Japan Booster

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

JCCS Week: The Matchbox Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser...

We have been very excited to do this post.

It has been interesting to see the various reactions among diecast collectors to the surge of popularity that classic Japanese cars have experienced.  Some don't get why the Datsun 510 has gone from pegwarmer to high-priced in a short period of time, and why other collectors are crawling all over each other to find the Datsun Wagon that just came out.

I always smile when I read someone's comments saying "that blog guy" is to blame for the high prices of Hot Wheels Skylines and 510's.  If only I had that kind of power.  The truth is that interest in nostalgic Japanese cars is growing everywhere, and diecast collectors are just mirroring that.

Long ago I explained where my interest in Japanese cars started.  It was in 1981 when my father broke the mold and traded in his Ford Maverick for a sky blue 1982 Honda Accord.  This was big, considering his father owned a Ford dealership in Utah, and until then the family had always been about Fords.  Buying a Japanese car was a big deal back then.  I quickly fell in love with that Accord, as did my father, who finally let it go after driving it 220,000 miles.

I was very sad to see the Accord go, and remember thinking how cool it would be to restore an Accord someday.  I also thought about the old Civics I used to see with the luggage rack on the back, as well as later versions of the Prelude.  Then a few years later, in 1998, Lexus released the IS, and to this day that car remains one of my favorites.  (Is it too early to push Tomica Limited Vintage to do a Sportcross?)  It was then I realized that while I loved a lot of German cars, and Italian cars, and some American cars, my true love was for Japanese cars.  Thanks to the internet, I soon learned that there were a lot more people out there who shared the same interest, and my education into all things Japanese Auto started.

And it was very clear that those that shared my passion, at least here in the US, are my same age or younger.  I am firmly entrenched in Generation X, and in a lot of ways we are the first generation of Americans the GREW UP on Japanese cars.  Camry's and Accords are all over now, and that all started when we were young.

So while I have no personal connection to Skylines or Crowns or even Hino trucks, my interest in them continues to deepen as I learn more about them.  And it all started with that gateway drug, the 1982 Honda Accord.

What does that have to do with the Matchbox FJ40?  Nothing.  Other to A) give you an explanation why some like to say I "hype the shit out of Japanese cars" and B) help you understand why a Matchbox model like the FJ40 would be right in my wheel house.

The deeper I get into Japanese cars, the more I am interested in cars from all walks.  Not just the poster cars.  Sure, I get as giddy as any when I see a Hako or Kenmeri, or a 2000GT for that matter.  But I find myself more interested today in the kei cars, the family sedans, the wagons, the pickups, and anything else that served a purpose in its day.  So I might find myself spending more time at JCCS with a Subaru 360 than a '71 Skyline made up to look like a GT-R.

The FJ40 is one of those cars.  It is transcendent.  It is easily recognizable.  Off-roaders love it.  It was hugely popular in the US before a lot of other Japanese cars were.  And it is as signature of a nostalgic Japanese automobile as they come.

And that is why I am always happy when there is a very nice 1:64 version to collect.  The Matchbox easily qualifies.  It was released in 2009, and was designed by none other than one of Mattel's Japanese car gurus, Ryu Asada.  It looks better than most $1 models, and reeks of Ryu's amazing attention to detail.

And like many Hot Wheels Japanese cars, the Matchbox FJ40 is experiencing a surge in value, and older versions are getting harder and harder to find.  Only more than most Hot Wheels.  The red 10-pack model from 2009 has easily fetched $100-plus in ebay auctions, and models like the 2010 10-pack version in Safari livery and the green Lesney Edition are not far behind.

Of course, in one of my more stupid moves, I decided to only collect the plain versions of the Land Cruiser, and left those with decos behind.  I had to correct that, and thankfully found ebay seller Spitfire Toys, who helped me fill in the holes.  (Highly recommended seller, by the way.  He is worth following if you are into Matchbox.)

So now I have them all, save the 2014 version that should be out soon.  We will give that one a fair amount of attention when it is released, as we had a hand in its design.  More on that later.

For now, let's celebrate JCCS Week with Matchbox's best entry so far into the nostalgic Japanese diecast collection...

