japanese cars so much fun. Let’s start with what most Americans consider the ur-Japanese sports coupe, the Datsun 510 and its Pacific Rim equivalent, the Nissan Bluebird.
The Japanese trend of buying a US-spec version of your favorite nostalgic continues to grow. This is an honest-to-god hidari-hando Datsun 510 from the US-of-A. The grass is always greener…
The OG Honda Civic, without which we would never have had the Si, Type R, or a whole multitude of FF pocket rockets.
The Toyota Publica is more of a two-door sedan, but its 700cc displacement edges it out of the kei car category. There was even a cute convertible version (though as you can see, a pickup was offered as well). The Publica Owners’ Club always has a presence at the New Year Meeting.
Occasionally you’ll come across a mixed-maker booth, although since Toyota owns Hino this one may still be considered single-marque. We can see why the Sprinter Trueno (for once, not dark green!) is poppin’ — to show off its twin cammer — but why is the rear-engined Contessa? To display its immaculate trunk?
Hmmm, another motor-less car on display, inviting passers by (potential customers?) to take a look at the thoroughness of the restoration. We’ve seen such steps taken with S30 Zs and hakosuka, but this is a first for a TE27 Corolla Levin.
Hopefully the finished product will look this good. We’ve seen lots of mangoes before but somehow the light is bouncing off this one juuuuust right. Any improvement on its lines seem inconceivable.
We love Japan for showing us cars that we’d never see otherwise, like this TE37 on Work Equip 03s. This body style was available as an SR5 in the US, but we don’t see them at Toyotafest. Come on, we know you’re out there!
Magenta overkill can be a debilitating condition, but since the TS-style airdam bears the name of Toyota tuning house Wizard, you know this is not a Sprinter Trueno to be taken lightly.
Wizard’s RA25 Celica, on the other hand, looks sinister as all get-out. We wouldn’t want to meet this car in a dark alley at night.
More Celica awesomeness from 1103 Motoring, with 4AG power and XR4 barrels.
The Celica’s dowdier sibling Carina doesn’t get nearly as much love, but rolling stock is nothing to be ashamed of, especially when it’s this clean. Do not underestimate the coolness of doily seat covers.
Wats, Wats, and more Wats! And a neon green Mazda Capella so bright it outshines the polish on that lip.
Murdered out Savanna RX-3 on modern barrels at the Cosmo Sports Owners’ Club.
As we mentioned, Mitsubishi had a strong presence this year. Galant GTOs (and Minicas) turned out in droves. We wouldn’t mind taking one on a 3000km trip.
Puttin’ on the ritz in Himalayan Blue.
Despite all the GTOs, it was a Galant FTO that dropped our jaws. This little guy managed to outshine his big brothers with a racy stance and a set of gorgeous Techno Phantoms.
Not sure what’s going on with the rotary telephone wheel choice here, but the Nissan Cherry is one of those quirky cars that only Japan can build. And if you think the two-door sedan looks weird…
That’s nothing compared to the hatchback, which looks like a kaiju monster on wheels.
The theme continued onto the B210 Sunny Excellent, whose superlative trim level denoted a pointer nose. It may look normal — or even pretty when put it on Hayashis — but then it drives by and leaves you gawking at six taillight orifices.
Older Sunnys look a bit more normal. Vintage Datsun racing colors are the bee’s knees, but we wonder what Joseph’s technicolor fender is going on the ground.
Damn if this butaketsu doesn’t appear to be ready to peel off in pursuit of some bad guys in a Japanese cop show. Suzuki & Hoshi?
A hakosuka with modern style.
A kenmeri with modern style.
Bluebird Coupe with stacks of plastic models. This is John’s personal heaven right here.
It was more than acceptable in the 80s! S110 Silvia with an FJ20 swap and Hoshinos? Pass the coke mirror.
The Subaru 1000 Club had several of its FF stars on display, but we thought this freshly assembled early Subie boxer would be of interest to some JNCers. Check out the car it belongs to in the gallery below.
Now is the time when we look at Isuzus. This sweet Bellett tucks those black Wats nicely.
Give us this one, with what are surely ultra-rare headlight covers and groovy 70s gold, but put it on the stance and black Wats of the green car above and we’ll be happy campers.
They say the Isuzu 117‘s lines were inspired by the curves of a woman. Sounds about right.
The zodiac has undergone some changes recently but this Gemini is no Taurus. The ZZ/R was top o’ the line, 1800cc’s of 80s RWD.
View additional photos in the gallery below, and if you missed it check out 2011 New Year Meeting Parts 01, 02, 03 and 04. There’s still more to come!
[Photos by Jason Kusagaya]