Everyone who knows me personally knows that I have an enduring love and passion for the style and history of fine Japanese automobiles, especially those from a particular automaker - Toyota. As a driver, restorer, and collector of vintage Toyotas, I've owned something like 40 Toyota and Lexus vehicles in my lifetime, with tons and tons of rare parts and Toyota motorsports memorabilia in my private Cipher Garage Collection.
For those who also share the passion for Toyota automobiles, Toyota Motor Europe has graciously created a place for all of us to rendezvous. Read more...
Now it's time for me to get back in the swing of things, and publish more of my own photos from Nisei. Since I was pretty busy helping some of our new crew members get started in doing event coverage at Nisei, I didn't actually start walking around to take photos until later in the afternoon.
At the end of Nisei Showoff, Ken Miyoshi always asks me to emcee the awards ceremony. It's always a good time giving out the trophies to the car owners, but sometimes I'm not sure which cars I'm giving awards to, because it's not like people drive their cars up to get their trophies or anything. Either way, the big trophies go to the cars that the Showoff judges deem to be the best, but to be honest, I have a different scale of measuring how dope a car is. That being said, I suppose getting a photo-feature on MotorMavens is my way of pointing out my favorite cars at the show. Drumroll please... Let's begin. Read more...
This year, there were a ton of new cars that made their debut at the show, and several regulars that received makeovers. According to Ken Miyoshi, one of the things that has always separated Nisei Showoff from the other carshows is the face that Showoff has a really qualified panel of carshow judges who really have expertise in the automotive aftermarket. Nisei Showoff's judges include people who have a background of working with companies like HKS, Blitz, Toyota, and places like that. This may be a major differentiation factor to some people, but to me, it's completely different.
Nisei Showoff just has a particular vibe to it. It starts early in the morning, in the exciting hustle and bustle of the competitor load-in, as the cars form ridiculously long lines, jamming up the streets of Little Tokyo as they wait for the show staff to let them in the gate and park at their assigned spaces. It continues throughout the day, as the noontime sun heats up the entire place, and you get to bump into old friends and catch up on the things that are going on in everyone's busy lives. For me, the excitement continues on to the late afternoon too, as I complete my rounds through the show and stop by the cars that catch my eye, making new friends and checking out all the subtle things that everyone has done to their cars. Probably the most fun thing about Nisei Showoff (for me at least) is the fact that Ken Miyoshi has asked me to be the official emcee for the awards ceremony. I've been doing this for the past three (or four?) years now... and that part is really fun, because you get to see what the owners of the cars look like, as they come up and receive their trophy at the stage. Read more...
In case you guys haven’t noticed the new navigation tab at the top of our website, MotorMavens now has a forum! We know it’s been long overdue, and we’ve been wanting to create a section on our website where we could exchange photos, comments, personal stories and random funny stuff with our readers.
After all, we truly believe that it’s our awesome readers and the linking of all the different automotive communities that makes the Motor Mavens Movement so powerful.
Anyway, one of our readers/friends from Honolulu Hawaii, Kyusha Kai, just posted up some detailed photos of this AWESOME shakotan RT52 Toyota Corona on our forum! For those who might not know, shakotan is a Japanese term that refers to super low cars. (You can bet your bottom dollar that this is gonna be the next car industry “keyword” that people will start marketing and promoting with. Hmm… if I had a dollar for everytime someone… ah, forget it.)
This four door Corona looks pretty awesome slammed. I see RT52s all the time at Toyotafest and events like that, but usually, they’re driven and owned by older people that are more interested in preserving the car’s originality. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for original vintage Toyotas! However, seeing a super clean, custom colored (dark brown metallic) Corona like this is like a breath of fresh air. (more…)
[I received an email yesterday from an Australian guy named Ian Hancock. Ian is crazy about Japanese nostalgic cars, and is currently on vacation in Japan (or as he says it, he's "on holiday") to check out a bunch of his favorite cars. He sent in a photo of this MX32 Toyota MarkII (Toyota Cressida) that he carspotted in Japan, because he knew it would be just the type of thing that Motor Mavens readers are into! Well, he was absolutely right. Here's what Ian had to say about the Mark II...]
The white Cressida belongs to Naoya Yamaguchi, who owns an old school Japanese wheel shop in Moiyra called Bellezza Auto Produce, about 15km from Tsukuba Circuit. I had been at Tsukuba for the day to watch drifting (and get taken for a ride!), and was going for a walk from my hotel to find some dinner when I came across the shop! I thought I was delirious – it was just too good to be true!
When I walked into his store, he was in the corner smoking, wheelchair bound because of a motorbike accident. Naoya “didn’t want to know me” until I started saying the names of the wheels in his shop, and I showed him pictures of my KB110 Sunny from Sydney. He couldn’t believe that an Aussie 20 year old would be interested in old J-tin. He couldn’t speak any English, and I don’t speak Japanese, so we talked for an hour and a half using a translator on the computer.
The Cressida wears huge SSR 15x9Js (-37 offset) on the back and 15x8J SSR Mark IIIs up front. From what I could gather, it is fairly stock mechanically aside from a healthy lowering, carbs and exhaust. A nice little front lip spoiler and rear spoiler finish it off, and although there are some fender gap issues, it has definately been built in the shakotan style! The body is straighter than straight, and some nice fender mirrors really set it off. I’m buying a set of 7.5J SSR Starsharks from him, and he has invited to take me out in his car next time I come over!
:: Ian Hancock