The Japanese auto auctions, which I have written about on a regular basis, have incredible cars pass through them, right alongside a used Kia C’eed. You get a couple photos, an inspection sheet that is typically quite thorough and the opportunity to inspect the car ahead of it hitting the block. Then, when auction time rolls around, you have roughly 30 seconds to make your bid through a computer terminal before it’s sold and onto the next. This ain’t Mecum!
The auction setting in Japan
This week, an Italdesign Aztec has made an appearance. Perfect timing given the announcement of Giugiaro’s retirement! It has the bargin-basement starting bid of $300,000 which could be a great deal or maybe the seller is dreaming, who knows (NP or CP candidate?). Only 18 of the things were made by a Japanese industrialist who loved the concept car so much he bought the product rights to it. Rumor is that the last one sold on Hemmings for $75,000 in 2011.
In case you forget the designer, just look on the hood
Honestly sometimes the Japanese auto auction sellers disappoint me, like when a Group B rally car passes through. This is a car that deserves to be sold by RM, or Mecum, or at Amelia Island after being displayed on the lawn. Some sort of high profile auction house where this thing could get the attention it deserves.
Anyways, the Aztec is basically some sort of combination between a Star Wars Landspeeder and a car. It is fantastic for anyone who hates talking to their passenger, though not so good for anyone who likes to change lanes or turn right. At least it’s left hand drive (odd, being built in Japan) so you don’t have to face the struggles that poor Doug has with his Skyline.
It’s powered by a 5-cylinder turbo Audi motor and has a four wheel drive system reportedly derived from a Lancia Delta Integrale though even with that heritage I don’t see rallying in its future.
Thanks to the separate cockpits, the driver and passenger have to communicate electronically and since this was made in 1988, I have no idea how that actually works. I do know the passenger side looks like it also handles ATM transactions.
The driver’s side is not a whole lot better from an aesthetic point of view and it seems apparent that the majority of the design effort was spent on the outside of the car. At least the leather looks good and the seats have nice bolsters, plus it has a manual so that’s sure to win some Jalops’ favor.
If you can read Kanji, you may find the auction inspection report fascinating. I can’t, however I can tell you that A stands for “scratch” and U stands for “dent”, with the numbers indicating the severity.
There are a few peculiar and interesting things I can point out. 1) This car has 3,000km on it, meaning it has been driven at least a little. 2) This car comes with ETC, which I think stands for Electronic Toll Collection and is like EZ-Pass. (Maybe Kat Callahan could enlighten us?) 3) This car has JCI through 4/2017 which means it has been inspected and deemed road-worthy.
This all adds up to indicating that this car did not live in a sealed, climate controlled basement where occasionally men in white gloves would change the oil and dust it but that it actually hit the road every now and then. Driving a 1 of 18 left-hand drive concept car in a right-hand drive world? Ballsy!
If you want to buy it, you only have a few hours as it hits the block sometime on 7/3 and it is already almost noon on the 3rd in Japan. But, if you hurry up and get your act together, you can own something that I bet isn’t found in the garage of Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Ralph Loren or even the Sultan of Brunei!
DanPadge is a enthusiast of weird, unique and often overlooked cars - a description that covers much of the JDM market. Join the Facebook group East Coast JDM Imports to see more examples of these and other cars coming up for sale.