Tanashi Katsuro was always fascinated with cars at an early age, an obsession which continued throughout his life. He worked as a mechanic at the Art Shokai garage, where he tuned cars alongside his longtime friend Soichiro Honda, who later went out on his own to produce pistons for Toyota. Tanashi, on the other hand, inherited a small sum from his father who was a wealthy real estate mogul at the time he passed in the early 40s. With his new found wealth and a passion for cars, he opened up his own tuning shop while furthering his engineering studies at the same time. The shop was doing well but Tanashi needed more capital to start a serious motor company, so he got a loan from one of his dad’s old friend who was also very wealthy but wanted 10% of the profits. He then added his inheritance and together it made enough capital to start a small car company, KATSURO Motor Company, Ltd in 1946. The company then worked on a small commuter car over the next 6 years which would set the stage for future developments…
The front headlights you are using on the car are not accurate to 1955, they are more 2000s/2010s lights taken directly from the dodge Challenger.
1952 Katsuro Model A
The first car to roll off the Katsuro Production line. A pretty basic family car that was grossly under-powered with a 4 banger producing less than 50 hp and got 20 mpg. The pure steel construction meant it was also prone to rust in some climates, but was renowned for it’s affordability and reliability, and therefore sold relatively well.
All in all, not a bad start. Early in the 50s, post-war austerity was still a thing in some countries, and basic transportation for the masses would have been an ideal antidote.
That was the idea; to appeal to the masses as the country rebuilds after WW2. I think I could rework the intro of the company to highlight it’s involvement in producing arms during the war.
1956: A New Generation
Following the success of the Model A, the company was on a steady stream of income and Tanashi knew that he needed to continue to build on the new-found success. With the war now over and the country into a steady economic recovery, Tanashi decided to expand into the premium and utility Markets. This led to the development of the Model L, an entry level premium/luxury family car, and the Model X, a pickup truck, both using 2 brand new inline 6 engines that made 70 and 100hp respectively.
The model A was also given some minor improvements to overall design and engineering and became the company’s first official facelift.
1960: Expanding The Reach
The release of the Model L and X in 1954 cemented Katsuro as a recognized car manufacturer that could compete not only locally, but internationally. The brand’s reliability and overall value quickly became apparent, and people’s wallets agreed when the company saw huge sustained growth quarter after quarter. The Chairman decided it was time to invest in a US based high tech factory that had 3 new lines. each line was designated for 3 new upcoming models for 1960:
Be royalty with the All New KATSURO KING:
The model L was described by critics as a poor man’s luxury car. The chairman decided he was not having it, and directed his chief designer to create what essentially was a presidential limo. Powered by a 5.0l V12, the king stretches the possibilities of technological advancements in safety and luxury.
Pay respects to the KATSURO Princess:
An affordable intermediate contender that aims to bring balance to the royal family. Nothing is too much.
Specs: 74 hp Inline 6, 3 speed manual, trailing arm strut suspension setup.
Be Fierce with the All New Vatina GT-R:
2.0 inline 6, 150+ hp. A true contender in the sports segment based on the princess platform and features state of the art technology, built by a company that knows how to build performance engines.
1966: A size for everybody
After topping US market sales in various segments with the 1960 releases. Katsuro decided to refresh their 1950s models. Each model was completely redesigned for 1960 to make use of better manufacturing techniques and technology, resulting in increased efficiency and performance across all models, though still lacking when compared to European rivals in sheer power and prestige.
The All New Redesigned A-1
Featuring a brand new 1.6 pushrod engine that puts out 57 hp, 7 more buff horses than it’s predecessor, a redesigned exterior and interior with more room, and even comes with a radio as standard.
The designers at Katsuro was also tasked with developing a muscle car for the Era. Current muscle cars of the time were big, bulky and highly inefficient. Katsuro wanted to enter into the segment but with some amount of efficiency to be aligned with the company’s overall philosophy, good value, reliability and efficiency. They decided the A platform was the most suitable as it was relatively lightweight and could fit a small v8 in. The company designed a brand new 4.0 l V8 that produced a whopping 275 NM of torque, and 155 hp. The car was also light at 1200kg, which meant it had serious performance.
More Kick from the A-R15
The L series received a long overdue update as well. All new from the ground up with a brand new I6 producing 85 hp. The new model received significant updates to ride quality and luxury.
Smooth as Silk in the L-2
The last to unveil was all New X class. redesigned for better utility, road manners, durability and efficiency. Features a brand new chassis and I6 engine producing over 115 hp.
The All new X-2
155 net horsepower might not sound like much, but it should be enough for such a light car.
That’s the idea. Hopefully it translates well as it’s basically a muscle car with JDM philosophy in the US market… Yikes!
1972: The King is back!
1972 sees a well-anticipated return of the KING. After a solid 12 year run dominating the Luxury segment in the US, the car was starting to feel dated, and such an update was needed. The New king now came in 2 variants, The standard King and the King Royale Entry, a presidential convertible built to the highest standards. Engine capacity was increased to 5.2 l and produced a lot more torque to haul this behemoth. The Classic design of the previous model was kept but refreshed for a more modern and sleek design.
