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Tanaka Heavy Industries (田中重工業) | NEW THREAD!



Tanaka Heavy Industries

est. 1960

Before Tanaka Heavy Industries was founded in 1960, Haruto Tanaka owned Tanaka Bikes for 10 years where he makes bicycles and motorcycles. His original shop was located in Osaka, Japan. It was a very successful business. However, he was growing interest in automobiles after he saw his customer’s cars. So, he decided he would try to make automobiles. He launched Tanaka Heavy Industries 1960 after adding Tanaka Motors to its company portfolio. While blueprints already existed in the late 50s, they would not launch their first car until 1963 with the 1963 Tanaka Satori 620.

The Satori proved to be a huge success for Tanaka as it sold 5,000 units at its first year as it proved to be reasonably reliable, very simple and affordable. What made it very simple and affordable was its engine. The AA-Engine was basically the 3 cylinder version of the A-Series chain-driven modular series engine where it was a 2 cylinder engine in their motorcycles. With its success, Tanaka made more variants such as the 620 C in the following year and the 700 S in 1964. However, its first real big success was in 1965 when they launched their longest-running nameplate, the Aventis.

The huge success of the Aventis enabled Tanaka Motors to expand to most parts of Asia. In 1967, they launched their first sports car, the C28X, as their halo car. They used Tanaka Bikes’ motorsport expertise to develop the C28X’s incredible LR-Series engine. In 1968, Tanaka Motors expanded to Europe. At that same year, Tanaka launched their most legendary version of the Aventis, the Gazelle series.

Let’s enter the 1970s. Tanaka Motors entered the US market in 1971 with the 2nd generation Tanaka Aventis and their first midsize sedan, the Azalea for 1971 with US consumers in mind. They were not successful in that market during their first 2 years. However, the gas crisis hits and Americans needed smaller and more fuel-efficient cars. Tanaka had prosper during those times. The Aventis was perfect for their fuel economy needs and the Azalea was for those who wanted more room and a larger engine. And then the 80s came around and Tanaka had become one of the biggest Japanese car companies thanks to the economy bubble at the time. In the 90s, Tanaka vehicles were sold in almost every single country in the world.

By the time they got to the 2000s, Tanaka had become one of the biggest car company in the world. Even with the financial crisis in the late 2000s, Tanaka was still somewhat strong with their cheaper models such as the Osaka sub-compact hatchback (since 2005) and the Calgary compact SUV (since 1998). Haruto Tanaka’s original bike shop is now the main official headquarters of Tanaka Heavy Industries. Unfortunately he passed away in 2015 at the age of 90 due to a heart attack, but his legacy will continue to move on.

Logo History

Coming soon…

Current Models

Hawaii | MPV Kei Car
Iris | Sports Kei Car

Osaka | Subcompact Hatchback
Aventis | Compact Sedan
Azalea | Midsize Sedan
Crezta | Executive Sedan
Celesta | Fullsize Luxury Sedan

PulseX | Subcompact SUV
Calgary | Compact SUV
Okanawa | Midsize SUV
Forager | Fullsize SUV

Seed | Compact MPV
Ereteca | Midsize MPV
Synonym | Fullsize MPV
Esquire | Fullsize Luxury MPV

Evalore | Midsize Pick-up Truck
Biome | Fullsize Pick-up Truck

Raikan | Entry-level Sports Car
Ryuji | Gran Tourer
Akuma | Supercar


Discontinued Models

Frizz | Hatchback Kei Car

Satori | Subcompact Hatchback

Aventis Gazelle | Compact Coupe
Grand Celesta | Fullsize Presidential Luxury Sedan

C28X | Sports Car
C30X | Sports Car
XB4 | Group B Homoligation Sports Car
XM4 | Compact Mid-engined Sports Car
TR2 | Supercar


Tanaka Commercial Vehicles Models

Fetch | Compact Panel Van
Transfer | Fullsize Panel Van

Switch | Kei Truck
Hito | Truck/Lorry


Glad you’re back. It’s like months I’ve seen you here.


Rebuilding the entire history and lore for Tanaka after your unfortunate hardware failure makes perfect sense. A lot has changed since the last time you posted a Tanaka at all, and with the new LCV4.0 (UE4.24) version now released to the public, it’s fitting that you should be remastering everything they have ever made so far - they all ought to look better in LCV4.0 anyway.


