Posts Tagged ‘lamborghini’

Top Ten Japan Car Blog Posts of 2011

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, December 29th, 2011

The sun hasn’t quite set on 2011 just yet, but this is a good time to take a look back over the last year at the most popular posts on this blog.

So, without further ado, let’s begin with number 10….

10: The New Honda: Cars, Bikes and …. Home Power Generation

Honda Co-Generation System With Solar Panels and Gas Engine

We broke the story about Honda taking a new direction. In the past, Honda has been about cars and bikes. But in the future, Honda execs see home power generation as becoming a third pillar of their business.

Honda is not alone in this. Toyota — who also have a home construction subsidiary — and others are also looking into the idea of homes having their own power supply off the grid. The earthquake in March really pushed this to the fore, and I can imagine the Japanese carving out a leadership role in this nascent industry over the next decade.

9. Toray Teams up with Gordon Murray for TEEWAVE AR1 Concept EV Sports Car

Toray T-Wave AR1 designed and built by Gordon Murray

Once again, we were breaking this story in the English media long before it appeared in such motoring publications as Autocar. Toray may not be a name you are familiar with, but if you don’t know about Gordon Murray, I have to wonder where you have been for the past … at least 20 years.

The legendary former Formula 1 designer and creator of the McLaren F1 has in recent years turned his attention to the small, affordable and easy to construct. The thing is, he’s still in love with lightweight construction, so who better to team up with for the TEEWAVE concept EV sports car than Toray, purveyors of carbon fiber?

8. Japanese Car Auction Finds: Smashed Countach

Wrecked 1989 Lamborghini Countach Anniversary in the Japanese car auctions

There is something sad about a broken vehicle, but that’s even more true when the car in question was once a creation of sleek beauty. Now, the Countach has always been a divisive design. You love it. You hate it. The early 70s versions were certainly far ahead of their time. But then you come to the 80s and the Countach goes strakes, wing spoilers and Crocket and Tubbs bling. Anyway, this one was a great example of some of the more unusual vehicles you can find in Japan’s car auctions.

7. Suzuki Every Van EV Trials Start

Suzuki EV Every electric kei van next to Suzuki Swift Range Extender

While 2011 may not have been the Year of the EV, there was certainly no shortage of EV stories making the news from Japan. These kinds of kei truck EV conversions may seem rather prosaic, but the thing about delivery trucks in Japan is that they don’t require a huge range. So even with today’s battery tech, a Japanese local delivery company can get a day’s work out of the truck — and do so without polluting the urban environment.

6. Toyota Coms Single-Person Electric Car

Toyota Coms single-person electric vehicle EV

Not really a news story this one, but nonetheless the Toyota Coms post generated a lot of visitors obviously very interested to find out about this lesser-known Toyota electric car. Well, to call it a car would be a stretch. it’s more like a three-wheeler with a roof. Not that it is cheap, though. Which perhaps explains why it’s not in production anymore.

5. Japanese Developer’s 5 Minute EV Recharging System Wins Patent

If “range anxiety” is the zeitgeist of  automotive journalism in 2011, perhaps this invention could be the answer? A power source that could get your electric car back up to full charge in just 5 minutes. That’s what this enterprising Japanese inventor is aiming for with this patented recharging system.

4. Toyota’s New Space Launches “Pixis” Kei Car Brand

Daihatsu Move Conte - base model for the Toyota Pixis Space kei car

Not content to simply own Daihatsu, the leading kei mini car brand in Japan, Toyota has decided to launch their own Toyota sub-brand of kei cars. You will have to be a real expert to distinguish these from their Daihatsu siblings, though. The only real difference seems to be the badges.

3. New Toyota Aqua Gets 40 km/l – Debuts At Tokyo Motor Show in December

Toyota Prius c concept car perhaps shows Toyota Aqua hyrbid car styling

The Toyota Aqua will be sold overseas under the Prius name. We were not first to break the story this time, but by going directly to the Japanese media we were able to correct a lot of erroneous information about the newest addition to the Prius family in the English-language coverage.

2. VW Microbus Concept “Bulli” and VW Van-Style Suzuki Every Vans

VW Microbus-style Suzuki Every Van

This story was ostensibly about a VW show car called the “Bulli” (OK-looking car, terrible name), but most interest was in the way the Japanese customize Suzuki Every vans to make them look like modern-day versions of the VW microbus of the 60s.

Why VW has never followed up the New Beetle with a retro-style New Microbus minivan, I have no idea. After all, these Every van customizations show the interest that’s out there.

1.  KU:RIN Grabs Compressed Air Car Record of 129.2 KM/H

KU:RIN compressed air car snags record with 129.2 KM/H run on Ibaraki test track

By far the biggest story of 2011 with almost 2,500 views is this one about the compressed air powered car built by a club team at Toyota Industries Corporation, a Toyota group subsidiary specializing in air compressor development. Hardly a practical power source for the future of automotive travel, but you can’t deny the effort and ingenuity that went into this car that achieved a world record top speed of 80.3 MPH in September.

I hope you’ve enjoyed keeping up with car news from Japan with me in 2011. I wonder what 2012 will bring? What new tech, new models and new offbeat stories? Stay tuned and find out here as it happens.

Supercar Pile Up in Yamaguchi, Japan Wrecks Ferraris, Lamborghini and Mercedes

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Coming to an auto auction in Western Japan…. A bunch of wrecked Ferraris, with a smattering of crashed Mercedes and Lamborghini.

Driving with your supercar-owning buddies can be great fun – until someone makes a mistake with the resulting pile up taking out all your buddies’ cars, and then some.

The cars involved were all exceeding the 80 KM/H speed limit according to witnesses. One of the lead cars slipped on the wet road when changing lanes, plowing into the barrier before taking out following cars. A total of  14 cars were caught up in the accident, 8 of which were supercars – mainly Ferraris. I spotted an F430, a 356  and a Testarossa.

Check the video below to see if your favorite supercar was one of the unlucky winners.

The Lamborghini WTF

Posted by Stephen On Friday, April 15th, 2011

My last post about the Lamborghini Countach in the Japanese car auctions tomorrow reminded me about the story of the origin of this name: Apparently, the word “Countach” (koon-tash) in the Piedemontese dialect in rural Italy is the equivalent of the modern-day English expression WTF.

The story goes that when Lamborghini was testing prototypes in the area in the 1970s, bemused locals would exclaim “countach!” as the futuristic (at that time) supercar roared by.

Perhaps Lamborghini can continue this tradition and abandon the safe, corporate “Aventador” and name their new model, the WTF?

Lamborghini Aventador WTF


Japanese Car Auction Finds: Smashed Countach

Posted by Stephen On Friday, April 15th, 2011

The Lamborghini Countach was one of the poster supercars of the 1980s. Every boy’s wall had one of these, along with a Ferrari Testarossa. The Countach had evolved from the clean lines of the 1970s original to a mess of straked intakes with a huge wing on the back. The wing may have been more than gratuitous decoration – there were stories of Countach steering becoming very light at high speeds.

I don’t know what happened with this one, but by the shape of the hole, I am going to hazard a guess that it had a falling out with a lamp post or tree. It only has 42k KM on the clock, but it not likely to be useful for anything other than spare parts now. With the engine being in rear, there should be some value left in this one.

Bidding starts at 2.8 million Yen. I wonder what it will end up going for?

Wrecked 1989 Lamborghini Countach Anniversary in the Japanese car auctions

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.