Youngtimer and oldtimer from japan 10 japanese to love
The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as the saying once went about Japanese automakers. But from the 1960s onward, they set off a technical and marketing fireworks display. We tell the story and present ten trendsetters.
In 1967, the first Japanese car to be tested by auto motor und sport made author gert hack’s heart beat faster at the speed of its 791-cubic-centimeter engine. A "little scoop be this tiny engine, which can reach speeds of up to 10 rpm.000/min effortlessly, writes hack. its elasticity, sporty driving characteristics and highly developed engine technology also made it a model for german carmakers – especially in view of its low price: "it’s worth taking a look under its hood", judges gert hack. You probably knew it: we’re talking about the honda S800.
Just one year later, under the headline "the landslide", the following development follows the ice-cold shower. This time we’re talking about the honda N360, another kei-car, as the popular, tax-privileged small cars are called in Japan. Engine characteristics and comfort are an insult, tester reinhard seiffert complains, the car is at best a city car. "a citroen 2CV is a comfortable road cruiser in comparison." that did the trick!
It was a narrow path that the Japanese manufacturers followed until they gained a foothold on the German market in the early 1970s. The backlog seems huge. In 1919, when stuttgart had already developed into a car metropolis, the Japanese government issued its first road traffic regulations – with the term "roads" being used there can hardly be any talk of this, the tracks in the land of the rising sun are at best suitable for horse-drawn carts. Mitsubishi, for example, which grew up with ships, banks, mines and a brewery, had built its first car only two years earlier and unabashedly copied it from Fiat. Toyota, on the other hand, owes its rise to the mechanical loom developed by sakichi toyoda. cars are built only from 1936.
After the second world war, when the large corporate alliances are initially broken up, there is still no sign of an automobile industry worth mentioning. In addition, the japanese market is closed off by high import tariffs. In the country itself, small cars, cargo three-wheelers and trucks are in demand for rebuilds. As a result of the korean war (1950-1953), an upswing sets in, supported by financial injections from the USA. But it was not until after a national economic crisis in 1963 that Japanese manufacturers began to pursue an increasingly export-oriented sales policy: in 1961, they exported only 11.000 cars, by 1975 the figure had risen to almost three million.
Japanese engineers quickly discover that study is better than copying. In the 1970s, for example, mitsubishi developed silent-shaft technology for four-cylinder gasoline engines. Two balancer shafts with counterweights rotate at double the crankshaft speed. The consequences: excellent smoothness and competitors like porsche, saab and fiat, who used the technology under license, were caught off guard.
silent-shaft technology is used, for example, in the starion, which was presented in 1982 and helped the turbocharger achieve a breakthrough in Japanese mass production. With electronically controlled fuel injection and ASBS anti-skid braking system that uses a G-sensor to control brake pressure, the starion looks as modern as a contemporary atari game console.
Technology innovations: VTEC, 4WS, etc.
Honda, in turn, introduces the VTEC variable valve timing system in 1983, initially for motorcycles. It is later also used in a wide range of cars. Originally developed for honda’s formula 1 engines, which continued to deliver series victories into the early 90s. Mitsubishi, subaru and toyota, on the other hand, are successful off-road: in the 90s, they tirelessly win on rally tracks around the globe.
With the colt launched in germany at the end of 1978, mitsubishi is even successfully targeting the golf segment. The highlight of the GLX version is a special mechanism that allows you to switch between an economy level and a so-called spurt level.