With several automotive events catering to every niche happening throughout the year, there are few better places in the world to be an auto-otaku than in Japan. And if the Tokyo Auto Salon has gotten way too crowded for your liking, how about hitting up one the slightly smaller but just as exciting shows on the Japanese automotive event circuit? This was exactly what we did this year, having only ogled at the beautiful Kyushas of the Nostalgic 2 Days show on the internets, it was time for us to make the pilgrimage.
When we last left off, it was with a lovely lass posing in front of an equally lovely Celica Liftback, but unlike the Tokyo Auto Salon, girls posing in front of cars doesn’t really happen at the Nostalgic 2 Days show. In fact, that was the only lady I spotted posing with a car at the entire event. No no, this show is purely for lovers of machines and the only other ladies you’d find on display, are Fairladies.
Hard to imagine these S30s used to be affordable on the used market. Now? Keep dreaming. Yes, that’s a sticker price of 11,800,000 Yens. Close to SGD$160,000.
But I guess the bigger question is, G-nose…
…or factory-nose? This lovely example from Mizukami Auto was beautifully done inside and out.
As with the case with many of the cars on show here, the engine bay is cleaner than my room.
And if the previous car was cleaner than my room, this S30 from Tsumori Engineering is probably cleaner than the plates I eat off. Just look at that work of art.
Speaking of engines, how about one with a fully built O.S Giken powerplant?
If your preference is for something a little more original, how about one of these instead? Not really a 240 though, this was a 280, with the steering on the wrong side. The left. This particular import from the states is now back on home soil and was looking for a new owner.
I guess the motto at Mizuno Works is if one is about to modify his steed, he or she might as well go in all the way, off the deep bosozoku end.
You might not approve, but you’d gotta give them respect for creating such outrageous rides.
Something similar but slightly different from Car Service Hiro.
Here’s the Hakosuka Sedan sharing its space with the Fairlady.
Remnants of a time when these classics could be picked up and modified without breaking the bank!
But if money isn’t too much of an issue for you, traditional VIP tuners Wald have now turned their sights to he ever increasingly popular kyusha scene. Releasing wheels and aesthetic enhancements for discerning customers.
Once again, the question remains, G-nose or factory?
While this Hakosuka might not be an original GT-R, it does have something really interesting under the hood.
A 3.2-litre O.S Giken fettled Prince engine. Anyone with extra info on this exquisite piece of engineering?
Sporting some choice stickers too.
Elsewhere on the Wald stand was this beautiful C110 Kenmeri Skyline. If you thought that trying to figure out the legitimacy of Hakosuka GT-Rs were tough, it gets slightly easier with its successor. While the 2nd generation GT-R might never have turned a wheel on the race tracks, its birth and quick demise during the oil crisis meant only 197 cars were ever sold, making it the rarest GT-Rs of all time. The last time a tidy clean low mileage example went on auction, it sold for 47,300,000 Yen. That’s close to SGD$630,000 or USD$447,000. Which means, chances of coming across a heavily modified original, is rather rare.
While the Fairlady Roadster might have been christened with that lovely name first, it was never quite able to share the same limelight as the Z-cars that came after. Even when it had the racing credentials to back itself up. Winning its class in SCCA racing consistently in C Production (Mikuni-Solex carburettors) and D-Production (Hitachi-SU carburettors), even after production ended. All while costing less than its rivals.
What is it with Japanese engine bays? How do they keep them so clean?
Similarly, another rather obscure auto built by a manufacturer less known today for cars and more for vans and trucks, this rather pretty Isuzu Ballett GT. Did you know that the Isuzu Ballett’s top-of-the-line variant was called the GT-R? Yes, you heard right, a GT-R. Debuting 1 year before Nissan’s mighty Godzilla. While the Ballett GT-R might not have achieved as much fame as its Nissan rival, it did achieve success in racing, gaining its own fan community. Only about 1,400 GT-Rs were manufactured and are all prized amongst Japanese classic collectors. In 2006, readers of Nostalgic Hero voted the Isuzu GT-R 10th in a list of the 50 greatest Japanese cars.
