Japan has always provided us great cars. They’ve done super sleekness, reliability, speed, drifting, great driving, they’ve done everything. If you want something, you wanna go to Japan, for sure.
Even in the 60’s and 70’s, Japan was doing this. They’d made simple engineering, fast engineering, great engineering. These are some of the hits they made in this time.
We begin with the Honda Life Step Van. Yes, really.
This is a 31hp mini car that gave kei cars a kick off almost 20 years early. The tiny little car weighs 605kg – more than most cars of its speed but its ‘power’ would seem to make up for it. Even so, the transmission is limited to a mere exact 100kph – which means you are hitting the limiter very much in this thing. Think of this as a muscle car among the slowcoaches of the game. Not that you’ll be beating any muscle cars in this thing anyway…not unless you modify it up fully and make it a true trollers car of the highest order. A tall compact van beating up cars double its size, power and weight always makes for a great chuckle if you can be bothered to actually ruin it like that. Mind you, my Schwimmwagen is very much like that…and I don’t see why so many people hates these things really.
Now stepping up further in the spectrum we have the slowest race car of all in this game – the Honda S800 RSC Race Car.
This is very much like the Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ2 that I so used to love before the CT230R stole its limelight. The handling is very much the same as it. The weight is very similar as well, but the thing is is that thing actually has half the power of a Giulia TZ2. Certainly doesn’t feel like it though…103bhp might be nothing speaking against other race cars but even so the lack of weight again makes up for this thing. This is probably the closest thing to the old Giulia TZ the TZ2 originated from – only Japanese. It even looks rather good still…nice.
And now we go to a rather different and unique manufacture in this game – Isuzu, who have brought one of their Bellett cars here. This thing is quite awesome, I find.
The thing is this thing actually has a rather good sound. It’s a nice growl that might not be realistic and sounds more like a semi-racing exhaust than a normal exhaust – something the Isuzu does not have – but still sounds pretty nice. The horn on this thing also sounds quite comical – up there with the old Miura type horns (which we will be getting on to later). In terms of actually driving this thing, it is still good, a calm drive that can’t hurt you that badly. Plus I think it looks rather smooth with the looks on it.
Now we come to a true classic and the start of a legend for the company – the Mazda Cosmo Sport in L10B guise…also known as the 110S to some.
I like this car, it is a fun drive. The weird thing about it is, that while it is actually a bit slidey out of corners, which is what makes it so fun, the car is actually a 50/50 weight distribution. Plus, the first of all rotary engines put into the Mazda series of cars doesn’t tend do have much high torque still, but yet it still can slide very well and makes it a fun drive. The looks aren’t great for me – at the rear anyways – but even so it makes up for this in other areas. The sound is also a nice buzzy one – as most rotary engines came to become – and at the front I think it looks rather good – better than the L10A version which has a different front end and one that doesn’t look as good or sporty. In case you don’t know, the L10A has a less powerful engine but slightly less weight, so in the end the difference is not that great.
We then move to a big hitter in the 70’s series of Japanese cars – Mitsubishi, and we’ll start with their Galant GTO MR of 1970.
The Galant is slightly odd to drive, and that is because of the odd way its redline works. Where as most redlines are indicators as to where to shift for automatics, the Galant is one of those cars that will go past the redline and will instead shift normally at 7000rpm instead, where as its redline is at 6000 instead. This makes for some confusion for manual users but even so the Galant is still a good car for me. However, I prefered this in GT4 really. The same properties here applied back there with the redline but it has a weirder, and if I’m honest, better sound then. Granted, it being GT4 back then, the car didn’t feel as fast back then, but the Galant just felt a better car to drive back then. Even so, it’s still a nice calm car to drive in this game, though modification to the car is probably a good idea over most. Just give it full mods minus a turbo and you’re virtually golden. Not that you have to, this is still stock, just I prefer it modified. I also love the colour names for this car – Kenya Orange, Etna Yellow (colour seen here) and Rocky White (complete with some superb red stripes!), all named after natural mountains. Awesome.
The same principle for that also applies to the Mitsubishi Lancer 1600 GSR – the first of all Lancers and the first of the cars that started the naming legacy of the Evolution series.
The colour names of this car are also similarly good. Aso Red (as seen here, which also takes the name of the worst Course Creator tracks of all of them), Amazon Green, etc. But enough of that, because this car also looks quite good along with the Galant. Mitsubishi did a good job with this car as the first Lancer to be honest. The car also drives well as well – it is less powerful than the Galant but is bolstered by a tiny 825kg weight. It is again a very simple car to drive, and is still a good car even today now.
The Lancers success on the road was also replicated by its rally counterpart, which is also one of the slower race spec cars in the game, but one of the fastest of the slowest. That make sense?
This turns the Lancer into a lot faster of a car. The weight is still the same as stock – not that it needs any weight loss to begin with, but a 55hp increase has been given to the car to make it a speedy little thing. Although it is FR, as an older rally car, its lack of power means its initially disadvantageous drivetrain off-road does not affect it in much of a way. It is a very good car to get an idea as to how to drive a race modified car, and works similarly to get an idea of how to drive in rally. I would buy this car eventually to be honest, it might well be a good drive for you as well.