Interesting thread. Iramitsu Jidōsha’s PR department will keep Tanaka’s progress under high regard


The Humble Beginnings: 1963-1972 Tanaka Satori (SBO1)

The 1st generation Tanaka Satori was introduced in 1963 as Tanaka Motors’ first ever car. This is what kicked started the company. Without this car, Tanaka will not exist. The Satori was a 2 door 5 seater subcompact hatchback. Originally, they planned to make the Satori a rear-engined rear wheel drive hatchback. But after calculating the cost, they scrapped the plan and just go with the conventional front-engine front wheel drive. However, the designers wanted to keep the clean front end of the scrapped rear-engine design. So they tried doing that but ran into some cooling problems. The project was halted for a year until they found a compromise to increase the cooling while keeping its clean looks, integrating the front grille to the chrome bumpers. The Satori came in 3 different versions with 2 different engine sizes, the 620, 620C and the 700S.

This is one of the most well-known early Tanaka motorcycles, the 1955 Tanaka CT50 420 Pegasus. This bike uses an air-cooled 420cc 4-stroke 2 cylinder engine known as the A04A1 which produces 27HP and 32lb-ft of torque.

The engine that the Satori uses is basically roughly the same engine with one cylinder added to it to make it a 4 cylinder. The 620 and 620C uses an air-cooled 620cc 4-stroke 3 cylinder engine known as the AA06A1 engine producing 23HP and 30lb-ft of torque. The engine was made less powerful and less revving than the A04A1 engine in the CT50 420 Pegasus motorcycle to increase fuel economy, drivability and reliability. This engine shared a lot of parts with the motorcycle engine, such as the engine internals, the chain-drive, radiator fans and many more. This made the Satori very simple and reliable.

The Satori 620 was only available with a 3-speed manual transmission, drum brakes all around, 115mm wide steel rims, basic cloth seats without a radio, and no power steering. This bare bones version was able to get 36.2mpg thanks to its 574kg dry weight.

The Satori 620C is a better equipped version of the normal 620 with the addition of chrome hubcaps, an additional left wing mirror, a basic AM radio, hydraulic power steering and progressive springs to improve ride quality compared to the 620. It managed to do 33.9mpg with an increased dry weight of 608kg.

In 1964, Tanaka introduced the Satori 700S. The 700S was meant to be a sportier and more fun version of the 620. The engine displacement was increased from 620cc to 700cc, hence the engine code AA07A1. Tanaka also gave a slightly larger exhaust, changed to short cast headers, changed to a performance 2 single barrel carburetor fuel system and increased cam profile among other changes. This engine now produces 31HP and 36lb-ft of torque. The engine was paired to shorter ratio 3 speed manual transmission. The wheels are now 13 inches and 130mm wide, and their design is sportier and has more holes to allow air to go in and cool the brakes, which are still the same. Following the sportier design, the 700S also added small front circular rally fog lights and the suspension was lowered. The interior was as bare bones as the 620, although you could optionally equip a basic AM radio in there. Without the radio, the 700S weighs just 591kg, but can only do 29.8mpg. Sadly, (while improved) its acceleration was still painfully slow at 27.9 seconds to 60mph and has a top speed of 72.8mph.

The 1st generation Satori was produced until October 1971 where it was replaced with the 2nd generation for the 1972 model year. The Satori was a success, although not huge. But this is only the humble beginnings.

Have one for yourself!

Tanaka_Satori_(SB01)_-_620.car (52.1 KB)

Tanaka_Satori_(SB01)_-_620_C.car (52.5 KB)

Tanaka_Satori_(SB01)_-_700_S.car (53.6 KB)

Next up is one that would allow Tanaka Motors to expand most parts of Asia and Europe, a huge success! Stay tuned!


Hi @Aaron.W I haven’t seen you since the early days of my thread, how’s it going here at Tanaka? Do you remember when you gave us a taxi version of the Crezta for the drawing? Okay I’m getting not only very cheesy and idiotic but also very off topic. Please don’t flag this post anyone who reads this because its off-topic-ness is about to go away quickly!