The Princess received a new 2.6 l inline 6 that produced around 100 hp, and received significant updates to ride quality and technology, resulting in increased reliability, performance, safety, comfort and economy.
The failure of the launch of the A-R15 hit the company’s books hard. However, Tanashi decided to stick with the car and improve it. The car received a few cosmetic changes, a retuned engine now producing over 200hp while keeping the weight at 1250 kilos, meant the car now was reaching 60 MPH in less than 8 seconds, and had a top speed of over 200 kmh. The update saw general improvements in all areas while insisting on efficiency and safety, comfort and value.
Katsuro was right to give the A-R15 more power for 1972 - 155 net horsepower was barely enough even for a pony car back in 1966, which put it well behind many of its contemporaries. Now that it has over 200 horsepower, it should be able to exploit its light weight more easily.
1977: Surviving the Depression!
With rising inflation and gas prices, the Global economy was really struggling. Automakers were either shuffling to create new mass market fuel efficient designs to meet the demands of the diminishing middle class, or forced to go out of business. Katsuro was already well positioned for success in the era as most of the brand’s lineup were already fuel efficient reliable people movers. With advancements in Tech, the entire lineup was gradually being refreshed with the addition of two new models, a lightweight unibody offroad utility vehicle, and a new hatchback, both with 1.6 liter engines producing between 50-70 horsepower. A new version of the L-2 was also announced, the Midnight edition which basically came in a midnight purple pearl paint, and blacked out interior, wheels and trim. This was a limited edition model that would only be produced for 1 year to celebrate the success of the L-2 over the years.
1981: A new decade!
1981 saw KATSURO going back to the drawing board and implementing serious new tech into their cars to better cater to a wider range of customers, whilst also remaining an extremely reliable brand. With new advances in research of their all new in-house OHC engines, they cars were now able to compete with the competition in terms of fuel efficiency.
This saw the introduction of the city, a car designed for urban driving as the name suggests, a 1.5 litre hatch producing 50+ hp, and returning 34 mpg, the highest mpg output for any car in their lineup.
Next up, the all new emerald. A car designed to fill the gap between the Model L and the King. While the king were for CEOs and pop stars, the emerald was designed to target the mid range luxury market, to cater to the Senior Executives and Managers. It’s smooth, fast enough and extremely safe, comfortable and reliable.
Katsuro recognized the need for more affordable fun sports cars during the recession, so an all new model was introduced to provide fun and save you money on fuel. The New GT-100 was cheap to buy, cheap to maintain, and even returned 20+ mpg. it used a modest 2.6l straight 6 cranking out 130+ hp, 0-100 kmh in 8 seconds, and had a top speed of over 200 kmh.
Princess: Redesigned from the ground up. 2.6 inline 6 with 107 hp, 4 speed automatic and comes with modern safety features and power steering.
Ace Pro: A new member of the Katsuro Family. 2.4l v6 with 87 hp and lots of torque, seats 8. 4 speed manual and modern safety features.
A3: Well it’s a car… Same philosophy as the A2 and A1, almost the same power but with a lot of upgrades.
x3: The X2 was loved and now it got even better with a 4l V8! Cranks out 150 hp and decent torque, seats 4 and tows just about anything, anywhere.
Land Climber: Modest V6, will take you over any mountain.
King: Redesigned from the ground up for presidents and dignitaries. Truly spectacular in both luxury and price.
Prima KRD: KRD’s first project. While not on the most sporty platform, Katsuro’s racing division retuned the princess’ straight 6 to make roughly 160 hp, and utilized the platform’s double-wishbone suspension setup to make a very capable RWD sports compact car. The main focus was on handling, driver feel and then power.
Maybe could you write out all of your models, instead of just the new ones.
That’s ideally what I’d like to do but due to time constraints unfortunately I didn’t make that a priority. Thanks for the suggestion and I’ll try to see if I can invest more time in future releases.
1992 Vatina GTR KRD
1992 Saw Katsuro’s Racing division entering the JTCC with a 2.6l inline 6 single turbo monster powering the new Vatina GTR KRD edition.
This was Katsuro’s first Turbocharged engine, and though not the most reliable engine in Katsuro’s lineup, the engine was very reliable based on Katsuro’s standards. It featured cast iron block and head, with forged internals and could scream all the way up to 8500 rpm, though limited from factory to around 8000. Based on JDM agreements official numbers posted by Katsuro for HP output was 276 hp, but rumor has it the engine was cranking out over 300 hp. The car featured a special racing AWD system with a geared differential that was able to send power to different wheels, which proved to be cutting edge technology at the time. Another Japanese manufacturer that was using similar technology to Dominate the JTCC for years, codenamed “Godzilla”, was now being seriously challenged by KRD’s new entry into the championship, a truly unexpected and unforeseen event that made KRD a serious contender for 1992’s JTCC title.
So… This is the flagship sports car my company, the Hampton Motor Group (or more specifically, its high-performance arm, Hampton Performance & Racing) had suspected their halo car, the Hawk GT 5.0, would be competing against. I wonder how well the two would fare against each other on the road and at the track?
Anyway, with AWD and a stout-hearted engine, the Vatina would be the Midnight Club’s weapon of choice for racing along the famed Wangan Expressway.