Tag Archives: Japan

The Crown

Many cities and countries are known for having an iconic taxi. London has the Black Cab, although it’s now vastly outnumbered by Prius Ubers, New York had the Ford Crown Victoria, until it was replaced by Nissan vans, Camrys and the Prius, and Mexico had the Volkswagen Beetle, now superseded by boring Asian boxes including, you’ve guessed it, the Prius. There’s a theme here…

Fortunately (and perhaps ironically) Japan still has its iconic taxi cab, the Toyota Crown Comfort, complete with its amazing automatically opening rear doors. Built right up until 2017, the Crown has served as Japan’s taxi for over two decades. It’s finally being retired though, replaced by a bespoke Toyota taxi design that will probably end up becoming even more iconic, and which owes more than a little to its London counterpart.

The Comfort will be around for a while yet though, weird doors and all, and you can hail a ride in Ralph Savelsberg‘s brilliant Miniland scale replica via the link above.

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You Say Tomato, I Say Yamato

This is a Toyota Quick Delivery Hybrid, as used by Japan’s ‘Yamato’ delivery company. Plus there are some monks for some reason*.

Built by TLCB regular Ralph Savelsberg, the Quick Delivery (it does what it says on the tin we suppose!) is not our usual fodder, but it’s a most excellent build. Ralph’s trademark blend of superb techniques have allowed him to recreate the odd asymmetric Toyota brilliantly, including its sliding cab doors and a fully racked cargo area.

There’s more to see of Ralph’s Yamato-liveried Toyota Quick Delivery Hybrid on Flickr via the link above, you can hear today’s title song by clicking these words, and you can find out what that *asterisk is referring to by clicking here.

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Godzilla’s Return

Nissan have joined LEGO’s awesome Speed Champions line-up for 2020 with a set that’s a bit… stickery. The official 76896 Nissa GT-R NISMO set will no doubt fly off the shelves, seeing as seven-year-olds a) love the GT-R and b) love stickers, but we’re not sure that using decals for even basic shapes such as headlights is really the point of LEGO. Flickr’s Simon Przepiorka (now known by SP_LINEUP) agrees, and as such has created his own 1:24 scale R35 GT-R with bricks* rather than sticky pictures. Matching LEGO’s own 8-stud wide Speed Champions sets, Simon’s Lego Godzilla looks far more appealing than the one you can buy, and you can take a closer look at his photostream via the link above.

*Save for a red pin-stripe and the fact that the images look suspiciously digital…

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Vote for Smoke

It’s election night here in TLCB’s home nation, and here is a Toyota Corolla Trueno AE86 pictured in a full ‘Initial D’ drift. Is it swinging from right to left, heading perilously close to the cliff-edge, crashing-out, or gaining a conservative majority? OK, that last analogy didn’t work, but we’re quite proud of the first three! Previous bloggee Simon Przepiorka, now known as SP_LINEUP, is the builder behind this most excellent scene and you can cast your ballot, er… we mean see more of his brilliant drifting Initial D AE86 on Flickr via the link above.

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Initial D AE86

Just like people, some cars are born into greatness. They might have limited talent and have achieved little, but a family name goes a long way (we’re looking at you Bentley Bentayga and Rolls Royce Cullinan). Others have become great, either through their own endeavour or through blind luck and a random affiliation. This is the story of the latter.

The Toyota Corolla AE86 Sprinter Trueno was a good car in the same way that most Japanese cars of the 1980s were; well priced, fuel efficient, and far more reliable than its American or European counterparts.

And that is where the story should have ended, with the AE86 just another Japanese compact quietly getting on with not breaking down or falling apart. But in 1995 the AE86 got a shot at fame. At ten years old it became the star of a Japanese comic called ‘Initial D’, in which 18-year old Takumi Fujiwara slid sideways up mountain passes delivering food behind the wheel of his father’s AE86 Sprinter Trueno.

By 1999 ‘Initial D’ had become an anime production, viewed not just in Japan but around the world, and Toyota’s humble hatchback – now long out of production – had become a megastar. The popularity of drifting has continued unabated, leading to the AE86 becoming one of the most sought-after and iconic Japanese cars in history.

This superb recreation of the Toyota Corolla AE86 as it appeared in ‘Initial D’ comes from Peter Blackert (aka lego911) of Flickr, who has captured the world-famous car brilliantly in Lego. His design appears in the new book ‘How to Build Brick TV and Movie Cars’, which includes building instructions for the Sprinter Trueno pictured here (along with many other iconic cars) so that you can create your own version at home for drifting around your desk.

Peter’s Toyota Corolla AE86 Sprinter Trueno model is available to view at his photostream via the link above, and you can find the book in which the instructions for this model features by clicking here.

