QotW: What’s the coolest factory decal package?


Throughout 70s and 80s decal packages were a fact of life. Some were awesome, some were awesomely bad, but they were emblematic of the era.

What’s the coolest factory decal package?

We don’t know if it’s the greatest, but Mazda‘s 1977 RX-3 SP stripe kit was added to give the aging sport coupe a bit of zing before it was to be replaced by the game-changing RX-7. The decals and concomitant spoilers added nothing to the bottom line performance of the rotary housed within, but it is a sought after edition today and something unique to the North American market.

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 would you do with a Nissan IDx?” 

Nissan IDx Zero emission

This week’s winner has been one of the most vocal commenters on the topic of Nissan’s reborn small FR coupe. Clearly, Randy has given this question much thought, and his answer sounds like the kind of machine we’d want to drive.

I’m gonna go the opposite direction. I’ll take what would have been showroom-available back before I was even playing with the toy versions, and drag it to today.

First off, 1968 Datsun Turquoise – maybe; maybe Ivory with a burgundy interior? A light color. Colors to be determined. Put narrow, chrome strips around the grey wheel well trim, and a slightly wider trim above the grey rocker trim. Chrome trim on the taillight assemblies. Chrome door handles, and around the side windows.

Most likely, we’re getting the mirrors mounted at the front, lower corner of the windows. If they’re the same shape and style of the IDx, just mounted U.S.-style, or say, a bullet-style (think Shelby Cobra mirrors), lets chrome them, too.

DOWNsize the wheels, going with either:
– Full wheel covers in “chrome” (maybe straight wires that look somewhat like those Honda S800 spoke wheel covers) and whitewalls, OR
– Body-colored wheels (smoothie/genny style) – if the measurements work out – with chrome/stainless steel center caps and trim rings, with raised white letter tires.

Fog lights (leaning toward round ones) mounted at the outer ends of the lower grille.

The aftermarket should, within a year of the car’s appearance, be providing (1) chrome grille overlays/replacements, for either side of the “V,” and (2) dash kits, of which, I’ll go with the bright, brushed aluminum.

Assuming the panel between the taillights is black, replace it with brushed aluminum, too.

Oh yeah, and in case I haven’t mentioned it before:

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

JNC Decal smash

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55 Responses to QotW: What’s the coolest factory decal package?

  1. pete240z says:

    The coolest? Ever? The Pontiac Trans Am Screaming Chicken. I don’t remember a lot of tape stripes on Japanese cars……………

  2. Nigel says:

    Sold here as the Dodge Arrow D50 pickup (by Mitsubishi).
    The yellow and orange decal package on black was quite striking.
    (Just add vertical exhuast stacks).
    I think there was a JNC post a couple years back about a white one.

  3. ubs_lover says:

    RV (Recreational Vehicle, japanese version of SUV) always have big decal on their side. What I always remember is the stripes on the side of ’80s Toyota Landcruiser 60-series.

  4. Zac says:

    1980 DATSUN 280ZX BLACK GOLD…….

  5. r100guy says:

    The stripe and louver package of the RX3sp has no equal. I call it the “Plymouth Superbird/Dodge Daytona of the Japanese scene. Far out and groovy!

  6. Alvin says:

    Nothing screams 1980’s like the Honda City Turbo II* with intercooler!

    Plus they have some of the craziest ads back in the day.

    Bonus points if you score one with a Motocompo!

    • Censport says:

      We’ve got a Turbo I (non-bulldog) from 1984. Kinda subtle as far as graphics, but I’m sure the drivers behind me have a giggle over the giant HYPER TURBO decal across the rear window. Until I hit the boost in second, of course. 😉

  7. E-AT_me says:

    Pretty sure they released a “street” version of these graphics:


    Pretty sweet..

  8. Walter says:

    It has to be the Suzuki Alto Works RS-R CA72:

    Nothing beats a bit of boasting about how awesome a car is by placing a few decals screaming the technological advances crammed inside the car…

    Just a short summary of all the techno-jargon:
    – Twin Cam Turbo
    – Fulltime 4WD
    – EPI (Electronic Petrol Injection Intercooler)
    – Even the rear windshield heating reads Twin Cam Turbo!

