In the Philippines, the topic of “vintage Japanese cars” usually revolves around two marques: Toyota and Mitsubishi. While Hondas curiously drop off beyond the EF Civics for some reason, there is one marque that I feel shouldn’t simply fly under the radar. After all, it did bring us one of the most reconisable Japanese classics ever.
Happily, there’s one group that doesn’t mind flying under the radar, as long as they get to drive their cool, non-mainstream vintage Japanese cars.
It’s the line that’s found on every Gran Turismo CD case since the debut of the franchise in 1997. Today, in 2015, the franchise has built its reputation around simulating reality, differentiating itself with almost-maniacal attention to detail and an incredibly vast selection of vehicles. But just how much meat is behind that line anyway? Because however you cut it, a “real driving simulator” is still just a simulator. Sure, it may be the most realistic simulator there is, but at the end of the day, “realistic” is still not equivalent to “real”.
Never has the “PS” logo been attached to something so serious.
California. There’s some magic in that name. Just saying it immediately brings up images of endlessly cool Americana; sand, sun, surf and Hollywood all being in California might have something to do with it. An iconic place, cars named after it seem to have inherited some of that magic: Cadillac’s Eldorado after the El Dorado county in Sierra Nevada, the eternal Chevy Bel Air after a Los Angeles district of the same name, and of course Ferrari’s peerless 250 California Spyder, one of the prettiest cars to wear the prancing horse. So what do we make of Nissan’s vehicular application of “California”? Certainly a long-roof version of a compact family sedan isn’t the most obvious choice.
As nice as the cars on display at PIMS 2014 were, they were just static displays. Extremely interactive yes, but primarily immobile nonetheless. To remedy this, a few manufacturers had set up shop in the small gravel lot in the front of the Philippine Word Trade Center to offer test drives. Most would let you take the car out on a short loop around the area, and one manufacturer in particular was offering a generous dose of adventure to go along with your test drive.
While Honda, Toyota and Mitsubishi displayed futuristic concepts in their areas, there was nothing of that sort going on around the German manufacturers. Perhaps unwittingly playing to the national stereotype, the Germans decided to approach PIMS 2014 firmly from the present, eschewing fanciful concepts in favour of fully-loaded versions of their showroom offerings. Here we take a look at Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
(Warning, slightly long read ahead.)
We’ll start with Volkswagen, since they had the most people milling about. Continue reading →
In vehicle dynamics, weight is an important consideration. Weight affects a car’s dynamics unlike any other, making its presence known from the purely subjective measure of “driving pleasure” to the cold numbers of fuel economy. With legislation requiring ever more safety equipment, and consumer tastes demanding ever more comfort, space and better fuel economy from their cars, it’s a mad dash to keep vehicle weight in check. Different materials are now being employed towards this end, and aluminum has been working wonders, with early mass-market adopters Jaguar and Audi preaching its weight saving benefits.
Of course, racers have been gracing intricate frames with shapely aluminum bodies, shedding weight without the fatal consequences of setting magnesium alight.
While Kia and Suzuki were trumpeting the sports each had decided to sponsor and Nissan was touting their sporting history, a trio of Japanese marqued played to PIMS 2014’s theme perfectly, augmenting their crop of current production vehicles with their respective visions of the future of motoring.
Leaving the icon exhibit at the 5th Philippine International Motor Show was presented some difficulty. The organisers – CAMPI – had seen fit to introduce the show with Philippine motoring icons, and it wasn’t particularly easy to turn away from their compelling choices. If you are, however, still unsure about the choice of icons, then perhaps entering the show floor will provide part of the answer.