There are times when a car is found in a state that is neither creampuff nor derelict. It does not beg to be preserved, adding mileage to its already six-figure odometer doesn’t feel like abuse, and parking lot door dings and scratches are of less concern as sections have already been repainted. Examples as such usually go for half the price of their low-mileage, all original, pristine counterparts. In the case of this 1985 Corolla GT-S, however, it set the record at $40,000. Continue reading
We were saddened last month to learn that Mitsubishi UK was selling off its entire heritage fleet, a result of the company pulling out of the UK market altogether. Some of its cars had been part of the collection for 47 years, since Mitsubishi established a UK presence in 1974. It was a rare opportunity to acquire some of the best specimens of the triple diamond marque. The auction results are now in, and one of the cars has set a new world record for its kind. Continue reading
On Sunday April 25th the inaugural Kyushu Kei Car Meeting was held in Asakura City, Fukuoka Prefecture. I see a raised hand in the back there. “Inaugural” means, like, the first one? Well, yeah. Due to a glaringly obvious oversight, the year of 2021 marks the first that the island of Kyushu (Japan’s third largest) gets an event dedicated to those dimensionally-limited machines of unlimited quirk and charisma. Continue reading
Enkei has added new variants for two of its iconic wheels in the Neo-Classic line, a selection of wheels that have evolved with modern production processes but still retain their classic form. The Apache 2 Neo and Mesh 4 Neo now come in a two-piece design and in both “lo” and “hi” disc, promoting a wider range of customization. Continue reading
Today is Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda’s 65th birthday. So, first of all, happy birthday, Toyoda-san! It’s a notable age, because in the US it was once the traditional age at which one receives a gold watch and rides off into retirement. Toyoda, however, shows no sign of quitting as head of one of the largest companies in the world. Whatever you believe about Toyota’s cars, it’s one of the most successful corporations in history.
Not only that, but due to its size and strength, Toyota basically defines segments, indirectly sets the prices of materials, and has an outsized say in the direction of the industry. Toyoda himself is also head of the Japan Auto Manufacturer’s Association, which oversees the Tokyo Motor Show, negotiates government policies that affect technology and trade, and affects the livelihoods and careers of about 8 percent of Japan’s working population. It’s a position of tremendous power, and as close as you can get to being a king in modern times. So…
What would you do if you were Akio Toyoda?
Last October Japanese actress Kazue Itoh caused a bit of a stir among her fans when she posted a photo of her car on Instagram. They were surprised to see the star driving a 30-year-old Nissan Cima that she’s owned since new. After seeing Itoh note some of its imperfections, the fans took to social media, imploring Nissan to restore the car for her. The company agreed, and on April 26 they held a small press conference at Autech headquarters before taking possession Itoh’s beloved Cima to begin the process. Continue reading
We’ve been very concerned with the Toyota Crown recently. It has been rough times for the nearly 70-year history of Japan’s staple sedan. We recently learned that, at the Shanghai Auto Show, Toyota debuted the Crown Kluger SUV, a lightly disguised Highlander that will succeed the Crown sedan in China. That has been followed up by a second Crown-badged car, a minivan. However, the Crown Vellfire feels like a bit of a salve on the insults and injuries that have been visited on the Crown name. Continue reading
Nissan USA continues to embrace the Z’s heritage, with its new mini webisode series “StorieZ”. The inaugural episode tells the journey one special father-son Datsun 240Z project that has traveled from Southern California to Georgia to Tennessee and spanned four decades. Continue reading
The widebody wizards at Liberty Walk have done it again, and this time the subject is the S15 Nissan Silvia. Called the LB-Super Silhouette S15, the name is fitting, as it’s a direct callback to the Nichira Silvia Group 5 race car of the 1980s. Now, it’s aura has been resurrected as a monster drift machine. Continue reading
