A massive turn-out of 1,248 Japanese cars of every marque, age and model drove into Beaulieu to join the fifth Simply Japanese rally. In total over 2,500 visitors came to watch the show. Glorious summer sunshine greeted the scores of participants and visitors for this colossal celebration of cars from the Land of the Rising Sun, with Nissan, Mitsubishi, Honda and Subaru cars filling the attraction grounds and events fields on Sunday the 31st of July.
With more than 35 car clubs showcasing their members’ vehicles, the rally’s remarkable line-up brought together a diverse range of Japanese autos. Club members’ cars ranged from sports cars, coupes and family saloons, to 4x4s and even motorhomes, while individual Japanese car owners also took part.
Classic Japanese cars were also represented in the varied line-up, with enthusiasts treated to rarities such as a sun-bleached 1970 Datsun 1600 pick-up, which had started its life in Nevada, and a 1977 Datsun 120Y Sunny GL. An eye-catching machine was a charming 1972 Honda N600T, one of just four left on British roads. This diminutive economy saloon, with its 599cc two-cylinder air-cooled engine, has covered just 19,000 miles during its lifetime.
Throughout the day, visitors had the opportunity to vote for their favorite car of the show with the People’s Choice Award. The winner was Joel Pickering from Essex, with his Nissan 300ZX. Simply Japanese regular Joel has owned his twin-turbo Nissan for nearly 10 years and had carried out many upgrades during that time. “I have upgraded some of the components to modern standards,” he said. “I like to make sure that the car is in tip-top shape.” Joel was presented with a commemorative Beaulieu trophy and a special Autoglym prize by Beaulieu’s Commercial Director Steve Munn.
Also scoring highly were runners-up James Girling and Steve Riches. James has owned his highly original 1975 Toyota Corona MkII for six months, having had this time-warp machine imported from Japan. Finished in a very 1970s color scheme of brown paintwork and beige upholstery, it is even still fitted with an eight-track stereo. Steve also imported his car, a Honda NSX Type R, from Japan, where it had been raced extensively. He then converted this race car to road spec, fitting interior trim in the process.