Matchbox Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser:

2009 Mainline

2009 Mainline Recolor

2009 10-pack Exclusive

2010 Mainline

2010 Lesney Edition

2010 10-pack Exclusive

2011 5-pack

2011 Mainline

2012 5-pack

2012 Mainline

2013 Mainline/5-pack

Some random shots:

Lastly, the First Edition that has made the trip to several National Parks in and around Utah.  We have photographed it in several locations, hence the dirt.  It may make more trips soon...

Monday, September 22, 2014

JCCS Week: More close-ups of the 2015 Hot Wheels Toyota AE86 Corolla Super TH & Mainline...

In order to keep that JCCS vibe going, how about a look at the upcoming Toyota AE86 Corolla Super Treasure Hunt along with its mainline counterpart?  

Not much to say, just enjoy the hachiroku in both of its 2015 outfits:

JCCS Week is here, so let's start with the Tomica Limited Vintage Nissan Neo DR30 Skyline...

Only a few days to go until the premiere Nostalgic Japanese car show in the US, the Japanese Classic Car Show, or JCCS.  This Saturday marks the event's 10th year, and this will undoubtedly be its biggest.  We will descend onto the park next to the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California for the third straight year, as this has become a can't miss event.

So while many of you won't attend, nor care to, we still use JCCS as an excuse to dedicate the week to classic Japanese Cars in 1:64 form.  The last couple of years we have focused on Hot Wheels, and they continue to give us plenty to cover, but we are going to go in a different direction this week.  There will still be plenty of Hot Wheels coverage, but look for a heavy emphasis on Tomica Limited Vintage, as well as a look into Japanese car castings by Matchbox.

2014 has been the year of Tomica Limited Vintage here at Lamley.  Before 2014 we had a small collection of TLV, but that changed when we met the guys at Japan Booster.  Since we discovered their store, we have increased the TLV collection ten-fold.  And not just TLV street cars.  We have added buses, trucks, fire trucks, car transporters, taxis, and a ton of police cars.  We might have a whole city forming.

So we want to start today with the second part of our look at Tomica Limited Vintage's DR30 Nissan Skyline.  We already showcased the Super Silhouettes, but how about the cars the Super Silhouettes were based on?

That would be the DR30 Skyline.  It was a very cool car in Japan back in the early 80's, and not just because of the Super Silhouettes.  It was also the car of choice for the heroes of the TV drama Seibu Keisatsu, who zipped after the bad guys in their "RS-Machines" 1 through 3.  And as we have said before, because of that, the DR30 Skyline became what KITT and the Duke's General Lee became for kids in the US.  Those are probably good reasons why the DR30 Skyline was voted Best Car of the 1980's by readers of Hachimaro Hero magazine.

And we think its time is coming in other countries outside of Japan.  If you mention "Skyline" to most "JDM as f*#k" fanboys, most will think of the Hakosuka, Kenmeri, R32, and R34.  The DR30 doesn't conjure the same excitement as the others.  But as more and more enthusiasts start looking deeper into Japanese cars, the DR30 is bound to pop up.  Who knows, maybe we will see one in a Hot Wheels blister someday, which would surely up its visibility in our little world.  (Ryu, are you listening?)

Just the other day we were at a Japanese car gathering here in Salt Lake City, and the biggest treat for us was this DR30 "Iron Mask" Skyline owned by a local collector named Brody:

Outside of a slight lowering and a set of Wats, aesthetically this is pretty much what the DR30 looked like.  Cool eh?  It is hard to ignore how good this car looks.  The lines are right on, especially for an early 80's beast.  If you haven't paid any attention to the DR30 until now, you will soon.  It is a hard car to ignore.

That is why we are so happy that Tomica Limited Vintage has dedicated a lot to the DR30.  They have done the stock version, the Super Silhouettes, as well as the Seibu Keisatsu RS Machines.  These models are very popular in Japan, as their high price on ebay obviously indicates.  That is why we are happy to have them all, so why not kick off JCCS week with them?

We will go in depth on the four stock models, including the two Turbo versions, and give you a glimpse at the Seibu Keisatsu versions, which we will showcase more in depth later.

Here is the good thing, in case you like what we show: at the moment all versions are available at Japan Booster.

Don't miss out...

Tomica Limited Vintage DR30 Neo Nissan Skyline:



Seibu Keisatsu RS-Machines 1, 2, and 3: