Featured: Automobilia, Turbos By The Pound, And Plenty Of Parking Lot Finds From Japan's Nostalgic 2 Days Show

Automobilia, Turbos By The Pound, And Plenty Of Parking Lot Finds From Japan’s Nostalgic 2 Days Show

By Ken Saito
March 4, 2019
1 comments

Photography by Ken Saito

Nostalgic 2 Days, a small but dense and diverse trade show-type exhibition in Japan, appeals to a certain type of enthusiast. With the growing popularity of 1980s and ‘90s cars, this population has been growing year over year, making the halls ever more crowded.

Nos2Days, as it is known by the attendees, focuses on ‘70s and up Japanese motorsport and modified street cars, but besides being a place to ogle the machines and the cultural artifacts created in their wake it also happens that just about everything you see is for sale. In the first part of my coverage of the 2019 edition of Nos2Days, I quickly spent a whole bunch of imaginary Yen on the cars that were on display, but for a follow-up I thought it would be fun to turn your attention toward the swap meet side of the show, along with having a poke around the car park that housed the Skyline GT-Rs and Carrera GTs of the attendees.

Inside the exhibition halls, you can buy obscure car parts, period-correct automotive memorabilia, and hundreds upon hundreds of discontinued scale-model cars. In other words, there would be plenty to take in without the cars themselves.

It should come as no surprise that there were plenty of items from HKS, Spoon, Mugen, Greddy, Tomei, and just about any other big name in factory-backed and aftermarket modifications, but there were also speciality booths with expertise in particular models, like a 240Z or a Leopard for instance. Most of the booths the vendors had set up were a mix and match of everything though, a smorgasbord of prime Option-era nostalgia every couple of steps you took. You really had to be determined to find what you were looking for in order to scavenge through all the piles and avoid the constant distraction of all the good stuff you need to move out of the way.

Some of the stuff on sale was certainly a bit more banal than others, but even the transmission bits, the racks of gaskets, containers of springs and dampers, and boxes of badges were nice to see—after all, it represents the continued interest in not just reliving these cars through posters and old magazines, but in driving them.

That said, we all gravitate towards the items of the for-the-hell-of-it variety, like the Renown polo shirt with the Mazda factory team livery—for the 787B enthusiast in your life. How about a glitter-filled steering wheel to complete your kaido racer look? Need a full dashboard for a Nissan Leopard? Not many people do, but you’d probably find them here.

There were no shortage of interesting badges either, to finish off your restoration project or for the less honest among us, to turn your humble Skyline GTS-T stripper-spec into a GT-R. Both the box-stock taxi cab models and the high-end sirens of the showroom were represented in miniature form, and at multiple scales. The amount of little boxes of cars was overwhelming when you were looking for something specific, but just browsing with the flow of the crowd revealed all kinds of niche and iconic machines in scale-model form. The dominant scale was 1:43, but there were a bunch of 1:18 and larger options as well.

Down below the show, the car park proved to be an interesting place to continue the sport of spectating, and an event like this was bound to provide some cool vintage metal. It was an insight into the sort of people who are interested in the nostalgic Japanese car scene—do they bring mint examples of these old hero cars, modern commuter-wagons, or barely-retro supercars? A little bit of everything, it turns out.

Of course, this being Japan, most of the people traveled here by train, but there were a few brave souls who drove their prides and joys here. There were a lot of ordinary family minivans, but I figured you would rather see the interesting automotive set instead, like the dark red Subaru SVX and the super clean Toyota Soarer nearby. Perhaps the latter was worked on by Yoshi Yoshi like the example indoors. But if we’re talking about clean cars, the Alpina B10 casually tucked away in a corner was probably my favorite in the lot.

Being a nostalgic show, there were a handful of excellent 1980s and 90s Japanese cars lurking around the otherwise standard garage space. The 260Z and the Cedric/Gloria sedan made for a pretty cool 1970s Nissan pairing, while the 280Z and Supra were pure 1980s fastback throwbacks. There was even a clean example of a R32 GT-R, which even in its domestic country is a rare sight.

Rarer still was the MR2 Spyder that showed up, one of only 91 examples made by Toyota TechnoCraft. There were also a couple of European sports car staples in the form of things like G-body 911s and Lotus Esprits.

As diverse as the Nos2days show was in OEM form, there were also a few modified cars in the mix. To balance out the stock R32, there was a light blue car with gold Volks— a very ‘90s colorway indeed. There was also a row of classic JDM “tuner” cars, including a Civic Type R, FC RX-7, and another R32-generation Skyline. But as far as lineups went, the pair of special Porsches was the cherry on top. The Porsche Carrera GT and the early 911T pictured below marked the end off my loop through the car park, and were a perfect parting memory to take home with me after a weekend of inducing in retro Japanese car culture.

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Bryan Dickerson
Bryan Dickerson

So much fun. It’s fun looking at scale models of very obscure cars. Somebody made the business decision to put time, effort, and money into building precision scale models that 5.5 people in the world want. I love it!