It’s Wednesday. Come Thursday, I will be picking up my wife at the airport and we will take a quick jaunt from St George, Utah (where I am working this week) to Los Angeles for the yearly Japanese Classic Car Show.
You know, JCCS. The show with the logo that graces the 2013 version of the Hot Wheels Toyota AE86 and Mazda RX-7 Treasure Hunt. The show with such a ling-blowing array of classic j-tin that it is impossible to not fall in love with Japanese cars if you attend. It is there that I saw my first Hakosuka, Kenmeri, and…sigh…Toyota 2000GT. It is where you can mingle with old-school dudes in driving caps and mustaches and discuss their Datsun Roadsters, then turn around and ogle over the Honda CR-X that you remember from junior high. It is where I met John Morton of BRE Datsun fame. It is where the parking lot is almost as interesting as the actual show. It is truly an education.
So this year I get to return, hoping that LA cooperates and doesn’t decide to ram up into a record heat wave like it did last year. Looking at cool cars is fun, and always worth it, but doing it in 105 degree heat sure makes you doubt.
Last year we celebrated the week leading up to JCCS by showcasing the castings of Hot Wheels designer Jun Imai. This year we will pick a few of our favorite JDM models from Tomica Limited Vintage and Kyosho and show those off. And we might throw in a couple of Matchbox classics done by Ryu Asada, who recently crossed the hall to work for Hot Wheels.
But let’s start with the Cosmo.
It is models like this one from Kyosho that were the reason we started the Lamley Blog in the first place. Yeah, breaking news on new models is great, but showing a near-perfect mini replica of a car as cool as the Mazda Cosmo is 100 times more fun than showing a Jetsons car.
Kyosho released a Mazda set earlier this year, and was full of iconic cars, most notably the 1991 Le Mans winner, the 787b, as well as the RX-3 and SA22c. But the beauty of the group? The first-generation Cosmo.
This is just a beautiful car. As pretty as it is unique. There are some queues there that definitely resemble other cars from that late-60’s/early-70’s era, like the Thunderbird and Alfa, but the Cosmo has no equivalent looks-wise. It was Mazda’a first foray into the sports car business, as well as one of its first rotary cars, and not many were made. Which means seeing one in person today is not an easy thing to do.
That is why I was a tad excited to learn that my Utah-based mates at JDM Legends just took delivery of a Series 2 Cosmo. (Yes, JDM Legends, Reason #9 to live in Utah, just behind “Torrey” and “the Spiral Jetty” and “80-mph Speed Limit”, and 1,178 places in front of “fry sauce”.) They let me have some time with it at the shop, and it is truly a stunning car. And it looks like nothing else:
There it is, one of the only Cosmos on US shores. And while I was there, I brought them a little something for their shop:
That little Kyosho now sits in the same space as the car on which it is based (until the 1:1 heads off to its new owner), and a red and grey version remain in the Lamley collection. As much as I love the Cosmo, its surging collector demand and very low numbers mean I am more than happy to own a couple of the mini versions.
Until Tomica Limited Vintage decides (if ever) to go the 1st-gen Cosmo, this Kyosho is BY FAR the best replica of a true classic. If you are a JDM fan, and a diecast collector, having at least one is a must. Which means it is time to throw in a plug for Daboxtoys, who currently have the Cosmo and other Kyosho Mazdas in stock. And on sale. I would zip over there and snag one before they are gone.
I don’t know if there will be a Cosmo at JCCS, but thanks to JDM Legends I can at least cross that off my vehicular bucket list…
Kyosho Mazda Cosmo: