Home | Wiki | Discord | Dev Stream | YouTube | Archived Forums | Contact

IkaMagic Motor Organisation


#21

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.

Specifications:
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.
Drive: Front-wheel.
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.
Weight: 1140KG.
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.

Specifications:
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.
Drive: Front-wheel.
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.
Weight: 1170KG.
Interior: Premium leather seating, No radio, airbags, racing steering wheel.


#22

[Sorry for the long wait again, had another period of busywork that I had to respond to like always.]

The IkaMagic Squalo: The Sports Car that Bites Back at the Road (1986-1993)

During the middle of 1984, IkaMagic were lacking a more entry-level super-sports car that can aim to get the much desired slice of the sports car market cake. With the bigger manufacturers already releasing their own new and hot cars to wow the crowds with, IkaMagic’s CMO had went on a trip to Miami to get some ideas on what is popular out there. So after the board of directors got to meeting and discussing ideas for the next car, the Squalo was quickly drafted up by IkaMagic’s design team leader, thinking up of a sleek sports car that was made to be a more distinct take on the current offerings. This was going to be IkaMagic’s mainstay sports car from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, leaving them more room to work on other projects that can help capture other markets and markets around the First World.


An old advertisement excerpt for IkaMagic’s 1988 Squalo range from a September 1988 issue of ‘Overdrive’ magazine.

When a concept was looked at by consumers in the 1986 Geneva Motor Show, passers-by had looked at the car and were relatively impressed with its looks. They thought of the car as being a ‘Japanese Ferrari’ from the way that the car had presented itself. The design team had also tried their best to incorporate elements of its namesake, adding a small vent to the side which is similar to the gills on a shark. IkaMagic’s designers had really went for that motif with this car’s design language, earning quite the reputation for fans and regular lookers alike.

At the time, the 275M was shown. The 275M was the base model that was due for release in the middle of 1986, which it did along with the ZXR trim coming out at the same time as well to give customers a choice between naturally aspirated and turbocharged cars. The 275M was also considered as more of an entry-level sports car of its time, similar to cars like the Mondial 3.2. However, the 275M was more intended to be a car that suits comfort more than just simply belting it across the motorway. What was also more odd is the fact that it also uses a 1970s sports car body for its style, modernising it in the process. IkaMagic had certainly made a car using an older body style and keeping it fresh with an updated look that is also taken from contemporary sports cars of the time.

Inside of the 275M is a sporty exterior made to also provide comfort to its driver while retaining the sporty looks on the inside while still looking prestigious to people who would see it to make up for the low ride height of the car affecting the car’s ride. For some it nailed the 1980s look that other sports cars had at the time, while others also had also wondered about the car’s unorthodox opening of half of the back of the car to access the engine. But then again, that was part of the quirks that the car had which kept people coming back for more of it. The car also came with a premium cassette player from Technologics Audio, providing a pleasant listening experience to the driver if they choose to want to listen to music whilst driving.

Powering the pint-sized beast is IkaMagic’s FF-series engine that they designed for this car, a 3,500cc 90 degree V8 engine that provides the car with some zest along the road whenever it’s needed. The FF-series engine powering the Squalo 275M is specifically named the NA275, which means that the engine itself was made to provide as smooth and responsive of a ride as they can get while keeping the car affordable to the consumer. As the name applies, the car itself makes 275HP at 7700RPM (the redline of the car is 8000RPM), meaning that the car has more of its needed power at the top range to provide the oomph that the car otherwise wouldn’t have. Like all versions of the Squalo, it was sold with a manual transmission to more fit the bill of a sporty car that can prove itself on winding roads. The car is also a midship sports car, which was also common for the time with small sports cars like it. What’s also impressive for such a small engine is the fact that it can reach 162mph with ease due to its weight as well.

This model of Squalo retailed at about $55000 and had sold relatively well due to it being a great example of an entry-level car that knew how to give the driver something to smile about.

Specifications:
Engine: Aluminium 3,500cc V8 flatplane block, forged steel pistons, lightweight forged connecting rods and billet steel flatplane crankshaft, Mid-Transverse position, 275HP@7700RPM (8000RPM Redline). Dual Overhead Cam, 32-valve, Multi-point Electric Fuel Injection.
Body and Frame: Corrosion-resistant-steel monocoque and partial aluminium panels, fully clad undertray.
Drive: Rear-wheel.
Gearbox: Manual 5-speed, viscous limited slip differential.
Running Gear: Double wishbone front and rear air suspension, 185/225 alloy wheels on medium-compound
radial tyres. Vented disc brakes on front and rear, 55/45 brake bias.
Weight: 1194KG.
Interior: Sporty leather and velour seats, premium cassette player and radio, mahogany-lined racing-design steering wheel, leather dashboard and door trim.

