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Hagerty Employee

Supercar Boom! How kids fueled Japanese car culture

The mid-1970s are known among car enthusiasts for the oil crisis and as a time when performance cars went from fire-breathing monsters to shadows of their former selves. Yet it was during this worldwide automotive turmoil that a supercar boom was born in Japan.

Go Speed Racer, go Speed Racer, go Speed Racer go!

It's too bad the Hagerty forums don't seem to recognize the "younger" import vehicles - many modern classics are '80s and '90s Japanese sport compacts and sports cars - as it seems this was after their generational youth.

I'd also like to add to the (really great) piece that TV shows like Best Motoring, Hot Version, et al. and video games like Gran Turismo and Forza carried the banner during the final decade of the 20th century, and are partially responsible for the stratospheric rise in values of cars like the Mk. IV Supra, NSX, FD RX-7, and the mighty GT-R. More access to video brought more of the world the intensity of rally racing, hence the demand for Evolutions and WRX / STis.

While Fox-bodies and 4th gen F-bodies are seeing a value raise, it's nowhere near as dramatic as these missiles from the Rising Sun, and I contend as time goes on those cars will be Gen X / Millenial "muscle cars", with the prices to match any GTO or Chevelle SS.

Loved the perspective Shinichi, more please.

Grew up in Australia in the '60s. [Sister was born there, we were 'USA' living there]
We raced "slot cars"
_1:24 scale (seems right, same size as a 'USA model car').
All assembly instructions were in 'Japanese'. [could have been Chinese, couldn't tell you the Diff?]
Assembly took a lot of "interpretative study".
"Speed Racer" was a 'Saturday morning' TV show. ["Thunderbirds" as well]
We 'Grade Schoolers' were hooked in early.
Good Times!!
_let's not forget the 'scate board'

The 'slot cars' were a collection of "Current Race Cars".
All Marque's

& "Dr. Who"

The British overtones
were "Excellent"

Japanese car culture always seemed to have a very technical but passionate fan base. I still remember going to the Japanese market in the suburbs near me and pouring over the Japanese magazines and all those parts and special edition cars we could not get. I always watched Best Motoring with english dubs and/or subtitles. If there was a Supra, RX-7, NSX, GT-R, Z, EVO, WRX, etc. I would always choose them in the video games along with the usual Corvette's, Mustangs and Euro exotics. Great article. I wish we had those fancy erasers, I never would have erased anything with them.

Mighty Car Mods does a good job of giving modern Japanese car culture some insightful attention from an Australian viewpoint of all things.

Temples and Turbos (a feature length youtube video) is where I would start.

The JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) spec of so many things we didn't see in USA (even less in Canada it seems) are true performance vehicles across multiple decades.

Mighty Car Mods is a great youtube series.  I enjoy their stuff.