It is with some regret that I recently learned of zeppan.jp‘s impending closure. For those who have never heard of the site before, it’s one of the interweb’s longest lasting repositories of original showroom Japanese car catalogues, founded in 2001 by a chap who lives in Hiroshima by the name of Takeshi Kubo – once upon a time it was the only place online where anyone not living in Japan could directly obtain hard-to-find vintage and nostalgic car catalogues from, as well as modern ones.
this is thanks to the fact that unlike some of the other Japan-based catalogue repositories around, zeppan.jp has never had any qualms with overseas shipping, and once you get over the initial quaintness of the webmaster’s recommended payment method (no Paypal or credit card orders here folks!) your catalogues are delivered in one neatly packaged bundle, via SAL, within two weeks. shipping costs roughly 1100 yen for around five catalogues plus padding.
I’ve utilized zeppan.jp multiple times in the past to supplement my collection of ’80s car catalogues, and in fact it was the only site back in the “dark ages” (around 2004) which contained any of the incredibly elusive Japanese Ford Laser catalogues.
Takeshi hasn’t really elaborated as to why he’s calling it a day, but my guess is the increased competition from places like F&L Company as well as private vendors on Yahoo! Auctions Japan, plus the fact that his own stocks are now getting increasingly low; most of the valuable and rare catalogues have now been sold to other collectors worldwide, and ofttimes traded to/from the very same people who are now advertising them on YAJ.
as a result, from now until closure, all remaining catalogues on the site are being offered at 500 yen each (roughly NZ$12). with some searching you’re bound to turn up some obscure gems still available, such as this 11-page catalogue advertising the 1986 KHR31 GTS and GTS-X coupe, both turbo and non.
from the sounds of it, the site will remain open until all stock has been exhausted, so feel free to check it out; you might find something interesting. I’m personally going to be making one final order for myself before then.