Squalo Turbo ZXR:

The other model of the Squalo released at the same time as the 275M was the much more punchy Turbo ZXR. This model of Squalo was more aimed to the people who would rather value a more sporty car and more of a focus on the track. The Turbo ZXR is also packing more power due to various engine tweaks and additions that weren’t a part of the standard package.

Not only did the Squalo ZXR feel more sporty when driven, but it also looked more of the part to match its interior. What people thought was weirder was the change in rims to a more ‘waffle-shaped’ rim compared to the more sporty-looking rims used for the 275M. The car also had a spoiler added to it in order to provide a little more downforce to keep it more planted into the ground.

The suspension was also completely transformed from the comfort-oriented car of the 275M to more of a car that can give it its all during an intense track day. This meant that comfort was severely impacted, making it less of a choice for a car that can be used to cruise due to how stiff the suspension is to make the car as controllable as possible. The car also had reduced brake fade due to the brakes being more race-oriented instead of being more comfort-oriented. The interior has been untouched however.

Regarding the FF-series engine, it has been tuned to include a turbocharger to give it some extra power to keep it more competitive for the track. Even though it has more power and a 9000RPM redline, the car has been criticised for being less reliable and less smooth and responsive unlike the 275Ms more tame engine. The result was a top speed of 170mph, making it closer to contemporary supercars. However, the car definitely has the power to make it a great choice for people who want a turbo sports car which also screams italian flair. It also was enhanced with a performance air filter to get the car even more power and air flow so that the engine gets enough air to bring out its best.

The car is also slightly more expensive at $56,500 compared to the 275M, however it came with a choice of a unique two-tone paint using dark grey-black and sharkscale white paints. The car was praised for having a very sporty feel to it that definitely helped out on the track, which made it a great pick for a car that can handle the corners without breaking a sweat.

Specifications:
Engine: Aluminium 3,500cc V8 flatplane block, forged steel pistons, lightweight forged connecting rods and billet steel flatplane crankshaft, Mid-Transverse position, 355HP@8100RPM (9000RPM Redline). Dual Overhead Cam, 32-valve, Multi-point Electric Fuel Injection, turbocharged.
Body and Frame: Corrosion-resistant-steel monocoque and partial aluminium panels, fully clad undertray.
Drive: Rear-wheel.
Gearbox: Manual 5-speed, geared limited slip differential.
Running Gear: Double wishbone front and rear air suspension, 190/225 alloy wheels on sports-compound
radial tyres. Vented disc brakes on front and rear, 65/36 brake bias.
Weight: 1249KG.
Interior: Sporty leather and velour seats, premium cassette player and radio, racing-styled steering wheel, leather dashboard and door trim.

Squalo Laser

IkaMagic also tested the waters with a unique variant for the Squalo in 1988 that was only released until the beginning of 1989 due to it being an experimental car. The Squalo Laser was described by people as a car that ‘The 1980s vomited onto.’ The car certainly had been panned for its colour scheme being so garish, but the deal for the Squalo Laser was to ‘embody everything about the 1980s into one car’. The car had its headlights also replaced with pop-up headlights and had a Countach-styled wing attached to it to provide some necessary downforce. The car also had extended bumpers to comply with the safety standards of the USA as well, which some people thought made the car much uglier.

However, the Squalo Laser was the fastest turbocharged variant of the Squalo, packing around 400HP and enhanced features that the other cars were unable to have at the time. Such features included a variable valve timing system known as Overdrive Valve System, which eventually turned into the Magic Valve Timing System (MVTS) that would be used in later cars. The Squalo Laser’s Overdrive Valve System meant that the engine felt more smooth than the ZXR and more fuel-efficient while using up less emissions as well. This meant the car was able to reach 177mph regarding its top speed. Most of the suspension from the ZXR was kept the same, yet the dampers were changed to be adaptive, adjusting to the track and curves to provide the optimal ride and optimal angle for the road or track.

The car was sold for $62,500 due to such innovations making the car seem more of an attractive purchase. The car was also in very limited production, only 1500 cars ever released to the American market in 1988. The Laser was only available in this trim, although there were plans to make a Laser version that is more of an advanced model of the ZXR. However, such plans were scrapped as they were working on another model variant that would be the more ‘high-performance’ variant of the 275M.

