Remembering Japanese cars from the past

Tag: speed star racing

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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Commercial Time: SSR Star Shark rim ad

Speed Star Racing (SSR) started off producing a solid alloy wheel called the Mk 1. By the 80s they were famous already and they already had a track record for the number of wheel designs in between. Then they introduced the SSR Star Shark (also known as the Colin Star Shark) in the 80s and it got the name because of the double star that cross each other like a shark, right?
Commercial Time: SSR Star Shark rim ad
Well this 80s ad really explains it all: We are Shark and We love Colin!

There were the two piece SSR Star Shark rim (eight spoke four point star), the two piece SSR Star Shark II (ten spoke) and (finally) the one piece SSR Star Shark Mini (eight spoke four point star) for sale. The mini is aimed at, you never guessed, the Mini and equally small Japanese kei cars. ;)

I love the design of the SSR Star Shark and yesterday I was seriously on the verge of buying myself a (dirt cheap!) set of 14 inch rims (for sale here!), but didn’t do that in the end because they are 14 inch rims and I really want 15 inch rims. Nevertheless they look awesome on an AE86 (or on the Celica XX above) or any old Datsun! So I started googling on the SSR Star Shark to find out what it looks like on a Carina and bumped into this ad.

Ad found at: JDMEuro (hence the JDMEuro branding)

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