The IkaMagic Golden Age: (1984-1992)
With IkaMagic’s subsequent vehicles starting to sell very well, they have opted to go even bigger with ambitious expansion plans that serve to serve two fronts of customers. One that wants premium quality cars and the other wanting cheap cars that are accessible to the general populace. More mass-production facilities were acquired and IkaMagic formed a subdivision of the company known as IkaMagic Motorisation Group (IMG). The bubble economy of Japan that served itself during the mid-1980s meant that IkaMagic have acquired even more prospective customers in their home region as well, meaning that both companies are planned to be making more revenue in domestic territory than originally thought.
The 1984-1992 range had promised to grow even larger, making plans to release supercars that will compete against the other prestigious supercars set out and expected to make waves in the market in the mid-80s. The air of confidence that was present in their mass-production years had emanated even more confidence, perhaps to the point of arrogance and cockiness from some of the staff members.
The IMG Marlin: Japan’s Sedan (1984-1990)
The first logical step for IkaMagic during this time was to think up of a sedan that people can buy at a rather affordable price and sell it under the IMG brand. Plans were undertaken to create the Marlin, the car that they have wanted to define as the definitive Japanese sedan for those at home and abroad.
On the surface, the Marlin was described to be a rather boring car with its looks more making the car be ‘Japan’s mimic of a European sedan’, yet the car fits right into its era, which can be more said with this car than the other cars that IkaMagic had released during the late 70s and early 80s. Since it was an IMG car which was designed to be more part of a car that the family can use instead of a car that was meant to be shown. There was nothing special with the car’s design philosophy as well.
Certainly with IMG’s brand image being viewed as a ‘Diet Coke IkaMagic’ in retrospect, this was just an attempt to get a slice of the family sedan pie, a market that was growing and getting more popular with the general populace looking like a tempting offer. The car certainly had lacked the standards of comfort as expected in IkaMagic’s other cars, but what is there is a car that can be driven, and a car that has some of the comforts that ordinary customers do expect. It comes with an 8-track, standard safety features, hydraulic power steering, electronic fuel injection and plenty of seats along with a standard suspension setup.
The powerplant inside of this car is the R2000 series of engines, an inline 4 2,000cc engine designed to fit in with the usual engine choices of Japanese sedans and other vehicles which became more and more popular. It had the usual engine placement at the front and front wheel drive as standard, which means that oversteer is taken out of the equation. Other specifications of the engine are also conventional for contemporary sedans, giving out a top speed of 124mph and 145hp at a redline of 6900RPM.
This was a car that wasn’t designed to turn heads. It was simply designed to take the kids to school and haul the weekly shop, which in turn had made people think that the IMG side is where IkaMagic had slowly lost their passion for cars with such bland machines that would fit into your average neighbourhood. However, the price of $27300 might be tempting for some purchasers looking for a new car. However, some people did think the price was a bit too high for what they got, since that price would be for more of a middle-class car. However, since mass-production had been widely implemented, prices later down the line had reduced to $26500.
The colours that this car was available in were Vanilla Cream, Shine White, Liquorice Black, Rich Burgundy and Veneziana Red.
It was rather popular with new car owners despite its lack of staying power due to how practical it was, some going to it because it feels like the car that can pull them through many years to come. However, like most mass-produced affordable sedans of its time, its price heavily depreciated over the years and most people would want to use them for a demolition derby than as a daily driver.
Engine: Aluminium 1,999cc I4 block, forged steel internals, Front-Longitudinal position, 145HP@6900RPM (Redline). Dual Overhead Cam, 16-valve, Multiple-point Electric Fuel Injection.
Body and Frame: Corrosion-resistant-steel monocoque and panels, no undertray.
Gearbox: Automatic 4-speed, open differential.
Running Gear: Double wishbone front and rear standard suspension, 190/185 alloy wheels on medium compound radial tyres. Vented disc brakes on front, solid on rear, 65/35 brake bias.
Interior: Standard seating, consumer-grade standard 8-track/AM radio by Technophonics, basic airbag steering wheel.
However, the Marlin had a special trim going alongside it to appeal to the people who were looking more for that distinct IkaMagic quality. Sold under the IkaMagic name, this car had garnered more interest despite its more limited production cycle. This trim model was known as ‘RG200’.
The Marlin RG200 was a high-performance model of the Marlin, and it only came in a 2-door coupe variant in order to give it the extra air of sportiness that the car deserved. IkaMagic themselves had taken 2-door variants of the IMG Marlin and reworked them from the ground-up to design a premium version that definitely was able to turn some heads. These served to be more focused on taking them out on the track due to the configurations that they were equipped with, serving as a more affordable car that people can use on track days whenever they have the urge to.
When it was launched later on in 1984, press were all in on the excitement that the Marlin RG200 had provided, offering everything better regarding frame rigidity and safety, and also designing a car that was also drivable yet powered through the corners and turns. Weight was shed by making the car only a 2-seater, removing the radio and also making sure that the seats were all in the premium range to withstand the average track driver’s intense sessions of racing. It was ‘the Marlin that we wanted all along’. The car was also rear-wheel drive, meaning that it had beefier wheels to support grip and added downforce to tackle the corners.
The powerplant was heavily tuned as well, the compression increased and also the cam profile ramped up to maximum to provide more of the power they need at the top-end, which added with a performance air filter, had produced 8500RPM and nearly 200HP at 8300RPM. That was very impressive stuff done to the small and weak engine that was known at first, and all only making a small dent to the car’s weight at only 30KG more than the standard Marlin. The car also managed to hit top speeds of 144mph, nearly 145 during testing.
More orders from enthusiasts were rushed in for the RG200, only coming in this special colour variant which was meant to capture the more sporty looks that rally cars and other fancy sports cars had in this time and age. It also sold for only a fraction less than the standard Marlin, selling for $31000. There were also rarer versions of the car that came with no spoiler, rumours of only 125 of these ever being produced during the car’s lifetime.
However, at times the more interested parties of the Marlin RG200 aren’t just car collectors. Some were car thieves and joyriders looking to TWOC said cars for their own personal enjoyment due to people finding security weaknesses in the cars that made them easy to steal for prospective ‘new owners’ or people wanting to make fast money in a heartbeat. This meant that many Marlin RG200 owners have woken up to see their cars either gone, written off or set alight further down the street after a getaway, half of them only ever seeing their cars in safe hands again. Due to the ferocious speed of said cars, many police officers were unable to keep up without helicopter support if police lose sight.
“Police car dashboard camera footage of car thieves escaping in a stolen spoilerless Marlin RG200 (Courtesy Bedfordshire Motorway Response Unit, 1986)”
Thus, the Marlin RG200 had lived in infamy as one of the hottest Japanese sedans in IkaMagic’s history, either feared by the police or kept under diligent watch of their owners. In fact, IkaMagic thought that the crimes associated with this car had gotten too far enough to the point of postponing production of this particular variant of Marlin in early 1988, making the Marlin RG200 a PR disaster. IkaMagic had apologised for these incidents and offered half of the value of the cars as compensation, making the RG200 sell more for a loss.
Engine: Aluminium 1,999cc I4 block, forged steel internals, Front-Longitudinal position, 199HP@8300RPM (Redline). Dual Overhead Cam, 16-valve, Multiple-point Electric Fuel Injection.
Body and Frame: Corrosion-resistant-steel monocoque and panels, fully clad downforce undertray.
Gearbox: Manual 5-speed, geared limited slip differential.
Running Gear: Double wishbone front and rear air suspension, 200/230 alloy wheels on sports compound radial tyres. Vented disc brakes on front, and solid on rear, 75/25 brake bias.
Interior: Premium leather seating, No radio, airbags, racing steering wheel.