QotW: What’s Japan’s greatest factory two-tone?

X71 Toyota

The Japanese can do two-tone like no other. Once the Bubble Economy was fully underway automakers rushed to tart up their luxe offerings with lavish, multi-toned paint schemes. Somehow, Japan was able to elevate the lines, contrasts and colors into an art form. Though it gradually fell out of favor by the late 1990s, for a while two-tone was a symbol of its era’s extravagance.

What’s Japan’s greatest factory two-tone?

While they may not be the most iconic, we love the complex two-tones of 1980s Toyota sedans. Whether it be Mark II, Cresta or Chaser, they went beyond simply bisecting the car lengthwise. Some followed the contours of the body, but all added some glitz to the boxiness of the times.

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a toy. Click through to see the winner of the last QotW, “What’s your favorite JNC tuning style?” 

Mitsubishi Canter Dekotora

Once again many great answers were put forth, but in the end it was Styles‘ description of dekotora that made us lawl… and ended with a suggestion to adapt the unique culture to automobiles!

OK, so it isn’t related to cars, but Dekotora is the craziest thing to come out of Japan. Just look at some of those mad, chromed up muraled creations, it’s just crazy, like a cross between a truck, a Gundam roboot and a pachinko parlour! Nothing shows the mad undercurrent of Japanese culture that hides behind that conservative veneer better then these.

Now, if people only started to make Dekotora-styled cars…..

Omedetou, Your comment has earned you a rare Hot Wheels x JNC Super Speeders mystery pack Mazda RX-7!


Image courtesy 168/1004.

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18 Responses to QotW: What’s Japan’s greatest factory two-tone?

  1. Benjamin says:

    Japan’s greatest factory two-tone is the Subaru Impreza Gravel Express. Turbo wagon with a push bar and a swing arm spare tire carrier? Yes please!

  2. dickie says:

    there’s no doubt that Toyota is king of the 2-tone scheme. but for the ultimate in contrasting colors that took some real balls to send out the doors to the consumer, look no further than the FJ55 Land Cruiser.

    Toyota’s 80’s lineup offered several shades of gray and beige juxtaposed with complimentary greens, browns, blues and other hues. While they effectively spanned the color palette, these cars all shared a subdued and undeniably classy look.

    Go back to the previous decade and look at the flagship off-road wagon – the philosophy couldn’t have been more different. Bright red, green, blue set off against a pure white backdrop for maximum effect. There were no less than 16 different two-tone paint codes (including brown) for this model during its 11 year run, more than any other Toyota by far. While the other two-tones followed the flowing aesthetic body lines of their respective models, the Land Cruiser’s coat was simply divided by the distinctive body line that started with the front fenders and flowed into a defined crease that surrounded the vehicle. The end result spoke to its utilitarian purpose and provided a visual link to the successful FJ40 design that preceded (and outlived) it.

    In the two-tone world, the Iron Pig is definitely the King of Kings.

  3. Bart says:

    Gotta love all the two-tone pick-ups and SUVs of the 80s. And let’s not forget some of the crazy decals and pin-striping of the decade either. Hopefully the IMG tag works in the comments.

  4. Jay says:

    Two tone you say? Well I got to give it up to the DR30 red and black Skyline. (bias much) If your not familiar with the Nissan skyline super silhouette then maybe that red and black car that you love to chase everybody with in Grand Turismo 2 rings a bell. I’m sure Mr. Masahiro Hasemi will approve.

  5. Nathaniel says:

    Guys… it’s really all about the Panda AE86s, isn’t it?

  6. Gino says:

    Without a doubt. Japans GREATEST factory two tone has to be the factory white/black panda scheme on the AE86. Probably the most recognizable and restored color scheme.

  7. invinciblejets says:

    My favorite two tone is the aw11 mr2….probably not the most popular two tone but I think it’s perfect, over the arches and always weird colors.

    Z10 and z20 soarer had a nice two tone also..

    All of people forget s13 two tone…super rare.. I wonder how many ended up burnt drift whore orange..

  8. Patrick Strong says:

    You want a winner? Let’s go with a 2-tone paint scheme so iconic, so magical, I don’t even need to name the car for you to know what I mean…


  9. Ken says:

    White/Blue two tone background when the forum goes down from the database error.

    In seriousness as much as I enjoy the ^Black Gold porn mustache, I think it’s tough to beat the iconic Panda two tone on the 86. It’s not cliche or bandwagon, since even when seeing other cars with the Panda-esque color scheme, the first car you think of is the AE86.

  10. Victor says:

    Come on now, Panda AE86. All the Fanboys paint their cars White and black, even some of the new FRS/BRS/86 cars get the panda treatment.

  11. Styles says:

    Is there anything more fundamentally early 80’s Japan car culture than two tone? My pick has to be red and black. I know that there’s heaps of love for the panda scheme, but the comdination or red and black does it for me on a number of levels. There are actually quite a few red/black two tone schemes, R30’s, MA61’s, Subaru Leone (if my memory serves me correctly), and of course the AE86. It’s a winning combination, and here’s why: the black bottom makes a car look lower and more sleek, and having the red upper section is vital, EVERYONE knows that red makes you that little bit faster!

  12. cesariojpn says:

    This is gonna sound weird coming from a Toyota Guy, but I do like the two-tones seen on Nissan Maximas from the mid 80’s.




    The cars i’ve seen is a cream(?)/beige(?) and brown color, maybe flipped depending? It’s ridiculously hard to tell given the repaints and lack of info and pics on the internet. Still, the two-tone on such a econobox is worth mentioning in a way given that it makes the car look more “unique.” Maybe this was the only USDM car offered with such a scheme, given the fact others are pretty much solid color cars. Still, interesting paint job nonetheless.

  13. yoda says:

    The Panda AE86 has its’ adherents – I’m particularly fond of the light blue over darker blue variation – among car guys.

    The general public? No contest. By slathering the lower half of a Legacy wagon with metallic gray paint and putting on more aggressive tires, Subaru created the first Outback which not only inoculated it against I-don’t-want-a-wagon-itis but defined a segment.

  14. pstar says:

    Silver two-tone is the best! It looks great on any 80s Japanese car, very timeless. And not cliche or stereotypical like the black gold or panda (not that they aren’t fine schemes as well). No gimmick, no hype, just the BEST looking paint scheme. Thats the color. How the car wears it, is another category.

    AE86 looks so good in its 2-tone scheme, its the best car for it, and the 80s had a lot of great cars for 2-toning. Every factory AE86 2-tone scheme looks fantastic. Pretty much a zenki trueno with ANY color over a black bottom will guarantee be a dope lookin car. (*Not limited to black bottom, but just to play it safe with your imagination…)

  15. Julian Nicoll says:

    I’m bias but the first gen Rx-7 had some
    delicious 2 tone, even black & gold!

  16. angelo says:

    well, if it’s two-tone… nothing would beat the panda-scheme on the ae86 as the other guys have said…

    and i love that combo, though i never thought i would say this… but i’d go for the black and silver two-tone on the kouki 86s

    and the red/black combo on the tekkamen skylines too

  17. j3wman says:

    red and black AE86 gets me more randy than my gf working on my honda in a miniskirt

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