QotW: What’s your ideal touge weapon?

Today is Mountain Day in Japan, a day to celebrate the geological structures that comprise 80 percent of the nation’s land mass. Of course to car enthusiasts, mountains, specifically touge roads, represent the hallowed ground on which the quintessential lightweight Japanese sports coupe was honed. There’s nothing quite as satisfying a well-executed run along a snaking ribbon of asphalt with with dozens upon dozens of turns, and it takes a very special car to master it.

What’s your ideal touge weapon?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What car do you wish you hadn’t sold?

Heartbreaking. That’s the only word that can appropriately describe all the stories of regret we read last week. Often times they involved cars that weren’t worth very much but were nonetheless extremely rare. There was Sebastian Motsch‘s Honda Accord Aerodeck, one of last clean ones in Germany, or Lachlan‘s Nissan Pulsar EXA.

Then there were those who didn’t foresee that their cars would one day be rare and sought-after, like Rick Moore, who owned both a first-gen Toyota Celica and a Mazda RX2 in period. Or James Boice, who was serving in Japan in the 1960s and owned a Honda S800 when new. Similarly, MikeRL411 almost bought a Toyota Land Cruiser in Japan in the 1960s but shipments of foreign made cars were frozen that fateful year.

socarboy bought a Datsun 720 new and treated it like the workhorse it was, but who knew that its entire segment, compact trucks, would be extinct decades later? Blitzpig sold a Honda CRX Si, but none of us could have predicted that Honda would one day no longer make lightweight pocket rockets. Then again, it could have ended up like Ellis‘ JDM Civic Si, as Hondas often do, stolen.

It’s doubly sad when the next owner doesn’t take good care of the car. kikiichiban‘s Odula FD RX-7 ended up as a dismantled project. Bryan Kitsune tried to do the responsible thing and cull his collection, but his Toyota Celica ST185 ended up with mismatched body panels and a blown motor.

That is why the winner this week is Yuri, who was considering selling his very rare Subaru BRZ tS, but saw the QotW as a sign to keep it. If he’s still on the fence about it, then maybe winning QotW will put him over the edge:

Growing up, I would always hear middle-aged people talk about how much they regretted selling a particular car. So I vowed I wouldn’t do that. If I had a car that I loved, I swore I would hang on to it, or at least one example if I had multiples. And this worked out for me for the most part. Or so I thought. It’s how I ended up with hanging onto an AE86 GTS, S30Z, factory green two-tone S13, and 4(!) A70 Toyota Supras. But there are always exceptions that can come back to bite you. With a new car you usually think, no problem, I can always get another later. In 2004 I bought my first ever new car, a 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII GSR in Blue-by-you. Two years later I sold it to buy a different car. The new owner totaled it on the way home. I never bought another Evo, because they never depreciated beyond what I sold mine for. Looking back, whenever I see an Evo on the street, I think how cool it is, and I miss mine. So I told myself I wouldn’t make that mistake again. And I might be making it right now, because this weekend I started thinking about selling my 1-of-104 Crystal Black Silica 2018 Subaru BRZ tS. The only other car I’ve ever bought new besides my Evo, and hunted down every rare dealer option Japanese market part I could for it. It’s almost like this question of the week is a sign that I’d be making a mistake….

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12 Responses to QotW: What’s your ideal touge weapon?

  1. dankan says:

    Hmmm… The ideal touge weapon. Time to crank up the Eurobeat and consider the options.

    Tiny roads mean small cars, and relatively few straights means you don’t need ALL THE POWAH. Although you still need some. If we’re really aiming to take down the Red Suns, the ultimate cheat code would probably be a BAC Mono on slicks, or Nissan’s Formula E car with some lights bolted on.

    If we were going to go homebrew, I think I’d like to take the Porsche 910 as my inspiration, and stuff a K20C1 into a Beat, with the windshield cut down, steal the brakes off a 911 GT3RS, find myself an XTRAC sequential gearbox, and then find someone willing to make me a World of Outlaws-size wing to stick on the top of it. And then maybe see how much suspension work I can afford.