    A small sticker on the front fender stating:
    This model was developed through teamwork of enthusiastic Suzuki engineers. It’s certainly worthy of the name “WORKS”

    And then the superfluous naming of the car with red/silver stripes all over it:
    – Suzuki Alto Works RS-R
    – RS-R Works

    And if that does not convince you enough the hoodscoop, reas spoiler and the 9000 rpm redline (and 12000 rpm gauges) will!

  9. Dave says:

    Altho a little subdued, I’ve always loved the decals on the 2nd generation turbocharged Lancers, pretty much all because of the “turbo” and other prefix/suffix in mirror image on the front bumper. These cars were some of the earliest Mitsubishi rally contenders, foreshadowing rally greatness to come. Decked out in more full-blown rally outfit, they looked pretty gnarly and awesome. Sure, the mirror-image “turbo” decal may have been ripped off the BMW 2002 Turbo, but it’s fitting on this car and plucky on MMC’s part.

  10. AndyB says:

    Oh this is gonna be easy for a change!
    The 1979 Datsun 280zxR.
    The car itself is just a sluggish Silver 280ZX. But accent that car with a stellar set of Blue on Black decals, some bold white “zxR” emblems, and a (somewhat absurd) large black whale-tail spoiler, and you’ve got yourself one hot $h!+ Z-car! The look of this special edition Z is so sleek and striking that it instantly turned itself into a collectable. Despite being the disappointing son of the hallowed S30.
    I myself almost bought a poorly kept version of a zxR, not too long before picking up my ’84 Supra. Unfortunately this unloved S130 was worn and faded in everyway. The striking decals were all cracked and faded, along with the paint and spoiler. The interior was more mildew and dust than vinyl and plastic. And it needed body work and replacement trim galore.
    Despite it all, the look of that cold color combo was enough to stick in my mind and become one of my favorites!

  11. John M says:

    ZZZap! In 1977, I was in 1st grade, but this was a memorable year for me. Star Wars was at theaters, Rod Stewart was on the top of the charts, the Atari 2600 was in living rooms, and Farrah Fawcett was all over bedroom walls. This was also the year Datsun released the Z with more ZZZap! The ZZZap came in code 411 Sunburst Yellow with a sticker package that included yellow, orange, red, and black stripes. The Special Décor Package also included rear window louvers and racing mirrors. This was also the first year for the hood vents and 5 speed in the U.S. We are fortunate to have one here in SoCal that is a regular at meets and shows and I just saw it this past weekend. This remains one of the only yellow cars I would consider buying and the stickers actually make it just that much cooler! Midway even made the 280 ZZZap stand-up arcade game – how cool is that?! Some info/pics/ads at http://zhome.com/History/ZZZapZ.htm

  12. MikeRL411 says:

    I’m still like the yellow Datsun B210 “Honey Bee” with the black swoop down the sides and over the top of the rear with of course the nice big Bumble Bee on the rear flanks. Most that I saw had the “Honey Comb” wheel covers to boot.

  13. Mike200SX says:

    I don’t know if this ever was done on a real Datsun 200SX but along the lines of what pete240z
    said — “The Pontiac Trans Am Screaming Chicken” appears on my Datsun 200SX Model.


    This kit also comes in a Red Version but it doesn’t have the decal. Only the Black version does.

  14. Mike200SX says:

    Oops — the image links did not post — lets try that again —

    I don’t know if this ever was done on a real Datsun 200SX but along the lines of what pete240z said — “The Pontiac Trans Am Screaming Chicken” appears on my Datsun 200SX Model.


    This kit also comes in a Red Version but it doesn’t have the decal. Only the Black version does.

  15. Benjamin says:

    Nissan 720 4X4 truck. Just in case you missed the 4WD badge in the grille, there’s a giant 4×4 decal blasted across the door that turns into a stripe that extends all the way down the bed to the tailgate, which also says 4 Wheel Drive.

