July 17, 2024


General will live on forever

Supercar Boom! How kids fueled Japanese car culture — Petersen Automotive Museum


Unfortunately, although perhaps unsurprisingly, all the pop culture fame driven by Japan’s youth failed to materialize into substantial sales for the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, and others. Manufacturers and importers tried to take advantage of this opportunity to sell supercars in Japan, but the boom soon disappeared, fraying distributor relations for years to come.

It could be tempting to call the supercar boom a passing fad. The toys and events may have faded quickly, but sports cars and racing were now firmly embedded in Japanese culture. The children who pored over the manga’s images in the 1970s became the teens and adults of the 1980s who would drive Japanese car culture to the next level.

Japanese marques only received secondary attention in The Circuit Wolf, and that’s not entirely surprising. Toyota’s 2000GT was short-lived, and Nissan’s Fairlady Z had only recently proven that Japan could build globally-competitive sports cars. Having seen how keen the country was for performance cars in the 1970s even if an oil crisis hindered sales, in the 1980s Japanese manufacturers unleashed a flurry of vehicles designed to meet every consumer’s sporting desires. Regardless of whether it was an entry-level AE86 Sprinter Trueno or a high-tech Skyline GT-R, those kids of the ‘70’s were first in line to buy them.


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