Thursday 31 August 2017

Top-dollar classic: a spotless '88 Leopard..

A high-end Nissan personal coupe from the late 80s, for those who really, really, like their high-end Nissan personal coupes from the late 80s..
..argh, no, not someone who likes them being from the late 80s in particular, just a liking toward the whole concept. A serious liking. Bugger it, you know what I mean. Damn English..

Why? Well hey, it's a top-tier F31 Leopard!
..and for reasons I've never actually wrapped my head around (Abunai Deka alone?!), there happens to be a serious fondness towards these cars in their home market. Huge asking prices, an F31-specific workshop, reverse-exporting Infiniti M30's out of the US, and a market for wildly over-restored examples.
It certainly helps that these things are technically interesting and handsome as all hell, but oohh, if only Toyota's equivalent Soarer received such love.

To gloss over some basic details again, a whisker off five years later.. what have we got here? Well it's the second-generation of Nissan's luxurious Leopard. Coupe-only at this point, and powered by almost every variation of Nissan's compact VG V6 engine through a six year production run that kicked off in 1986..

...and there it is. Unghf - that bloody interior. it's 'high-tech according to 1988', and as mentioned in this post recently.. featuring just one of the damn coolest early digital dashes made..

Following Car Shop Friendly's frustratingly brief/repetitive photo-set 'round to the Leopard's motivation.. through a handful of oddly artistic glances...

 The boosted baby 'six: the Nissan VG20ET..

 "JET TURBO". Yep, make no mistake.. I'm going to have to chase myself down one of those manifold covers..

..and we're done. This one titled 'what stonechips?' no doubt. Certainly not showing evidence of a single kilometre of the supposed 145,000 actually travelled. Impressive.

Oh, yep.. and that price you ask?
Sitting down?
This 1988 F31 Nissan Leopard is 5.5million yen. And it's not alone at that asking price. Yep, one for those who really like their high-end, late 80s, Nissan personal coupes..!

Saturday 19 August 2017


Now for something a little later than the usual.
Forgive me if it doesn't seem to fit in with everything around here too well; but a 1992 pre-production start on one of the most impressively-engineered Toyotas, means that you can rest assured - there's a lot more 80s engineering (and pre-recession money!) in these than you'd think.

As for the reasoning behind a photoset of this car in particular, when I have two of these things (a '93 and late '96 as projects) of my own? Well with a supposed 5,000km on the clock and absolutely untouched (rare for a MUCH loved twin-turbo six-speed car) this one is just a fantastic example of the breed. I had seen it for sale for weeks, I was to have the chance to see it in person, so why not give it a solid look over? Make it the center of a blog post?

Well here we are.

Currently for sale at the Glion Museum in Osaka for an undisclosed amount (think 5million yen plus, unfortunately): a March 1995, 752 Baltic Blue metallic, JZA80 Toyota Supra RZ.

Although the model likely needs little to no introduction, let's give it a brief re-cap anyway.
What we have here is a 1993- fourth generation ("MKIV") of Toyota's top-tier sports grand tourer - the Supra. A model that was originally Celica based, and sold in Japan under the Celica XX name, the main changes revolved around a longer schnoz hiding the straight-six that stood in place of the Celica's four-banger.
The Supra came into its own by the third (A70, "MK3", "MKIII") generation of 1986 - continuing on with the older rear-drive Celica's 'A' chassis-code.. leaving the now front-driving Celica to go and sort itself out. Poor Celica..
1993 saw the introduction of the fourth-and-final generation (for now, hopefully) of Supra; smaller, lighter, faster and stronger than the previous. A high price, and emissions changes forcing an early disappearance in the US, kept numbers lower than demand.. while tuning potential and a certain 2001 movie made it an absolute classic. While they continued on in Japan (and were produced in numbers that later flooded markets such as Australia with plenty of cheap examples!), these things have never seemingly not been loved in the US. Coming up 25years for the earliest examples now, we'll have to wait and see if a fresh-ish supply of cheaper examples will be enough to quench that thirst.. and what affect that will have on other poorer markets and the scrappy cars they have left..

Continuing on through Glion's photo-set with a view past the original Bridgestone Potenza shod 17's, and what was a very impressive 4(f)/2(r) piston ABS braking system in its day..

Inside, mat-less with a layer of dust/dirt needlessly hiding what is an otherwise-immaculate interior..

Japanese-market upper glovebox (dual-airbags became standard with the late 1996 facelift) and emergency flare in the footwell..

March 1995 being very late days for the grey carpet, non-Recaro RZ..

Yes, the black vinyl rear seats were standard on Japanese Supras (regardless of trim) at this point..

The airbag-option Toyota 'sports' wheel. Not as pretty as the early Supra-specific non-airbag three-spoke, or the (generic Toyota sports again..) three-spoke airbag wheel that followed; but it's comfortable enough..

Japanese-market AM/FM/CD/cassette, and below, the controls for the Japanese-market-specific auto-spoiler..

No fade on the original boot shade, keeping that accessory boot-mat all the more perfect..

..and the barely run-in 2JZ-GTE - Toyota's absolutely iconic three-litre, twin-cam, twin-turbo straight six.

Now for my photos, since I'd fortunately had the chance to have a good look over this gem (as much as you can do with hands-off a locked car!) in person, back in early June. What a beauty..

March 1995 means it's around 18months off the series-two update/facelift; so it's the early all-chrome headlights with the parker lamp in the housing for this one, with the smaller indicators sunk in the openings below. Other easily-spotted differences include the lack cross-bar in the main bumper opening, and no (US DOT) side-markers on the front and rear sides - just the small indicator behind the front wheels.

 ...while at the rear there's the all-black lamp housings. The later tails had a dark grey insert around the same quad-circle units, which matched the newly-greyed headlamps nicely..

 Again, a total lack of fade to that rear sunshade - and just look at those perfect rear seat tops! No tint? No worries!

Pre-facelift Japanese cars also had the US-style plain domed centrecaps, as seen here on the 255/40ZR17 wrapped 17x9.5JJ rears.. aggressive stagger specific for the turbo variants, as doing the steering are 1.5" narrower (17x8JJ) alloys wearing 235/45ZR17's.

At this point it's worth mentioning the visual elephant in the room for this Supra - the paint on those damn centrecaps! Argh. Something so cheap and so easily replaceable holding those wheels back..
 ..yeah, just do your best to picture them all-silver.

 ..Hell, I'd have run to Toyota for them if they'd asked..!

Otherwise, damn, what a beauty. I know the ol' JZA80's looks are not for everyone, but I just adore these things. Those proportions, the organic shape, the simple lines... 

A view of the unmarked underbody plastics, and the autospoiler hiding behind the front lip. At speed (or with a push of a button) this rotates on a large arc to lower a couple inches below the existing lip line. It wasn't alone in it's era to have active aerodynamics (already outdone at launch by Mitsubishi's GTO!), but I still love it. Simple, works well, looks good..

 ..and a couple creeper shots of that interior through the cracked windows. More unflattering photos sadly failing to show the impressive lack of wear on those plastics..

80 Supra RZ-S
"..RZ-S? I thought you said RZ?!" Well yes I did. It seems (just as I was!) they were initially thrown off by this particular Supra's lack of the large rear spoiler standard on the RZ. From later 1995 Toyota Japan offered what was otherwise a base Supra (SZ) with the twin-turbo (including the venerable V160 Getrag 6spd) driveline, creating the "RZ-S". These are actually much more common on the later cars, and can be found with no spoiler, no airbags, tiny brakes, etc - everything being optional. So since everything on this car could be optioned on the late '95 RZ-S, there really isn't much in the way of telling this one apart (thanks to that lack of RZ standard spoiler here for whatever reason)... except the VIN. A VIN that'd reveal the Japanese top-tier RZ 6spd JZA80-ALFQZ model-code.
#0028673? Yep, that's an RZ. For interests sake, the first otherwise-identical Baltic Blue RZ-S (2JZ-GTE/V160 hardtop) was created only two months later - frame # 0029869!


Hopefully somebody out there enjoyed this little ramble on one of the greatest Japanese sportscars to come out of 1990s Japan; and to whoever has the money to actually pony up for this thing - I'm envious! Please, for everyone, keep 'er nice!