Japanese Sports cars - Then and Now
Tomica Spans 30 Years
by Doug Breithaupt

In 1970, Tomy began producing small-scale diecast cars. It was in this same period that Japanese automakers first gained international attention with a selection of sport/GT cars. The big four, Nissan. Toyota, Mazda and Honda each offered cars that enthusiasts then and now, consider quite special. Of course these same manufacturers also offer current sport/GT models that are just as special. Tomica of Japan has done all these cars and I hope you enjoy the comparison.

Last month I featured the Honda 'then and now' pair from Tomica. They are included again to make a complete set. In addition, the Nissan, Toyota and Mazda pairs are presented. This was made possible through the acquisition of the Mazda Cosmo you see below. The Cosmo has been on my 'most wanted' list for a long time and now, the four sets are complete.

Mazda Cosmo and RX7
The Mazda Cosmo of 1970 was the first rotary-engined sport/GT. Tomica is the only one to ever produce a 1:64 scale version. The Cosmo looks a bit like an early Lamborghini and is highly collectible in any scale. The RX7 of 1998 is not offered in the U.S. but remains popular in Japan. Only Tomica and Matchbox have done this car. Still rotary powered, it is very impressive.

Nissan Fairlady 240ZG and 300ZX
While the 'Fairlady' name is not used outside Japan, Nissan's great 'Z' cars are well-known world-wide. The 240Z by Tomica sports covered lights not allowed in the U.S. and was produced from 1969-73. The 300ZX is still in production for Japan with a new 'Z' car in the wings. First offered in 1989, the styling has aged well. Many 1:64 scale versions of both cars have been done.

Toyota 2000GT and Celica Supra
The most exotic of the early Japanese sport/GT models was the 2000GT. Note the early Tomica wheels on this example. Best known for a starring role as a James Bond car, the 2000GT is very rare today. The current Celica Supra is very popular. This Tomica dates from 1994. It is easily identified by the tall, basket-handle rear spoiler.

Honda S800M and S2000
The S800M was a roadster in the MG Midget class. Offered in the late 1960's, it was seldom seen outside Japan. With 4cyl. power, it was not in the same class as the other sport/GT cars shown here, but great fun just the same. The S2000 however, is one of the best new sports cars of 2000. Out-preforming the Porsche Boxter, and BMW Z3, it is sure to add to Honda's laurels.

It would be tempting to continue the 'then and now' theme for other countries and diecast producers. Siku for Germany, Majorette for France, Matchbox for Great Britain and Hot Wheels for the U.S.A. would all be possible. Too bad the Italians have lost all their small-scale diecast producers.