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Bolt from the Blue

Those of you with good memories will known that Simon Przepiorka‘s excellent slighlty-larger-than-Speed-Champions-scale Honda S2000 has appeared at The Lego Car Blog before. Back in March Simon’s model featured here sporting an Amuse bodykit, about which we wrote “Whether you like that addition or not will be a matter of taste (TLCB Elves and TLCB staff differ somewhat here…)”.

Simon has now updated his AP1 S2000 for those of us who aren’t TLCB Elves (or aged seven), by removing the aforementioned bodykit, lightly modifying the fenders, and fitting a great looking black hardtop.

As before Simon’s Honda includes opening doors and an opening hood, under which sits an easily removable F20C engine, famous for its bolt-activated high-lift cam system and 9000rpm redline. He’s also made instructions available should you wish to build your own version of his design and you can find the link to them, plus see all of the superb imagery, at Simon’s Flickr photostream. Click the link above to take a closer look.

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“You Can Push it Across the Finish Line… Or You Could Tow it”

This car as a lot to answer for. Arriving as a wreck in the first ‘The Fast and the Furious’ movie, prompting Jesse’s quote above, Brian’s MkIV Supra Targa became one of the most famous cars on the planet. At least with fourteen year old keyboard warriors.

‘The Fast and the Furious’ franchise has gone on, nine movies later and counting, to become Universal’s highest grossing franchise. With $15 billion in the bank and an untold number of terrible plot lines to continue (seriously, how many dead characters/bad guys are going to return/turn good and join the team?) it seems Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson will have a lot more cheques to cash yet.

The Supra meanwhile, took a (seventeen year) break, but now it’s back too (and has surely got to feature in the next movie?). The aforementioned fourteen year old keyboard warriors hate it, because it’s not the car from the first movie, but by all accounts the MkV Supra is actually bloody good.

Anyway, back to the first film – but far from the first Supra – and Brian’s modified MkIV, recreated here beautifully in Speed Champions-esque style by TLCB regular Simon Przepiorka, complete with the slightly silly livery made famous in the movie, an enormous wing, and whole heck of a bodykit.

There’s more of Simon’s Toyota Supra MkIV from ‘The Fast and the Furious’ to see at his photostream – click the link above to do a 1/4 mile in 10 seconds…

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Rocket Bunnied NSX

When tuning companies take their hammers to supercars they usually get it very wrong (see here, here and here, and try not to be sick), but there is one exception; Rocket Bunny. Founded in Japan by Tops Racing Arts Kyoto, Rocket Bunny kits are produced in a humble little workshop, with careful attention to detail and a few of very ordinary cars parked outside – the very opposite of the flashy (and hideous) European tuners above. The results have become world-renowned, and there are few tuning brands cooler than Rocket Bunny anywhere right now.

This brilliant Lego recreation of a Rocket Bunnied Honda NSX comes from TLCB regular Simon Przepiorka, who has not only captured the brand’s signature look to near perfection, he’s made instructions available so that you can too. Head to Simon’s photostream via the link above for the full gallery and to find the all-important instructions link.

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Nissan Skyline R34 GTR | Picture Special

Is there a car more over-hyped by annoying children than the Toyota Supra? No. But this comes close. It is of course the Nissan Skyline GTR R34, a car made more famous than it already was by a certain once-quite-good-but-now-fudging-terrible movie franchise.

The R34 Skyline launched in 1998, lasting just a few short years into the early 2000s before the GT-R evolved to became a standalone model and Skylines went back to being fairly boring sedans. Power came from a twin-turbo straight-6 making ‘276’ bhp, which was sent to all four wheels via an immensely clever all-wheel-drive system, allowing the GT-R to slay far more expensive machinery at the track and turning average drivers into good ones overnight.

This spectacular Model Team replica of the late-’90s legend comes from TLCB Master MOCer and all-round car building genius Firas Abu-Jaber, who has not only recreated the GT-R R34 perfectly in its stock form but has also added the prerequisite tuning accessories that seem to accompany it, from big wings and bigger turbos to bodykits and NO2 canisters (if you think that should say ‘NOS’ go back to school).

There’s a whole lot more of Firas’s incredible Nissan Skyline GT-R to see at his Flickr album by clicking here, where a link to yes, instructions, can also be found, and a certain blue version from a once-quite-good-but-now-fudging-terrible movie franchise is also due to appear…

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Civ-sick Type R

Honda’s Civic Type R was never a particularly good looking car, but it was fine as hot hatches go we suppose. The latest FK8 version though, is surely one of the most hideous vehicles ever to reach production. Looking like a cross between a badly modified tuner and a child’s drawing, the current Type R makes us want to projectile vomit immediately upon sighting it*. Which is a shame, because it’s a superbly engineered machine underneath the revolting exterior.

