Datsun Rising

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.

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Dependable Fun with the Classic Toyota Club, Part 2

When we last left the Classic Toyota club, we ended with a hot little red first-generation Celica coupe. Today we start with another one, this time with a much more custom vibe.

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Dependable Fun with the Classic Toyota Club

Toyota. Say the name and images of cars that run hundreds of thousands of kilometres with only routine maintenance come to mind. The name “Toyota” has long been synonymous with amazing reliability and toughness, and of cars that will never just not work. Of late though, a miasma of staidness has surrounded the marque, with the common knock being that their cars are merely wheeled appliances, built to convey and nothing more. The GT 86 has worked to turn it around somewhat, and the FT-1 concept helped a little more, but the general miasma of “wheeled appliance” still remains.

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In reality, Toyota has a rich heritage of sporting history, putting good engines into effective rear-wheel drive platforms and wrapping attractive bodies around them. The guardians of this heritage are the loyal wrenchers who keep their old Toyotas vibrant and alive, keeping witness to a time when Toyotas were bulletproof fun. Continue reading

Ten Feet of Britain: The Mini at 55, Part 3

We last left the Mini’s 55th with a pair of luridly painted and decorated Minis, proving that there really is no sullying the Mini’s good looks. This time we take a look at what happens when you decide to prioritise function over most everything else; we’re starting off with some Minis that were built to go hunting.

The team name is pretty accurate.

The team name is pretty accurate.

Strung between two tents was this banner, announcing the presence of the Move Over race team. Continue reading

Ten Feet of Britain: The Mini at 55, Part 2

When the Mini started selling in 1959, BMC soon discovered a problem with the car’s sales: there was hardly any profit to be made at the price they were selling it at. To be sure, this was no fault of the car, but of the staff in BMC’s finance office. Perhaps they should have taken a far closer look at the car’s engineering before deciding upon the car’s selling price. Soon though, BMC had no choice: the Mini had become such an icon that they couldn’t afford to not sell it.

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Ten Feet of Britain: The Mini at 55

In December of 1956, Britain was in quite a fix: a not-insignificant political indiscretion dubbed Operation Musketeer involving the Suez Canal resulted in an embargo on oil shipments to both France and United Kingdom. This prompted the return of fuel rationing to the country and ruined British car sales; overnight, German microcars like the Isetta and Messerschmidt became the cars of choice, being more frugal than anything the British had on hand. BMC (British Motor Company) was particularly concerned, both because they stood to lose a large chunk of market share and because chairman Leonard Lord reportedly took personal offense to the German “bubblecars”.

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Enter the BMC Mini.

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World VW Day Philippines: The Oddballs

Just because it was a VW event doesn’t mean there was nothing but VWs on the Camp Aguinaldo Parade Grounds. A few newer cars came along, probably friends of the VW owners or event organisers. Notable party crashers were a blue late-model Lexus IS C and a – most likely – Guards Red 997 911 Turbo. Expensive as those two are, these two held my attention far better, if only for the rarity and oddball factor.

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If you can believe me, this MG is the less-oddball vehicle.

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Ingress: The Mini 80 Club Celebrating the Mini’s 55th

One does not simply have a car show. A lot of logistics is involved in putting together a car show, even one in a wide-open space. After the obvious bureaucratic hurdles of finding and reserving a space for your show, there is of course the matter of the cars that will be in it. Where do you put each of them? How do you make sure that they enter the show area in an orderly fashion? Well, for one thing it helps a little if the cars in the show are small.

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Or, in this case, mini.

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World VW Day Philippines: Bits and Pieces

While many Volkswagens lined the parade grounds, I was also a little surprised  – although in retrospect this should have been expected – to find that there were also Volkswagens up on one side of the grandstands.

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The caveat being that you had to put them back together first.
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The People’s Car: World VW Day Philippines, Part 3

When it was conceptualised, the KdF-Wagen – now better known as the Beetle – was set to sell for 990 Reich Marks. While this was little more than what a motorcycle sold for in those days, it was still pretty serious change for the average German wage-earner. To further complicate matters, one could not simply hand over 990 Reich Marks and drive away with a new KdF-Wagen. One was required to join a savings scheme involving stamps run by Kraft durch Freude, the Nazi leisure/propaganda organisation from which the car took its name. Still, with the new Autobahns beckoning, people signed up for the scheme, eagerly awaiting for the day they could take their shiny new KdF-Wagen home.

And then came the invasion of Poland.

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Perhaps a skateboard would have been  simpler?

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