When you think of a Japanese-specific car show, what images pop into your head? Modern, turbocharged JDM monsters shredding rubber and making noise in the hands of pro drifters, perhaps? Or track day-addicts preparing for another white-knuckle ride in their heavily tuned weapons, maybe?
Hosted at the end of July each year, Simply Japanese, held in the stunning grounds of Beaulieu Motor Museum in the heart of the New Forest, acts as a more peaceful way to enjoy Japanese cars in some stunning scenery. The beautiful backdrop and rather sophisticated atmosphere means that there’s often a decent ratio of retro JDM metal at this event, too, with 2017 being no exception to this rule. We scoured the grounds to find our favourite blasts from the past to share with you…
’88 Mitsubishi Sapporo
The European moniker for what was known as the fifth-generation Galant in the JDM market, this four-door tin-top saloon may have had its reputation slightly dampened from the fact it was the first in its bloodline to be powered by its front wheels, but it did carry some cool quirks if you looked close enough.
Those rear lights look like they’ve been pinched straight from the iconic Starion coupé, for example, and while Europe was stuck with a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine, other markets benefited from an Evo-esque turbocharged 4G63 option.
’85 Toyota Celica Supra
Toyota stormed into the Eighties with this timeless stunner, boasting the all-important pop-up headlights and angular lines to die for.
This slightly later European-spec model houses the top-spec, 2.8-litre 5M straight-six motor under that long bonnet, which translates to 161bhp and a 0-60mph time of 8.4 seconds.
’85 Nissan Laurel
Representing the fifth generation of Nissan’s trusty Laurel (and the last to officially be sold outside of Japan), this olive green UKDM beauty can’t exactly be described as ‘beautiful’, but did boast some futuristic tech under its brick-like bodywork, such as a fuel-injected version of Nissan’s legendary straight-six ‘L’ engine. Fun fact: you could spec this car with an RB20DET motor in Japan!
Mugen Accord SiR-T
A Gran Turismo legend, the Mugen Accord SiR-T is based on the JDM CF4 Accord which boasts an extremely rare blue-top F20B VTEC engine. The Mugen upgrades appear to only be aesthetic, comprising a new grille, front and rear under-spoilers, side skirts and a new rear wing. These exterior modifications come together to create something truly unique, though, we think you’ll agree…
’86 Nissan Silvia
Everyone’s heard of the drift-friendly S13, S14 and S15 Silvia models, but look a bit further back in the history books and you’ll stumble upon this good-looking variant – the S12.
Sold in limited numbers in the UK in this hatchback shape only, all cars sported a SOHC, turbocharged CA18ET motor, good for around 130bhp.
This one sits great on those period six-spoke split rims, we think you’ll agree.
’85 Honda Civic
We love the Kanjo style the owner of this baby blue, third-generation Civic has added to their rare hatchback. The deep front splitter, drag-spec roof spoiler and racing door numbers help to make this 1400cc, triple-barrel-carburettor-powered pocket rocket look just as fun as we imagine it feels to drive it!
’76 Datsun 200L
Carrying a used-and-enjoyed patina, this four-door 200L caught everyone’s attention with its genuine SSR Starshark split rims, lowered ride height and bosozoku-inspired front splitter. We chatted to the owner who explained this is very much a work-in-progress, with plenty of big plans in store once this year’s show season is over.
’79 Toyota Celica
The round headlights used in the early second-generation Celica models (as seen here) were soon replaced with more Eighties-friendly square items during the car’s mid-life face-lift, making this particular coupé an even rarer sight nowadays.
This 1.4-litre example seems to benefit from a host of TRD (Toyota Racing Development) upgrades to bring out more of a racing character in the aesthetic.
’83 Toyota Corolla Trueno
The AE86 variants of the Toyota Corolla may be some of the most well-known retro JDM cars ever made, but we just had to share Sam Spanswick’s incredibly clean Trueno hatchback that we stumbled upon on the day.
Undergoing a strenuous two-year restoration using only genuine parts where possible, this stunner also features period RAYS Volk Racing split rims, a TRD two-way LSD and the all-important Bride Graduation seats inside.
’75 Datsun 180B Wagon
Everything is cooler with a boot. A point proven with this frankly awesome-looking 180B wagon. Still rocking those now-iconic ‘Coke bottle’ rear flanks but with a longer roofline, this shape arguably represented the heyday of the Bluebird bloodline.
Words & images: Sam Preston
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