Capturing the current FK8 generation Civic’s look in Lego form is therefore an incredibly difficult task. Firstly because it means looking at images of the real car, and no-one* wants to do that, and secondly because recreating its stupid, fussy, ridiculous exterior in brick-form is surely an impossible feat. Not so for TLCB regular Simon Przepiorka though, who not only steeled himself to look at pictures of the real Honda, he’s managed to turn them into an outstanding approximation of the car in Lego.

A wealth of properly clever building techniques have been deployed to recreate the Civic FK8’s shape in Lego form, including more diagonally clipped-on pieces than we think we’ve ever seen at this scale. Head to Simon’s photostream via the link above to take a closer look at how he’s done it – it’s gotta be better than looking at the real thing…

*Except TLCB Elves who, of course, absolutely love it. Which is all the more reason for any sane person to find it a visually offensive abomination.

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Little Floater

The Second World War, for all the death and destruction it wrought, did provide the catalyst for some amazing technological advances. Sticking some floats underneath a Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter probably isn’t in the top three though, but the result is still rather cool. The Nakajima A6M2-N ‘Rufe’, developed from the infamous Zero, turned the land-based fighter/bomber into an amphibious floatplane. Just over 300 were produced between 1942 and the end of the war, with last being operated by the French following its capture in Indo-China. This ingeniously constructed small scale version comes from John C. Lamarck of Flickr, who has captured the Rufe’s unique asthenic brilliantly in miniature. See more at John’s photostream via the link.

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Party Like it’s 1990

Few cars of the 1990s had as much impact as this one. Honda’s NSX shocked the world upon its launch at the start of the decade. A mid-engined supercar from the makers of the Civic, priced at just over half that of a comparable Ferrari 348. Sure it made ‘only’ 270bhp – a figure beaten by a Hyundai i30 these days – but it weighed little, being the first mass-produced car with all-aluminium bodywork, and the V8-powered Ferrari only had 30bhp more.

Honda continued building the NSX right up until 2005, although only around 18,000 were made in that entire production run. Today the NSX is worth substantially more than the Ferrari it undercut at the time, making it, and many other Japanese icons from the ’90s, properly profitable investments.

Fortunately for those of us who can’t afford the real thing serial bloggee Simon Przepiorka has a brick-built solution in the form of this superb small-scale Lego recreation. Simon has captured the NSX’s aesthetics brilliantly, and there’s even a detailed interior and engine behind the opening doors and engine cover.

There’s more to see of Simon’s fantastic Honda NSX at his photostream – click the link above to make the jump to when Honda were at the very top of their game…

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Honda S2000 | Picture Special

Honda’s S2000, built from 1999 to 2009 during the company’s peak, was a gloriously unhinged machine. Its 2-litre engine made an astonishing 240bhp without turbocharging, and it took Ferrari to finally beat the S2000’s highest-output-per-litre record for a naturally aspirated engine with the 458 Italia, a full decade after the S2000’s launch.

Honda achieved this engineering witchcraft through the most Japanese of approaches; revs. The S2000’s F20C engine could rev to 9000rpm, with VTEC only engaging well above 6000rpm. It engaged with a bit go a bang too, and as the S2000’s handling wasn’t quite up to Porsche levels it meant that more than a few cars ended up travelling backwards through hedges.

This wonderful Technic recreation of Honda’s legendary sports car comes from previous bloggee and TLCB Master MOCer Nico71, who has done an incredible job replicating the AP2 series S2000 inside and out.

Not only does Nico’s model look the part (helped by 3D-printed wheels and a few well chosen custom stickers), it’s packed with technical detail too, including working steering, accurate double-wishbone suspension, a replica F20C 4-cylinder engine driven by the rear wheels, opening doors, hood and trunk, and a working convertible roof.

There’s lots more of Nico’s superb Technic Honda S2000 AP2 to see on Brickshelf or at his website by clicking here, including the complete image gallery, full build details and yes – instructions! Click the link above to feel VTEC kick-in yo!

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Leggy

We’re not sure what first drew our attention to this creation by Djokson. The stickers. Yeah, definitely the stickers. They are cool though, as is the futuristic speeder bike they’re attached to. It’s called an Akiyama Sidewinder GT and there’s more to see on Flickr and Brickshelf via the links.

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My Fair Lady

This is a Datsun 240Z, or ‘Fairlady’ as it was known in some markets, and it’s surely in contention for the the title of prettiest Japanese car of all time. This Model Team example comes from 5eno of Flickr and there’s more to see at the link.

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