(Reposted from September 10, 2014)
Recently, as reported by Japanese Nostalgic Car, Hachimaru Hero, a Japanese Magazine dedicated to cars of the 80's, asked it readers to select the 20 best Japanese cars of the 1980's. We have enjoyed reviewing what the readers chose.
This survey is interesting for a lot of reasons, but for the sake of our little diecast world, there is one that stands out. Obviously, when it comes to Japanese cars, the...wait for it...Japanese set the trends. What they already know, car collectors elsewhere will figure out later. And with 2015 just around the corner, every Japanese car from the 1980's will be considered (by the 25-year-rule here in the US) classic. That means the 80's should be the next era for the fanboys to obsess over.
That doesn't mean 80's cars aren't already popular here in the US and elsewhere. The AE86 has already achieved legend status, as has the NSX, and you can't hit any car website this month without something about the Miata. But there are more cars out there ready to take their place among the Hakosukas, Kenmeris, 2000GT's, and 510's of the world.
So when it comes to figuring out what the next big thing will be in JDM, why don't we look at the car that Hachimaru Hero readers voted the best Japanese car of the 1980's. That was none other than the Nissan DR30 Skyline.
|photo courtesy of Japanese Nostalgic Car|
The other reason is the DR30 Skyline is also the most famous of the Super Silhouettes, the absolute over-the-top race cars from the early 80's. We have mentioned the Super Silhouettes before. These Group 5 speed machines raced in the Fuji Grand Championship Series from 1979 to 1983. There were very few regulations on these cars. All that had to stay the same was the silhouette of the car and the block. The rest was the wild west of modifications - they were insanely wide, sported huge spoilers, and sat on big fat wheels. They went from the car pictured above, to the car pictured below:
These racers were so popular that they spawned an entire car culture in Japan. Kids who had the Super Silhouettes immortalized on posters back in the 80's later started modifying their own cars to mimic the racers, and the bosozoku movement was born. For those not familiar, just go look at your Hot Wheels Mad Manga. You will see the similarities.
Nissan was a big player in the series, and the DR30 Skyline driven by Masahiro Hasemi was its most famous entry. It is easily recognizable with the black and red two tone it shares with the standard DR30 Turbo, and that sponsor on the door and chin spoiler is recognizable to a lot of us.
And that is why the DR30 Skyline is so popular. We think its day will come here in the US. It may take a Hot Wheels version to get our fellow 510 and Hakosuka collectors to notice, and we would not be surprised to see that happen. But we really don't need it, considering Tomica Limited Vintage Neo has been taking on the DR30 for quite awhile now.
So we here at Lamley are going to dedicate a few posts to various DR30 Skylines that have been released by Tomica Limited Vintage in the last few years. That includes four street versions, the RS-Machines from Seibu Keisatsu, and the Super Silhouettes. We are going to start with the racers.
Maybe it is because Tomica's name is all over the Skylines, but whatever the reason, TLV has made three different versions of the Hasemi's Skyline. One from early 1983, another from late 1983, and the last from 1984, and last two sporting the iconic "iron mask" grill of the later versions. These rank as some of TLV's most detailed models, and it appears no compromise was taken.
The other night I had a friend visiting who knows very little about cars. He was fascinated with my display of TLV's, and marveled at the detail in each model. He asked me to name my favorite TLV. I had to think about it. But it was obvious. The late-1983 DR30 Super Silhouette was the clear answer. The photos should provide all the evidence I need.
As always, the TLV Super Silhouettes are available at Japan Booster. They are not cheap, but are totally worth it (just look at the detail), especially if the growing popularity of the DR30 drives prices even higher. Plus, you can't beat free shipping.
Tomica Limited Vintage Skyline Super Silhouette:
1983 - early
1983 - late