Video: Japan’s Retro Car Kings

This video is a must watch. A lot of people are indifferent towards Japanese cars. There’s a cultural fence that’s hard for some to get over, plus a lack of historical experience. It’s my hope that for some, Retro Car Kings will go some small way towards bridging that gap.

The secondary thing I hope you learn from this video is the reason why so many people got so excited when Nissan announced that Datsun was coming back. The GT-R might wear a Nissan badge these days, but Datsun is the origin of Japanese performance for many people – including me; I did all my hours as a learner driver in a Datsun, so I have very fond memories. Sadly, Datsun won’t be coming back in any sort of performance-oriented way, but purely as a budget brand.

(By the way, there are quite a few Datsuns in there, but it’s not all Dattos. Alfa Romeos feature quite a lot, too)

Retro Car Kings goes for around 45 minutes. It covers some of Japan’s most famous vehicle restorers, with the main question being authenticity vs modernisation. The modernisation path is called ‘resto-modding’ in the US. It means restoring a car but putting more modern parts in where you can – engines, A/C units, stereos, etc. Japan’s no different from anywhere else in that there are some who love to make everything completely stock and some who like to make a car their own.

I hope this video stays online. You need to see it.


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  1. “Doing something I love is a really fortunate way to live.” Indeed!

    Thanks for sharing this, Swade. Very enjoyable video to watch. (Now I must clean up the drool off my keyboard….) 🙂

  2. Steven:

    Thank you for posting this. It really made my day. There really is something for everyone in this video. The level of craftsmanship reminds me of the samurai sword makers in the way so much attention is paid to detail. They just want to get it right, time is not an issue.

    Even though the Datsun marque returns as a budget line I don’t view this as a bad thing. If Nissan stick to their roots there will be plenty of aftermarket mods available for these cars before long.

    I’ve forwarded this post to the good folks at as I’m certain the commentariat will be as enthralled as I was.

    My eyes also want to thank you for the larger, darker font you’re currently using!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Craig. It eats up some time to watch it, but it’s well worthwhile.

      And the font: you’re welcome. I keep trying new ones but I’m pretty happy with how it looks right now. Glad you like it.