Remembering Japanese cars from the past

Category: Commerical time (Page 1 of 14)

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.

Conclusion

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!

Is this Nissan Cefiro A31 whaling the Japanese salaryman? – Commercial time

The 1988 Nissan Cefiro A31 was offered as a sporty four-door saloon alternative to the Toyota Cresta and Chaser competitors. It shared many components with the Skyline (R31), Laurel (C31) and Leopard (F31) of a similar generation. The drivetrain and rear multi-link setup were shared with all four of them and the front strut-based suspension with the Laurel. If you squint your eyes, you will also conclude it shares its design with the beautifully styled 1988 Nissan Silvia S13.

Nissan Cefiro A31 (top) looks like a Laurel C31 with a Silvia S13 (bottom) nosejob
Nissan Cefiro A31 (top) looks like a Laurel C31 with a Silvia S13 (bottom) nosejob

So can we conclude the Nissan Cefiro A31 is just a Nissan Laurel C31 with a Silvia S13 nosejob? Perhaps it does. Judging from the various ads I found online it’s rather aimed towards the sportier image of the Silvia than the dull salaryman image of the Laurel. Most ads tend to highlight this. Most of them. Most of them except this one featuring a whale:

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Commercial Time: Toyota Multi-valve engines

When Toyota introduced their multi-valve engines early 1980s, this was advanced technology from another era. No other manufacturer, except for Triumph, was sane enough to put a multi-valve engine into a consumer car. You could argue that Nissan did the same by placing the S20 engine in the KPGC10 and the Fairlady Z432R. However, there were only a few thousand of these engines built! So when Toyota hit the market with the 1G-GE, 4A-GE and 7M-GTE in the early 1980s, this was totally out of this world! This mid-1980s European Toyota multi-valve ad boasts about them:

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Commercial Time: hilarious Spielbergs Duel parody in a Starlet EP70

This Toyota Starlet EP70 ad is really funny if you have watched Steven Spielberg’s 1971 movie Duel with Dennis Weaver. A big black American truck drives up close to a little Starlet. Threatening to push it off the mountain. The Starlet can outpace the truck and even trick it into a Looney Tunes-like crash into the mountain.

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Commercial Time: wacky Nissan Sunny LePrix B11

These wacky Nissan Sunny LePrix B11 ads give you the impression they actually featured in a detective series like Seibu Keisatsu. However, they don’t. It’s all made up. The actors in the commercials are Keiko Matsuzaka and Saburo Tokito. Coincidentally both actors played in The Gate of Youth (Seishun no mon) but this was totally unrelated to these ads.

Wacky Nissan Sunny LePrix ads

It looks like Nissan chose to launch the Nissan Sunny LePrix with some wacky ads. Keiko and Saburo are dressed up like they would feature a detective or action series. Keiko’s catsuit reminds me of Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) in The Avengers. The ads are done in a similar tongue in cheek way.

First ad: Keiko and Saburo with Tommy guns

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