Originally released in 1964, “The Auto Show Song” was composed by famed Japanese songwriter Tetsuro Hoshino and performed by action movie star/singer Akira Kobayashi (there are a lot of crossover entertainers in Japan). It was an old standard of the Showa Era, and sounded off popular cars of the era.
The tune takes listeners through popular cars of the era, from Japanese to American to European. JNCers will surely recognize name checks to their favorite makes and models. Here’s the original, and the cars so you can follow along as you watch this fan-made video stitched from random videos and scenes of Kobayashi’s many films.
Verse 1: Toyopet, Nissan, Packard, Chevrolet, Crown, Jaguar, Ford, Corona
Verse 2: Buick, Taunus, Debonair, Mercury, Renault, Opel, Colt
Verse 3: Bluebird, Minx, Carol, Datsun, Contessa, Mazda, Austin
Verse 4: Benz, Gloria, Bellett, Hillman, Chrysler, Lincoln, Volkswagen, Cedric
The song has been covered and remade several times. In 2003 the band Doggy Bag came out with an updated version reflecting the era’s popular cars and musical tastes (ie, there is a rap in the middle). The only version we could find online was from a school play.
Verse 1: Civic, Ford, Samsung, March, Carol
Verse 2: Nissan, Chrysler, Saab, Volkswagen, Volvo, Galant
Rap: Mazda, Legacy, Escalade, Benz, Santana, Golf, Celica, Camaro, Rover, Familia, Porsche
Verse 3: Jaguar, Honda, Fairlady, Bentley, Estima, Pajero
Verse 4: Aston Martin, Peugeot, Corolla, Citroen, Seven
By 2011, youth enthusiasm for cars was waning in Japan. An organization called Drive Japan was formed by the country’s eight major automakers, its purpose to come up with ways of getting young people to fall in love with cars. We’re not sure if a sugary pop version of The Auto Show Song is the way to accomplish that, though. This time it was performed by annoyingly high-pitched songstress Coba-U and all the shout outs are of the participating manufacturers’ products. We wonder if the exact models were chosen by the marketing departments.
Verse 1: March, Stella, Mira, Jimny, Charade, Corolla, Axela
Verse 2: Civic, Vitz, Lapin, Impreza, Pajero, Roadster, Delica, Demio
Verse 3: Legacy, Fit, Freed, Tanto, Odyssey, Prius, Move
Verse 4: Land Cruiser, Wish, Juke, Alto, Fairlady, Serena, Mirage
Hat tip to Ken L.