Review (Part 1)
disclaimer: this ended up longer than i intended. so i can understand those who doesn’t want to read the whole 1st ‘level’ of reviews. and such :
There will be a ‘summary’ part after all the reviews are done and you can just read that
you’d have to wait after everything is done though
Only after about 5 minutes of random driving from the car dealer later they stumbled upon a boqliq dealer.
Kei: well this isn’t what I expected to come across first in japan. But would you think deserve a visit Rog?
Rog: of course, even though this is boqliq, we still want to know what are they offering here in japan.
Parking the car outside and walking into the dealer, the salesman turned around with vigor and started walking towards us and greeted us in Japanese, but as soon as he realized the person coming was 2 foreigners he instantly became visibly hesitant and probably a little nervous. Understandably, Rogi talked to him in Japanese asking for what they’re offering as a sport car over here, the salesman seemed to relax a little bit after hearing Rogi able to talk Japanese. This seems like it could be a reoccurring pattern.
We were shown quite a few cars, but this one caught our eye the most, the Katrina 2000GT. We asked the sales for a brochure and a complete spec sheet for the car. So he asked us to wait, and he walked towards a desk near the corner of the dealer, while waiting, we walked around the car inspecting the exterior styling.
- Kie: the styling really reminds me of the cars back home doesn’t it?
- Rog: yeah I get what you mean. It is seems like a mix of both American and the Japanese car styling that we’ve seen so far
- Kie: exactly. Not in a bad way though. It looks modern, but simple and still makes a statement.
- Rog: yeah, until you get around the back.
- Kie: what are you talki…walks to the back of the car oh…… well I mean, it’s not bad
- Rog: no, not at all, just a little bit inconsistent to the front of the car. I do like the rest of it though
the sales has came back and gave Rogi the papers, and the key to the car
- Rog: right, let’s see what’s inside. opens lock and opens left door oh wait, this side is the passenger seat. I’m gonna keep doing this mistake aren’t i?
- Kie: well, probably the both of us will. Let’s just get inside jumps in car
_at this point the sales starts saying all of the usual sales talk and explaining stuff to Rogi _
- Kievan asked the papers so he can, at least try to, read the Japanese brochure
- Kie: yeah I think I can interpret some of this. 2L i4, yeah the car name already assumed that, 121hp though, rather low for the displacement, 9.6km/l what’s that in MPG again? scribbles 22.5 MPG, damn it may not make much power, but it’s economical at least, just hope this car is lig… 1111kg eeeeehhh it is quite light compared to what we’re used to back home, but this is quite the smaller car. Macpherson strut on the front, and trailing arm on the rear for the suspension. Kinda weird they listed that specifically in English, or is it because it’s just a term?
- Rog: can you even read the sheets?
- Kie: oh you’re done? Well I can read most of the numbers at least.
- Rog: yeah okay here’s what get from him explaining to me. 5 speed manual, as you can see already, this thing points at the radio is a 8 track player and am/fm radio combo, there is no power steering on this car
- Kie: oh so that’s why the steering wheel is so damn big. I just hope they reduce the steering ratio enough though or else this is gonna be a chore to drive
- Rog: well we’ll see about that, maybe, there is ABS in this car though, and maybe if you somehow didn’t notice, another 2 seats behind us
- Kie: turns around yes I didn’t notice, full sizes seats too, but this is still a 2 door sport car, dunno how useful the rear seat is gonna be, for us at least, Japanese people seems to be a bit smaller.
- Rog: right, I think that’s as far as we want to go if we still want to see as much car as we can in this 2 week. We’ll decide on which to test drive later, you agree?
- Kie: you have a point. Let’s get moving then.
And so they thanked the really friendly but bit awkward salesman and asked if they can take a photo of the car, they got an approval, and so Kievan took a few and they walked out of the dealership
Optional Interlude 1
- Rog: so, how to find the next one?
- Kie: is that rhetorical or are you really asking me expecting me to know how to answer that?
- Rog: probably both. Though, I think we need a map. Both to remember where our hotels are and where we have travelled.
- Kie: How………. How did we even not even prepare for this? We are woefully underprepared aren’t we?
- Rog: Yup. Totally blinded by our dreams of seeing our paradise of sport automobiles.
