The Japan Automotive Hall of Fame has announced their list of inductees into its Historic & Heritage Vehicles class for 2017. The selected automobiles are regarded to have contributed to the development of Japan’s automobile industry and car culture, and are deemed worthy of preservation. There were four inductees this year.
The first is the 1932 Daihatsu Tsubasa 3-wheeled truck. Daihatsu started out as an generator and engine builder. In 1932, it launched the Tsubasa mass-producible motorcycle-truck hybrid to facilitate the motorization of Japan, kicking off the three-wheeler segment that was pivotal in Japan’s development. The Tsubasa was known for its superb turning ability, thanks eschewing its motorcycle chain drive for a propeller shaft drive with differential.
The Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser was launched in 1960, a somewhat unusual passenger vehicle for Japan at the time. While most of the country was driving kei cars, it was a 4WD off-roader with large displacement 3.9-liter inline-six. Thanks to its robust chassis, it became known the world over for its reliability and toughness, and was produced for 24 consecutive years in Japan. If you count the Brazil-built Bandeirante models, the same basic design lasted until 2001.
The 1964 Prince Skyline GT was a homologation special built for the GT-II class at the Japan Grand Prix. Engineers took a standard 4-cylinder Skyline saloon, extended the nose, and installed a Prince Gloria 6-cylinder. It was Japan’s first sports sedan and set the stage for renowned Skyline GT-R.
The 1966 Subaru 1000 was notable for being a front-wheel-drive compact at a time when most were still rear-wheel-drive. It also boasted a novel horizontally opposed engine, four-wheel independent suspension, inboard type front brakes, and a three-stage cooling system with a dual radiator. The wagon version was modified for AWD and became the template for all modern Subarus.
It should be noted that these vehicles mark the JAHoF’s return from three-year hiatus in inducting historic vehicles, which had previously been inducted at the rate of one per year. Below is a list of all previous inductees and the years they were honored.
2014: 1968 Isuzu 117 Coupé
2013: 1967 Honda N360
2012: 1965 Toyota Sports 800
2011: 1932 Datsun Type 12 Phaeton
2010: 1960 Mitsubishi 500
2009: 1958 Honda Super Cub
2008: 1955 Suzuki Suzulight
2007: 1957 Daihatsu Midget
2006: 1955 Toyota Crown
2005: 1973 Honda Civic
2004: 1958 Subaru 360
2003: 1967 Mazda Cosmo Sport