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Kimura Motors Museum


#1


The 1966 Kimura K2400-C Sports Coupe.

Kimura Motors was founded by Akira Kimura in 1946 as Hokkaido Motor Corporation. Since then, Kimura has grown to be one of the leading Japanese auto manufacturers throughout its rich 70+ year history. Included in the history of Kimura is the “luxo-chic” Azanti marque.


Here is the logo evolution of Kimura. The original logo was heavily inspired by the mountain ranges and cooler weather of Hokkaido, the birthplace of the company. The second iteration had maintained the “H” shape, but simplified the logo to a much more simple metal badge. In 1963, as the company began exporting vehicles, the brand had a fresh name; and a fresh logo. Although it still is reminiscent of the mountains of Japan, the logo now formed a “K” shape for Kimura. In 1972, the logo changed into a more geometric pattern, with the theme of “shooting for the future” headlining the brand’s new image. In 1982, the Kimura logo changed to its current form, paying homage to the original clans of the founder of the brand, Akira Kimura; the Matsuda (松田氏) had bore out of his father’s side, whilst the Matsumae (松前氏) was foraged from his mother. Combined with the previous logo, the Kimura brand is forever reminded of their past glory whilst always aiming into the future.


Production Cars

Hokkaido Motor Company Type-1 (Generation 1: 1949 - 1954)

Kimura Motors Helruna (Generation 1: 1990 - 1999, Generation 2: 1999 - 2005, Generation 3: 2005 - 2014)

Kimura Motors Asura (2012-2013)

Concept Cars

Kimura Motors 2M Concept (1977)

Race Cars

Kimura Motors TKR-C By Bertone R6-T Ver. Group B (1985)


Kimura Motor Co., Ltd. (木村技研工業)
#2

Mazda inspired?


#3

I like the 70s logo the most :stuck_out_tongue: And that’s a nice coupe there.


#4

So I assume that Azanti has parallels to Eunos or Xedos.


#5

I was thinking a bit like a cross between Autozam (one of Mazdas short lived speciality brands from the early 90s) and Amati (the Infiniti/Lexus/Acura-challenger in the US that never became reality).

But maybe I’m wrong?


#6

Kimura Motors welcomes you to our official Museum. A 30 minute drive from the Kimura headquarters lands you in Ebetsu, Hokkaido, where we are proud to present our Museum which has been in service for 15 years.


The front entrance of the museum.

However, before we begin to explore our exhibits, we would like to begin our virtual tour in 2 parts. The purpose is to discover the Kimura Garages. First, let’s look through the Akira Garage.


The Akira Garage in service at night. Shown in the picture from left to right are the 1979 Kimura Auriga SKR and 2003 Kimura Avina SXi 1.4.

Located at the back of the museum, the Akira Garage, named after the founder of the company, is where cars go for regular scheduled maintenance and any repairs. A 200 square meter facility, all standard production Kimura and Azanti vehicles are serviced at the garage Every vehicle in the museum is periodically removed around once a month and driven in order to insure that it is in immaculate condition. With a staff count of 50 members, there is never a shortage of hands to help out. Also working is around 20 restoration specialists who help to find, rebuild, and bring dilapidated old models back to original factory condition.


One of the main service areas of the Akira Garage. Shown in the picture from left to right are the 1968 Kimura VX-21 Crimson Edition, 1990 Kimura Kohala SCi 2.3, 1999 Kimura Helruna LXi 2.0 (undergoing maintenance) and 2009 Azanti Asada Hudson.

Every employee at the Akira Garage must undergo a rigorous 3-year training course in addition to at least 10 years of previous mechanical experience. Every worker is highly skilled at their jobs, and each carry a true passion for the cars they work on. Every week, there are new cars rolling in and out of the garage. Any visitors to the museum are allowed to enter the location; given that they don’t break anything, of course. The Akira Garage is a haven for all and any Kimura vehicles, spanning from the beginning of Kimura’s history to the present day.

Stay tuned for our next stop of our trip. We will be exploring Garage Raijin, where specialty sports and racing machines are given precision tuning.


#7

Our next step on our tour goes to Garage Raijin. Built in a warehouse about 5 minutes from the Museum, the facility is the foundation of the Kimura Racing and Ralliart (KR-R) program, where all sports-tuned and racing machines are tested, developed, and built. Race vehicle restorations are performed here instead of at the Akira Garage.