- Kie: whatever, just, where do we get one around here?
- Rog: well I hope this works, you just wait in the car hands keys
- Kie: grabs the keys what are you planning this time?
- Rog: nothing big.
Then Rogi ran back inside the dealership, and he looks like he’s talking to the sales again, the sales seemed to point to a general direction, east of the storefront, Rogi ran back out and despite Kievan trying to call him and ask what he’s doing, he just keeps on running, out the dealership area, took a right, and then stopped in front of what seems to be a small makeshift street side newspaper ‘store’, one that Kievan didn’t even notice it was there. He bought something, not sure what, but Kievan sure hoped it’s a goddamn map. But it seems like he bought something, more than one. A stack of paper?
- Kie: what did you buy?
- Rog: lots, And lots of magazines, and a map. Man magazines over here are cheap.
- Kie: please explain why you did this?
- Rog: so apparently, grabs a magazine, open the car review page and shoved it to Kievan’s face you see here?
- Kie: see what? What am I supposed to be looking at here? other than that nice car picture on the page, I can’t understand a thing. Remember?
- Rog: oh right, sorry. Anyway, apparently is a thing, Japanese car magazines always lists the address of the headquarter or the main dealer of the car brand that they’re talking about for the release. So I bought a bunch of magazines just for the address of the cars that we might be interested in.
- Kie: that’s……… sounds waaaay too convenient to be real. Besides, can’t you just open the page and note the addresses down instead of buying all these mostly useless magazines?
- Rog: there you go with your usual cheapskate view again. C’mon man, the guy selling this looks like an old man that could use some business, plus these things are cheap over here, and they’d be a nice souvenir we could take back home.
- Kie: which only you can understand, and thus useless to me.
- Rog: well, go and learn some Japanese then. Maybe start this night when we’re done for the day? I can teach you the basics at least.
- Kie: nah, can’t be arsed.
- Rog: I’ll make you do it some time, but for now, fine, let’s just go
2) Dragotec Gladius (@Dragawn )
About 20 minutes of plotting the route on the map, another 20 minutes of driving to the general area, and another 20 minute of getting their spine slowly broken in by the piece of junk they’re riding in while going around, and around, and around the same place again, getting lost.
- Kie: THERE!
- Rog: where?
- Kie: just about 200m, 11 o’clock direction. I can see the dealer sign
- Rog: it’s about time man. how is a dealer building that big so hard to find?
- Kie: yeah, even the bilingual map didn’t help either
Parking the car in the corner of the dealership parking lot as not to attract too much unwanted attention of seeing 2 massive foreigners getting out of such a tiny car and walking insi…… just towards the entry door, a salesman ran out greeted them and opened the door for them. Unlike the previous dealership, the sales doesn’t seem even slightly fazed by the fact that his new potential customer are 2 foreigners.
Then Rogi does the talking to the sales, and Kievan starts taking out his notebook and started scribbling. A minute later they got pointed to this car shown slightly to the back of the showroom, and this was on display
- Kie: this is……
- Rog: Just
- Kie: Perfectly Japanese…… in a good way though. Very modern. Simple but really modern looking, dare I say even a little bit futuristic?
- Rog: I get what you mean, but I’m not sure about that, I don’t think we’ve looked at enough Japanese sport cars to really get their styling trend, maybe this really modern look is in these days over here?
- Kie: but the rear end, I kind of see a resemblance of an American car approach, but with a lot of Japanese touch to it
- Rog: ………. What? I see nothing of the sort. Anyway, wait a bit.
Rog asked the Salesman for the pape…… actually the moment he turned around to the sales, he’s offered the brochure and spec sheets along with price tag that he was going to ask. “is this what ‘japanese hospitality’ I’ve been hearing about is like?” he thought. They’re perspective, friendly, but not too pushy about selling the car, rather seems to like to be a friend that does casual chat about the car.
- Rog: hey, the car is unlocked he says, get in
- Kie: opens left door dammit, passenger side, see? It’s me this time
- Rog: you did say that before, anyway, just get in. sits on the driver side ooh. It’s pretty ploosh
- Kie: ploosh?