  16. Ryan Senensky says:


    I only wish they had this decal set for the Supra but this is the Decal set for the 1987 Toyota Blizzard, I think thats on par with if not better than the R30 stickers

  17. Randy says:

    Wow, thanks! Uh, what do I do from here?

    • Ben says:

      You should’ve received an email about the prize. LMK if you didn’t.

      • Randy says:

        Hey, let’s try my work e-mail:
        rmorobitto { aaaatttttt } kw.com (A bit of shameless self-promotion there. Eventually, I’ll get that web space thing together… For now, I’m even willing to put my office phone number out there; I don’t care. 🙂 )

        Not concerned about putting that e-mail out there… If a multinational corporation can be taken down by an e-mail address on the comments section of a web site, then that corporation deserves that spanking for their lax network security.

    • Randy says:

      No; got messages from state and federal Senators, but nothin’ from y’all… Checked all the folders – just in case – but wasn’t in there. It didn’t even get filtered into the spam folder – thought maybe some securtiy filter kicked in.

      Must be a gmail thing… I’m guessing my e-mail shows up on your version of things.

  18. Camilo says:

    Datsun 260C (230)/Nissan Cedric-Gloria 230 2 doors hardtop stripe kit, very rare car and practically unknown in America, except in Colombia. The stripes resembled the american muscle cars (?).


  19. pstar says:

    Toyota trucks had some dope ones. I wish cars were at least offered with wild vibrant decals like sportbikes. Its one of those things that everybody would laugh and sneer at and claim they are too mature to ever buy…but in 20/30 years the survivors becomes the epitome of cool…and people even churn out clones.

    Why do auto execs suck so much?

    Does the Toyota white/red/green Castrol livery count as a “factory decal package”? Because thats definately the best. Imagine if Toyota had actually sold that look at the dealers, like sportbike companies do…

      • Randy says:

        Been thinking that these kinds of thing should be available on at least the American cars that are used in NASCAR; factory-authorized, licensed from the motorports entity, and dealer-installed.

        Same applies to any Japanese vehicles used in whatever racing series. Do they have a “Touring Car” series, or something like stock car racing in Japan? Sorry for my ignorance, but I figure there’s gotta be more than drifting… Even in the drifting, if there’s an organized body, there are color schemes and such that could be replicated for the fans to get for their cars.

        Doesn’t need the numbers and all that, but the “decals and concomitant spoilers” would add to the enjoyment for a lot of people. Stupid-easy way for the companies to make money, too, considering the cost to make vs. the retail price of the product.
        (Off the record, but “concomitant” is a great word that I haven’t seen in YEARS! Def. gotta work that into a conversation!)

        Still downright dowdy compared to some of those vans, and the – I forget the term – cars with the insane exhausts and spatula front spoilers…

        As to why auto execs suck so much: most of the decision-makers are MBA bean counters, who couldn’t care less about the actual cars. It’s no different than selling corn, or lumber to them.

        Look at the names that are remembered from the auto industry. Unless by accident, they were people who are/were “car guys.” Again, with my primary “education” having been in U.S. cars: Wangers, Delorean, Duntov, Iacocca. Would Toyota have had the Celicas, Supras, MR2s, etc., if Mr. Toyoda been strictly a bottom-line guy? Yes, people will buy a 4-door sedan (cripe, look around), and they’ll drive it until it dies, but will they LOVE it? It may be reliable, but will it have a soul? Just look around THIS web site…

        • pstar says:

          Japan has JGTC and it totally wastes the pathetic spectacle that is American “stock car” racing. I’ll never understand why hundreds of thousands of people want to watch cheapass looking fake Camrys with stickers instead of lights drive around.

          Other culturess have MUCH cooler cars in their mainstream touring car racing. DTM, V8 Supers, BTCC. JGTC was/is the closest to actual production cars,

          As for drifting there are lots of organizing bodies, but “pro drifting” is the most lame overhyped crap ever, and anyway since a bunch of dumbass no talent gomers from the South with rich daddies started bringing 800hp American V8s into the “game” the talent factor has been minimized and the $$$ factor maximized. And with this, is the loss of what made drifting cool originally, is that it was done with a bunch of out of production old cars. That means no dealer-installed graphics…since the graphics don’t come until well after the car has stopped been sold.

