I’ll Tell You What Was A Good Auto Show: The 1987 Tokyo Motor Show

I’ll Tell You What Was A Good Auto Show: The 1987 Tokyo Motor Show

Apropos of pretty much nothing, I gift you a long series of glamorous photos from an auto show, the 1987 Tokyo Motor Show, that pretty much had it all: power, utility, style, concept, cool car names, and other good shit. And that was just Nissan.

The 27th Tokyo Motor Show, which takes place every two years, was the last at the Japan Trade Center in Tokyo before the show moved to the Mahukari Messe in 1989.

From the Motor Show’s own description:

The 27th Tokyo Motor Show adopted its theme as “Freedom of Mobility – A Taste of Real Life and Luxury.” Foreign exhibitors newly joined the motor show, including Korea in passenger cars plus Spain and Finland in the auto parts category. Exhibitors totaled 332 companies, 2 governments and 3 organisations from 15 countries.

What did “Freedom of Mobility ” A Taste of Real Life and Luxury” mean for Nissan? Some cool concepts, to begin with. There was the Nissan Judo up top, but also the Nissan Saurus:

The Nissan Saurus.
The dash of the Saurus. Image: Nissan

Nissan Arc-X

And then there was the ARC-X, which, you might think to yourself, looks sort of like an Infiniti. That’s because the first Infinitis that came to North America in late 1989 were partially based on it.

Advanced electronics on the ARC-X. Image: Nissan

This is a clever thing to do with the wheel. Also “Judo” is a great name for a car that looks like a fist.

Nissan STB
The Nissan PAO

And then look at this guy! The Nissan PAO, of which only 51,657 were made, running three model years between 1989 and 1991, dubbed one of its “Pike” cars. Originally sold only in Japan with no obvious Nissan branding, some of the eventually made it here. Just three years ago, you could’ve had one for about $8580.

Image: Nissan
Nissan Civilian Camper, a version of their Civilian bus. Image: Nissan
The Leopard (Ultima-X).

The Leopard was a luxury sports coupe later sold in the U.S. as an Infiniti.

Car phone! Image: Nissan

The interior of the Leopard is not to be missed either. Look at that leather! And there’s even a screen. And that must-have “˜80s accessory, a car phone.

The Nissan Jura. Image: Nissan

This anteater-looking thing, sorry, dustbuster, never made it into production.

Feel the beat! Image: Nissan

“Feel the beat” is exceptionally on point for an exhortation at an international car show in the late “˜80s.

The Prairie Estate High Roof.
The March EV-2.
The MID4 II. Image: Nissan

Here: the MID4 II, which was never actually produced, but came in 1987 as a tweaked version of a concept that originally appeared in Frankfurt in 1985. Said to put out 325 horsepower, the car was intended to (possibly!) compete with the Porsches of the world. This car should have been produced!

The Santana Xi5 Autobahn DOHC. Image: Nissan

We should end on a good, if melancholy note: The Santana, a car produced by Nissan for Volkswagen, which was built between 1984 and 1989 and was once called by our own Raphael Orlove a “strange, orphaned Nissan VW.” Which is accurate and sad.