If it wasn’t for its glorious motorsports history, Fuji Speedway would be just about the worst place to hold a car show. It rains seemingly half the time there, and while that makes for cool photography, it can’t be pleasant for the owners. Luckily, the Japanese don’t seem to be phased by the precipitation one bit and and came together for an impressive 80s-themed show.
“Hachimaru” is literally “eight zero” in Japanese, and the Hachimaru Meeting is a gathering of all Japanese cars from the Eighties. It’s organized by Geibunsha Publishing, the company behind the magazines like Nostalgic Hero and Hachimaru Hero.
Our guide for this event was Yuichi Ikegaya, shacho of Utilitas, a Tokyo-based shop that specializes in 1980s Nissan Skylines and Toyota Land Cruisers.
Like many Japanese enthusiasts, Ikegaya-san adopts a “grass is greener” mentality when it comes to cars. A USDM Infiniti G20 holds more cachet than a regular ol’ JDM Nissan Primera, and an imported one will receive a decent amount on attention on his side of the Pacific.
The DR30 Skyline holds a special place in the hearts of Japanese of a certain age, thanks to the long-running Seibu Keisatsu cop show in which a trio of Skylines served as the hero cars. Like the car we profiled in 2013, this one is a replica of the car from the show.
Parked beside it was a rare, early RS model still with its original fender mirrors. The R30 generation of Skyline was midway through its life cycle when fender mirrors stopped being mandatory. Nearly all the remaining R30s at shows today are door mirror-equipped examples (some retro-fitted), so an original is a notable sight.
The Suzuki Carry is one of Japan’s most beloved kei trucks. Even so, ones from abroad hold a special sway with enthusiasts, which is why a display of slammed supercompact pickups included one decked out in European-market badging for the GME Rascal. Flanking it were a rare Super Carry and a wide-eyed first-gen Honda Acty.
You can’t have an 80s show without the poster child for the decade, the Toyota AE86. Though some were heavily modified for drifting or some other nefarious activity, we couldn’t help pausing for a set of beautiful pandas, mostly original except for slight drop on some Work and Watanabe wheels.
In some ways the 80s belonged to the Toyota sedan, as Aichi spun out endless variation after variation of big, boxy four-doors. We are particularly drawn to examples that not only hail from the 80s, but are still decked out in accoutrements from the 80s, like polished wheel arch trim, chromed mirrors and Hiro V-1 wheels.
In addition to the Mark II/Cresta/Chaser triplets, Toyota also had the incredible, evergreen Crown. Flooding the show dressed in 80s Work Ewing IIIs and BBSes and the like, their numbers spoke volumes about decade of dominance.
A pair of the largest fender mirrors you’ve ever seen reveal a former life as a commercial vehicle for an S130 Crown now a Mooneyes-style cruiser.
Quite possibly one of the best off-roaders ever built, 80-Series Land Cruisers are fast approaching classic status. They are still somewhat common, but it’s interesting to note that, like its predecessors, Japanese ones had the option of rear doors instead of a hatch.
Perhaps the least loved Skyline of all time, a fleet of R31 sedans on modern wheels braved the rain as well. Curiously, one sported an Arizona license plate.
We’re not sure if the R32 can really be called an 80s car, since it arrived only at the tail end of the decade. What we can report, however, is that it looks equally stunning in its traditional gunmetal gray or a striking red that pops spectacularly in the grayness of a rainy day.
The Skyline Japan 2000GT-E·S Turbo is a particularly rare bird, stuck in limbo between the red hot Kenmeri DR30. Still, for one generation it was the top dog Skyline. Plus, it bore a period-appropriate execution of Nissan’s “black gold” phase.
The F31 Nissan Leopard has an immense following in Japan, thanks in part to its starring role in the Abunai Deka TV series. Again, having one in USDM Infiniti M30 spec gives the owner prodigious amounts of cool points.
The Y30 Gloria was Nissan’s answer to the Toyota’s box brigade. Their attrition rates seem to be greater than that of the Crowns and X70 triplets, so seeing one in full 80s lace interior and Volk wire wheels is a treat.
It wouldn’t be an 80s show without a mind-altering dose of zokusha, and a kitted 430 Gloria does not disappoint. Kitted, pinstriped and bespoilered, it is the consummate 80s shakotan sled. Plus, it has magnificent Skyline taillights that look unbearably cool on the Gloria’s angled posterior.
No account of 80s Japanese car culture would be complete without some gratuitous one-box van porn. These rolling breadboxes were — and still are — used for everything from kid hauling to mobile love shack to Honda S800 transport. The Toyota Hiace is one of the most ubiquitous, and came in a dizzying array of styles — single versus stacked headlight, high versus low roof, short versus long wheelbase. With cabins as big as some Tokyo hotel rooms, they are an indelible part of Japanese life.