          • Randy says:

            Well, for me, I only catch races from Daytona and Talladega – to see who gets through the 200mph “Big One” – and Bristol because you have to beat your way around the track. Maybe a race from some other track if nothing else is on. I think I like the truck races better, just because they at least LOOK closer to the production models.

            The “lights” stickers is just so you don’t have sharp stuff flying around from every little impact.

            “Other culturess have MUCH cooler cars in their mainstream touring car racing.” I’ll give you that, but I think that’s because they have cooler cars; at least cooler-looking cars. Dodge Charger is a FOUR-DOOR SEDAN… Chrysler 300 WAS “The Beautiful Brute.” Again, it’s gone 4-door sedan, as has the Chevy “SS.” We’ve lost the spirit of sporty cars here. “It has blackout trim around all four doors’ windows.” OOOOooooooh. I liked tha Camry Solara; don’t don’t why they didn’t sell… Probably a combination of price and absolutely ZERO advertising. Only one I remember EVER seeing on TV was on that bladder-leakage commercial.

            I’m guessing the original drifting was mostly a bunch of teens screwing around, breaking all kinds of traffic laws (having fun), until somebody noticed people were watching this, and “Hey – we can charge people to watch this.”

            The thing I don’t like about using the old, out-of-production cars is that I like to see them preserved. I don’t believe in taking a nice, 1960-something / 1970-something car, and butchering it up just to beat it into the ground. To me, they’re a piece of history. Use something that’s not disappearing into just sales brochure pictures on a web page. When’s the last time you saw a 200 SX, like on the model box linked above? When they DO come up in nice shape, the headline starts with: “Kidney Anyone?” Seriously, why would someone take that and tear it up?

            BTW, we TOTALLY got away from the point there, but oh, well… Here’s the point of what I was saying:

            If it has a large fan base, and there are organized teams, where there are graphics and vivid colors, and all that, an “Appearance Package” could be made available, and if the manufacturers had any smarts, they’d do some packages. It wouldn’t be the same as the factory packages shown here, but it would be a start. Eventually, they could get back to celebrating the vehicle, itself, which seems to be the original idea within the graphics.

            Actually – just hit me – a graphics package may even appeal to those who couldn’t care less about organized motorsports, but who see the color schemes and say “Me want!”

            BTW/FWIW, I think the one I like best is the Supra. Not entirely sure about the name on the door, but the stripes, yes, and the name going up the hood, yes.

  20. Matt says:

    Coolest factory decals? This is a no brainer, the optional “Lil’ Hustler” decals on the Datsun 620 single cab short beds. Only the 70s would allow something like this, and I’m glad it was allowed because seeing the stripe it is such a cool and quirky piece of nostalgia.


  21. Adrian says:

    Im more than a bit biased, but its got to be the great big


    on a Mazda REPU! Such an extrovert 70s thing to do at the time. And who would have thought a Brown style side stripe on an orange car too!
    Case in point –


    Uploaded with [URL=http://imageshack.us]ImageShack.us[/URL]

  22. turbo 21 says:

    The word “Turbo” and decals are the badge of the 80’s, and despite there are lots of cool decal packages and sporty body kits my vote has to be for the Subaru Alcyone/XT/Vortex. The aerodynamic design of the body seems to say that even the rear badges have to be integrated on it (despite the Subaru logo). Subaru offered lots of stickers and designs depending on the market but I really like specially this one:


    Yes, a strange car that you can love or hate, but those graphics are just awesome, pure agressive eightiness even with hubcaps!

  23. Randy says:

    Nobody mentioned Subaru BRAT…

  24. Bob says:


    The strobe stripes down the side of mid ’80s Toyota 4x4s. They’re so of-the-era, and yet so subtle… I don’t think the trucks look right without them. And they’re tied to a vivid memory for me.

