The latest exciting class that has been added to the much-awaited London Concours, presented by Montres Breguet has just been announced: Japanese Jewels. For 2022, Honourable Artillery Company, famed for putting together the most stunning range of machinery, will host a number of the finest motor cars ever to be released by a country that is revered by enthusiasts as the mecca of exquisite engineering and performance cars.
From June 28 to 30, an impressive array of cars will once again be seen in the heart of the The City. For three days, automotive enthusiasts will enjoy the indulgence of rare machinery on display. The latest class highlights one of the most popular sports car that embodies the genesis of Japanese performance machinery, the delicate and highly collectible Toyota 2000GT.
Produced during the years 1967 to 1970, the glamourous sporting coupe showed the world the capability of Japanese cars. It showed the world that aside from engineering excellence which Japanese Cars were already known for, these same cars can also be glamourous and capable.
Powered by a Yamaha fettled 2.0-liter, 150 bhp straight-six, matched with a lightweight body. It is capable of a top speed of 135 mph. Its claim to fame was its appearance in the beloved James Bond film ‘You Only Live Twice’. t is interesting to note that Sir Sean Connery’s 6 feet 2 inches frame had to be specially accommodated. Only 341 units of the 2000GT were produced so it is not surprising that it has reached blue-chip collector car status, with some examples reaching seven-figure sums in some transactions.
The most iconic Japanese performance car will also be featured in the coming event, the Nissan Skyline. Joining it is what is arguably its most extreme version, the R33 GT-R Nismo 400R. Even judging by the limited run-Skyline standards, the 400R is a really special model.
It was created to celebrate Nissan’s efforts at Le Mans back in 1995 and 1996, the 400R was equipped with an engine from a race car, a powerful RBX-GT2 twin-turbocharged 2.8-liter straight six engine. Nissan not only ignored the ‘’gentleman’s agreement’ between Japanese manufacturers wherein there was this silent agreement that stipulated road cars can only have 276 bhp, but they also completely ripped it apart with the 400$ when they gave it 400 bhp with a 9000 rpm red line. They only created 40 units so it is not surprising that it is considered to be one of the most coveted and valuable modern classics in the world. The event in June will give the guests an extremely rare chance to see this extremely rare and truly special motor car.
Another well-respected GT-R will also be in attendance at the Honourable Artillery Company., the R34 V-Spec II Nur. Its limited production run only produced 718 units and they came right after the production for the R34 ended in 2002. It was the perfect finale for the for the 5th generation GT-R. The Nur was equipped with some very important mechanical upgrades. It had an uprated ‘N1’ version of the RB26 motor, which is a variant that is optimized for racing, and it had a reinforced block, a couple of larger turbos, and motorsport piston. Nissan claimed that the tweaked motor of the Nur can produce 330 bhp, but decided that they needed to limit it to only 186 mph. There is some speculations that it just might be more powerful than Nissan has officially claimed. The London Concours will give guests a great chance to see an extremely rare model, which was also a perfect example for the analogue GT-Rs.
Honda’s NSX-R, is the Japanese performance car that shattered the world’s perception of said performance cars. At the turn of the millennium, Honda took on the established European supercars. They built on the platform of the standard NSX, the ‘R’ was a high-strung version of the VTEC V6 that revs up to 9000 rpm. It was Japan’s answer to the 911 GT3 which claimed that it can produce 276 bhp, which was conveniently right on the power limit that was set on the previously mentioned gentleman’s agreement. On paper, the NSX-R was simply overpowered by its Italian and German rivals, and they countered it with extreme light-weighting.
They removed air conditioning as well as much of the sound deadening. Standard electronically adjustable leather seats were replaced by figure-hugging Kevlar Recaro bucket seats. This resulted in a car that had synaptic responses, exquisite handling, a spine-tingling engine sound, and arguably the best manual gear change. It also had an impressive track pace. The NSX-R was actually able to match the 7:56 Nürburgring lap time of the Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale which was said to be 100 bhp more powerful than the GSX-R. This is the best time to see one of the most influential modern performance cars.
The NSX-R’s successor will also be in attendance on the HAC lawns, the Lexus LFA. During this time, the Japanese performance cars where still relatively newbies in this industry. The LFA, which was co-developed by Yamaha, had a 4.8-liter V10 engine that can produce an impressive 560 bhp.
Production of the LFA’s ran from 2010 to 2012, though only 500 hand-built units of the Toyota Motomachi plant were produced. Only one dealership in Europe offered the LFA., and with a price tag of a whopping £340,000, it is not surprising that Lexus had a hard time selling the LFA. After an extensive and expensive 10-year development program, Lexus actually incurred a loss with every sale that they made. The lucky ones who were able to afford and acquire the gorgeous supercars were greatly rewarded. Even Jeremy Clarkson claimed, “if someone were to offer me a choice of any car that’s ever been made, I would take a dark blue LFA.”
Performance icons with rallying roots will also be on display this coming June, led by the Subaru Impreza. Dominating the Japanese market in the 90s, the Impreza comprised half of the all-wheel-drive turbocharged duopoly that reigned on b-roads and special-stages. Gran Turismo’s virtual racetracks also played a big role in endearing the Impreza in the minds and consciousness of the younger generation.
Subaru will be showcasing the 22B STi variant this coming June which was made to celebrate Subaru’s 40th anniversary and their 3rd consecutive WRC title. The 22B is the ultimate version of the Impreza. It has an exotic 2-door body shape, irresistible flared arches, matched with an equally gorgeous BBS wheels, and given an iconic Subaru gold finish.
Officially, it can produce 276 bhp from its 2.2-liter flat-four, and weighing only 1270 kg, and with an advanced all-wheel drive system. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds flat. Subaru only produced 400 units of this highly coveted roadgoing rally specials, and due to their highly valued status, the 22Bs is easily in the mid six-figure range at auction.
Not to be outdone, the Impreza’s chief rival will also be at the much awaited London Concours, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution XI Tommi Mäkinen Edition. It was made to celebrate the fourth WRC title of the Flying Finn in 1999, the Evo XI ‘TME’ was sold through Mitsubishi’s Ralliart division, and it was the first Evo to be officially imported to the UK. It is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and can officially produce 276 bhp. It has a four-wheel drive system with features like Active Yaw Control which gives the Evo XI TME its unmatched agility. The first 250 units of the Evo was sold out almost immediately, and a new performance icon emerged. This June, get a chance to see this two definitive rally specials side by side.
These Japanese treasures, amongst others, will be proudly on display at the Honourable Artillery Company, during the celebration of the capitals ultimate automotive event. There will be other exciting class announcements in the coming weeks and months leading up to the event.
London Concours Director Andrew Evans shared, “We are delighted to reveal that this June’s event will celebrate the finest cars ever to be produced by the automotive powerhouse that is Japan. From almost mythical, limited run specials to much loved performance icons, the London Concours will assemble a definitive, carefully curated selection charting Japanese manufacturers’ relentless pursuit of engineering innovation, and new performance heights.”
“Guests to the Honourable Artillery Company will be treated to an unprecedented array of cars, along with a decadent range of food and drink options, and a carefully curated line-up of luxury brands and boutiques. London Concours 2022 is set to be another occasion of total automotive indulgence,” Evans added.