Now we move to a big manufacture in Japan’s history – Nissan. They’ve made a lot of cars, and these are the originals they provided us, starting with the Nissan 240ZG.
This car is a historic one in Nissans history. Then again, so many other cars have given them notability…but this was one of the first. The car I find is a top class drifter after you fully modify it – it even beats AE86s from 12 years on in this game at drifting…heck, even FR Skylines aren’t beating this thing for me. Well, specifically the GT-R LM, but whatever. This is a very simple car to drive stock as well, faster than most cars here in this test with a 151hp unit and a weight of 1010kg but still an easy car to drive regardless. I would recommend giving a few modifications to this thing again, since a) it improves the car pretty decently and b) it’s fitting being a Nissan. It is a fine car stock, but I’d modify it again anyway. A good car nonetheless.
Now we go to the other rally car in this feature, the Nissan Bluebird Rally Car.
This Bluebird is slower than the Lancer, and is far inferior sadly. This Bluebird has a 130bhp engine with a weight of 965kg, which makes it an even simpler car to drive than the Lancer. It is very similar in many respects – even start sound and engine sound – but I’ll say I prefer the Bluebird here, actually. The thing is, not only do I find it a lot better looking, but the Bluebird isn’t so overpowered compared to its nearest peers that it doesn’t have a rival. The problem with the Lancer is that because of its high-low stats it doesn’t have any rivals truly. The Bluebird is at least in the same league as the slowest race cars – on the same tyres as them anyway. I mean, the closest I’ve ever seen to the Lancer is the completely different Gathers Drider Civic Race Car – which feels very fast at times but is really in truth a painfully slow car. Either way, the Bluebird is probably one of my favourite rally cars, and all the better for it.
Now we come to one of the two makers of its name – the other of which comes up after this – it’s the Skyline KPGC110.
This, the “Kenmeri” Skyline, is what made the Skyline a hit for real. The R series of Skylines is what all talk about, but this was what made the car a hit after the “Hakosuka” Skyline. It’s certainly not a slouch either. With a 161bhp engine and 1145kg of weight, it is actually the heaviest of all the cars here, but it is still a superb car to drive. It has all of the nostalgia you could want from a Japanese car and is one of their defining cars from the 1970s. I would seriously recommend picking one of these up at some point in the game – your garage couldn’t be complete without one of these. If I had to choose any three Skylines to keep in this game, this would be among them without a doubt. What you do with it is up to you, as it works in many ways no matter what, but I still think it is a great car.
Before this though was the KPGC10 “Hakosuka” Skyline of similar levels of fame to the “Kenmeri”. This is very similar to the KPGC110 but also happens to be a little bit different.
The engine from the KPGC10 is also what made the engine for the Kenmeri – the same 161bhp plant. However the KPGC10 is 45kg lighter which makes a small difference in cornering. To be honest, there’s not much difference between the two of these – I can’t even decide what looks better. However, the Kenmeri is just that much more epic for me, so the KPGC10 is rendered a little bit pointless to be honest. It still doesn’t stop it from being a great car though, as it was the first of all Skyline GT-R cars before the KPGC110 and R series of cars. I’d get this as well.
However, even before Nissan introduced the super successful Skyline GT-R, Toyota had already built a super coupe of its own – the 2000GT.
This thing is one of the most undeniably pretty cars in this game, and its small size can deceive many, many people. 1120kg and 151bhp make this car very similar to the Skylines, and it even has the same torque value. However, it was doing this three years before any of the Skylines came out anyway. Regardless, I find it hard to choose between the KPGC110 and the 2000GT, given how similar they are, how great they are in the history of their respective companies, and they certainly are both fine to modify. The problem with the 2000GT is it is nearly double the price (or exactly when you bring in Hakosuka) of a KPGC110, so therefore it is a more expensive, better looking, older version of it really. Even so, the 2000GT is still a great car to drive, and if you can get over the higher price of it it is certainly a top drawer car and maybe slightly better than the Skyline KPGC110.
But now to finish, we are going to something far removed from anything else here. Something with more than 4 times more power than anything else here, something that has the highest non Formula-car p/w ratio in the whole game…the Toyota 7, of Can-Am fame.
This is a very unique machine in this game, as it has an 800hp huge engine block in the back of it, yet weighs a minute 620kg – making it also the lightest of anything here beside the Honda Life Step Van at the beginning of this feature. This thing is lightning quick among most of the cars in this game.
Weirdly though, it’s not quite at LMP level, partially because it doesn’t have great torque at the high end, a very similar problem to the Group C version of this, the Peugeot 905. But even so this Toyota 7 is still a very fast car with plenty of speed and is also most likely the best car of all for the Historic Racing Car Cup, and easily the fastest from the 60s or 70s. It also has an open cockpit, meaning as a standard it actually does get a cockpit. The cockpit in the 7 does look somewhat detailed here actually, although there still aren’t any working gauges in this – the only car that does have this luxury is the Chrysler Prowler among Standards. Even so, the 7 is the pinnacle of all classics, the fastest of them all and probably the most impressive of them all.
So there you have it. The greatest hits of Japan and also some of the most significant cars to hit our streets, tracks and fields way back in the 60s and 70s. And their legacy still lives today among the new names of these brands – these are the ones that will never be forgotten in these days and ages.