Remembering Japanese cars from the past

Category: Commerical time (Page 1 of 15)

Be a dingo in this Mitsubishi Mirage Dingo! – Commercial Time

When I watched a compilation of 1998 Mitsubishi Mirage Dingo ads I thought it was quite strange. It wasn’t just the fact that the styling got bland after the facelift, but also the choice for the Dingo name. If you are unfamiliar with the dingo, a dingo is an Australian dog. So what’s so strange about naming a family car a Dingo then? Let me explain!

Why you shouldn’t use Dingo as a name


First of all, there is a very famous dingo we all know and love. His name is Goofy and he’s Mickey’s best friend. The issue with Goofy is…well, he’s goofy! He’s not the brightest, he’s clumsy and he often messes up things. So naming your car a dingo might be a bit clumsy.

Goofy is a Dingo. Image credit: Kathy Vreeland at Wikimedia
Goofy is a Dingo. Image credit: Kathy Vreeland at Wikimedia

A dingo is a male cougar

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Alain Delon debauchery in Japanese Mazda Capella ad? – Commercial Time

I had two WTF?! moments in this Japanese Mazda Capella ad with French actor and playboy Alain Delon. One of them is the corny scene set in France. The second is the Alain Delon lunging at the girl on the rollerskates. Let me explain!

Alain Delon with his beloved Mazda Capella SG-X Extra CG
Alain Delon with his beloved Mazda Capella SG-X Extra CG

You can watch the whole ad here:

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What is it Daihatsu, Charade or Charaaydo or Chalayde? – Commercial time

The first generation Daihatsu Charade was released in 1977 and the three door hatchback featured a weird looking opera window in the C-pilar. Today’s commercial isn’t about that funny three door, but its larger five door hatchback.

The ad seems to to highlight the fact that the Charade is everything a Toyota Crown sized car can offer with its boot (or trunk for you Americans) cut off. Is it really that large? The literal definition of Charade is an absurd pretence intended to create a pleasant or respectable appearance. So the Daihatsu Charade was meant to be something absurd which it actually isn’t? That sounds just about right when they pretended this Charade to be a Crown with its boot cut off!

What I found most confusing were the three ways of pronouncing Charade in this video. The first voice over pronounces it as the American charade (charayde), the female voice sings it as charaydo and the girl with the aviator glasses says “Yes, chalayde” with a thick Murican accent. So, what is it then?

What’s up with this Suzuka Carol Levin AE86 wheels? – Commercial Time – WTF?!

I’m sure you must have a couple of WTFs in your head by now: a Suzuka Carol Levin AE86? Isn’t that supposed to be a Mazda Carol or a Toyota Corolla Levin AE86? No, it isn’t in this advertisement:

Suzuka Sangyo Carol wheels advertisement with a Corolla Levin AE86
Suzuka Sangyo Carol wheels advertisement with a Corolla Levin AE86

Whacky advertisement text

The Japanese writing reads:
You might call it a space technology
but this wheel holds the
“romance of driving” of a new era
Right, so these Suzuka Carol wheels are supposed to be space technology that holds the romance of driving in a new era?

What are Suzuka Sangyo Carol wheels?

When I searched for Suzuka wheels, I could only find cheap knock-off wheels that are called Suzuka. I found via Kyusha Shoes that Suzuka Sangyo is the brand that made the Carol wheel. What I also found out is that Suzuka Sangyo actually was the brand behind the Long Champ XR4 wheel and the wheel was manufactured by SSR. This really surprised me as I was under the impression it was SSR who manufactured and sold it. Anyway, I digress…

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Would you like some Meiju Saucer on your Honda City? – Commercial Time

This aero kit and Saucer wheels on the Honda City was developed in the early 1980s by a tuning shop called Motor Sports Meiju in the Kyoto prefecture in Japan. 40 years onwards, it looks strange and heavily dated. It looks crude and this is not how Aero evolved over the past 40 years. So what is it and who is this Keiji dude sitting with a wheel in his lap?

