These Videos Will Take You Straight to Japan
Not known for creating vehicles with tremendous style, power, or speed in the traditional sense, Japan’s automotive history is one of trial and error, of pushing boundaries, and adopting new technology. From marketing to racing, there’s been a history of both innovation and the just plain weird—like Michael J. Fox starring in a series of Honda Integra ads.
This weekend playlist is a sampling of the video gems that Japan has to offer.
If you’re going to watch 8 minutes of Japanese car commercials, make it a compilation of Nissan Skyline commercials. They begin with the extremely confusing early pioneering 3D special effects “masterpieces” for the Nissan Skyline R32. Yes, those are “space fish” that fly beside the car and say things like, “Let’s Go”. It’s okay to fast forward…
If you’re going to watch 2 minutes of Honda commercials, make them the ones featuring British group Madness. If you have just 30 seconds, why not watch a truck get dropped from a helicopter?
What could be more exciting than this documentary on Toyota’s 1966 speed record assault with its now-iconic 2000 GT? Even though it’s in Japanese, it’s a joy to watch. Great sounds, too.
Best Motoring is an institution that track-tested pretty much anything. Our two favorites are at opposite ends of the spectrum: a grid of Daihatsu Midget IIs with the starting grid determined by driver weight, and a really, really close race between near-supercars. It also includes a “camera car”, the very rare and very fast Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R Z-Tune by Nismo. Reading car comparisons in magazines is fine and all, but it’s way more fun to watch the cars battling on-track…
We’ve filmed a number of features with Japanese road cars—and here is a neatly-organized playlist of all of them.
When Japan enters races around the world, success often follows. Clockwise from top left, it’s a bit tough to watch, but it’s a great a report on the 1969 Safari Rally. Next, a fast lap at the Le Sarthe Circuit that earned Mark Blundell pole for the 1990 Le Mans 24 Hours. Horsepower? Dialled up to around 1,100. Below, a great clip of Toyota’s IMSA challenger for the often-forgotten Del Mar Fairgrounds Circuit in San Diego. Finally, a clip from the movie Senna on Ayrton Senna’s greatest lap, said to have been at the 1988 Monaco Grand Prix. At his back was a Honda engine.
The highly watchable Mighty Car Mods made a documentary of a trip to Japan, and rarely do you get such an intimate look at the country’s car culture…all in English.
The Motorhead Hill Climb Sponsored by Recaro. Just watch it—and turn up your speakers. Have you seen race cars shot like this before?
We promised Michael J. Fox Honda ads, didn’t we? This is the most tasteful of the bunch, trust us…