While this Ballett might look like a club racer from the 60s, it’s actually wearing the colours of The Crazy Ken Car Club. The name is taken from a band aptly called The Crazy Ken Band. A Japanese ensemble who are somehow fond of singing about old cars. Here’s one about the beautiful Isuzu. Groovy no? I’m pretty sure he has really good taste in cars.
Quite a pity that today, Isuzu is no longer a major player in the World of cars as they made some lovely looking automobiles back in the day. Like the Ballett’s sister, the 117 Coupe. Unlike most Japanese cars of the era, the 117 Coupe was not styled in Japan, instead, Isuzu drew the talents of an Italian designer, Giorgetto Giugiaro, for the beautiful flowing bodywork. Becoming one of the first Japanese cars to be styled in Europe.
The Isuzu 117 wasn’t just about looks either, it was also among the first Japanese cars to be fitted with a DOHC engine and the first Japanese car with electronic fuel injection. One additional accolade was the 117 is also regarded as the world’s first sports car to be available with a diesel engine. As such, it was quite an exclusive vehicle during its lifetime and is considered a rather rare collectable today, but thanks to its unusually long lifespan, 86,192 cars were built.
Oh yes, the Isuzu 117 Coupe also has one of the coolest insignia badges ever made. Just look at that.
An equally unique and equally pretty car sitting nearby was this Mazda Cosmo, itself one of the first cars ever to be fitted with a Rotary engine, the Cosmo was also Mazda’s flagship ride back in the late 60s.
Built by hand at a rate of only about one per day, the total number of units that left the factory stands at only 1,176. Making this another very rare automobile.
If you somehow think that this Mazda R130 Luce looks somewhat similar to the Isuzu 117 Coupe mentioned earlier, you are not the only one. Truth is, both cars were penned by Giorgetto Giugiaro at around the same time. This Luce is rather special, being the only rotary-powered front-wheel-drive car Mazda has ever made, it had a rather short production cycle from 1969 to 1972. Only 1000 cars were ever made and they are worth a decent amount of Yens today.
Next to the Luce though was something decades older, a Mazda-Go. A three-wheeled open “truck” that was first produced in 1931 and the first vehicle to be made by the Hiroshima manufacturer. It was also considered to be the first auto-rickshaw ever built. How far Mazda has come!
While these 2 might look like they’ve come straight out of the 80s, they were in fact released towards the latter half of the 70s. With these 2 cars, you can clearly see the design direction transitioning from soft smooth curves to a stronger, more angular approach.
The blue car? That’s a second-generation Cosmo. Quite a departure from the original in terms of design don’t you think?
While most of the attention at the show was given to the beautiful sports cars, the Nostalgic 2 Days also allows less competition inspired but no less important vehicles a chance to shine. Like this little Mazda Chantez, running a dinky 360cc engine belting out 33 little ponies, this Chantez might not win any drag races but this little vintage Kei from 1972 gave the people of its day the power of mobility. If one was to try really hard, 0-100km/h will come up in around 33 seconds, give or take.
The little Chantez was also Mazda’s first foray into the World of EVs, back in the early 70s. The Chantez EV Concept, as it was called, was also Mazda’s first car to feature regenerative braking. Again, back in the 70s. Kind of makes you wonder what cars today would be like if they never stopped developing EV tech back then.
Here’s a slightly different approach to the vintage Kei car life, a Honda Life Step Van. One of the first Kei cars to be built with such a configuration and “van-like” shape. Its appearance, while unique and not appreciated when new, is now the standard approach for current Kei cars from Japan. This particular at the Mooneyes stand is, if you can tell, not in standard trim.
Once again, we’ve come to the end of yet another part of my Nostalgic 2 Days tour. Join my next time as we leave the swinging 70s and power into the bombastic 80s!