Remembering Japanese cars from the past

Tag: silvia s110

Brilliant: collection of Showa scale model cars

Now this was a big jaw-dropper: two videos of a Toyota Mark II Grande GX71 literally covered in Showa scale model cars. This must be the largest personal collection of scale model cars I’ve seen!
Brilliant: Showa scale model cars
Now if you look carefully enough you can see that each and every scale model car has its own special paint job (mostly kaido racer, race car livery or kyusha kai) and set of (rare) JDM rims! If you count the number of hours it took to make them look this way alone it already is an amazing job!

Now the list of cars, mainly from the late Showa-era, is going to be a lengthy one, but I’ll try to sum up the most important ones:

  • Toyota Mark II Grande GX71 (duh)
  • Toyota Soarer GZ10/MZ11/MZ12 (including the Shakotan Boogie Soarer twice)
  • Numerous Toyota Celica XX GA61
  • Toyota Celica GT RA45
  • Toyota Corolla Levin TE27
  • Toyota Corolla Levin TE71 four door sedan
  • Toyota Corolla Levin AE86 hatchback
  • Toyota Corsa AL11
  • Numerous Nissan Skylines C10, C110, C210, R30
  • Numerous Nissan Cedric/Gloria 230, 330, 430
  • Numerous Nissan Fairlady S30
  • Nissan EXA
  • Hasemi Skyline KDR30 Super Silhouette kaido racer replica
  • Nissan Silvia S110 Super Silhouette kaido racer replica
  • Isuzu Bellet GT-R
  • Mazda RX-3

And the list could go on for another 20 or 30 models that I overlooked…

Watch video number one: Continue reading

Family Album Treasures: Hoshino’s Gazelle

Back in the early 80s when the Japanese Super Silhouette series were at its alltime high in popularity Kazuyoshi Hoshino drove his iconic Nissan Silvia S110 silhouette racer to many victories.
Nissan Gazelle S110 with Hoshino Impul rims
Kazuyoshi Hoshino was a smart man: apart from founding the Hoshino Racing he also founded the Hoshino Impul company which produced the Impul D-01 wheels as their first product. By mounting these wheels on his silhouette racer he had the best advertising possible and many of these wheels were sold to his (young) followers.

Also this guy fell for them and mounted them on his Nissan Gazelle S110, just like his hero Hoshino. Definitely a keepsake for the family album!

Found at: Minkara

Commercial time: the Hoshino twins drive Silvias!

Back in 1982 Kazuyoshi Hoshino was the star of the Grand Championships around Japan: he both competed within the long distance Group C races and also in the more popular Group 5 (aka Super Silhouette) races where he drove his Hoshino Impul Silvia:
Hoshino Impul Silvia advertisement
Two races on the same day: isn’t that a bit too much for a man?

Now this advertisement from 1982 shows you how he pulled off that trick: Continue reading

Only in Japan: spot a Nissan 240RS in the wild

Okay, maybe not 100% true: you can certainly spot a 240RS outside Japan, but probably not on the open roads! Outside Japan normally these cars end up somewhere in the corner of a museum or only be driven on circuits while the Japanese actually are very fond of driving heritage out on the open roads.
Only in Japan: spot a Nissan 240RS in the wild
Only in Japan: spot a Nissan 240RS in the wild

Imagine what it would be like to hear a deep growl coming closer and closer, you turn your neck to the direction the sound is coming from and all you can see is this very wide flared 240RS homologation special!

[ Found in Toyota08’s photozou]

Popular Bosozoku cars: Nissan Silvia S110

It was inevitable: one of the Silvias had to feature sooner or later! This week we feature the Nissan Silvia S110, the car that became famous through Kazuyoshi Hoshino during the Super Silhouette Formula till the cars appearance changed to the newer Silvia S12 bodyshape. This car inspired many Silvia S110 owners to convert it into a Grancha style lookalike!

Nissan Silvia S110 Zokusha

This one is a very very accurate copy of that S110:
immitation of Hoshino's Grancha Silvia Turbo
immitation of Hoshino’s Grancha Silvia Turbo

And this one a bit less accurate:
Less acurate immitation of Hoshino's Grancha Silvia Turbo
Less acurate immitation of Hoshino’s Grancha Silvia Turbo

And it is even not the hatchback!
Less acurate immitation of Hoshino's Grancha Silvia Turbo
Less acurate immitation of Hoshino’s Grancha Silvia Turbo

And this pimped out shakotan styled Silvia S110 doesn’t look too good either:
shakotan styled Nissan Gazelle S110
shakotan styled Nissan Gazelle S110

But that’s a matter of taste of course… ;)

Factory stock Nissan Gazelle S110
Factory stock Nissan Gazelle S110

Nissan Silvia history

The predecessor of the Nissan S110 was the ill fated S10: a “traditional” looking sports coupe with a not too hot engine. It was a big failure in Japan and got easily outsold by the Toyota Celica (and the Carina hardtop coupe) and Mazda RX5/RX3. Nissan decided to make the S110 the best car ever! Nissan saw the immense popularity of the rotary Mazdas and thought a rotary engine would be the solution. They forgot that Mazda already had 15 years of experience in rotary engines and Nissan’s attempt was a big failure: it proved to be very unreliable. Nissan decided to release the car with the new Z engine instead to get the production started.

Factory stock Nissan Gazelle S110
Factory stock Nissan Gazelle S110

The Silvia and Gazelle twins

There are actually two cars with the S110 chassis number: the Gazelle and the Silvia. The Gazelle had a rectangular grille, just as high as the headlights, while the Silvia has a slightly narrowed grille. The Gazelle/Silvia were produced that all Nissan dealerships could carry the S110. The Gazelle was only sold in Japanes and Australia while the Silvia got exported to Europe and the US (as the 200sx).

Nissan Silvia and Gazelle engines

The Z engine featured a 1.8, 2.0 and 2.2 liter displacement. The S110 really got its excitement after the introduction of the FJ20E with its facelifted RS model: the DOHC 4 valve EFI 2 liter engine produced 150HP. It featured a big port with dual valve springs and a wide angle bucket on shim valvetrain (only found on the Nissan S20 engine before) and was essentially a blueprint for the later RB and CA engines!

Factory stock Nissan Gazelle S110
Factory stock Nissan Gazelle S110

Nissan Silvia and Gazelle interior

The interior was basically an incarnation on the space age designed interior of the Silvia S10. It had a wide console stretching over the transmission tunnel. The material was, like every other late 70s/early 80s car, basic plastic in a two tone scheme.

Rally pedigree

Outside Japan the Nissan Silvia S110 also had a strong rallying following: a UK company called Blydenstein created a homologated version of the DatsunNissan Silvia S110 with a FJ24 engine: basically a FJ20E with increased displacement and a carburetor stuck on it. It dominated the British rally scene in the early 80s till it was outlawed by the Group B regulations.

Nissan 240RS: Nissan Silvia S110 with FJ24
Nissan 240RS: Nissan Silvia S110 with FJ24

In march 1983 the Silvia S110 got succeeded by the Nissan S12 in Japan. It wasn’t until 1984 that the S12 was available in other countries.

My take on the Nissan Silvia and Gazelle

I understand why the Nissan Silvia/Gazelle S110 is a very popular bosozoku style car: everyone wants to share a bit of that Hoshino spirit! Even though I prefer the later S12 styling more, I think the car itself is a very beautifully styled sports coupe! I would drive one any day! :)

[I posted this article earlier this week on]

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