    About a decade ago, I had befriended a guy on a local car forum who lived an hour away in the hinterlands by himself, and had been a Toyota tech in the mid 90s. He was too busy traveling around and working to fix any of his 15 cars, and he was preparing to move out of the house and closer to the city. He paid me to come on weekends and do random repairs to the cars, often with me learning as I went along. Replacing springs and a water pump on an Econoline, putting a fuel pump in a MK3 Supra, etc.

    The biggest job he had for me was prepping and painting a very rough ’87 Toyota X-tra cab truck in his garage he wanted to sell. Every body panel was off a different truck, and it was still built from rusty panels, poorly welded on plates of steel for the rockers and floors, etc. It was my job to make it one cohesive color. The doors had the remnants of the strobe stripes… the doors were tan, the stripes brown. I loved them. I worked on other parts of the truck as long as I could to avoid removing them, admiring them while taking breaks as the dust flew around the garage, hotter than hell in mid summer.

    When it finally came to getting them off, I had decided to take a torch to them, and as I lit the propane, in 90 degree heat in an enclosed garage, New Edition came on the radio.


    I felt like I’d travelled back in time as I held this pea green with woodgrain applique propane torch against the tan sides of the X-tra cab, watching the brown strobes melt one by one to “COOOOOL IT DOOOOOWN, oooOOOOOOOOOH WATCH OUT, YOU’RE GONNA LOSE CONTROL!”

    I don’t know why, but I wanted to live in that moment forever. There’s magic in that Aichi vinyl right to the end.

    • Bob says:

      In the end, the truck ended up a uniform silver and looked halfway decent. He threw a for sale sign on it, put it in the yard and on craigslist, and the first person who came to look at it two days later rolled up with a trailer, barely inspected it, and drove off. He told the guy how much filler was in it, to which the buyer responded, “I don’t care, I’ve been looking for one for years.” That was a decade ago… they’re so few and far between these days. I’d love to own one someday.

  25. Jimbo Hoss says:

    can I nominate myself? The Desert Fox

    also, the Mountain Grizzly

  26. Dutch 1960 says:

    Back to the RX3-SP, they were popular as race cars, the SCCA national champion in 1980 and 1981. Fleets of these with the appearance package were used in Showroom Stock B. The drivers just wound them out as high as the engines would go, and would use the big bumpers for bumper cars. There are old photos of race tracks just full of SPs swarming like bees into a corner.

    At the same time, SCCA Improved Touring, with more modifications, was developed here in Southern California, precisely to offer the Mazda RX2-3-4, and the Datsun 510 and 1200 a place to race. The RX3-SP was a desirable choice for IT.

    So many of the SPs got used up in racing, and as r100guy said, they are a little Superbird/Daytona, actually right down to their racing chops. In 1970, the NASCAR GN choice was the big bird with wings. In 1980, the SCCA SSB choice was the snowplow and stripes.

    • Randy says:

      They are sweet. Were the graphics available in white and/or other colors, as well?

      • Dutch 1960 says:

        The black section was common to all the striped cars. The original stripe package had an accent color, for example the red cars were striped in black accented in yellow, and the white cars had black stripes accented in red. Other cars got black accented with white. The stripes were manufactured for, and applied by, Chastain of Long Beach, CA, under contract to Mazda.

  27. Tofuik says:

    I know no one really loves the Mustang II but the King Cobra is the greatest thing to ever be laid upon painted steel.

    • Randy says:

      King Cobra or Cobra II?

      Both decal sets here:

      They may not have been the muscle cars everybody “remembers,” but the Mustang II was the 1974 MT Car Of The Year, recognized as “the right car for the times.” More “euro” in execution, even if it did start life as a Pinto. (Original came from the lowly Falcon, so …)

      I feel sorry (eh…) for the “younger generation,” in that they didn’t experience cars with character and style. Don’t gotta LIKE B-210s, or Pacers, or whatever, but have to admit they had their own character and their own style!

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