Category Archives: Culture

Toyota Corona ads like this helped establish the brand in the US

Toyota’s entry into the US market was famously disastrous. The Toyopet Crown was built for crowded Japanese alleys, not wide American highways, and its troubled launch almost sent Toyota back to Japan entirely. What redeemed the company was the introduction … Continue reading

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Honda Super Cub art from around the world celebrates the iconic bike

At what point does a mass-produced consumer product become art? The Honda Super Cub has been in production since 1958 and proliferated the landscape of humanity by selling over 100 million units. There’s no arguing that the Super Cub is … Continue reading

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Honda S500, S600, and S800 explored with no stone unturned: The First Honda Automobiles 1958-1970

In the volumes of information available on Hondas, most of it centers on cars of the 1980s and newer. There hasn’t been a whole lot written about the earliest models that paved the way for the Civics and Accords we … Continue reading

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Toyota GR86 meets its Initial D and MF Ghost predecessors in new ad

Toyota has teamed up with the creator of Initial D and MF Ghost again in a new ad. The spot features the new GR86, the old 86, and the really old AE86 on a late night touge run while a … Continue reading

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Nissan Z haunted by ghosts of Z-cars past on a sleepless night

We’ve seen the formula before. A commercial for the Nissan Z brings out generations of older Z-cars to support the new one. Not a single word is uttered in the whole ad and the narrative couldn’t be simpler. A man … Continue reading

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1970 KE10 chases Toyota GR Corolla in new ad that is cringe

In Toyota’s latest ad for the raucous GR Corolla, a cameo by a 1970 KE10 almost threatens to steal the show. Not only that, but there are several references to past Toyota commercials, some obscure enough that only Toyota nerds … Continue reading

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A Quiet Greatness is a gorgeous, must-have book about Japanese cars

As much as Japanese cars have permeated automotive culture, they’ve been lacking in one important aspect: the coffee table book. Walk into any bookstore (if you can still find them in your town), and you’ll see gorgeous volumes on Italian, … Continue reading

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The Honda Legend is Han Solo’s preferred transport on this remote backwater planet

The Millennium Falcon might be a fast ship, but when Han Solo visits a primitive Outer Rim world that has yet to develop repulsor technology the galactic smuggler needs to blend in with the locals. That’s why he chooses the … Continue reading

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The Acura Integra Type S will take anime to Pikes Peak

It seems stupid, but it took Japanese manufacturers until 2022 to embrace anime as an advertising tool. It’s only been the most influential Japanese medium for about, oh, the last 30 years. Ironically it’s Acura, the first brand created for … Continue reading

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The digital cars of Chris Labrooy are still fanciful fun

You might have noticed photos of some weird swan car built out of a Porsche 996 circulating on social media this week. Porsche is currently showing the art car in their display at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, … Continue reading

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Initial D Toyota AE86 gets schooled by GR86 again, with a different master behind the wheel

In January a series of commercials for the 2022 Toyota GR86 reunited it with the famous Initial D AE86. In those commercials tofu delivery boy Takumi is defeated by none other than the Drift King himself, Keiichi Tsuchiya (or at … Continue reading

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Toyota GR Corolla joins the family — Rate This Ad

The Toyota GR Corolla is hitting the showrooms soon, so it’s time for some new ads. For Americans, the 300-horsepower AWD hot hatch is probably the most anticipated Toyota in decades, especially if you count only the cars fully developed … Continue reading

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Japan’s first railway began operating 150 years ago today

One hundred and fifty years ago today, Japan’s first railway opened. The line connected Shimbashi, Tokyo to nearby Yokohama, a distance of just 18 miles. Pulled by a British-built steam locomotive, the trip took 53 minutes non-stop. The train made … Continue reading

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Rate This Ad: Subaru intensifies the Eurobeat with Initial D-style ads

An illustrated car speeds down a mountain road at night. That image will forever be linked to the artistic style of Shuichi Shigeno. The Initial D creator captured the thrill and speed of Japan’s underground touge battles even when it … Continue reading

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Rate This Ad: Nissan off-roads through the decades

A new Nissan commercial takes viewers on a ride through the decades. Titled “60 Years in 30 Seconds”, it features spokeswoman Brie Larson time-jumping from the 1959 to present day in various Nissans. If you think that sounds familiar, it’s … Continue reading

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Rate This Ad: Multi-generational Toyota family

Normally “national sales events” ads are pretty boring. You have the latest models zipping along a city street while APR financing options are recited at Micro Machine Man speed. For this summer’s Toyotathon, however, Toyota is pulling out the classics … Continue reading

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After 30 years Honda finally acknowledges “tuners”

One of the biggest mysteries of the universe will always be why Honda never capitalized on the whole “tuner” phenomenon of the 90s. Back in the era of front-wheel drag racing and underglow, car enthusiasts in the 18-34 age range … Continue reading

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As part of Star Wars ad campaign, C-3PO and R2-D2 once helped sell Mitsubishi cars in Japan

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away a couple of droids landed on a remote, unremarkable planet of mostly water. Its primitive inhabitants had yet to discover interstellar travel, but for some reason these advanced droids got … Continue reading

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Classic Toyota Celica and Truck appear in 2022 Superbowl commercial

Toyota has released their 2022 Superbowl ad, and it features a couple of classics. Toyota has chosen to focus not on the cars, but on two real-life brothers, Brian and Robin McKeever, who are Olympic and Paralympic medalists. Much of … Continue reading

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That new Nissan Z Superbowl ad is not like the old one at all, because it’s terrible

Nissan misled us big time when they released a trailer for their upcoming Superbowl ad. The trailer promised big stunts and chases with motorcycles, helicopters, and Max Maxian Firebirds, but it wasn’t about that at all. In fact, it’s not … Continue reading

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