VIDEO: Behold, a loop of Tokyo’s Shuto Expressway in 1986

While most people are downing large quantities of Netflix right now, here’s something a bit more relevant to our interests: Home videos of driving through Tokyo in the Showa Era. It’s a clockwise loop of Tokyo’s Shuto, and speaking of normal JNCs, the roads are teeming with Bluebirds, Galants, Crowns, Coronas, Citys, Sunnys, Skylines, and Glorias. It’s old Japanese car heaven.

According to YouTube user kamepo, who uploaded the video, it was filmed during the New Year holiday of 1986. They note that at 12:16, there was a kei car running with its hazards on, warning others of its low speed. Apparently, it was common at the time to find kei vehicles and old trucks that couldn’t keep up with the high-speed flow.

It’s a pretty impressive video, considering it was long before dashcams and video recorders were pretty gigantic. Apparently kamepo filmed the footage with a rented Victor KY-1900, a triple-Saticon tube “compact” camera about the size of a toaster oven and weighing about 12-14 pounds. With a Betamax tape deck, AC100V power supply, large tripod, and other equipment, the total setup weighed in at about 66 pounds. That seems like a ton of work, and we have no idea what inspired kamepo to undertake this project, but we’re glad they did. What cars can you identify?

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11 Responses to VIDEO: Behold, a loop of Tokyo’s Shuto Expressway in 1986

  1. BlitzPig said:

    Hope they had that wheel bearing repaired before something unsettling happened.

  2. Nigel said:

    Think I saw an FX16 and a Crown, Corolla wagon and a Nissan Sunny. Plenty plenty skinny tires also.

  3. MikeRL411 said:

    Ah, the good old days when “Portable” meant capable of being moved with a small truck.

  4. Socarboy said:

    Very cool, a real time road video from back in the day. I have done time lapse road videos from my 2008 Suzuki SX4 that has carried over one million passengers virtually. Here’s a recent ride filmed from it on I-95 south thru Jacksonville FL last year https://youtu.be/ITGaUeRJvhg

  5. Negishi no Keibajo said:

    Look like he started the loop clockwise at around Nihonbashi. Here’s pix today…

    1:35 is just passing under Harumi Dori southwest bound.
    https://www.google.com/maps/@35.6681103,139.7682377,3a,75y,247.27h,91.02t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sH6rHxZ2nxlCV3ccgPxoRbg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

    3:27 passing under the monorail to Haneda northbound
    https://www.google.com/maps/@35.6529859,139.7564032,3a,75y,92.31h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sALNEbyhkfGRQ7QAPyIvvNw!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

    3:54 Shibakoen exit.
    https://www.google.com/maps/@35.6535279,139.7519448,3a,75y,291.73h,92.67t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sSx2_Uae3U53gx2933BhjEw!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

    4:58 The “Y” junction splitting off to Rt 2 to the left, C1 continuing to the right.
    https://www.google.com/maps/@35.6554536,139.7399683,3a,75y,315.44h,91.55t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1snnfULQX1BlNMKhSO91YeXQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

    6:24 Ark Hills / Roppongi
    https://www.google.com/maps/@35.6674423,139.7395263,3a,75y,32.77h,82.14t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sK6qyDN1GaZ9usMwF0a8-Pw!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

    7:35 Popping up out of the Chiyoda Tunnel, northwest side of Imperial Palace (Kojimachisho Chidorigafuchi)
    https://www.google.com/maps/@35.6889049,139.745714,3a,75y,73.57h,109.08t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sf_nPBogBd4LGttKdP39Lxw!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

    9:38 Back side of National Museum of Modern Art
    https://www.google.com/maps/@35.6908665,139.7543367,3a,75y,70.11h,83.67t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sL0HjInf4DL4oWL2UTCgJ0Q!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

    10:16 Kandabashi exit
    https://www.google.com/maps/@35.6902584,139.7630516,3a,75y,116.47h,93.88t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sr-iuNAGsCjwGaWZWjeXEYQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

    11:14 Passing by Bank of Japan HQ.
    https://www.google.com/maps/@35.6862887,139.7704283,3a,75y,140.78h,80.45t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sMfSWDCpBO-lmpuhxvcWj0g!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

    • Ben Hsu said:

      Thanks for putting this together! I’ve driven the Shuto a few times, but mostly when I’m in Tokyo I take the trains so I haven’t developed a good mental map of the city. The roads, expressways, train tracks, etc., all just seem like a big tangle of overpasses. It’s just amazing how much the city changes, even every couple of years.

  6. Oldschool45 said:

    It’s not a japanese car but i saw a Lancia Thema first gen at 04:05.

  7. Although one has to dig down through kamepo’s uploads, he has several other driving videos which are also enjoyable. Some rare gems for those of who appreciate Japanese cars and culture of that era.

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