I have morphed the Crezta into a slight variation pairing which has yet to be released but I just wanted you to know that we at RRRB will still credit you for the design! The Crezta handles somewhat better than our beta-tester at the time expected but doesn’t go very fast and therefore isn’t my first choice for an intense fight. However its great for being a traffic car! Thumbs-up to @Aaron.W and the 80s Tanaka Crezta!


The First True Success: 1965-1970 Tanaka Aventis (AC01)

While they revealed their Satori, Haruto Tanaka was planning to make another car. The target is that he should not be proud to embarassed to drive it (because it looked small and it looked cheap according to him, but a necessary stepping stone to reach his target), it should be more spacious and it should look premium while being cheap. It should also be more fun to drive than the Satori. With those targets in mind, the designers and engineers would design a car that little do they know would become a success story. Again, they shared most of the parts like the electronics (for the radio, etc), engine parts and some suspension components from the Satori. However, there are some changes. Enter, the 1st generation Tanaka Aventis.

The 1st generation Aventis was introduced in the 1964 Tokyo Motor Show for the 1965 model year. This is Tanaka’s second car and their first RWD car. This car is categorized and taxed as a compact car in the Japanese market, meaning that its engine is under 1000cc. The AB10A1 is almost the same engine as the Satori’s engine, but it has an extra cylinder on it and some slight other changes. However, it no longer drives the car with a chain. Instead, power is delivered through a driveline, to the differential, to the axle and into the wheels. The drivetrain is basically all new. The chassis is also new. This is a RWD exclusive unibody chassis for the Aventis. The rear suspension is not a torsion beam (the Satori uses them!), but instead a semi trailing arm. Enough talking about the car as a whole, let’s talk about the trim levels.

Pics taken on 11 October 1965 in Tokyo by Akira Yatabe, a random bussinessman who managed to buy a 1965 Tanaka Aventis 1000 B as his first car and can apparently afford a camera…

This is 1000B, the base model of the Aventis. The AB10A1 engine produces 46HP and 53lb-ft of torque. It is connected to a 3 speed manual transmission and for the first time, a 3-speed TakaShift automatic transmission. The tires are 120mm wide and the rims are 13-inch steelies with steel hubcaps. There are drum brakes on all 4 corners of the car. The interior is made out of many plastics and cloth and it does not have a radio inside. Hydraulic power steering comes standard. The springs are now progressive across all trim levels. This version only weighs in at 797.2kg, which enables to get the Aventis to achieve 27.8mpg. It is also way faster than even the sportiest Satori, the 700S with a top speed of 90.3mph and an acceleration from 0-60mph in 25.2 seconds, though still painfully slow.

This is the 1000C. The changes from the 1000B includes chrome hubcaps and a basic AM radio. The extra weight increases its fuel consumption to 27.3mpg.

This is the 1100D. The D stands for Deluxe, which makes this the most luxurious version of the Aventis. Changes from the 1000C includes a 100cc increase for the engine which produces 52HP and 59lb-ft of torque as a result, a 4-speed manual transmission chrome steel wheels, standard vinyl seats and standard AM radio. It can achieve 26.5mpg and has a top speed of 94.8mph, the acceleration to 60mph is faster at 21.6 seconds.

The Birth of The Aventis Gazelle, Except Not Really… 1967-1970 1100DG and 1968-1970 1200DG-S

Well, this is the start of the Aventis Gazelle’s. While not explicitly named that, it is basically a sportier coupe version of the Aventis sedan.

For 1967, Tanaka launched the Aventis 1100DG as a the coupe version of the 1100D. Nothing changed except that its on a coupe body. Nothing really special for this one. However the real special version came in 1968 with the 1200DG-S. But in order to understand how this came to be, let’s go back to 1967 with this…

In that same year (1967), Tanaka decided that they were going to enter the rally stage. However, they need to have a homoligated car. They were going use the AB11A1 engine, but found out that the engine made too little horsepower. So, they created the AB12A1 R engine for the race car and the AB12A1 engine for the planned road-going version. They ditched the normal twin single barrel carburetors for the 4 barrel ones. They also made some little changes to the components. The rally cars participated in the 1968 Monte Carlo rally and other events in Europe. They got podium finishes and in order to celebrate it, they built this.

