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The 33rd Tokyo Motor Show

Photos by Jack G. Beasley
Suzuki's new EV-Sort
Suzuki's new EV-Sport

If you didn't get a chance to go to this year's Tokyo Motor Show, or you went but couldn't see anything because of the crowds, Jack G. Beasley fills you in on what you missed.

Aston Martin DB7
The outstanding Aston Martin DB7

Motor shows are like heaven on earth for car fans and bike freaks. This year's Tokyo Motor Show was no exception. If you didn't make it, you missed so much I don't know where to begin. It's too hard to pick just one highlight, so I won't even try; there were just so many great looking and practical cars, interesting innovations and technical developments, as well as some just for fun.

Over the years I have often wondered why the really well-designed cars were always so expensive, and the low budget cars always looked like dogs. It seemed to me that car makers were incapable of producing a really sharp looking car that was in the price range of the masses.

Benz SLR Roadster Vision
Benz's stunning SLR Roadster Vision

Well, those days are over. The next century will be filled with well priced, great looking cars. A good example is the Toyota Celica, a head-turning, good gas mileage, great performing and low cost vehicle. (See my Celica test in next week's issue.) Another, and one of my favorites at this year's show, is the Will Vi. Yet to be produced (they're stupid if they don't), the car is a part of the Will brand alongside many other products: Will beer, Will refrigerators, Will computers-all kinds of Will things. The Will car is stylish, small, fun to look at and it should be fun to drive. There is a new Will center in Aoyama near Omotesando Crossing, or see their Japanese website.

Another highly impressive small car at the show was the new Suzuki EV-sport, the fruit of Suzuki's technological exchanges with General Motors. It features a versatile electric motor with a performance ranging from instantaneous torque to economical running. Its under-floor battery lowers the center of gravity for a hard-to-beat cornering performance. It's sure to become a winner in the small car category.

Will Vi
The fun new Will Vi

Moving on to the more expensive fun on two wheels, Benz is always worth an eyeball. Try the new SLR Roadster Vision: Supercharged 5.5 liter, 557hp V8 engine, 320kmh top speed, 100kmh in 4.2 seconds and carbon-fiber and aluminum bodywork, providing optimum passenger protection and ensuring a weight advantage of around 40% over conventional sports cars. And the looks - well, I'd give my right arm to have one of these in my parking space.

The next of my all time want-to-haves (this time on four wheels) is the Jaguar XK8. Superb styling, supreme comfort, outstanding looks - you have to see it to understand its beauty. Then there's a car that dates back to 1913: The all-famous, wanted by everyone, affordable to almost no one, Aston Martin. Aston Martin sold its first car in Japan in 1966, a DB6, for just JY720,000. These days the price would be more like JY16 million. Last year, only 30 cars sold in Japan because of the slow economy, but during the bubble it was 80 a year. A vintage model Aston Martin DB7, with a maximum speed in excess of 180mph (290kmh), powered by a totally new, hi-tech 420hp, 6.0 liter V12 engine, was seen for the first time in Japan at the motor show. Actually, I lied-I do have a favorite. The Aston Martin was, for me, the most outstanding car at the show. In fact it's my all time car of cars. I just wish I had an extra JY16 million lying around.

The lesson from this year's Motor Show: It looks like the consumer is in a win-win position for the next century as cars become less expensive, more versatile, easier on the environment... and more fun.

CARS & BIKES:
299: Deuces are wild!
Harley-Davidson launch the new Softail Deuce
298: Chill Thrills
Snowmobiling, Japan's number one winter motor sport
297: The big guy at Gulliver
Hatori Kenichi, on what makes Gulliver International a giant among car dealerships
296: What a concept
What will technology allow car manufacturers to design in ten to twenty years?
295: Short and sweet
Subaru makes impressive progress
294: Practically Flawless
The new Toyota Celica
293: The 33rd Tokyo Motor Show
What you missed if you didn't go
292: NASCAR comes to Japan
Number one crowd drawing motor sport comes to Japan
291: Fall drives
Head for the hills and some colorful touring routes
290: Mazda on the move
Leading the field in environmental friendliness
289: Honda 1500 Valkyrie
Financial child's play
288: Off-road adventures
Escape to Mobility Park
287: Toyota's big friendly giant
Environmentally friendly Toyota Platz
286: Honda African Twin
Off-road spin on a getaway machine
285: Harley-Davidson
New engine takes Harley-Davidson racing into the new millennium
284: Ford Mustang Cobra
New version of an old American classic
283: Testing Times
Motorcycle shaken safety test
282: Drag Kings
Life for the drag race fan in Japan
281: Babysnatchers
Bike theft in the "world's safest city"
280: Honda S-2000
Cute car appeals to motor buffs and pedestrians alike

ISSUES 350+
ISSUES 300+

The colors of the new Jaguar Racing team

Jaguar has just announced it is to enter the FIA Formula One World Championship, starting at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne next March.

"Jaguar has a long and distinguished record in motor sports," said Jaguar's Chairman, Dr. Wolfgang Reitzle. "We have won LeMans seven times and we have twice been world sports car champions. We have also won the Monte Carlo Rally, as well as countless other events. The next logical move is Formula One."

Jaguar's decision to enter Formula One came after Ford purchased the Stewart-Ford Formula One team in June. Prior to that deal, the Ford team had long had a technical relationship with the UK-based Stewart team. That relationship has now been taken on by Jaguar, also owned by Ford, and the team will be renamed Jaguar Racing. Jackie Stewart, founder of the Stewart-Ford team will continue as Chairman and CEO.

"Jackie is a legend in motor racing," said Dr. Reitzle, "and I am delighted that he will remain with the team. His invaluable experience will be of enormous benefit to Jaguar Racing."

Stewart himself said: "When Ford bought the Stewart-Ford Team, I had always hoped that Jaguar would become involved in the Formula One program. My family were Jaguar dealers in Scotland, my brother Jimmy raced for Jaguar and some of my earliest racing successes were with the lightweight Jaguar E-Type and several other models. I have a great fondness for the company and I look forward to helping Jaguar Racing achieve its very clear ambitions in Formula One."