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'60s, '70s & '80s: 5 Retro Favorites From Japan

Earlier we looked at the "Cherish Showa Car Meeting" held last month at the Seibu Theme Park in Saitama, Japan. While the show was naturally heavy on vintage Japanese cars, there were plenty of cool European and American cars as well, and we've put together a selection of five favorites that include everything from a micro-sized Mazda to a wide body Benz and a very tough Mercury Cougar.

1. Old School S13 Silvia

Showa Silvia

While some might not consider the S13 Silvia to be a "vintage" car, the truth is both age and a dwindling supply of clean examples have quickly made the S13 a genuine classic. While this particular example isn't showroom original, it's been modified in very tasteful, period-correct style.

Showa Silvia Rear

Under the hood sits, not surprisingly, a mildly upgraded SR20DET setup. With ample power and a huge aftermarket, the good old SR has remained a favorite among builders decades after its introduction.

Showa Silvia Engine

Like the rest of the car, there are some simple upgrades in the cabin as well. Namely a pair of aftermarket bucket seats and a Nardi Classic steering wheel to compliment the factory brown interior.

Showa Interior

Last but definitley not least are the 15-inch Enkei Barrel wheels which give the car a very cool early retro look and perfectly compliment the factory white over gold two-tone color scheme.

Showa Silvia Wheel

2. Koenig Special Mercedes W126

Showa W126

The mid to late 1980s were a crazy time in Japan, as a booming economy led the country into its so-called "Bubble Era." At the time it was commonplace to see crazy high end luxury cars on the streets of Tokyo, and this Koenig Special W126 Mercedes is a true icon of the period.

Showa W126 Rear

If you were to take something like a Ferrari Testarossa or Lamborghini Countach and mix it with a long wheelbase luxury sedan, a wide body Koenig Special W126 would be the result. Today it's one of the German tuning brand's most recognizable vehicles.

Showa W126 Wheel

While the exterior styling might suggest an exotic supercar, the interior is all about luxury, with this particular example sporting Louis Vuitton upholstery and a heavy helping of woodgrain.

Showa W126 Interior

Our favorite part of the car though has to be the wheel and tire combo: wide BBS mesh wheels with big fat period-correct tires. No modern low profile stuff here. You just gotta love it.

Showa W126 Side

3. Mazda Carol Baby Racer

Showa Mazda

From the excess of the ‘80s, we travel back to the 1960s and this wonderful little Mazda Carol 360 kei car.

Showa Mazda Rear

Before Mazda became known for its rotary engines, the brand got its start building small passenger cars like the Carol that featured a rear-mounted 360cc four cylinder engine.

Showa Mazda Interior

This one’s been dropped down low with its four-wheel independent suspension, allowing for some pretty aggressive negative camber.

Showa Mazda Front

Speaking of that, how about those awesome 10-inch wheels that’d look like they could just as easily be fitted on a golf cart. Small, quirky and damned cool. What's not to like about this one?

Showa Mazda Wheel

4. Trans Am-Inspired Mercury Cougar

Showa Mercury

Japan has plenty of American muscle car fans, and their cars are commonly just as good as anything found in the U.S. Check out this first generation Mercury Cougar for example.

Showa Mercury Rear

Inspired by the cars that competed in the SCCA Trans Am series during the late 1960s, this car is a fully functional track machine that has seen action at circuits all around Japan.

Showa Mercury 58

It’s got a healthy small block Ford under the hood mated to a four-speed stick, of course, and the whole car sports a period-correct vibe.

Showa Mercury Interior

It was especially cool to see the authentic five-spoke mags and era-specific hand-lettered graphics and numbers that completed the look. All in all it’s a fine piece of American auto history living the good life in Japan.

Showa Mercury Wheel

5. Track Spec B110 Sunny

Showa Sunny

Last but not least we have this sweet little B110 chassis Nissan Sunny coupe that’s been built with the track in mind. That fact is quite apparent from its TS (Touring Sedan) spec fender flares and spoilers.

Showa Sunny Grille

Sitting beneath said fenders are a set of Volk Racing TE37Vs that add just the right amount of contemporary attitude to the vintage Nissan.

Showa Sunny Wheel

You won’t find a modern engine swap under the hood of this one. Like most of the modified Sunnys in Japan, this one's rocking a souped up A-series motor with double side drafts and a highly desirable Tomei valve cover.

Showa Sunny Engine

All of that is rounded out by a functional interior, highlighted by a roll car, custom race-spec dash and a pair of vintage style racing buckets that are perfectly suited to the ‘70s race style.

Showa Sunny Interior

Well, there you have it. Five very different but very cool cars that further show just how impressive Japan’s vintage car scene is.

Want to see more of the show? We have a full gallery of all the best cars there!

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