EVENTS: Old Car Heaven, Part 01

032-R3a-809a_Nissan Cherry E10

Recently I was invited to accompany the Prince Driver’s Club to Kyuusha Tengoku, or Old Car Heaven, on the outskirts of downtown Tokyo. With many cars expected, we were asked to assemble on site at 06:00 in the morning. The early departure on a cold Tokyo day was made tolerable though as it provided us — and one snarling Skyline GT-B — with an unobstructed high-speed run out the Shuto-ko and over the Rainbow Bridge to Daiba. 

008-R3a-777a_Prince Skyline S54003-R3a-774a_Prince Gloria Wagon 004-R3a-775a_Prince Gloria Wagon001-R3a-917a_Prince Skyline GTB002-R3a-921a_Prince Skyline GTB

Dropping down into the parking lot and flashing our member pass, we were nicely ushered into the Prince parking area just in time to see a Prince Gloria wagon cruise in under the early morning sky, its glowing taillights setting the scene for one of the best events I’ve attended in a long time.

005-R3a-776a_Toyota Hiace H20007-R3a-811a_Prince Clipper 006-R3a-776b_Prince Clipper

As we slowly walked the car park looking at the cars that had already turned up, we marveled continuously at the diverse and interesting nature of each new arrival. Just as we were looking at a minty Hi-Ace in period company green, another pair of Skyline GT-B and a Prince Clipper truck arrived.

010-R3a-779a_Nissan Leopard F30 011-R3a-778a_Nissan Leopard F30

Following them, a Turbo Leopard and a Kenmeri took places side-by-side.

002a-R3a-780a_Prince Skyline GTB

The next arrival, a New Zealand registered Gloria 6 coincidentally parked next to the previously Australian registered GT-B much to everyone’s amusement.

014-R3a-784a_Toyota Crown S75 kujira013-R3a-783a_Toyota Crown S75 kujira012-R3a-781a_Toyota Crown S75 kujira

As further kyuusha were unloaded in the background, we went over in detail one of the rarest of kujira Crown – a last-of-the-series Coupe in dark green and wearing a highly appropriate set of the original grandpa-spec Enkei alloys, it had a tremendous presence.

018-R3a-786a_Nissan Skyline C10 GTX

As we were chatting with the amenable owner, an even rarer coupe from the same period gingerly reversed into the accompanying car spot — a 1971 Skyline GT-X HT four-cylinder. Short-nosed, unlike their bigger six-cylinder sisters, the unmolested rear surf-line making an obvious style statement, lost mostly these days to the wanna-be chop-it-up fake GT-R crowd. In Japan particularly though, more non-faked Skyline HT are appearing, and their values are going up, perhaps as their rarity is recognized. Certainly too, the last few un-hacked HTs we’ve seen have attracted a lot of attention. Plus, blue-tinted glass, air-conditioning, and electric windows are kakoii too these days. Especially if driven regularly.

019-R3a-789a_flower fender mirror

We spent some time talking to the owner, initially about his super-rare mirrors (possibly worth as much as the car itself), but then about his private joke of carrying a surfboard for his surf-line.

020-R3a-790a_Toyota Celica A20 RS-Watanabe

Setting up a short distance away was a small team from Racing Service Watanabe, and their one highlighted car – an extremely tasty and very subtle Celica, wearing of course their recently released reproduction Toyota competition wheels.

021-R3a-793a_Prince Skyline S54R

Whereas the Celica could be described as discrete, another new machine, the recently named “S54R” Skyline certainly isn’t anything of the sort. Prince/Nissan never made either a coupe from the S54, nor an official R version, instead relying on their conventional passenger saloon four-doors, and the souped-up GT-A, then GT-Bs to take their brand racing.

022-R3a-797a_Prince Skyline S54R

One enterprising Prince fan though, in asking the “what-if” question built what Prince/Nissan did not at the time, taking a ratty GT-A and, keeping the existing wheelbase, lengthened the doors and moved the B-pillar rearward.

Equipped with an S30 rear-end, R200 LSD, full coil-over suspension, massive AP disk-brakes, and what looked like a big RB-series block running ITBs, in its newly applied silver paint it certainly looks the part.

023-R3a-799a_Toyopet Crown S30 pickup

Equally intriguing though, was a Toyopet work utility truck and accompanying cat-eared scooter.

024-R3a-801a_Nissan Silvia S10 025-R3a-802a_Nissan Silvia S10 026-R3a-846a_Nissan Silvia S10 027-R3a-845a_Nissan Silvia S10

Parked near-by a “New Silvia,” so identified because of its native badges saying “New Silvia.” This must have seemed so modern in 1975!

028-R3a-806a_Prince Skyline Sport convertible 029-R3a-913b_Prince Skyline Sport convertible 030-R3a-914a_Prince Skyline Sport convertible 031-R3a-913a_Prince Skyline Sport convertible

Of special interest, especially to the Prince aficionado in attendance, was the unloading of a Michelotti designed Skyline Sport convertible. Supposedly the original Tokyo Motor Show prototype from 1962, it featured a number of rare attributes on an already rare car. It was one of two Michelotti Skyline present on the day.

035-R3a-809d_Nissan Cherry E10033-R3a-809b_Nissan Cherry E10 034-R3a-809c_Nissan Cherry E10

In what appeared to be the greatest number of single type on the day, the Datsun Cherry X-1. While others unloaded their period trucks and Hakosuka GT-R trunks of parts, the Cherry Club gathered like they were the only group there. It was great.