The front of Garage Raijin.


The specialty racing vehicle area. Pictured is an in-restoration 1968 Kimura K2400-C Circuit Racer, 2001 Kimura Helruna Super GT500, and in-maintenance 1990 Kimura Helruna JTCC.

All of Kimura’s and Azanti’s racing machines are developed at this garage. 80 fully trained master mechanics are employed at this facility; the meticulous work performed is nothing short of amazing. Our Formula 1 team is situated on an exterior facility close by. The two entities are considered to be the same garage.


The classic and modern tuning area for street vehicles. Shown are the 1991 Kimura Kohala KR-R Raijin, 1962 Hokkaido Motors 1200-C Berlinetta “Topless”, and 1973 Kimura Auburn RS Rally.

Thanks to Garage Raijin, Kimura has secured hundreds of motorsport wins in rallying, Formula 1, touring car racing, and many others. We shall continue to keep the heritage alive not by producing many special edition vehicles, but by producing true sports vehicles with a genuine passion for racing that shines through into the driver.


#8

The first Kimura vehicle is presented. Built under the original “Hokkaido Motor Company” nameplate, the Type-1 was built to be cheap, reliable, and practical transportation for all of Japan, which currently was in shambles after World War II.

The original Type-1 would cost the Japenese people ¥248,650; with this low price, it seated 5 people comfortably and got decent gas mileage to boot. In addition, performance was exemplary for the time and place, with a 34 horsepower carbureted 895cc inline-4 and more than solid fuel economy, all mated to a 3-speed manual routing power to the rear wheels. The Hokkaido vehicle boasted a solid rear axle, but independent front suspension. Despite a comfortable, tall suspension setup, the Type-1 was noted for being safe but fun to drive around town.

Altogether, the Type-1 remained a basic transportation device designed to get Japan up-and-running; and that’s exactly what it did, with over two million units selling over it’s 15-year lifespan, before eventually being replaced by the best-selling Auburn.


#9

For this exhibition, we present to you the 1977 Kimura 2M Concept. Designed to show the technological advancements of Kimura along with our commitment to sports vehicles.

Although it was never put into production, 3 fully functional 2M prototypes were produced, including the show car itself. The designed was penned by Jun Matsuo, a young but brilliant artist. With the 2M, the Kimura brand’s design language would greatly advance over the next decade. Idealized as an affordable “super” car for the people, the mid-engined 2M was a fun-to-drive machine that was still safe and manageable around town and practical enough to go on a weekend trip with. The technologies spurred by the 2M’s creation would end up finding their way into many other future Kimura vehicles.

Despite it’s concept status, the 2M was close to making it as a production car. Even though it didn’t quite reach there, there is no denying that it lived on through other future Kimura vehicles. Another famous Kimura concept, the 4M, would become the successor to the 2M Concept 12 years later.


#10

Today’s vehicle is the Group B version of the Kimura TKR-C. Kimura’s second foray into Group B proved to be it’s most successful.

The Kimura TKR-C was not the prime candidate for the Group B program. It’s predecessor was the Kimura Auriga Group B, which was heavily modified but still fairly close to it’s sedan roots. For 1985, Kimura had originally planned to replace the Auriga with the recently updated Auburn. However, instead, the engineers decided to go with the sportier and more reputable Kimura TKR-C, a car which was an instant hit the year it went into production.

As a clean slate car, the engineers were free to play around with whatever they wanted. They used an engine heavily based off of the advanced C685 3.3L V6 found in Kimura’s larger SUV and sedans, but shortened the stroke greatly and gave it twin-turbochargers. The output was said to be over 500 HP in competition, but up to 550 when competition became tight. An AWD system was fitted, as was 4-wheel vented disc brakes, along with a multitude of other performance upgrades. The end result was named the R6-T, simply for “Ralliart 6-cylinder turbo.” Suzanne Fox was the most famous driver of the TKR-C, known for being fearless and often reckless when storming down the streets of the courses. She and the car garnered the nickname “The Witch’s Brew” for the car’s extroverted styling combined with her terrifying driving behavior. When Group B was cancelled in 1987, all of the prototypes were returned back to the Hokkaido factory, where 5 were dismantled.

The TKR-C would help to cement Kimura’s racing career for good; it’s savage nature and insane styling burned it’s way into people’s minds as did the sport of Group B.