Finding examples of the Squalo Laser outside of the US would be extremely rare, since barely any people then were interested in even importing this variant of the Squalo since they had more sleek-looking Squalos that they’d rather keep.

Specifications:
Engine: Aluminium 3,500cc V8 flatplane block, forged steel pistons, lightweight forged connecting rods and billet steel flatplane crankshaft, Mid-Transverse position, 400HP@8200RPM (9000RPM Redline). Dual Overhead Cam, 32-valve, Multi-point Electric Fuel Injection, turbocharged.
Body and Frame: Corrosion-resistant-steel monocoque and partial aluminium panels, fully clad undertray.
Drive: Rear-wheel.
Gearbox: Manual 5-speed, geared limited slip differential.
Running Gear: Double wishbone front and rear air suspension, 180/225 alloy wheels on sports-compound
radial tyres. Vented disc brakes on front and rear, 64/36 brake bias.
Weight: 1272KG.
Interior: Sporty leather and velour seats, premium cassette player and radio, racing-styled steering wheel, leather dashboard and door trim.

###Squalo QVZ 410:

To many people, the Squalo QVZ410 can be described as the ultimate Squalo, the be-all and end-all of Squalos due to it being more packed with the looks and the performance to make it as imposing as it can be. The car returned to its simple looks that had made the Squalo so appealing in the first place. Extra decals were also added to accentuate the car’s aggressive appearance and also to make it more distinct from the other Squalo variants (especially the 275M). The combination of the sleekness and the performance made it the most desirable of the Squalos and one of the most expensive as well.

One thing that can be said about the Squalo QVZ 410 is that it has more of the air of luxury that beholds an entry-level supercar than a sports car. It has a more luxury-oriented interior that also had limited more of the production of the QVZ 410 compared to the other versions and also it has the Riviera Acoustics audio equipment that had been on IkaMagic’s Torpedo Barb. This meant that the car was made to be a heavily sports-oriented supercar that also provided some creature comforts that other supercars may not have had. It even features the adaptive dampers from the Squalo Laser variant as well.

The engine was a heavily uptuned version of the NA275 engine that was featured on the 275M. This engine now produces 410HP, which gives the car a top speed of 176mph. Although this may not be the fastest regarding top speed, it more than makes up for it in track prowess. Like the Squalo Laser, it too has the Overdrive Valve System which also gives it great smoothness and fuel efficiency. The QVZ 410 also has the most responsive engine out of all the variants as well, along with a 9500 RPM limit for the car. It felt like ‘a monstrous racecar put inside of a gentlemanly body’. Despite all these positives, the drawback of the QVZ 410 was that the engine of the car was the most unreliable, with the manual suggesting extensive maintenance of the car to prevent even the slightest of hiccups.

The QVZ 410 also sold for $110,000 due to this car having such features packed into a small car body that was nimble and still only the slighest bit heavier than the Squalo Laser. The limited production also meant that only 2500 of these were ever produced until the entire Squalo range was discontinued in the later months of 1993 while other cars had replaced its purpose and use. Yet this variant is also one that fetches a lot when well-maintained, and people still look back at the Squalo QVZ 410 as one of IkaMagic’s most striking cars.

Specifications:
Engine: Aluminium 3,500cc V8 flatplane block, forged steel pistons, lightweight forged connecting rods and billet steel flatplane crankshaft, Mid-Transverse position, 410HP@8900RPM (9500RPM Redline). Dual Overhead Cam, 32-valve, Multi-point Electric Fuel Injection.
Body and Frame: Corrosion-resistant-steel monocoque and partial aluminium panels, fully clad undertray.
Drive: Rear-wheel.
Gearbox: Manual 5-speed, geared limited slip differential.
Running Gear: Double wishbone front and rear air suspension, 195/225 alloy wheels on sports-compound
radial tyres. Vented disc brakes on front and rear, 55/45 brake bias.
Weight: 1275KG.
Interior: Luxury leather and velour seats, luxury Rivera Acoustics cassette player and radio, mahogany-lined steering wheel, leather dashboard and door trim with mahogany lining.

If people were to look back at the Squalo, they would see a car that had stood the test of time regarding looks and sentimental value. It was one of the sports cars that had defined the 1980s due to the nature of having a car that screamed this decade through its style. It definitely was the car that bit back at the road and stayed into the hearts and minds of children and adults alike at the time, and now it still would garner the times where people would dream of owning a Squalo QVZ 410 and driving around mountain roads and enjoying every minute of it.