    But, if the meaning of touge is more about crisp morning or evening air, a clear road, and a moment of harmony between you and your car, then the car doesn’t matter, and it is just about finding your inner peace in the moment. Or maybe I need more coffee on a Monday morning…

  2. Alan says:

    M E G A C R U I S E R

  3. Keith says:

    My lightly modded Datsun 280z. F54 block, 3-2 header, 2.5 exhaust with an Apexi N1 muffler. Running some beefy 225/45/17s all around.

  4. TheJWT says:

    There isn’t a car on the planet I’d take over a Honda CBR250RR on a road like that. 350 lbs and 45 hp at 19,000 rpm. But don’t just take my word for it-


    (by the way, when is Japanese Nostalgic Bike becoming a thing…)

  5. Ian G. says:

    My would be an RB26 powered 67-68 Ford Mustang fastback. That’s what my friend Sean used one time in a touge race against this local kid DK. He was kicked out of the US forced to live in Japan and fell in love with drifting. But he got into it with some shady Yakuza people and bit off more than he can chew so he had to build a touge car to race in the mountains against DK. His dad had the Mustang chassis and his friends had the Skyline motor and they put it together. He ended winning that race and repaid his debt to the Yakuza. The car was fantastic. It held up in the RPMs while DK’s 350Z fell off the mountain as Sean narrowly avoided the Z falling on top of him mid race. Nowadays I heard he was building a Space Fiero but that would never do well in a touge because of the MR layout of the car and rocket attached to the roof.

  6. ra21benj says:

    Ideal touge weapon for mountain roads with tight 2nd gear corners would be a Toyota AE86 with 20 valve 4AG engine (or 16 valve with individual throttle bodies), shortened front struts, set of Tokico HTS dampers, manual steering, roll center adjusters, mechanical limited slip differential, bucket seat. Wheels would be 14 inch x 7.0 inch RS Watanabe or Volk TE37.

  7. Tom Westmacott says:

    Two things I’m grateful for; the year I lived in the mountains of Hida in Gifu-ken; and my 1996 RX-7 Type RS. However in my dreams, I’d magically transport my Seven back in time and place, and roar up and down what was then my local touge, a near-thousand metres of wide, smooth, winding ascent whose upper dead-end section could be verified empty and then climbed ‘closed road’ style.

    The agility that my Mazda shows on more modest mountains closer to home, always willing to twist tighter yet never out of control, plus the almost violent thrusts of twin-turbo torque through the short gears, would surely match well against that road’s relentless gradients. Meanwhile the factory-fit big brakes, backed up with Carbon Lorraine pads track-proven at Brands Hatch, would keep momentum safely in hand all the way down.

    It’s not a realistic, but that’s my touge dream.

  8. Jeremy A. says:

    This is probably kind of obvious from me, but a Nissan S130 Turbo. Not great huge gobs of power, but enough. The turning radius is tight, and sitting close enough to the back wheels that you can reach out and touch them makes the twists that much more exciting, even at low speed. Yes, the semi trailing arm suspension may not be ideal for a twisty turny road with a bunch of off-camber turns and small but quick elevation changes, but that just adds to the challenge and excitement of taking a vintage piece of Japanese steel up or down one of the passes.

  9. Bryan Kitsune says:

    Hmm, if I’m really honest, probably a different 86 Toyota than the AE86. A 1986 Celica GT-S hatchback. Because I’m not really a great driver, and I have a wife that probably doesn’t want me killing myself while I listen to “Speedy Speed Boy” pretending to be Takumi Fujiwara. So the FWD keeps me from delusions of drifting grandeur, yet the st162 chassis still handles well enough to have fun, and I still have the requisite pop-up headlights and 80s angularity. And since it’s a hatchback, I can still deliver tofu (or pack camping gear, whatever) if need be.

    I guess that’s not so much a weapon, but again, I’m probably not someone that should really be wielding any weapons on the touge.

  10. f31roger says:

    Touge monster…

    I’m conditioned to think AE86 or S13 because how balanced the cars are and how fine tuning the handling can get.

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