Japan Shines Through With Heritage

This year’s Tokyo motor show will surely be remembered for car companies referencing their heritage, either directly or indirectly.

Honda Uni-Cub concept Honda RC142 racing bike (1959) | Photo by Morio
Honda showed their curiously small UNI-CUB near a stand with their 1959 RC-142 racing bike to connect their heritage.

The company also used the same method for their new production-possible S660 concept; an RA272 and a Sports 360 roadster on either side, reaffirming Honda’s racing heritage to the assembled crowd.

To reinforce the notion of glory days past, both Mitsubishi and Isuzu both pulled out beautiful vintage examples of their vans and trucks with Isuzu especially showing a stunning restoration of an early license-built Wolseley CP 1.5 ton truck, complete with a beautiful period dressed companion.
Wolseley CP 1.5-ton truck | Photo by AFP

But the best example of heritage was at Nissan. Given it was Nissan’s 80th anniversary it was smiles all round when they revealed their IDx concepts for their fresh and unique take on the past.
Nissan IDx Nismo concept (2013) Nissan IDx Freeflow concept (2013)
The two heritage-inspired yet timeless cars referenced a number of models that have been instrumental in establishing Nissan’s legendary status. But in this case, Nissan showed two cars that didn’t so much have any influence, but matched merely in color: a yellow and beige Datsun 14 for the FreeFlow and a white and red Prince R380 for the Nismo.
Datsun 14 Roadster Nissan R380-II (1967)
We feel there are a fair few people out there who are rejoicing over a potential celebration of Japan’s vintage metal. For a long time now there have been die-hard clubs, fan letters, websites and restoration specialists who are only interested in this unique island’s products.

And perhaps because of the sheer numbers produced of these cars during Japan’s golden years, it’s about time that they should now be celebrated. We just sincerely hope it doesn’t become an American style retro-reissue fest with fashionable chrome and obvious names. Keeping it fresh will be the key to success.


Founded in 2012, Form Trends tirelessly covers the automotive design industry in all corners of the globe to bring you exclusive content about cars, design, and the people behind the products.

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