#11

The iconic sports car “Helruna” has a rich history - and soon, it’ll be celebrating it’s 30th birthday. Here’s a short overview of the previous generations.


Even though the Kimura TKR-C was a relatively huge hit around the world, the primary purpose of the car was to - along with the next-generation Auriga - pull Kimura out of its stodgy image and into a new era. However, the TKR-C was a bit exclusive and had used technology that made it difficult to attain for many driving enthusiasts worldwide.

Enter the affordable new-for 1990 Kimura Helruna. Named after the old English for “magician,” the goal for the first-generation Helruna was the produce a light, sporty coupe that was flexible enough to fit the needs of all kinds of people.

Mass-production of a small sports coupe was no small feat, and we were very aware of this. The Helruna would be a risky car to produce from a smaller Japanese car manufacturer. As such, parts were shared with many other Kimura vehicles in order to reduce costs and production; the engine was shared with the Auriga, and the suspension components were taken from Eminence luxury saloon (Japan only). Although popularity wasn’t guaranteed, the Helruna was still offered with 4 trim, 3 engine, and 2 transmission choices that ranged from a bare-bones inexpensive sports car to a pseudo-GT with many amenities. A 2+2 layout was standard on all models as well as 4-wheel disc brakes. Overall, the first-generation Helruna was mostly a test to see if it would be successful; when it proved to be a popular vehicle, a second-generation model quickly began to be developed, along with a famous designer on board…

Trims ranged from SX, SC, LX, and KR-R (from least to most expensive)
Engines ranged from a 1.8, 2.0, and turbocharged 2.3 L inline-4. The 1.8 and 2.0 could be mated with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic, whilst the 2.3 exclusively had a 5-speed manual.

Additional photos





For 1999, Kimura hired legendary designer Giorgetto Giugiaro to design the next-generation Helruna; they asked for a bold design with a unique body shape that would wow crowds around the world and bring the company into the 21st century. Indeed, the 1999 did just that - it polarized everyone when it debuted at the 1998 Paris Motor Show, where it received divided reviews on styling. However, it did mark a few important points - it was the first Kimura with a 6-speed transmission and it dropped the 1.8 L engine from its lineup. It also had used a new L4-series inline-4 engine, instead of the previous G486 in the RJ10.

The RJ20, as the chassis code signifies, utilized an advanced variant of the FR platform from the previous generation Helruna. However, the suspension and overall emotional feel of the vehicle had taken a turn into a more GT-style car as opposed to a raw sports machine, as it appeared to be the desired demographic at the time. However, the body control was more precisely tuned for grip in corners, making the Helruna easy to control and fun to drive at more speeds. Oversteer was an issue that plagued the first-generation model, and as such it was an issue that was fixed for the second generation.

Trims ranged from SXi, SCi, LXi, and KR-R (from least to most expensive)
Your two engine choices were a 2.0 and turbocharged 2.3 L inline-4. The 2.0 was available with a 5-speed automatic or manual, but the 2.3 only came with a 6-speed manual.

Additional photos





The 3rd-generation Helruna took a visual turn into a more elegant take on the classic sports car design. It debuted at the 2004 Tokyo Motor Show and had a virtual test-drive made in conjunction with Polyphony Digital for Gran Turismo 4. The codenamed SY7 brought the first Helruna with standard traction control and alloy wheels, reducing unsprung weight.

The all-new platform retained the 4-wheel double wishbone suspension, but it was almost completely re-engineered for the new Helruna to be lighter, stiffer, and more responsive. Despite this, safety regulations were beginning to crack down; the new safety kit raised the weight compared to the previous model by over 50 kilograms. Engine options were changed as a result; either a naturally aspirated or turbocharged 2.3 L inline-4 were available. The new Helruna introduced DI-Drive to the company; a new direct-injection technology that remained difficult to produce, Helruna’s price was inflated as a result, and as such an MPFI version of the engine was sold in tangent until 2008, during the Helruna’s first refresh. In 2012, the SY7 underwent a significant cosmetic refresh that improved quality in the interior and modernized the car’s appearance until the fourth generation debuted in 2015.

Trims ranged from SXi, SCi, LXi, and KR-R (from least to most expensive)
Your two engine choices were a naturally aspirated or turbocharged 2.3 L inline-4. The N/A 2.3 was available with a 5-speed automatic or manual, but the 2.3 Turbo only came with a 6-speed manual.