Before anime and Japanese sci-fi became mainstream on US shores, a small hobby shop in Emeryville, California filled that niche for those in the know. Kimono My House is probably the oldest Japanese toy store in the United States, its shelves a vast array of who’s who in Japanese pop culture: Astro Boy, Destoroyah, Godzilla, Ultraman, Kamen Rider, Mazinger Z, and Macross, just to name a few. It wasn’t only a kaiju and mecha mecca; it was also one of the very few places outside of Japan where you can find vintage Mach GoGoGo (Speed Racer), Diapet, and Tomica. It’s been thriving despite the coronavirus pandemic, but now it needs help. Continue reading
Polyphony Digital has had its partnership with the FIA since 2018, resulting in FIA-sanctioned Gran Turismo Championships. With the International Olympic Committee’s latest announcement, Gran Turismo will become an official Olympic Sport. Continue reading
Japanese cars have been rising sharply in price in recent years and that’s attracted all kinds of buyers. That includes those who make a hobby (or living) out of finding nice examples and selling them for profit. On the one hand, it’s getting harder for long-time enthusiasts to afford their dream cars thanks to the aggressive tactics. On the other, higher prices mean cars that might have otherwise been donated for scrap or handed down to a teenager are coming out of the woodwork and hitting the marketplace. Is it all fair game in the land of capitalism, or are investors and flippers a scourge to the community?
How do you feel about car investors and flippers?
Ryu Asada was loved. By his family, by his friends, by his colleagues, and by the 200 people that showed up with a week’s notice to celebrate his life. The venerated Hot Wheels and Matchbox designer was taken from all too soon by stage IV colorectal cancer last month at the age of 42. Continue reading
Every Earth Day we highlight a hybrid or alternative fuel concept car from Japan’s past. Back in 1985, long before the Prius was a twinkle in Toyota’s eye, Isuzu revealed a hybrid compact sedan at the Tokyo Motor Show. The Isuzu Ceramic Aska was not only an early hybrid but, like its name implies, powered by an experimental ceramic engine. Continue reading
The character named Skids was not a very memorable one from the original Transformers lineup. We honestly can’t remember anything he did in the cartoon series. But, he was a Honda City hatchback in car mode, something we didn’t really get as kids because he was apparently often depicted as a minivan in the series and comic books. Soon, however, a new and more realistic version is being released in Japan. Continue reading
The GC Impreza turned 25 years old three years ago, and prices have been on the rise ever since. The WRC test car, chassis 97001 sold for under $300,000 that same year. Yesterday, its legendary road-going incarnation, a 25,000-mile 1998 Impreza 22B STi, sold for more than that. Continue reading
Last year, we learned that 2021 would be final year of the Toyota Crown. The staple of Japan’s streets would, after over six decades of continuous production, come to an end due to lagging sedan sales. Its replacement is not yet known, but a car that debuted at Auto Shanghai 2021 might offer a clue — the Crown Kluger. Continue reading
The Coronavirus pandemic last year left us with a canceled Toyotafest. It was sad, too, because it was supposed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Celica as well as the 25th anniversary of Toyotafest itself. With lockdown restrictions gradually being lifted in California, the Toyota Owners and Restorers Club is planning to finally hold its 25th show in Long Beach on Saturday, June 5, 2021. Continue reading
We just spent the weekend honoring one of the great designers of the automotive industry. Our question this week was inspired by Ryu Asada’s love for Hondas. Of course, Hondas are known for their excellent handling, but what if we take speed and driving feel out of the equation and look at the cars for their design only, purely as a form of art?
What’s your favorite Honda design?
Like most carmaker headquarters buildings in Japan, Mitsubishi Motors’ in Tokyo has a small display area, gift shop, and coffee stand in the lobby. Typically, they display whatever new cars the company has on offer (or nothing at all if there’s been a recent scandal). However, Mitsubishi has just brought out its 2002 Paris-Dakar Rally-winning Mitsubishi Pajero for a temporary exhibit. Continue reading