To be a Tomica Limited Vintage collector means a few things. First, your wallet is subjected to [voluntary] monthly shake downs at the hands of Japan Booster for pre-order’s sake (don’t misunderstand me, this is a good thing). Second, you’re not just collecting, you’re investing, despite the pleas for help from each credit card statement. And third, every now and then a special edition pops up in your Instagram feed that sends you straight to eBay. The feature car here is the result from one of those times.
The Nissan Skyline GT-R was released as the Calsonic Group A racer in May of 2021, specifically the #1 car of Kazuyoshi Hoshino and Toshio Suzuki for the 1991 season. If you’re a motorsports fan, especially of the Japanese variety, it’s easy to get sucked down the Wiki rabbit hole. Did you know that Hoshino was a co-driver for the 1998 24 Hours of Le Mans in the Nissan R390 GT1? You’ve been warned.
Its blue hue should be instantly recognizable to any racing fan and TLV mostly did the new casting justice. Some say the wheels are too big (they definitely are) and as a consequence, the stance was a bit off (it definitely is), but the opening hood and immense level of detail validated the asking price. (If you’re balling on a budget, may I suggest Mini GT’s fantastic offering for a fraction of the cost.) While the value hasn’t risen to stratospheric levels (yet?), it’s never dipped below my original preorder cost, affirming my investment statement. More on that below.
With only one version released in over seven months, it was overdue for an encore appearance. On December 8, 2021, the STP Taisan #2 (1993 JTC Rd. 2 winner, driven by Kunimitshu Takahashi and Keiichi Tsuchiya) went on sale at Nissan’s online shop. Limited to two per person, I’m sure it promptly sold out, although a citation is certainly needed for that statement. Nearly three weeks later, my initial spotting of the model on someone’s Instagram page lead to an Internet scouring that ended only at ‘sold out’ signs or the arbitrary eBay price point.
Then I came upon a Japan Booster auction and knew it was worth watching. I threw my hat in the ring as the auction came to an end, thinking I would be outbid as the seconds ticked towards zero. However, my maximum bid ended up being the winning one. Golly gee, lucky me.
My second bullet point above, the whole investing thing, only works if at some point you plan on selling. I have no intentions in the near or distant future to do so, so I suppose that doesn’t really apply. Save for some of the much larger trucks, the only other TLVs that command triple digit asking prices that start with a ‘2’ are the silhouette racers, so maybe there isn’t that much room for growth? Who knows, who cares. It’s a great addition to my collection and I am happy to have it.
Besides the livery, the only immediate differences to the Calsonic version are the wheels and the detailing on the intercooler. The blue beast proudly wears Impuls while the Advan tiger sports SSRs. The hood fitment is better in its sophomoric release, but it’s still not flush. The tradeoff for an opening part, I suppose. A peek inside reveals a Bride seat in the STP, whereas the Calsonic car has different branding (the molds are identical) and a predominantly blue interior as well. It also appears the STP version doesn’t have a typical series number like the OG’s LV-N234a.
As with all TLVs, the STP car’s paint is thick and precise. The sponsor logos are all clear and accurate. Curiously, the wiper is just a printing and nothing more. Perhaps it’s done that way for scaled, aerodynamic efficiency? The stance is also better, although the wheels are still too big in comparison to the tire sidewalls.
Overall, I’m pleased to have it added to my TLV collection. It was also a lot of fun to take out the two Calsonic cars and have a little group photoshoot. And who knows, perhaps in seven month’s time, TLV will introduce the Kenji HKS car for our friend Alex.