Monday 30 April 2018

Snow Leopard.

"One of these things is not like the others.
Which one is different, do you know?
Can you tell which thing is not like the others?
I'll tell you if it is so..."'s a collection of late '80s turbo-six-cylinder Nissan coupes, photographed here sitting outside the Glion Museum on a trip to Osaka this time last year...

...but to answer Big Bird's classic question above? It's the Leopard. The white Leopard is the different one. This is because the other three are BNR32 GTRs in black, not Leopards in white. HAD THEY BEEN white Leopards, or the white Leopard been a black GTR, well the answer mightn't have simply been 'the Leopard'.. but they're not. They're black GTRs. There's three of them. There's one Leopard. It's the one that's not like the other ones. It's the one that is different, as you know. I'm sure you could tell which Nissan is not like the others, so I'm just doing my best to confirm that for you now. Righto? Sorted.


Silliness aside though, there is actually a little spot-the-difference fun to be had there. Something 'off' that drives me bloody insane..
I have absolutely no idea how I've ended up with such a critical eye for this, but it's something it seems so many are just absolutely oblivious to. A beautiful detail, an extra effort, that must so often just go so unappreciated...

This. Yep, that there's a left.

Actually, getting back to the Leopard at hand overall for a tic; what we've got here is a late-'88-onward facelift model, in the second-from-base 'XS' trim level.
This gets the smaller capacity, yet turbocharged, VG20DET, and in reality (price-wise) sat closer to the top variants than it did the base VG20E 'XJ' variant. A happy medium in the range I guess.

I can't remember how much this car was advertised for at the time, but prices on F31 Leopards - a much loved model - vary somewhat wildly. This VG20DET car may've been 1 million yen or so, while a VG30DET Ultima may be over 5 million!

A neat original example this was anyway, and it's always cool to see a model not often found at home.


Friday 20 April 2018

A fish out of water: A Honda Motocompo in the Australian outback, 1983.

It makes no sense. None. Zero.

Surely someone's having a laugh.

A tiny fold-able Honda motorcycle, designed to fit in the boot of a small hatchback - a little early-80s Honda commuter dream-team - purpose-made for the busy streets of Japan; in Australia, when new, registered to a state in central Australia that happens to have a population density not too dissimilar to the moon?

It's the minibike from Dumb and Dumber meets the landscape of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

I touched on these in a post back in 2015, but again, briefly: What we're looking at is a Honda NCZ50 Motocompo. One of 50,000+ Honda pumped out between '81 and '83 to fit into the back of the then-new City hatchback. This one is yellow.

..and has a matching open-face helmet that's just a little bit adorable.

49cc, 2.5hp, 50km/h flat-out-with-a-tail-wind, and some of the only unrestricted highway in the world. Stick to the left!

The only thing not to like is that I still haven't got one!

Done. Adorable..

Wednesday 11 April 2018

Surfari 2: An actual Surf joins the safari.

Expanding on an Instagram post from a fortnight ago; itself two years since the original pointless-title-pun-that-was Surfari un...

"Back in Melbourne for the Easter long weekend (a cluster of at-one-point-religious public holidays that form a four-day weekend throughout Australia) and I've lucked into some prime early-autumn weather. Perfect 1980s convertible Toyota 4WD weather. So after literally blowing the dust off the 4Runner for the first time since Christmas; I stopped by a mate's place to help set up his new Softopper, then headed out for a cruise - roads largely empty with so many people away. Pleasant. Yep, that's the best word to describe that arvo/evening. Three days to go.. #unemploymentsampler #toyota #4runner #toyota4runner #t4r #toyotasurf #toyotahilux #toyotahiluxsurf #hiluxsurf #hilux #toyotapickup #teq #トヨタ #toyota4x4 #toyotaoffroad #toyotatruck #speedstarwheels #speedstar #ssr #ssrwheels #ssrauswuch #softopper #4runnermafia #4runnernation #4runnersdaily #classictoyota #oldschooltoyota #drivetastefully #japanesenostalgiccar #1980s"

A grainy camera-phone photo-set painting the full scene. That perfect evening bringing us to this otherwise unremarkable rooftop shopping-centre carpark in Melbourne's Eastern suburbs. An impromptu photo-set mid-cruise. My tatty-but-photogenic 1984 Australian-delivered 4Runner alongside a mate's much, much, prettier 1989 Japanese-import HiLux Surf; his only fresh from a thorough cosmetic tidy-up late last year, and fitted with a matching Softopper as of only hours before-hand. It went well.

I absolutely love these things.