Japan – Boxing Clever

Why is Japan so good at thinking inside the box?

1989 Nissan Chapeau image : conceptnissan.com
Chapeau, Nissan? Well, it’s a start, I guess. 1989 Nissan Chapeau image : conceptnissan.com

First published on April 27, 2016, this fine piece by the now-retired DTW co-founder, Sean Patrick formed part of the Japan Theme.

An obvious introduction for an obvious concept. If you want to fit people shaped people into a car, the architecture that allows them the most room to sit in comfort is a box. An empty volume bounded by a series of flat rectangles. In the early days lots of cars were like this, now they are not. A common criticism of car design, used in the UK at least, is that a car is ‘boxy’.

This comment needs no expansion – the fact that the car resembles a box condemns it. Yet, of course, a box is the best shape if you want to Continue reading “Japan – Boxing Clever”

Hello Kitty

Daihatsu: Committed to cute since 1951.

Diahatsu Mira Tocot. headlightmag

When all boils down, Western culture leaves little room for anything other than the normative. If it isn’t masculine, it’s feminine (with slow acceptance of gender neutrality) but when parameters are so rigidly defined we must head to Japan for inspired creativity. The keijidōsha-car dimensions you have to play with are (all maximum) 3.4m long, 1.48m wide and just two metres tall. Go figure out a way to Continue reading “Hello Kitty”

Turn the Beat Around

Leafing through the sales brochures of two great Hondas with a mere 25 years between their respective gestations.

All images – author’s collection

During those times when CAR magazine was still led by an editorial team that did not shy away from ruffling a few corporate feathers, the June 1991 edition featured the provocative cover slogan: “Where’s the progress“? In four comparisons, similar cars from the same manufacturers offered in 1971 and 1991 were put to the test to find out how much progress and where, if any, had been realised in two decades. If you spot this issue at your local fleamarket, I recommend you Continue reading “Turn the Beat Around”

Kei Car Compendium – 2005 Suzuki LC Concept

As Suzuki prepares more Kei car retro-conceptual joy for Tokyo, we dip into their toybox. Gosh it’s fluffy in there…

2005 Suzuki LC Concept (c) supercars.net

Scribed within the official automotive aficionado manual, [chapter 37, paragraph 8, subclause 14.7] is the injunction that both interest and enthusiasm for that unique Japanese phenomenon, the keijidōsha, or light vehicle is a prerequisite for full and unfettered admission.

Here at DTW, we’re not exactly slavish in our fealty to motor-enthusiast norms, tropes or mores, so it would, you might imagine be in our purview to take a less than conventional position on the subject. Believe me, we tried, but faced with such an unrelenting tsunami of Kwaii, it takes a very firm resolve indeed not to Continue reading “Kei Car Compendium – 2005 Suzuki LC Concept”

Micropost: 2014 Suzuki Alto Lapin Chocolat

This rather festive and cheery car shows how much colour and material can add to what is a very basic concept.

2016 Suzuki Lapin Chocolat. (c) autoblog-com

I’d be the first to agree that this is not for everyone. On the other hand, having looked at a thousand grey interiors with bits of brightwork thrown about, this is a refreshing view. I’d argue that a lot more work needs to be done to explore acceptable alternatives to grey and black interiors which are now as tediously predictable as the all-beige or light-grey interiors that were once dominant in the 90s. Continue reading “Micropost: 2014 Suzuki Alto Lapin Chocolat”

Suzuki’s 2015 Mighty Deck Concept

….shows BMW how to do a modern interior with wood accents. Take a look at this interior, shown at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show.

2015 Suzuki Mighty Deck interior: topspeed.com

There is not much that’s “concept” about this, though that’s not to say it’s not both good and original. What I particularly like is the information strip around the base of the windscreen, the symmetry of the dashboard and the excellent wood deck on the top roll. I have in the past suggested Lancia could have had a future doing this kind of calm modernism. Continue reading “Suzuki’s 2015 Mighty Deck Concept”