Archive for January, 2011

Japanese High School Kids Make Lowest Car in the World

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Not your average electric car, but it will still do 80 km on one charge. But would you want to attempt that when at a cruising height equivalent to a skateboard? Luckily, Okayama, where this amazing car has been built, is rather rural, so lack of traffic, combined with an arresting bright-yellow exterior should keep these high school kids out of trouble when they go cruising. (Although with a minimum legal age for driving set at 18, it is ironic that they cannot take their creation out on the streets.)

Apparently the Guinness Book of World Records has been notified of Okayama Sanyo High School’s effort at building the lowest car in the world, and at 18 inches it is hard to imagine this being challenged any time in the near future, should they win it.

You can see some of the process of creating this automotive record attempt on their school blog (parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8). Sorry, it’s in Japanese, but there are a lot of photos so you can pretty much figure out what they are doing in each one.

They have called this car the Mirai, which means “Future” in Japanese. In that case, the future’s bright – the future’s yellow.

(The video below is mainly stills, but there is a short segment which shows the car being driven.)

The Greatest Drivers of All Time

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Walter Rohrl

Watch his feet dance on the pedals – and the spectators’ feet scuttle out the way in this footage from the golden age of Group B rallying in 1985.

And if you are wondering whether Rohrl still has it, just read this story in Evo magazine about his encounter on the track with a certain M. Schumacher.

Ayrton Senna

I started watching F1 in 1982, so I had only been watching a few seasons when Senna burst on the scene. Back then I remember him as being a more controversial character – was he a genius, or was he reckless. I must admit at the time, I erred towards the latter. But you cannot argue with his sheer speed, especially in qualifying. If Rohrl is famous for his dancing feet disguising his car’s smooth progress, Senna is famous for his single-handed driving.

Michelle Mouton

Another Group B great, and the only woman to have won the WRC. Here is a more recent video of Mouton chatting casually in her second language (English) as she pilots a classic 911 at extreme speed in preparation for the Rally du Maroc (Rally of Morocco) 2010, in which she finished second overall.

Japanese Car Auction Finds: A London Taxi (Black Cab)

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Well, I must admit that I have never seen a London taxi (black cab) on the streets in Japan, but here is one that is in today’s auction:

London taxi (black cab) at car auction in Japan

Not only is a London taxi cab an unusual sight in Japan, but readers with eagle eyes will also have noticed something a little odd in the interior photo above… and reading the auction sheet will confirm your suspicions: Yes, that’s right, this black cab has been fitted with Recaro seats in the front. I guess the driver is planning on doing some hard cornering in this machine. I dread to think what it would be like bouncing around in the back with the driver screeching round the bends.

Japanese taxis look more like slightly old-fashioned regular cars and are usually based on the Toyota Crown model as you can see in this photo. Apart from the impeccable service, what I enjoy most about riding in a Japanese taxi is the rear passenger door that is opened by the driver at the touch of a button.

If you are interested in some more unusual taxis, take a look at this Ferrari Enzo and Lamborghini Murcielago that apparently take fare-paying passengers in Oman. Now those are two taxis which really do need the sports seats!

(c) Integrity Exports Co. Ltd. – Japan car auction buyer and exporter.

Japanese Car Auction Finds: Mitsuoka Orochi

Posted by Stephen On Friday, January 14th, 2011

Mitsuoka is a small car manufacturer in Japan, and this is what they refer to as their “fashion car”, the Orochi. Unlike most Mitsuoka models which are simply re-bodied versions of such cars as the Nissan March, the Orochi is a much more comprehensive Mitsuoka product with even the chassis being of their own design.

The original concept car was based on Honda NSX underpinnings, but the production version uses the 3.3 liter 3MZ-FE Lexus RX330 engine and drive train. As such, I would expect the overall driving experience to be fairly good, but you have to wonder how an odd-looking V6 Lexus engined sports car can really expect to compete in the same price range as European exotica. This is particularly true when you look at the interior, which is hardly luxurious or sophisticated.

If you are interested in an Orochi, expect the price to be pretty high. This one is a grade 5 first registered in December 2007, but bidding starts at a lofty 4.18 million Yen, which is not far below what you could buy a nice 2007 GT-R. The GT-R may not be as rare, or look quite as crazy, but I suspect it would eat Orochi for breakfast. I think I would choose the performance car over the “fashion car” myself. (Click the images below to see the detail.)

Mitsuoka Orochi car auction inspectors report

Mitsuoka Orochi (front)

Mitsuoka Orochi (rear)

Mitsuoka Orochi (interior)

Check out Top Gear’s review of the Orochi and it’s Rolls Royce wannabee sibling, the Galue in this video:

Interested in buying from Japanese car auctions? Click here to contact us.

(c) Integrity Exports Co. Ltd. – Japan car auction buyer and exporter.

Integrity Exports YouTube Channel

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Today we launched a channel on YouTube where we will be posting screencasts and other videos to help you understand the Japanese car auctions and how to buy from them in a safe and stress-free way.

The channel is going to be a mixture of educational videos showing our users how to use our online system as well as explaining different aspects of the auctions, along with other videos such as those describing car auction finds.

The target=”_blank”>first video gives you a quick tour of a typical car auction inspector’s report. Viewers will find it useful to understand these car auction sheets in conjunction with the detailed written information about the auction sheets you can find here.

(To see the detail in the video, please watch it in full screen mode.)

It’s hard to NOT be green with…

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

It’s hard to NOT be green with a hybrids like this

REVA Electric City Car for Sale

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

This electric city car called the Reva that is on sale as a secondhand 2007 model is made by a company called Takeoka in Toyama on the Japan Sea coast. I must admit I had not heard of them before, and when I saw the car the first thing I though of was the Th!nk electric vehicle, which looks remarkably similar.

According to the Takeoka website, the Reva is a 4-seater and yet weighs in at just 740KG. It can travel at up to 80km/h which is acceptable in Japan, especially in the city, but may not be quite optimal in many other countries, and it can get up to 85KM of city driving or 110KM at a constant 60km/h. The Reva classic sells new for 2,079,000 Yen, so the fact that this one is under 4 years old with only 5,000 KM on the clock, and yet is being sold for 680,000 Yen gives you an idea of how fast these depreciate.

I’m sure it is not on the same level as a Leaf, but what I find interesting about the electric car phenomenon is the number of small businesses like this one who are willing to pioneer this new technology with all the risks and market-resistance that comes with the territory. On the other hand, you have the automotive behemoths acting more like supertankers in slowly pulling round to this new course. Perhaps the optimum point is where this entrepreneurial energy meets the resources of the big corporation, which is why I think the tie up between a company like Toyota with an upstart like Tesla is so interesting and significant.

The new Ford Focus EV revealed at CES Las Vegas

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, January 8th, 2011

The new Ford Focus EV revealed at CES in Las Vegas – not in Ford’s home town Detroit auto show. Are cars the new appliances?

Classic Japanese Cars in the US

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, January 8th, 2011

US Importer JDM Legends brings classic Japanese cars to the US and restores them. Although there is not so much demand for Japanese classics compared with US or European models, with the high profile that Japanese makers currently enjoy, I can imagine that these cars which were probably looked down on in the West at the time they were being sold new will someday be worth quite a bit.

These kinds of cars are available in the Japanese car auctions on a regular basis. Unlike the beautifully restored examples at JDM Legends, they may take a bit of additional work, but on the other hand they may also prove to be good long term investments as well. For example, a 1974 Toyota Celica graded as a 3.5 and with 74,000 KM on the clock sold for 400,000 Yen last August. A 1975 GC110 Skyline with just 27,000 KM on the clock and graded as 3.5 overall sold for 1,348,000 Yen auction price back in September.

If you are interested in sourcing cars like this direct from Japan, please contact us and we will be happy to help.

[Source: Autoblog, JDM Legends]

Monster F1 Engine in F355 / 348-Style Enzo Development Mule

Posted by Stephen On Friday, January 7th, 2011

As if the Ferrari Enzo was not rare enough, this car is for sale as the only development mule from the Enzo program. Like the F50 (and unlike the Enzo), it has a former F1 engine in the back. It may look like an ugly mash up between an F355 and a 348, but there is plenty of kick here!

Ferrari Enzo development mule with F1 engine