036-R3a-815a_Honda Vamos 037-R3a-816a_Honda Vamos038-R3a-817a_Nissan Sunny B110 wagon

A military green Honda Vamos sported a matching green Motocompo scooter, and in another case of accessories perhaps worth more than the car, a Nissan Sunny wagon was wearing a set of re-finished Yayois.

040-R3a-819b_Nissan Skyline C10 GTX039-R3a-819a_Nissan Skyline C10 GTX041-R3a-820a_Subaru Sambar & Mazda Porter

Another two un-cut Skyline HTs sat with an early Land Cruiser and a G-nose Fairlady Z, and while an early Subaru Sambar looked purposeful and work-like, parked next to it was a forever-startled Mazda Porter Cab “Gachapin.”


044-R3a-822b_Mitsubishi Lancer rally 045-R3a-822c_Mitsubishi Lancer rally

Heading into the Mitsubishi section, we encountered a replica — albeit on a coupe — of the Safari Rally-winning great-great-grandfather of the modern Evo. This livery was immortalized on countless other rally machines, most notably on gladiators in Australia’s Southern Cross Rally.

046-R3a-822d_Mitsubishi Colt Galant GTO

Deeper into the territory of the Triple Diamond Clan was a particularly fetching Galant GTO GSR planted itself in a bulldog-like stance, ready to launch from gleaming SSR MkIs wrapped in an incredible set of NOS Dunlop CR88 race tires.

047-R3a-803a_Mitsubishi Jupiter043-R3a-822a_Mitsubishi Colt 1100042-R3a-821a_Mitsubishi Colt Coupe & FTO

In the next row, a loose collective of esoteric Mitsubishi (aren’t they all, though?) gathered — a Colt 1100, Jupiter pickup and Galant FTO — the latter with a rare E70 Toyota Sprinter Trueno. Some of these I’ve never seen before, and never expect to see again.

That concludes Part 01 of our Old Car Heaven coverage. To be continued…

Skorj is co-founder of Filmwasters and you can find more of his work at Cars on Film and here on JNC

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29 Responses to EVENTS: Old Car Heaven, Part 01

  1. Nigel says:

    Which Mitsubishi to choose, Galant or Colt ?? Awesome coverage Skorj !

  2. Scotty G says:

    Ha, forever-startled Mazda Porter Cab! Well done, sir!

    What an adventure, talk about a bucket list destination. It looks like the rarest vehicles there were the unmodified ones. There can’t be many original-spec vehicles left, as the author states; what a shame for a purist like myself. To find an original Datsun Cherry X-1 or Skyline would be like discovering a Yeti in Arizona.

  3. SHC says:

    Amazing gathering.

  4. Yuri says:

    As a former S10 200SX owner, seeing a trio of S10 New Silvia’s is amazing. Over all, this parking lot is a collection of the things dreams are made of.

  5. bryan dickerson says:

    Holy smokes!
    The motherload of JNC goodness! I’ve never seen a Sunny Wagon before. Thanks for all the pics.
    Is the Skyline you rode in shown in the pictures?

  6. goodshow_aa says:

    that 2 door prince was tough as nails. so nice. AND ALL THE cherrys!!

  7. Brett says:

    How i wish we had days where it was possible to see such a diverse range of JNC.

    I was a child when the kujira Crowns were new In Australia, and although a car-nut at a very young age I did not like or appreciate them. As I have grown older, wiser, and as my tastes have refined, they have really grown on me, and I now think them one of the great Japanese designs. That Coupe is just gorgeous. How I would love to own one; and Australia is one place where they might still be found. I look, often, but I am yet to see one for sale.

    Great pictures!

  8. Adam says:

    That Celica on the Watanabe stand… ermagerhd!!

  9. Ben Hsu says:

    Looks like an amazing event, Skorj! Great writeup and photos, as always. I’ve always leaned towards the round-headlight Kujira, but that head-on shot is enough to sway me. Love all the Silvias and that Galant GTO is gorgeous.

  10. Matt says:

    props skorj! this post will require a few passes to soak everything in. not sure how many people can absorb how packed with details and references it really is.

    loving the leopard
    where’s the colt coupe you refer to?
    is that white car next to the fto a corolla sr5?

    the engine next to the 2dr pmc is frankenstein of l-gata block + rb head. speciality of the resto/tuning shop that built that bizarre 2dr

  11. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    Great article. I have a real soft spot for those trucks from the 60’s. I particularly like the dusty blue paint of that era. My neighbor in Kamakura had one of those big Mazda trikes. Can’t wait for your next installment.

  12. Dean says:

    I’m going to be in Tokyo at the end of May-early June. Anyone know of any events during that time?

  13. Wow wonder how long that NZ car has been in Japan haha, super random.. every now and then those pop up for sale here

  14. Nakazoto says:

    Awesome coverage Skorj! I went to a Kyusha Tengoku meeting a few years ago and it was mind blowing how many cars there were!

  15. Joel says:

    Any more info on those floral fender mirrors would be greatly appreciated

    • Skorj says:

      They were an after market accessory and are very rare now. I’ve only seen one original set for sale, and they were over \300,000 or similar.

      Unlike the mizu hana gear knobs, mizu mira are no longer made.

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