Additional photos





If you would like more details on the current Kimura Helruna, click the link here for more information.


#12

The 99’ Helruna looks a lot like an 09’ Malibu from the rear, and I absolutely love the editing.


#13

Marking the latest age of super sports machines, the Asura - developed in conjunction with the Kimura F1 team - was a tech-filled supercar with an old-school heart.

The Asura was a vehicle that would be considered to have been in “development hell” - after 6 years of testing, engineering, financial crisis, and reworking, the Asura was finally unveiled as a production car at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show. Designed as the “perfect” super GT car, the checklist for qualities was broad but there were only 3 assertive qualities the head of engineering wanted - a front-engine, rear-wheel drive design, a V10 engine, and a soft top roadster design. Truly considered one of Kimura’s most labor-intensive projects, the highly advanced 3.5 liter twin-turbocharged V10 powerplant produces 551 horsepower and 385 lb-ft - respectable figures from such a small engine that redlines at nearly 10,000 RPM. Engineers went through long periods of time fine-tuning the exhaust note in order to maximize the car’s audio-visual allure. The gauge cluster of the car was a digital display as analog gauges were not able to maintain their speed when the turbochargers produced their maximum boost. The body is constructed from carbon-fiber, which was different from the original aluminum in order to save weight even at the expense of price - each of the 650 units were sold at a base price of $245,000 USD.

A completely new FR chassis was engineered solely for the Asura. Nearly 200% stronger than Kimura’s other sports-FR platform that underpins the Helruna even as a roadster, this all-aluminum structure helped the weight stay under 1460 kg even with all the technology which was packed under the hood. Combined with electronically adjustable suspension components, and the Asura was an extremely tight-knit vehicle with predictable, precision steering that was accessible to many drivers. The Formula 1 team helped to develop the suspension tuning at Tokachi Speedway, Kimura’s native race track, where it underwent rigorous testing to improve confidence and comfort. It was described by reviewers as “capable at all speeds” and “a perfectly balanced car that reminds people that driving is, indeed, a human experience.” In 2012 the Asura was named World Performance Car of the Year and was nominated for World Design of the Year.

The Asura may be considered the peak of Kimura’s engineering efforts, but it was only the beginning of a new era of Kimura vehicles that packed power, grace, and comfort in one package.


#14

Absolutely fucking brilliant my guy, always love your works and always will, great job as always


#16

The front screams what again


#17

We need a dislike button.

The car on the other hand, incredible! Love the LFA-style story, too :)))


#18

Kimura’s first venture into the fast-growing hybrid vehicle market was one of their most unique designs; a cutesy, short coupe with a sleek body design and innovative features.

Originally conceived as a concept car in 2001 under the same name, the Vennela’s strong overall reaction from the public eventually led to the full production in 2003. Riding on the same steel platform of the subcompact Avina, the Vennela’s short wheelbase and long body remained faithful to the concept made 2 years prior. Powering the front wheels is a 1.6 liter inline-4 coupled with a 45 hp AC motor; this powertrain was mated to either a high-efficiency 6-speed manual specially developed for the car or a 5-speed automatic transmission. With some panels constructed of aluminum, weight was kept down for the car and allowed for more safety features to be packed into the small frame. As a result of the hybrid powertrain and the lithe weight, fuel was savored at rate of 55 EPA rated MPG in 2003 (48 MPG with the 2008 EPA ratings). The base price upon release was just under $25,000, but the feature-packed interior and sturdy build quality still allowed the car to sell decently well.

With the intent of redefining what a hybrid car could be Kimura engineered the Vennela to be somewhat of a jack of all trades. The Vennela’s streamlined 2-door body and underfloor battery pack meant a low center of gravity; combined with a power output of 135 hp and a weight under 1180 kgs, the small coupe was a surprisingly competent canyon carver. The handling was playful and agile without being twitchy, leading to comfortable extended highway trips. 4 seats, a sizable trunk, and a wide greenhouse helped the Vennela establish a strong sense of practicality, further cementing the city-car aesthetic popularized by the hybrid car. The Vennela was nominated for Japanese Car of the Year and International Car of the Year in 2003, proving its impact on the society around it.

The 1st generation Vennela may have been the most radical conceptually as well as the most unorthodox, but it remains as a landmark in Kimura’s hybrid vehicle production.