This Tuesday, April 30, Emperor Akihito will become the first Japanese royal in 200 years to abdicate his throne, citing his age and declining health and bringing the Heisei Era to a close. Though Japan’s royal family is largely symbolic these days, their reigns are still important markers of time. Akihito took the throne on January 7, 1989, ending the Showa Era that is often referenced with nostalgia for its post-war economic boom, bringing things like color television, transistor radios, and a Cambrian explosion of the cars that we know and love today to the forefront of Japanese culture.
Akihito’s era, then, will have spanned just over the last 30 years. It was probably just as significant, car-wise, ushering in the days of peak Japan with cars like the Skyline GT-R and Z32, Toyota Supra twin-turbo and SW20 MR2, Mazda FD RX-7 and MX-5 Miata, Mitsubishi 3000GT and Lancer Evolution, Honda NSX and Integra Type R, Subaru SVX and WRX STI, and so on. With the recent death of beloved models like the Mitsubishi Pajero and Toyota Mark X, it almost seems like another golden automotive age is ending.
What’s the greatest car of the Heisei Era?
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 Z?”
The winner this week was returning champion Jeremy A., who gave the nod to a Z generation that even most Z fans dislike. Nevertheless, it was a highly entertaining and relatable comment: