Posts Tagged ‘japanese car auction finds’

Toyota Corolla Turns 50

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

Out of the thousands of cars that have ever been manufactured anywhere in the world, only nine models have stayed in production consistently for 50 years — and only two companies have achieved this level of success twice.

From the U.S., Ford Motor Company — the fifth largest automaker in the world — has done it with the Mustang, which was first unveiled at the World’s Fair in New York (1964/1965); and with their F-Series pickups which came onto the scene in 1948. Not surprisingly, Japanese industry leader Toyota holds the other spot in this lofty statistic. Their Land Cruiser has been around since 1951 when it originated as a military vehicle; and the Corolla entered production in 1966 (which motortrend.com reports incorrectly as 1968), making it the newest member of a very elite few.

Don’t be confused by the 50th Anniversary Edition Camry, which, in 2007, was a salute to the number of years that Toyota had been doing business in the U.S. and had nothing to do with the production history of the Camry.

50th Anniversary Edition Corolla

To celebrate this stellar accomplishment, Toyota has produced a 50th Anniversary Edition Corolla to be offered this fall in the U.S. as a way to emphasize the worldwide love for this car. Primarily based on the 2017 Corolla SE, the anniversary design introduces a delicious new black-cherry color scheme on the interior dashboard panel and door trim, contrast stitching of the upholstery, and the eye-catching new exterior paint (which is also available in Classic Silver and Blizzard Pearl).

Fifty years is a significant length of time to produce an automobile, and Toyota’s ability to remain at the top of the car game is directly linked to their unwavering pursuit to out-perform themselves. Here are the highlights on how the engineers approached each new Corolla generation:

1. 1966-1970

With a name that means, “crown of flowers,” the Corolla quickly became a favorite family car all around the world. It was almost as if the ad campaign tagline, “The most wanted car by the market …” was in truth, a prediction because three years later, the car reached the number one position in domestic sales.

2. 1970-1974

To change, or not to change? After realizing such a boon with the first generation Corolla, engineers rolled the dice on a new design that valued the feel of the previous model with a whole new set of bells, whistles and curves. Their gamble was rewarded immediately; by June 1970, Corolla’s cumulative production totaled one million units. Very impressive,considering it had only been on the market for a few years.

3. 1974-1979

Strict vehicle emissions regulations were implemented around the globe, so Toyota started a company-wide project that resulted in the perfection of a catalyst-based exhaust gas purification system, that to this day, remains the standard.

4. 1979-1983

Quality of life was taking a front seat in the fourth generation design which was reborn as a luxury family car with a superior performance overall. From January 1983 to March 1983, Toyota saw Corolla sales reach 116 nations, and go from 4.75 million units to 10 million.

5. 1983-1987

Always leading the way in technical innovations, Toyota offered a choice of drivetrains this time around. Front wheel drive conveyed a spacious, comfortable interior, and rear wheel drive provided an exciting, sporty experience. Once again, Corolla held the number one position in domestic sales.

6. 1987-1991

Satisfying the heart and mind, appealing to all five senses, was the primary focus of this generation’s design that sought to set a new global standard.

7. 1991-1995

A downward turn in the Japanese economy led consumers’ focus to shift from quality to price, and, despite the economic struggle, the Corolla maintained the top market share in its class.

8. 1995-2000

Energy savings and resource conservation paved the way to top-level fuel efficiency by way of substantial weight reductions, and environmental awareness by improving recyclability. Diesel engines were added for cleaner emissions.

9. 1997-2002

The basic Corolla concept was wiped away, and a European exterior design was adopted to rival the allure of higher grade vehicles. Talk of changing the Corolla name was quickly dashed by the developer.

10. 2006-2013

Providing customers with a “Happy Corolla for Our Planet” was the driving force behind the 10th generation’s design that relied on a global point of view with attention placed on safety, reliability and the environment. It was during this time that the Corolla was overtaken by the hybrid Prius as the top selling car in Japan. But did that mean it was now curtains for the Corolla?

11. 2013 –

The design goal is to stimulate wakudoki — a state of excitement about having fun derived from Japanese words waku waku and doki doki, and a heart that beats faster because of it — by exceeding customer expectations. The 11th generation Toyota Corolla is counting on this to keep this model delivering the same amazing results as the previous models in the last 50 years.

Japanese Car Auction Find: 1985 Toyota Corolla

The first car I drove in Japan was a 1992 seventh generation model. I was so impressed with its durability that I bought myself an eighth generation model. But when I went to look in the upcoming auctions, the oldest one I could find was nothing like 50 years old — it was a mere spring chicken from 1985 — a relatively young 31-year-old 5th generation model, but with an impressive mileage of under 26,000 KM on the clock. Let’s see what the auction sheet says.

“Grade 3.5, interior C, first registered October 1985, five-door model, five-speed manual gearbox, AC, gasoline engine, stone chips in front windshield, interior grime and cigarette burns and cigarette burn holes, steering wheel worn, rust underneath vehicle, left side has medium waves, rear gate damper is no good, radiator support and left front inner panel wrinkled, left front side member end has panel beating marks, scratches and dents and faded paintwork, paintwork worn on bonnet and on roof and on front fenders, right front indicator lens cracked, replaced panel and other marks as per map”

Its not in the best of conditions, but that is an impressive average mileage of under 1000KM per year.

1985 Toyota Corolla at auction in Japan -- interior

1985 Toyota Corolla at auction in Japan -- rear

1985 Toyota Corolla at auction in Japan -- auction sheet

1985 Toyota Corolla at auction in Japan -- front


Toyota Prius: The Car That Started A Revolution

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

With the Toyota Prius now being reborn in its 4th incarnation, it’s a great time to look back at the original Prius – the car that started the hybrid revolution. Now hybrids are so common that we have forgotten just how revolutionary this powertrain was when it was launched back in 1997. I remember my first ride in an early model on some hilly roads in Japan, and how it was such a different experience to what I had been used to up to that point.

Throughout history, cars have traditionally been damaging to the environment through the release of greenhouse gases that come about through the burning of fossil fuels (such as gasoline). The rise of “gas guzzlers” and their huge engines that came with the primarily US car culture of the 1960s and 1970s saw carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide and other nasties spewed into the air, causing the global climate damage leading to adverse health effects in large cities where pollution was rampant.

As time went on, however, more and more people began to realize that this was a serious problem – and thus, as global awareness of climate change and the dangers of pollution rose, car companies began to consider alternatives to the traditional gas-fueled vehicle.

Enter the hybrid car: a solid compromise between the gasoline-hungry polluter and the (as yet impossible to produce) all-electric car. Although the concept of hybrid cars has been around for a while – almost since the start of motoring itself, in fact – one car really set the trend for others to follow in the automobile industry, and became a favorite with consumers and critics alike: the Toyota Prius.

The first generation model was launched in Japan in 1997 and went on sale worldwide in 2000. Manufactured by the Japanese auto maker Toyota, this mid-size hatchback is currently sold in over 90 markets, of which Japan and the United States are the largest. In 2008, the Prius reached the global cumulative sales milestone of 1 million vehicles; from there, it grew exponentially, selling 2 million cars by September 2010 and 3 million mark by June 2013.

There is a reason that the car is so popular: its environmentally-friendly nature is appealing to many people who feel that they have an obligation to pollute as little as possible, but don’t have the means to purchase an all-electric car (or to not drive at all). Currently the United States Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board rank the Prius among the cleanest vehicles sold in the United States based on the quantity of emissions it releases. In 2016, the new Prius Eco has become the all-time most fuel efficient gasoline-powered car available in the US without plug-in capability – making it not only environmentally conscious, but accessible for many everyday working-class citizens.

The first-generation Toyta Prius, however, had not yet achieved such lofty heights. When it debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1995, no one was quite sure how well the Prius would sell or whether it was even ready for the market; several more years of research and development went into the car before it could be sold in Japan. However, the car’s designers did have some inkling of what this vehicle could mean for the world; that’s why they named it the Prius, after the Latin word for “before.” According to the Boston Globe, a Toyota spokesperson stated that “Toyota chose this name because the Prius vehicle is the predecessor of cars to come.” Now, that name Prius is almost synonymous with tree-hugging – an eco-brand in its own right – loved by Greenpeace, hated by Jeremy Clarkson.

When it launched, the first generation Prius became the world’s first mass-produced gasoline-electric hybrid car. Its acclaim among critics was almost instantaneous: it won the Car of the Year Japan Award in 1997, and the Automotive Researchers’ and Journalists’ Conference Car of the Year award in Japan in 1998. Since then, the sales figures have spoken for themselves, as have each subsequent model’s new hybrid features and increasing move towards alternative, rather than gasoline-powered, energy.

The Prius, more than anything, prides itself on fuel efficiency – and it has achieved many of its goals in this regard. While the current fourth generation Prius is expected to achieve ratings of up to 116 MPG, the first generation vehicle already stood at an impressive 52 MPG, and thus was revolutionary for both the fuel economy and environmental benefits that it offered. Although it was not the first mass-produced hybrid in the U.S. – the Honda Insight came first – it was by far the most popular.

While there are still questions asked about just how environmentally friendly it actually is, considering all the exotic metals and materials that go into it, there is no doubt that the Toyota Prius is an iconic Japanese car.

Early Prius are very hard to find. I was not able to find any 1997s at auction or at dealers, and only 2 1998 models for sale by dealers. So instead I decided to go to the other end of the spectrum and check out the very latest model, of which you can already find many examples for sale in the Japanese car auctions. Here is the auction sheet translation:

“Grade S, interior A, exterior A, first registered April 2016, first time in auction, S Navigation Ready Package model, 3KM, in-dash AT, AAC, moo roof, maker option LED fog lamp, LED headlights, smart key, reversing rearview camera, steering wheel switches, vehicle proximity warning system, original alloy wheels, sunroof, airbag, power steering, power windows, hole where there is no stereo fitted, marks as per map”

2016 Toyota Prius at Japanese car auction -- inside

2016 Toyota Prius at Japanese car auction -- rear seat

2016 Toyota Prius at Japanese car auction -- rear

2016 Toyota Prius at Japanese car auction -- front

2016 Toyota Prius in Japanese car auction -- auction sheet


Japan Car Auction Find: 1984 Toyota Mark II

Posted by Stephen On Friday, April 15th, 2016

Coming up at auction in Japan tomorrow…

1984 Toyota MARK II at auction - front 2

“Grade 3.5, interior B, exterior B, first registered October 1984, five-speed manual gearbox, AC, aftermarket muffler, Mark I alloy wheels, power steering, power windows, twin cam, aftermarket shift knob, interior grime and cigarette burns and scratches, seats have cigarette burns and are worn, rust and paint underneath vehicle, exterior paintwork uneven and modified, front grill missing, wheels scratched, door mirrors scratched, minor scratches and minor dents, marks as per map”

1984 Toyota MARK II at auction - inspection report

1984 Toyota MARK II at auction - interior 1

1984 Toyota MARK II at auction - interior 2

1984 Toyota MARK II at auction - rear

1984 Toyota MARK II at auction - front


Japanese Car Auction Find: Toyota AE86 — The Drifter’s Dream

Posted by Stephen On Monday, April 11th, 2016

The Toyota Corolla today is one of the most popular cars in existence, due to its small but durable size and budget-friendly pricing. However, few people know much about its history or what kinds of models went into making the final product. One of these earlier types was the Toyota AE86, which was introduced by Toyota in 1983 as part of the fifth generation Toyota Corolla, with the final models rolling off the production lines in 1987. As such, it is just one generation of the Toyota Corolla Levin and Toyota Sprinter Trueno spanning the years from 1972 to 2004.

There were some differences between the Levin and the Trueno, but to the general observer they were almost indistinguishable. The word “Levin” means “lightning” in Old English and “Trueno” means “thunder” in Spanish, making the two models an interesting play on words. Other than the names, the main difference between them was the headlights: while the Levin had fixed, rectangular headlights, the Trueno offered pop-up headlights instead.

1984 Toyota Sprinter Trueno at auction in Japan -- front

One of the unique aspects of the AE86 was that it maintained a rear-wheel drive at a time when most other cars – particularly small hatchbacks – were switching over to front-wheel drive. As such, it is one of the last rear-wheel drive cars of its time. The AE86 body type was offered as either a 2-door coupe or 3-door liftback, which can also be called a hatchback. Other specifications included the 4-cylinder engine that was also used in other Toyota models of the time, as well as a 5-speed manual gearbox (although an automatic model was offered later as well).

Stopping and cornering on the AE86 was handled by ventilated disc brakes, as well as a MacPherson strut independent suspension at the front and a four-link live axle with coil springs bringing up the rear. Stabilizer bars were present at both ends of the car to make for a suspension system that was relatively sophisticated for what was a low-end model. All of this attention to detail lead to the fun handling that makes the car a stand-out model today in the minds of Japanese classic car enthusiasts.

During its production lifetime, the AE86 was well known for its achievements on the racetrack as well as the highway. The model was a popular choice for showroom stock, Group A, and Group N racing, and was found especially frequently in rallying and circuit races. Privateer teams continued to race the AE86 even after it was discontinued, and you can even find teams that race with this vehicle today. What makes it so appealing is its rear-drive configuration, which is not found in many other cars of the era and especially not in modern models of lightweight coupes.

The car was popular in races in Ireland and Finland, and also did well in international touring races where it competed mainly with Honda Civics and others lightweight vehicles of its type. In 1986, it was entered in the European Touring Car Championship and won the Manufacturers Championship, beating out larger cars including the BMW M6, BMW 325i (E30), Rover Vitesse, Volvo 240 Turbo, Merkur XR4Ti, Mazda 929, Holden Commodore (VK), Alfa Romeo 75 (turbo V6), and Mercedes 190E.

Japanese street racers, known as hashiriya, prized the AE86 as well for its light weight, relative strength and especially its rear-wheel driving configuration, which made it popular for races through mountain passes where downhill corners were particularly suited to the capabilities of this car. In particular, the AE86 was well adapted to drifting, or the process of controlled sliding through corners. Japanese drifters like Katsuhiro Ueo, Toshiki Yoshioka, Yoichi Imamura, Koichi Yamashita, Hiroshi Takahashi, Tetsuya Hibino, and Wataru Hayashi made the AE86 famous in the drift scene in the 1980s.

As a result of its popularity in Japan, the AE86 was found in many episodes of Japanese anime and manga; the model also made a brief appearance in Fast and Furious 4 and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, indicating its popularity in American popular culture as well. It is also featured in a number of video game series, including Gran Turismo, Tokyo Xtreme Racer, Grand Theft Auto IV and Grand Theft Auto V. It also appears in several video games and movies in the Need for Speed franchise, including Need for Speed: Underground 2, Need for Speed: The Run (where it can be used in challenges and multiplayer events), Need for Speed: World, Need for Speed: Pro Street, and Need for Speed (2015 movie).

Here is a 1984 Sprinter Trueno GTV that is in the car auctions in Japan. The mileage is high, but that is typical for cars of this age. This car has a lot of aftermarket parts, and seems to be in relatively good condition considering its age:

“Grade 3.5, first registered March 1984, 204,874KM, GTV model, five-speed manual gearbox, AC, front adjustable suspension, rear lowered suspension, Watanabe magnesium 14 inch wheels, strut bar, earthing system, aftermarket shock absorbers, super muffler, aftermarket radiator, aftermarket upper hose and lower hose, Apex air cleaner, TRD plug courts, Tein front adjustable-type upper mount, AC does not work well and needs repair, interior grime, ???? (unreadable) hole in body work, seats sagging and cut, dashboard loose and cut, front cross member dented, rust underneath vehicle, corrosion and other marks as per map”

1984 Toyota Sprinter Trueno at auction in Japan -- inspection report

1984 Toyota Sprinter Trueno at auction in Japan-- rear

1984 Toyota Sprinter Trueno at auction in Japan -- interior


Japanese Car Icons: The Honda CR-V

Posted by Stephen On Friday, April 1st, 2016

You may not think of the CR-V as a Japanese car icon, but when it was introduced in Japan back in 1995, it was a pioneer of the compact SUV segment.

Few cars combine everything you’re looking for into one package, but the Honda CR-V has always been one such car. As a family-friendly small SUV with appealing features at an affordable price, it can be summed up in two words: versatile and varied.

Read on to learn more about what characterizes the Honda CR-V and what makes it stand out.

History of the Honda CR-V

The car was first introduced in Japan in 1995 as Honda’s first in-house designed SUV. In fact, it can probably lay claim to being one of the first compact SUVs – a leader in a segment that seems to be ubiquitous in many markets.

Hiroyuki Kawase designed the first model of this car, which Honda began manufacturing in 1997. Since then, several theories have come about to explain what the “CR-V” stands for. “Comfortable Runabout Vehicle” is what you see in early promotional materials, but also “Compact Recreational Vehicle”, and “Civic Recreational Vehicle” have all been suggested. Whatever its official title, the Honda CR-V is currently on its fourth generation, with a new model released each year and major changes made every several years.

The first generation of Honda CR-Vs featured two types of trim levels: LX and EX, with the major difference being that the EX trim offered anti-lock brakes and larger wheels while LX did not. Furthermore, the design included rear seats that could be folded down and a picnic table that was stowed in the rear floor area. The Honda CR-V received a facelift between 1999 and 2001, which boosted the engine’s power and introduced new safety features such as an improved front bumper.

The second generation CR-V was fully redesigned from the first, and based its model off of the seventh generation Honda Civic. A new engine and chassis formed the bulk of the changes from the first generation, as well as an overall more streamlined appearance. As a result, Car and Driver magazine named the second generation Honda CR-V the Best Small SUV for 2002 and 2003. A 2005 facelift changed the appearance of the grille and added enlarged wheels, and introduced XM Satellite Radio to the interior of the car.

The third generation CR-V, launched in 2006, was designed to be lower, wider, and shorter than the previous CR-V models. To make this happen, this generation stowed the spare tire inside instead of attaching it to the back, decreasing the overall length of the vehicle. A newer, five-speed automatic transmission was introduced and mandatory transmission was completely phased out in order to implement a better MPG rating and smoother shifting. Internal features of the third generation CR-V included integrated navigation, voice activated control, a six-disc CD player, a rear backup camera, and an iPod dock. As a result, the Honda CR-V became one of the ten best selling vehicles of 2007. Style, powertrain, and equipment changes were introduced in 2009 for the 2010 model year as well.

The fourth and current generation was introduced at the Orange County International Auto Show and the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2011, and went on sale later that year. The new redesign features devices such as continuously variable transmission (CVT), suspension shock absorbers, springs, anti-roll bars and lower control arms to improve smoothness and decrease the chances of having an accident while driving. During Super Bowl XLVI, Honda promoted the new CR-V with an endorsement from actor Matthew Broderick of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off fame.

Features of the Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V is known for having the following features and benefits:

1. Size

As a “compact SUV”, the CR-V is both large enough to meet the needs of a family and small enough to be driven and parked comfortably. The car can seat up to five people and thus works whether your family includes one, two, three or more other people; it also has plenty of storage space to fit in everyone’s belongings. At the same time, you’ll never have trouble fitting into a parking space or feel like the vehicle is too cumbersome.

2. Price

The CR-V is reasonably priced and as a compact SUV you will find you get more car for your money (as well as 4WD safety) for the kind of money you used to have to pay for a family sedan.

Where Honda has been overtaken in the compact SUV segment is in the areas of style and exclusivity. Land Rover’s Range Rover Evoque and Porsche’s Macan easily beat the bland CR-V in this department, illustrating a problem bedeviling many Japanese manufacturers – how to translate underlying quality into the surface style and panache that commands premium prices.

Early Grade 4 RD-1 CR-V at auction in Japan

Let’s take a look at one of those early first generation RD1-type CR-Vs and see what you can get for your money at auction in Japan.

This one has only 61,654 KM on the clock, even though was first put on the road in 1997. Let’s have a look at the translation of the auction inspection report:

“Grade 4, interior grade C, first registered 1997 (month not stated), two litre engine, four-wheel-drive, AT, AAC, original alloy wheels, power steering, power windows, interior grime and yellowing, scratches and dents, marks as per map”

As you can see, this CR-V may be almost 20 years old, but it is in remarkably good condition. (Although this kind of condition and mileage even lower than this is not at all uncommon among cars that are being auctioned in Japan.) According to our online system, the estimated market value of this car at auction here in Japan is around 60,000 JPY.

Interested in getting a CR-V like this one, or a later model? We can help you source them from Japan’s car auctions and ship them to you. Why not sign up for 14 days of guest access through our website here to see the cars that are available?

RD1 Honda CR-V auction in Japan - auction inspection report

RD1 Honda CR-V auction in Japan - rear

RD1 Honda CR-V auction in Japan - interior

RD1 Honda CR-V auction in Japan - front


Japan Car Auction Finds: The Retro (Nissan) Pao

Posted by Stephen On Friday, March 25th, 2016

The Nissan Pao was originally announced in October of 1987 at the 26th Tokyo Motor Show before production began in 1988. Its retro looks gave it instant appeal, such that when it first came out, you had to make a reservation to purchase it as it was intended as a limited edition.
The name itself was supposedly from a Mongolian word meaning a meeting house. To heighten the impact of this one-syllable name Nissan also just marketed it as the “Pao” without the Nissan name in front of it.

Between January and April of 1989 reservations were made and the car sold out in three months. It was very popular at the time and still is a coveted and collectible car. Nissan stopped production in 1990, so the car at auction (below) is one of the last ones off the line. Such is its status as a design icon that one is displayed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
As a 3-door hatchback, it does not really fit into modern car buying habits, but the cohesive retro looks have aged well, so that it is hard to believe that the design is getting on for 30 years old.

One great thing about the Pao is that it is one of the spinoffs of the K10 Nissan March / Micra. (The other two being the Figaro and Be-1.) As a result, many of the mechanical parts are still relatively easy to come by, which would not be true if it was a genuine low-volume vehicle.

Designer Naoki Sakaki is credited with the designs for both the Nissan Pao and Nissan Be-1.

Specifications:

  • It was available in three body colors: terracotta, ivory, olive gray and aqua gray and two interior colors: ivory and black.
  • It came with either a three-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission and had a 1.0 liter engine.
  • It was a great city car, only needing 14.4 feet to turn.
  • It’s fuel economy is still impressive by 2016 standard, getting up to 51 mpg in the city and 79 mpg at a constant 37 MPH.
  • It featured a distinctive clam shell hatch in back with the glass section swinging up and bottom opened into a tailgate.
  • Part of the retro look was external door hinges and flap-up windows.
  • Even the AM/FM radio tape deck was built to look as if it were from the 1950s.
  • Despite its small size, it can seat up to five passengers.
  • Popularity Today

    With its unique appearance, people either seem to love or hate it. Nissan was taking a risk at the time in designing something completely different. It almost looks like a modernized version of a car from the 1950’s. It is a testament to its design that there are groups of fanatical enthusiast owners both inside and outside Japan.

    Now, if you want one, you would think the limited edition status of this vehicle would make it hard to come by, but you can always find some good examples in the auctions in Japan. Let’s have a look at one of these below.

    Here is the translation of the auction inspector’s report:

    “Grade 4, interior B, exterior condition B, first registered February 1990, normal roof, 2WD, FAT, AC, original stereo, original side visor and mats, original steel wheels, power steering, 108,326KM, fornt and rear seats have been re-covered, some roadworthiness test history (2010, 2012, 2014), sticker shows the timing belt has been replaced, interior grime and scratches, oil leak, wheels scratched, door mirrors scratched, minor scratches and minor dents, marks as per map”

    Nissan Pao at Japanese car auction - inspection report

    The first thing to note is that this car has been graded 4, which is about the best you can expect from a 26-year-old car. This car also has a great-looking interior with the original retro stereo being retained, and all the seats having been re-done. For the avid collector, the downside would be that this is the fixed roof version, rather than the canvas top version. Of course, this means the option of open-top motoring is not available, but on the other hand the potential issues with the canvas top getting damaged or aging, resulting in rainwater leaks aren’t going to be a problem.

    Interested in buying cars like the Nissan Pao, or other Japanese collectibles? Get 14 days of guest access to Japan’s cars auctions and take a look for yourself.

    And don’t forget to check out these extra photos of this Pao at auction in Japan.

    Nissan Pao at Japanese car auction - front 2

    Nissan Pao at Japanese car auction -rear

    Nissan Pao at Japanese car auction -interior

    Nissan Pao at Japanese car auction - wheel

    Nissan Pao at Japanese car auction - retro stereo


    1968 Datsun Fairlady in the Japanese Car Auctions

    Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

    This has to be one of the best looking Japanese sports cars ever, with the closest rival being the original MX-5 Miata. Along with its Japanese sport scar contemporaries, the Honda S500 and Toyota Sports 800, SR311 Fairlady encompasses the essence of a genuine sports car. Not the bludgeoning horsepower warfare of supercars and hypercars, and not the cubic inch overkill of the North American muscle cars. No, this car is about the fun of driving. The pleasure of a winding road with the top down and the wind in your hair.

    40,000 of these little gems were produced between 1959 and 1970, with this one being one of the latest SR311 configurations that featured a 5-speed manual transmission that replaced the previous 4-speed. With a standard 135 PS engine configuration (in a car weighing only 940KG), a top speed of 120 MPH was attainable, which was quite spritely for its time and represented excellent value for money.

    Let’s take a look at this one that is in a Japan car auction in Tokyo. Here is the translation of the auction inspectors report:

    “Interior C, first registered 1968 (month not stated), five-speed manual gearbox, ODOMETER CHANGED, marked as odometer changed vehicle as this is an old car, fender mirrors, steering wheel worn and has minor cracks, canvas top cut and has repair marks, possibly aftermarket seats, seats torn, rust and corrosion and paint marks underneath vehicle, interior grime and wear, dashboard loose, rust and corrosion in places, corrosion repair marks, scratches and dents and repairs, exterior paintwork cracked on bonnet and on right side sill and on left rear side panel and on rear boot lid, marks as per map”

    Datsun Fairlady SR311 at auction in Japan - auction sheet

    Although it says that it is an “odometer changed vehicle”, this is very common among cars of this age, simply because the seller cannot be hundred percent sure that the mileage is completely accurate. This would really only be possible if there were full-service records available. So in this case as well, the seller is probably erring on the side of caution by marking the car as such.

    There is a reasonable amount of rust and corrosion on this car, so this would be more of a project vehicle. However, it’s not so bad that it is readily visible in the photographs. Take a look for yourself below:

    Datsun Fairlady SR311 at auction in Japan - front

    Datsun Fairlady SR311 at auction in Japan - rear

    Datsun Fairlady SR311 at auction in Japan - interior


    Insane 6-Wheel Kei Truck Acty Crawler At Auction In Japan

    Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

    OK, so it may not have the street presence of an Mercedes-Benz G 63 AMG 6X6, but you have to admire the engineering that has gone into making this Acty Crawler.

    Despite what you may think, this is not some crazy custom job, but was engineered by Honda and introduced in 1994. They are also designed to have tracks on the rear wheels, hence the “crawler” part of the name.

    Honda Acty Crawler at auction in Japan (1)

    Honda Acty Crawler at auction in Japan (2)

    Honda Acty Crawler at auction in Japan (3)

    Original listing


    BMW Z8 At Auction in Japan

    Posted by Stephen On Thursday, February 4th, 2016

    This is a very rare car, most widely known for its starring role in the Bond movie The World Is Not Enough, where it met an unfortunate end when it was sawn in two.

    Not so this grade 4.5 BMW Z8 that was auctioned in Japan today. This is a pristine car that is surely going to appreciate in value even more in the future. Check out the video below and learn more.

    Here are the auction photos and the inspector’s report so you can get a closer look.

    BMW Z8 Front

    BMW Z8 interior

    BMW Z8 rear

    BMW Z8 auction sheet


    Rare Porsche 911 Speedster at Auction in Japan

    Posted by Stephen On Thursday, June 25th, 2015

    I remember when these were first launched in the late 1980s. Basically a cut down 911 wide body emulating the classic 356 Speedster of an earlier era, the lack of dynamic improvement over the base 911 model meant these 911 Speedsters were seen as rather overpriced.

    But they do have one particular strength — they were built in very low numbers (2,065 to be exact) — and were immediately recognized as a collecting opportunity, despite the high asking price of 100,000 USD in the US market.

    This particular one has the added advantage of having only 4,200 miles on the odometer. It is a 1989 model, but imported into Japan in 1993, which does raise a small question mark over the mileage. However, the exceptional condition (grade 5 with A grade interior) and the fact that these were seen as collector’s items rather than daily drivers means that the low KM are quite realistic.

    Here is the full translation:

    “Interior A, first registered May 1993, Speedster model, 5-speed manual, odometer in miles, LHD, not known if gray or official import, 1989, seller claims it has 80 miles when imported, seats wrinkled, paint marks underneath vehicle, minor scratches and also dents, front windscreen stone scratches, marks as per map”

    A similar vehicle with more KM, but also owned by Mrs. Roy Orbison, was auctioned for 198,000 USD in January 2015, so I wonder how much this will sell for?

    Porsche 911 Speedster 1989 Japanese auction inspection report

    Porsche 911 Speedster 1989 rear

    Porsche 911 Speedster 1989 front

    Porsche 911 Speedster 1989 interior