We recently asked about what car you’d preserve if you had a time machine, but what about a memory? Kenichi Yamamoto having his eureka moment about the rotary engine? Tetsu Ikuzawa passing the Porsche 904 at the 2nd Japan Grand Prix? Keiichi Tsuchiya initiating his first drift?
If you could witness one automotive moment, what would it be?
What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s your favorite Japanese car culture?”
Thoughtful comments this week came from ahja opting for the standard Showa touge driver to Dankan opting out altogether in favor of the lone wolf weekend warrior. Some veered off into strange territory, like Ant‘s admiration of kei truck shenanigans or Schumann‘s love for itasha vans. In the end it was Brian‘s heartfelt recollections reminding us that beneath the glammed up car cultures that we see at SEMA, there’s always a guy just doing what he loves.
I used to have a great time hanging out with the touge drivers. I would cruise up with my room mate on the weekend as we lived near Hakone and meet all kinds of weekend drivers many who came to race or drift depending on the hill and the weather. The local guys would turn out after work at the tire shop/dealerships and go tandem drift up the hill behind our town before cruising home.
These guys were always pretty welcoming of the awkward foreigner.
Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!
That badass monemt Keiichi Tsuchiya did his first drift hands down. Think about it, shit musta blew peoples minds, plus that backroad streetracing is what got the car scene popularized. So yeah Id go and watch any of his early touge races or ‘drift’ races.
I’d like to have been in the Mazda pit garage at Le Mans on the night of their 1991 overall victory, definitely. Can you imagine how happy they must all have been? It must have been brilliant!
+1 on that moment. That’s what I came here to type.
The moment Takumi Fujiwara beat Keisuke Takahashi on Mount Akina.
The question never said it had to be real.
What? Wait a minute! That…wasn’t…real? :'(
you mean when they were drawing it right?
For me it would have been at *any* of the Fuji Grand Championship races in 1982 or the JSPC races in 1983/1984. Back in those days the Group 5 races (aka Fuji Super Silhouette races) were held as “warming up” races before the real Group 6 race started.
The Group 5 races were dominated in those days by the LZ20BT powered Nissan-trio (Skyline KDR32, Silvia KS110 and Bluebird KY910) that spat out more flames per race via their side-exhausts than your average forest fire. The wild aggressive ultra-wide bodywork featured a silhouette of the original cars but in reality the cars were a Formula 2 chassis with a silhouette body on top of it. So they were not that different from the Group 6 race cars that followed after these thrilling warm ups!
If I had to pick one it would have been the last race at Tsukuba Circuit on December 9th 1984.
59th 24 Hours of Le Mans, 22 and 23 June 1991. Mazda 787b claiming victory.
[a href =”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-A5ir_R4lkiw/VPH2Dw1WuLI/AAAAAAAAWdQ/jcho5etQs9s/w506-h380/15%2B-%2B1]This moment, now and forever.[/a]
now with more clickable.
So many good ones, but I would have absolutely loved witnessing my own car [1984 Toyota Van LE] being built. We are the original owners, so watching it progress on the assembly line and even making its journey across the ocean and all the way to Cleveland would be a treat. That’s not really one moment I guess, but still.
Awesome idea. I thought about the same, but You were quicker 😉
Credits for You
My was built in the gorgeus city of Kyoto 😉
Great suggestion. On a similar note, I’d love to have seen my 1992 Eunos Roadster handed over to its excited owner when it was brand new.
Travel back to 1978 when Mazda pulled the wraps off the now legendary Savanna RX-7
Having read this I believed it was really enlightening. I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this short article together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!
Does it have to be Japanese? Personally I’d love to see an original Mille Miglia race or the first F1 race.
I would like to witness the 1st 300 km/h run on Yatabe made by Daijiro Inada in HKS Celica M300 in 1983.
Over & Out
I spent many years in vehicle planning departments at two large Motor Companies, and getting the board or whichever committee to approve a vehicle program was always a huge headache with many late nights required.
So I would love to have seen the boardroom meetings where the most famous of Japanese car lines were approved, and to see the delight and relief on the faces of the vehicle platform and engineering teams when they were finally given the green light for their programs. The rest as they say, is history….
Just a few words here… IMSA and SCCA when Nissan started to see success. (Early 80’s maybe).
When Mazda yoinked the 50th “possible win” from Nissan and the Skyline back in 73? Need to get my year right. RX3 forever!!!
Belgian Grand Prix 1967 – Dan Gurney wins at SPA in his Eagle-Weslake.
Not Japanese, but you didn’t specify.
Alternate: Mexican Grand Prix 1965 – Richie Ginther drove to Honda’s First GP win.
While not particularly exciting, for me it would be the moment Mazda decided to create a rotary powered sports car.
The idea, in today’s platform-sharing, conservative, profit-oriented automotive landscape, of taking a more or less untested (or at least tested by NSU with fairly mediocre results) technology, and deciding to stick with it for the next 50 years, trying to refine and improve it – single handedly – as a small Japanese manufacturer, would be unthinkable – and yet, in a boardroom somewhere in Mazda offices over 50 years ago, someone with brass balls made that decision.
It might have been a handshake, a bow or a signature that sealed it, but the fruit created as a result of that decision are still causing excitement today.
Not to hate or whatever, but in the early 60s when Mazda first committed to the rotary it was very much a popular fad, and a bunch of manufacturers were doing the same, including Mercedes and GM. The “rotary revolution” fizzled out pretty quickly though, and only Mazda was left to carry the torch forward (being intermittently joined by motorcycle manufacturers Suzuki and Norton over the decades). So what is amazing about Mazda is their long commitment to the rotary. Deciding to “make a rotary” car was common and not particularly brave in the early-mid 60s; lots of companies said they would. Actually doing so and then sticking with it is the story.
Imagine Toyota at the peak of their rally career and technological prowess, making a real name for a Japanese company on the world rally stage and paving the way for the ascendant Mitsubishi and Subaru.
I’d like to see the meeting where TTE came up with their devious scheme to defeat the turbo/inlet restrictions of their WRC Celicas. Like a cross between “Game of Thrones” and “How its Made” (an underrated series imo).
My most wish-list rally scenes in my mine(especially as a gran turismo fan-boy X-P),was a Mitsubishi Evo IV WRC Rally scenes,no matter which country this Evo attempt the rally race,i hope i can go back in time to witness the one of the most memorable WRC Group A rally race scenes on history 😉