- Rog: oh yeah, it’s a family thing I use sometimes. An abbreviation of posh and plump. and I mean these seats. They feel sporty enough especially with these side bolsters, but also feels like a little bit too posh, like they’re a shared part of another car. Good, but not really fitting of a sports car
- Kie: I’d argue that, that comes down to preference, and maybe they’re aiming for this car to be a more daily drivable car
- Rog: good point, that is possible. We’d have to see how it does on the road, driving aids, suspension setup and such.
- Kie: yep, now how about while closing the door wait. That sounds a bit off. opens and closes door again yeah okay that’s not just me, I don’t think the door is made out of steel, or it is, but it’s made out of a new steel mix, or possibly just damn thin sheets. knocks on the door panel
- Sales: dat is Arumuninumu siru
- Kie: surprised at the sales unexpectedly talking to him WHAT NOW???
- Sales: kore points at door Arumuninumu
- Kie: glances at Rogi, silently begging for help because he can’t understand what the salesman is saying
- Rog: I think he meant Alumunium, as in the panels and the doors are not made out of steel but alumunium.
- Rogi to Sales in Kievan’s ears: blablablablaALUMUNIUMblablablablablablaDUSTKA?
- Sales : Hai nods
- Rog: yup he just confirmed it. Damn fancy for the price.
- Kie: agreed on that, and it doesn’t look like any corners were cut while doing that either.
- Rog: Anyway moving on from that. Lemme just read out the interesting stuff on the spec sheet.
- Rog: oh damn……. Damn…… really? Hmmm
- Kie: what? Tell me already, you goddamn tease, you know I don’t understand it.
- Rog: oh right, sorry, and I’ve told you to cut down on the swearing,
- Kie: SCREW YOU
- Rog : sigh anyway. This thing has double wishbone suspension front and back, 2.5L Single overhead cam Turbocharged Engine making 203hp, a surprisingly simple 4 speed manual though. Next up is the limited slip diff, optional, but it’s so cheap it’s a no brainer, ‘normal’ 8 track player here, just 2 seats sadly, but has variable speed steering and ABS. this thing is packed to the brim with technology man
Glancing Kievan, Rogi discovered that his head is now as deep as humanly possible buried in his neck, with eyes open wide like he just saw something impossible happened in front of him and is now frozen still looking at his general direction….
- Kie: ……………
- Rog: …….Kie?
- Kie: ……… what was the price again??
- Rog: in our currency it’s 16k or so based on my rough calculation
- Kie: ……16??? how……. How are we not getting half these features in cars costing double or more than this car does back home??? What kind witches are they employing in their factories? Or is the American car industry just THAT massively behind?
- Rog: I have no answer to that. But. I think it’s time for us to move on.
They get out of the car, thanked the salesman, and proceeds to walk out. That is until kievan realized he hadn’t took any picture of the car and ran back inside. Some really broken English, and a lot of hand gestures later, he can be seen taking just a couple of pictures of the car and then getting back out again.
Optional Interlude 2
- Kie: this has been an exhausting morning and we’re overdue for lunch. You got something in mind?
- Rog: of course. We’re in japan. Sushi! And also let’s add this challenge to our trip. Japanese foods only. I mean while we’re here, might as well experience everything this place has to offer, right?
- Kie: ……. You like my surprised face don’t you?
- Rog: ……. no comment.
- Some banter and a whole load of sushi later. They can be found on the parking lot of the next dealer’s parking lot
3) Mat-sushi-ta Crista RS12 18 (@conan )
- Kie: NO. PLEASE. DON’T SERVE ME ANOTHER SUSHI, I’VE STOPPED ALREADY DON’T MAKE ME DOWN ANOTHER BARREL OF SUSHI AGAIN!
- Rog: ……………………did you really lost your mind over some sushi?
- Kie: I TELL YOU MAN, the cook must have slipped some drug in there or something, I just can’t fucking stop eating it. I couldn’t control myself.
- Rog: yeah well this car in front of us isn’t a food…… nor does it resembles one, rather looks shiny metallic, as is the paint shown to us here.
Here they are in the Matsushita dealership, in front of the Crista RS12 18.
