Words & snaps by Sam
The morning of Sunday 16th February arrived and it was time to attend my first event here in Australia. It just so happened to be a classic Japanese show, perfect!
Admittedly I wasn’t aware of this event until just a couple of days before hand, but luckily it was to be hosted in a suburb of Brisbane, less than an hour from where I live, which was even luckier when considering the 7:30am start time!
The organisers hold two events a year: an open all-Japanese day held in June, and this, an all-Japanese Classic day intended for cars 25 years and older.
I arrived at the event bright and early, with that fine Aussie sun beating down; the, perfect weather for such an event. There was a great turnout with around 300 cars on show, giving something for everyone.
So now let us take a journey back in time, to those eras when cars were much purer beasts, designed to put the driver at the heart of the experience. Engines would sing a beautiful note at every stab of the throttle, and designs had flurries of details that would catch the eye at any angles.
There’s no denying, which ever era you look at, be it the 60’s, 70’s 80’ or 90’s, the Japanese have created some beautiful machines.
One of my personal all-time favourites is the first gen Mazda Cosmo, with its classic 60’s Japanese styling. Introduced in 1967, it was also the first car to successfully incorporate a mass-produced rotary engine, putting out 110bhp, and revving to a previously unheard of sky-high 7000rpm.
Also spotted was this second generation Cosmo, though quite a different beast from the first gen. It was from this point on that the Cosmo evolved into a larger grand tourer and sold internationally as the RX-5, while the first generation evolved into the RX-7.
This first generation RX-7 was a tad mental to say the least, with its oversized rims and wide-arched body kit.
That’s not all though, as a neck-snapping 3-rotor 20B with sequential twin turbos lurked under the hood... I could only imagine the aural pleasure produced by such an animal.
The FC was the second generation of the RX-7 bloodline. Featuring hard, straight lines and low, aggressive shark-like styling, it’s not hard to see why it became a classic Japanese sports car.
A couple of other Mazdas which caught my eye were those two RX-4s.
Featuring round double headlights, aggressively shaped grilles and chrome bumpers, it was easy to see more than just a hint of American muscle inspiration here.
And of course, it would have been impossible to showcase Mazdas without letting the ever-popular MX-5 sit in. The MX-5, also known as the Miata, became a classic with its simple roadster styling, low cost, almost unbeatable handling capabilities and its all-out raw and pure driving experience.
This particular MX-5 had been turbo-charged with a GReddy TD04H to help its 1.6 power plant produce 220 of the finest Japanese horses at the wheels. The owner told me it could blow away the big Aussie Holden Commodores with ease, and I had no reason to doubt that!
The Toyota Corolla AE86 was another popular 80’s classic on show here.
This Levin had a transplanted 4A-GZE at its heart, and a rather impressive looking Garrett turbo feeding the engine an ample dosage of forced induction goodness.
There were also a few Toyota Soarers on display. With those big torquey engines you could definitely see the tuning potential.
This black beauty really stood out for all the right reasons...
Stanced to perfection, with aggressively good looks and high power outputs; perhaps the perfect Japanese GT car?
The Nissan Silvia S13 was another popular model at the event. Thanks to the drift scene gaining traction across the globe, this platform and its evolutions (S14 & S15) has become increasingly popular over the years.
This one looked as though it was used for that exact purpose...
And sitting alongside it was its S14 daughter.
Now ok, I know it’s not quite 25 years old, but a drift missile is always going to be cool, right?
Other impressive Nissans on show included this Hakosuka 2000GTX, seemingly in perfect, pristine and original condition. Although not boasting quite the same pedigree as the GTR model, it was still a super-rare animal. Just check out that familiar angry front end. What’s not to like?
This leads on to another absolute classic of the era... the Fairlady 280Z. A pure bred racing machine, emphasised in this example by those wide fenders, functionally added in order to house the huge amount of rubber required to put the roaring L28’s power to ground.
This L28 had been completely forged and stroked to displace 2.9 Litres of naturally aspirated heaven. Add the triple carbs and you have a proper old school mechanical beast. The owner wasn’t sure about how much power it put out, but he assured me it was more than enough to be able to “accidentally” light up those rear tyres. Oh and did I mention it's roar ? Perfection.
I was actually surprised at the scale of the event, bearing in mind I knew very little about it before the day itself. There was good mix of perfectly preserved original, factory condition machines, as well as those tuned monsters with their ballsy owners not scared of breaking the rules to show their imagination.
In absolute honesty, there were so many great cars on show, they all deserve a mention but it would be near impossible to share them all. So instead I’ll leave you with a few more photos to drool over. Enjoy!