January 9, 2009

This one word may well be what you would hear cascading out from many a classic lover’s mouth once they start to delve in behind the panels of a project car they’ve just bought.  As we all are well aware, old cars rust and they rust badly unless well taken care of.  In the UK, things are even more tragic, with salted roads and by comparison to NZ a mammoth population, it’s a wonder they have as many classic or retro cars as they do.  Despite this fact, the UK like everywhere else is by no means immune to spectacular finds of decidedly rare beasts.  One such car which has been unappreciated in almost all era’s it’s been witness to since it’s inception is the Austin A40 Somerset.  Having only been available from 1952 through to 1954 with production figures around 170,000 it’s safe to say it isn’t a particularly common motorvehicle at least in good shape.  Which this one in question, really wasn’t.

The beginning!  Appears fairly solid from 3 metres.

The beginning! Appears fairly solid from 3 metres.

Most, seeing this car as it stands and looks there in the picture, would think “Well… that’s not all bad… I’ll start stripping it down and replacing a few bits and bobs, she’ll be back on the road in no time.”  However ‘scaryoldcortina’ , famed member of the retro-rides forums and the new owner of this Somerset (thanks to a trade for a Panda (an Italian one, not a Chinese one)) is not most people, he’s a man with a plan, a plan that doesn’t involve the original shape of the car much at all.  So the strip down began…


The eternal idol(s)

January 7, 2009

if there’s one endearing thing about Japanese car culture, it’s that they never seem to forget the classics.

'80s Hero

Hachimaru Hero, vol. 1: Eternal Idol AE86

Hachimaru Hero by Geibunsha Publishing is one of the few Japanese automotive magazines to focus entirely on the cars of the ’80s. From beloved highway stompers such as the Fairlady 200ZR to the humble family wagon Civic Shuttle, a bewildering array of cult to cooking cars are covered in ten incredibly well-produced volumes.


Japanese Junkyard

January 6, 2009

Whilst stumbling about for other things entirely I happened upon this website and thought I would share it with you all;

70s Mazda Bonga

70's Mazda Bonga

There’s some cars and trucks in here that I’m sure most people would die for, just scattered about and left to die on their own, in field or yards or other such.  As well as just some peculiar spots.  It’s not uncommon to see pictures of such things from the UK or the US but seeing them in and from Japan is not something that is witnessed with anywhere near the same regularity.


Selection of Diecasts

January 4, 2009

Over the years, the availability and quality of die-cast cars has increased greatly, due to increased exposure via the Internet and tooling methods used.  It is now possible to cheaply attain high quality, highly accurate representations of a lot of cars, in particular classic Japanese ones.

A good demonstration of this in the 1:64-72 range is the TOMY Tomica “Limited”.  The accuracy and detail of these vehicles is usually quite high.

Tomica Limited Prince Skyline S54B

Tomica 'Limited' Prince Skyline S54B

If you’re interested in what’s currently available new in the “limited” range then visit the TOMY website;  Sadly, it’s all in Japanese so unless you can read it, you’re likely out of luck, translation tools will miss most of the site in that it’s mostly images as opposed to standard text, though with a bit of perseverance you should find your way around fairly well.


during the 1980s turbocharging craze, it seemed that every Japanese manufacturer ended up developing at least one forced-induction engine. A few of these were of the “gun” variety – boasting healthy power and big torque figures – and were ultimately slotted into highly-sought-after flagship models and top-shelf sportscars.

However for every legendary FJ20ET, G63B, 7M-GTE and 13B-Turbo pushed out to market, there existed an equal or greater number of lesser-known, lesser adored, more mundane cooking-spec engines which also happened to benefit from TEH POWAR OF BOOST. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the end result, the fruits of such labour were harnessed to power various Japanese iterations of the ’80s “hot hatch”, a market unto its own at the time.

one such example is Toyota’s 3E-TE engine.