- Kie: The name just Rolls off the tongue really nice is and totally isn’t confusing isn’t it? Nope. Not at all
- Rog: well, we’ve heard or well, tried to pronounced worse before. But I do agree even the germans and their code………… actually I take it back, they’re both just as confusing. Anyway. Visually. What do you think?
- Kie: well, honestly. It’s really good looking to the point I can’t really comment much about how they styled it. Except for one thing…… it is not sporty looking. It looks more like an executive car
- Rog: well I think it’s….
- Kie: SHOOSH. Your opinion doesn’t matter to me. At least not after you decided that we have to get some drugged sushi(s). also. I’m picking the next meal. Moving on. The interior.
The both of them proceeds to right door, and instantly realizing the other was doing the same thing
- Rog: nope, I’m sitting on the driver seat, you go the other side.
- Kie: pfft whatever. goes to the left door
- Rog: ooh, again, similar to the last car. Ploosh
- Kie: hmmmm. starts to move around massively in the car
- Rog: just what exactly are you doing? You’re embarrassing us here.
- Kie: I’m trying to figure out is the suspension is really that soft, because as I saw you getting in the car, the car did move a little bit. Well as I learned, it’s not really the case. Kinda. It is somewhat soft though.
- Rog: you really are weird. Anyway, again, to the spec sheet. Let me see. This one isn’t as tech packed as the last car we saw, but as you can feel already, I’d think, instead they put some extra time and care to the quality. Similar tech on the engine, but it’s a 2L i4, and it’s a reasonable 132hp with turbo, that seems low. But then again the economy is rather impressive 10.7km/l or uh… just a sec
- Kie: 25mpg-ish. See? I think either the sales misunderstood you, or they don’t have a specific sport car model. Anything more than ‘acceptable’ fuel economy should have just been turned into power. I bet that turbo must be tuned for efficiency instead of power. Turbo lag for not much power
Rog: how are you so fast to jump to conclusions? Remember this is the Japanese, we shouldn’t judge them based on our standard because we’re used to everything american. Open your mind man. I say wait until the test drive to make up your mind. Maybe something else would blow your mind. Again. Also they have the price going for them. It’s quite a bit cheaper than the previous ones.
- Kie: okay fair enough, but the car is not off to a great start in my eyes. Where the hell is the salesman anyway? This is the first car we’ve gone through without a sales right beside us all the time.
- Rog: well as you can see…. This dealer has quite a few “potential customers” and they seem like they’re a bit understaffed. Well at least, when one of them gave me the papers he also gave me 2 small bottled green tea and a pack of nuts for the each of us for being unable to serve us he said
- Kie: ‘japanese hospitality’ huh. Well let’s just go to our next one.
The moment both of them reached the doors every single staffed yelled uniformly at them
Sales: ARIGATOU GOZAIMASU
- Kie: GAH. What!? Oh. That’s their greetings? Is that normal? Gave me one hell of a scare
- Rog: me too. But from the places that we have been, it seems like a lot of them does that doesn’t it?
- Kie: yes, that sushi place did that too, but only the staff near the door did it. This is on a different level. Kinda amazing somehow.
- Rog: you know what actually is amazing? Our piece of junk we call car, it was almost abandoned and it ran just fine apart from the occasional backfire the whole day, and our luck of not seeing a single police yet.
- Kie: ……careful now… you’re gonna jinx us
- Rog: huh, I never knew you’re the kind of guy that’d believe that kind of thing turning the keys to start
- Kie: what are you doing? Start it and let’s go
- Rog: ……… glances at Kievan ……. I think I jinxed us
- Kie: you mean you did tried to turn the key and then nothing?
- Rogi nods
- Kie: Isn’t that great?
Optional Interlude 3
After getting a jump start from another car owned by someone also getting out from the Mitsushita dealership the car ran again
- Kie: Hey Rogi… why did we need a jump start again?
- Rog: what do you mean why? The battery died.
- Kie: yeah but… this is an old fashioned 100% mechanical car with no electronics except for the spark plugs and the lights
- Rog: just get to the point already.
- Kie: this thing probably weighs less than our full sized American fridge back home. Why did we spend 15 minutes trying to get a jump start when I could push the car with just 1 hand and simply do a push start?
- Rog: ………………………………………
- Kie: ………………………………… we’re dumb
- Rog:……………………………. What’s the next dealer again?
