These amazing classic Japanese cars are now on display


Petersen Automotive Museum fills its halls with classic and supercar-shaped delights

Monozukuri. Not a Studio Ghibli movie, but a Japanese word that, quite literally, means the ‘making of things’. A theme that LA’s Petersen Automotive Museum intends to explore via the medium of the Japanese car and its influence in the States.

In an exhibition titled ‘The Roots of Monozukuri: Creative Spirit in Japanese Automaking’, the museum has corralled together a host of cars that best embody ‘key’ tenets of Japanese design philosophy.


Specifically, design leading up to the 1970s where Japanese cars dominated the US market. We’re talking things like the Toyota 2000GT, Honda N600, Mazda Cosmo, Nissan Silvia, and the simply adorable Toyota Sports 800, above.

“The impact of the Japanese automotive industry on American life is so powerful,” explains Petersen’s exec director Terry L Karges, “that the story has to be represented in two parts to truly capture the spirit of Japanese innovation.”

So on the one hand you get classic Japanese automobiles, like the simply adorable Toyota Sports 800, above, on the other you get an exhibit called ‘Fine Tuning’.


This one focuses specifically on LA’s fascination with Japanese cars, and the customisation of them. Things like a modified 1991 Toyota Cresta ‘Kaido’ racer, a Civic Si and an RX-3.

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To these ‘two parts’, the museum has now just announced a few additions to this wonderful exhibition, which we suspect may prove of great interest. In the ‘Vault’, there’s a rather lovely turbo Toyota Supra, while up a few floors you’ll see the 1978 Dome Zero one-off, and Nissan’s one and only R390 GT1 too.

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Also in the mix is a Honda (sorry, Acura) NSX-T – the targa version – and Infiniti’s two recent concepts, the Prototype 9 and Prototype 10.





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The entire celebration of Japanese automotive is open right now, running until 14 April 2019. So you’ve got a bit of time. Click through for some highlights, including the simply adorable Toyota Sports 800, above.

STORY Vijay Pattni

PHOTOS Petersen Automotive Museum

Author: TopGear
Top Gear is a British television series about motor vehicles, primarily cars, and is the most widely watched factual television programme in the world.