In a remarkably short space of time during the latter half of the twentieth century, Japan went from having the tiniest fledgling car industry to leading the world in technology, performance and quality. By the 1990s and early 2000s, hero cars like the Skyline GT-R, RX-7 and NSX were – and remain – amongst the most covetable cars in the world, entire subsets of pop culture springing up around them (who of a certain age didn’t crave an R32 Skyline after playing the original Gran Turismo, or a Supra after seeing The Fast and the Furious?
During Japan’s ‘Bubble Era’, its car industry and culture were unstoppable. Honda’s engines dominated Formula 1, Mazda conquered Le Mans, Subaru and Mitsubishi duked it out on the rally stages. The road cars were just as exciting and innovative. Mazda reinvented the roadster, Lexus redefined the luxury car, and from rotary engines to five-valve heads, there was experimentation in every segment from dinky 660cc kei cars to fire-breathing turbocharged four-wheel drive monsters.
Then, of course, there was the tuning culture. Drifting, top speed runs, time attack – all had huge amounts of money thrown at them by the great tuning houses whose names are just as evocative and relevant today as they were then.
It was a hugely important time for the global car scene, and continues to have an impact, as proven by rapidly rising values of the era’s JDM hero cars. We’re celebrating it on 20 and 21 May with our Retro Daikoku Weekend. Come join us – we welcome everything as always, but we’ll be flying the flag for the golden age of Japanese brilliance.
See the website for more information.Get tickets