1983 Motor Sports Meiju Saucer wheel ad
1983 Motor Sports Meiju Saucer wheel ad

Motor Sports Meiju history

I guess I first have to explain what Motor Sports Meiju is. It all begins with the late racing driver Keiji Matsumoto (松本恵二). Matsumoto started his career in 1968 when he bought a used Toyota Corolla and, unbeknownst to his parents, he stripped off all unnecessary accessories and started practising on Suzuka Circuit and the Higashiyama route near his hometown of Kyoto. He debuted in 1969 in the T-1 class and worked his way up via FJ1300 to F2000, a precursor to the F2 class in 1976. In 1979 he managed to win the, by now renamed, F2 class. Shortly after this, he started his own tuning shop called Motor Sports Meiju. Matsumoto is a very well-known Japanese racing driver and featured in many Cabin Spirit ads.

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I don’t know where to begin with this Fortran Drag Wheels advertisement – WTF?!

This Fortran Drag Wheels advertisement has so many WTF?!s in it that I simply don’t know where to begin. I did feature the Fortran Revolt wheels before and those wheels also had some interesting advertisements. But these Drag wheels, oh boy! Let’s just unravel this ad. Layer by layer, detail by detail.

Fortran Drag Wheels advertisement - I don't even know where to begin...
Fortran Drag Wheels advertisement – I don’t even know where to begin…

Gigantic woman towering the Manhattan Skyline

I think we can first start with the 1980s airbrush painting of a giantic woman which I can best describe standing in a Kiba-dachi stance towering over the Manhattan skyline. Her right high-heeled shoe is standing on top of the water in the Upper Bay or the Hudson River.

Chained up woman over the Manhattan skyline
Chained up woman over the Manhattan skyline

Is she wearing 1970s plateau shoes? She’s holding chains that seem to be coming from somewhere in downtown New York. The chains seem to break somewhere in the middle, but her arms don’t seem to suggest she is the one breaking it with force. On the contrary: she’s just holding them. Maybe the chain is put on a high voltage and now the centre link is disintegrating?

Over the moon and Jupiter

Giant moon and Jupiter. That gravitational pull must be immense!
Giant moon and Jupiter. That gravitational pull must be immense!

Behind the woman on the left, there is a gigantic moon. If the moon were this close to the earth, probably New York would have been flooded by the immense force of Moon-gravity. On the right of the woman, we can see a planet. Presumably, this is Jupiter. What is it doing there?

Another Skyline

Nissan Skyline GT-EX KGC211 floating in the Hudson River
Nissan Skyline GT-EX KGC211 floating in the Hudson River

The Manhattan skyline isn’t the only skyline in this advertisement. At the bottom of the advertisement, we can see a facelifted Nissan Skyline GT-EX C211 with a big golden 2000 GT Turbo sticker on the side of the car. Oy has some huge bubble-shaped over fenders and looks just like it was inspired by its Group 5 contemporaries. Why it’s floating on top of the water we don’t know. What we do know is that the wheels featured on this car are Fortran Drag Wheels. Even the license plate tells us so.

Drag, the Dynamic wheel - Fortan really knew how to create a good tag line!
Drag, the Dynamic wheel – Fortran really knew how to create a good tagline!

Above the woman, we can also see DRAG in bold painted letters and the tagline the Dynamic wheel. Why dynamic is written with a capital D is a mystery to me.


So, what do I make of this?
If you look at all these pieces separately, it doesn’t make sense at all. The chain, the moon, Jupiter, the floating Skyline GT-EX, and the woman over the Manhattan skyline. Nothing makes sense.

That is until I realized the randomness of all these things must have a meaning. The Fortran Drag wheels are called the Dynamic wheel for a reason. They need to be dynamic in any situation: a too-close-for-comfort moon with a huge gravitational pull. Rescuing a Godzilla-sized woman who is being chained down. Floating with big balloon-sized tires on your Fortran Drag wheels. Yes, it all makes sense now!

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