- Kie: Jaste-something I can’t remember. But I will remember the need for a push start anytime that happens again though
- And then they drove in silence all the way to the next dealer
4) Zasteros Satori S (@yurimacs)
Coming in to the weird dealer that was located on the end of an almost barren street. Stepping out the car. Someone can be seen walking towards them
- Kie: you really sure this is the place? I feel unsafe here. You said before this was from a magazine? What kind of magazine, or on what section of the magazine was it from?
- Rog: I dunno, I just noted down all the addresses I could find out of the magazine and didn’t actually read the articles
- Kie: well, at least the place does look like it’s a modern dealer, that has cars in them.
By this time the salesman has come too close for them to pull out again, so they just stood up and see what has they got to offer
The usual, talking to the sales. Then he showed us the way to……………hell is this?
- Kie: ……………. should I be blunt?
- Rog: just write everything on your note and take a few pictures.
- Kie: But I’m still gonna say this. This may be just me, no I’m VERY sure it is just me but the front end looks like a stretched the screaming painting thing. You know that painting right?
Rog: yes, and yes it’s just you.
Kie: and I don’t have a single word for the rear.
- Not a single theme, everything seems random, nothing is cohesive with each other. Square headlights. Oval front lower vents. Square-ish middle grill. Circular taillight, rectangular side indicator, rear grille for whatever reason, square door handle, massive oversized mufflers so high up it could fog up someone else’s front windshield on traffic in cold weather.
- Front brakes with only a single piston caliper with TIIIIIINY disc. I don’t even want to imagine how the brake works, or failing to. How did that even pass the vehicle regulation test or something or the sort?
- Fully covered under cladding, complete and absolute waste of money. Nothing but the highest level of supercar could even remotely go that fast to take full advantage of it. At least for now in 1985. It’d just get removed in real world anyway because added weight, and making access to service much harder for no real benefit
- Even when putting aside mechanical ‘quirky’ness. One does not dream and put a poster up of a Lamborghini Countach because of it’s “EXCELLENT VISIBILITY”, or “AMAZING RADIO UNIT”. Simply, one buys supercar and to that extend, a sport car, because the car invokes emotion. Which this car has failed to do to me in every single step.
Kie: okay I’m done here. How about you?
Rog: you know. The ugly decisions part is really apparent here. But is less apparent is everything underneath it?
Kie: of course it’s not apparent. It’s covered by some damn annoying under cladding
Rog: nononono, not literally under the car. As in, the basic engineering of the car. it’s an FR layout, not a silly FF for one. The quality of most things are acceptable. The engine is a reasonable 3.2L i6 with twin cams. It has LSD as standard, dunno how good it is, but it’s a thing that’s available. Sound to me like someone took over the project which was okay halfway through and wanted to change everything too far, with no direction, and end up being this…. Seemingly horrible thingy, but whatever it does have, it looks like it was made with some quality….
Kie: no, not seemingly. It’s an abomination. Who cares what went on in the background? We see, want, and use the end product. And the end product is horrible no matter what happened before it.
Rog: sigh okay. It’s also getting late and it’s been a long day, I get why you’d be grumpy
Kie: what? I’m not grumpy
Rog: let’s just go back to the inn now
Kievan just walked away from the car, Rogi thanked the sales and followed him soon after. Before the got in the car, they pulled out the map and finally realized
Optional Interlude 4
- Kie: how the heck are we going to get back. Where are we now even?
- Rog: you see. I’m smart, and I actually marked where we have been all this time. This is where we started, this was the Boqliq dealer, then here, to the Dragotec, the sushi place was around here, then we continued on to Mitsushita, and this is where we……are……now. fuck.
- Kie: OH? It’s rare for you to curse. Just to make it clear. What is it exactly?
- Rog: you see where we are now? And the distance to the inn? And what time it is now?
- Kie: yes, yeah we’ve gone quite far, and after matching my watch to the clock back at the airport, it should be about 5:50pm.
- Rog: well for one, is rush hour a thing? If yes, how bad is it here? What about the police? We don’t have a license to drive, you remember? Even if no…… we’re going to spend how long on that car in a single trip
- Kie: oh…… right………
To Be Continued……………