This is the Tanaka Aventis 1200DG-S, introduced in 1968 as a road-going version of the rally car. It uses the AB12A1 engine producing 67HP and 68lb-ft of torque. It is mated to a short ratio 4 speed manual transmission, allowing its acceleration to 60mph decrease to 14 seconds. The gearing does not prioritize fuel economy at all. The tires are now medium compound radial tires and has 14-inch sporty design rims. The brakes in the front are changed to bigger and better 1 piston disk brakes although the rear stayed as drum brakes. The interior is the same as the 1100DG but is equipped with a basic AM radio. The alignment is more cambered and it has the same rear sway bars as the rally cars. The ride height was also lowered. It now has a top speed of 105mph.

The Aventis was a huge success for Tanaka with over 40,000 sold in a year. This enabled Tanaka to expand to most parts of Asia and even reach Europe. With all the money its making, Tanaka decided to celebrate it by making something exotic, something exciting, something that is a dream. Stay tuned for the next car!


Power steering as standard in a 800 kg 60s car? That’s surely unexpected. I had a 90s 1000kg car with no power steering, and it wasn’t a big deal - even considering that I’m skinny and have only driven cars with power steering before.

I really like the design and the DG-S story. It’s all nicely detailed and realistic.


Thanks for you opinion! I think the 1000B and 1000C should not get power steering. Apparently I cannot think through right now after a whole day of e-learning in school. I’ll fix them sooner or later.


The Dream: 1967-1970 Tanaka C28X (CSO1)

Haruto Tanaka’s ultimate dream was to make the ideal sports car for the road. Before plans for the Satori was even conceived, Haruto started drawing the shapes of his ideal sports car, a long hood with a short cabin. Making a sports car was expensive. However, when the Satori started making profits, Haruto immediately asked his designers and engineers to make a car that would point Tanaka to an exciting direction. Development for the car has started. However, they don’t really have much money to develop it further. So they waited until the Aventis, which was a huge success. Once the money floods in, Tanaka decided to continue development for the sports car. It was codenamed “CX”. They used Tanaka Bikes’ ability of making great motorcycle engines and apply that to make the engine for the car. These cars were planned to be very small production hand-built sports cars. After years of development, they felt that they were ready to unveil it to the world.

Unveiled at the 1966 Tokyo Motor Show for the 1967 model year, the Tanaka C28X was the company’s first sports car. The C28X competed with the some of the best sports cars offered at that time. It shared little parts from other Tanaka models. The LR28DCOEA1 engine was developed by Tanaka bikes. It was a very robust and powerful engine making 205HP and 191lb-ft of torque, making it one of the most powerful Japanese production cars at the time. Only the best craftsmen in the company were handpicked to make the C28X.

This is the C28X Sport. It is equipped with the LR28DCOEA1 engine making 205HP and 191lb-ft of torque. It was paired to a 5-speed manual transmission. The tires were 200mm wide at the front and 220mm wide at the rear. The rims were 4 spokes magnesium rims to save weight. The brakes were 2 piston solid disk brakes at the front and 1 piston solid disk brakes in the rear. There was a semi-clad undertray to reduce drag (they were experimenting with it at the time). This trim was a 2-seater model. The interior is made up of premium quality leather with an equally premium AM radio system. This car weighs only 980kg, enabling it to accelerate from 0 to 60mph in only 6.91 seconds and had a top speed of 143mph. Back in the day, this car costs $5146, which in 2012 money is $35300.

The C28X GT was the most luxurious version. This version adds 2 more seats at the back, the optional 3-speed TakaShift automatic transmission, chrome steel wheels and a luxury AM radio. It now weighs 1074kg, making it slower than the Sport.

This car was very expensive. People didn’t buy them and Tanaka only ended up making only 480 of these for only 3 years. Only 100 of these were GT models and only 20 of them were automatic ones. While they sold terribly, Haruto Tanaka ended up making his dream a reality, and these cars only cemented Tanaka’s reputation as an exciting Japanese car company.

That’s it for Tanaka’s 60s lore. Stay tuned for the 70s lore!


While not being a great seller, I can imagine that the C28X did a great job in boosting the image of the Tanaka brand.