The van that wowed us the most, perhaps, was a bone stock GC120 Nissan Vanette Largo, complete with its original decal strips, outstanding two-tone color scheme and white-line tires. It’s time capsule originality is astounding. It may look like a brick, but there is beauty to be found here.
As we near the end of the show coverage, we come to a pair of Z10 Toyota Soarers, a defining car for the Bubble Era. Capitalizing on an economy gone gangbusters, Toyota introduced a high-end luxury coupe that would’ve been a Lexus had the marque been around at the time. It quickly became a favorite of the shakotan and zokusha crowd as well. Incidentally, the black and gray example on Glow Stars is undoubtedly the baddest Z10 we’ve ever seen and it looks even meaner in the rain.
Yuichi Ikegaya is founder of Utilitas, a DR30 and Land Cruiser specialty shop in Tokyo.
Great show coverage. I am a fan R31’s and R30’s. (And 430’s and Z10’s…)
Awesome pictures Yuichi.
Man, I forgot about Infiniti M30s. I drove a few, probably 15 years ago when I worked at an Infiniti dealer, most where original owner cars too. One in particular was a 16k mile cream puff that the dealer owner purchased back to put in his collection.
The perfect stocking stuffer, several of those cool Suzuki Carry pickups! (or, Subaru Sambar / Honda Acty / Daihatsu Hijet / anything) I’ve got to look for one of those.
I love the Skyline Japan 2000GT-E·S, too, I don’t know if I’ve seen that model before.
A lot of like here. Nothing against the ubiquitous white, but great to see what some of these rides look like in color. Always enjoy seeing the Seibu Keisatsu style cars, including the C210 – sure it was nonturbo? Nice side-by-side of the R30s with 1983 being the year for the fender mirror change. Don’t seem to see many pics of R31s, but look very cool with a slight drop and some wheels. To me, they seem to be one of the few cars that can pull off a variety wheel sizes and styles. Maybe the ’80s were like a high school girl and could get away with a variety of looks. Excuse me, I just got a call from HR.
You’re right, John, it was a Turbo version, which as you know was also a Seibu Keisatsu star! I’m not a fan of the big wheels on 80s cars look, but it’s certainly not the most offensive mod I can think of.
Have you guys done a feature on fender mirrors in the past? I notice the 80 series land cruiser is sporting them and this would be 1989 onwards.
We haven’t done a feature on them, but it’s a good idea. As for the Land Cruiser, commercial vehicles had fender mirrors well into the 90s. Like with the Crown, civilian versions had door mirrors, taxis and other commercial ones had fender mirrors. SUVs still have the option of fender mirrors to this day (but only on the passenger/left side) for off-roading purposes.
It would be cool if you could get some kind of “official” graphic showing legal installations.
Many models favored by right-wing oji-san still have fender mirrors as a catalog item. This includes taxi of course, but also Cima, Century, Crown, Proudia, and similar executive / yak saloons…
I hate to correct Ben too, but the passenger side only fender mirror is not a conventional mirror for off-roading, but merely a parking assist mirror so you can see down and to the front wheel nerfing the curb. The reason – I suggest – they are popular on SUV, minivans, and upright two-boxes, is simply their utilitarian nature allows their style to be incorporated easily.
Great story and pictures. A feast for the eyes just before Christmas.
The one time I went to Fuji Speedway it rained and was misty like this. It was disappointing not to be able to see Fuji-san up close, but the atmosphere was still great and the day would have been less interesting if it was perfectly fine IMO.
Great coverage of what looked to be a great event!
I left Japan as a kid in 1973. I came back to visit in the early 80’s with sensory overload. The “wedge” or “origami” was pretty much supercar territory until then and when I saw a MR-2 for the first time I had to do a double-take. I seem to recall a far greater variety of car magazines back then. It’s probably the internet but I notice the car section dwindling in the bookstore in Japan. There is just something about 80’s JNC’s and photography… A rainy morning actually shows off the pride of their owners. They look like they’ve been dipped in Rain-X. Thanks for the beautiful shots.
“We’re not sure if the R32 can really be called an 80s car, since it arrived only at the tail end of the decade.”
The R32 officially went into production in August of 1989. Do you not know that 1989’s a number? Another summer? Can you not hear the sound of the funky drummer? Fight the Power! Oh yeah, that’s definitely made in the ’80s baby!
Japan really doesn’t seem to have much love for Mazda. I was hoping to see some 7s. Seems like the only time you see any over there is at a rx7/rotary specific event.
..thanks for the coverage! Love every bit of it, and only disappointed this post didn’t end with “..continuing in part 2..”!
I really wanted to get to this event this year.. but argh, next year eh! Here’s hoping the weather is a little nicer then..
I wanted to go to this event as well, but too late. Maybe this end of year.
By the way I’m looking for this kind of event but really difficult to find in Japan. Has anyone any websites references to share ? I also heard about a driving community called Noritomosan (www.noritomosan.com), which seems interesting for people who love driving and want to save money, as well as meet new people (ridesharing) at the same time.