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Logo and slogan. (1998-present)
Yuro Motor Company Ltd (Japanese: ユロ自動車企業株式会社 Hepburn: Yuro Jidōsha Kōgyō KK) Is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation, and is known as a manufacturer of luxury and performance vehicles headquartered in Maebashi, Gunma, Japan. Founded by two former Honda employees in 1967, it has grown to be one of Japan’s biggest automakers despite also being one of the youngest.
Following Takumi Yukimura and Natsuki Rokuhara’s 1964 visit to a Jaguar assembly plant in the UK, and a test drive of a Jaguar E-type, a dream had been made in their minds, to create the ultimate automotive company like no other, manufacturing only the best, and the highest quality automobiles to roam the Earth.
This task would prove not easy for the two. However, with passion burning in their hearts, the two have decided on their plans and went for it. And so, the two worked hard at the recently established Honda Motor Company to try and gain experience, and after convincing other workers at Honda and with support from Soichiro Honda himself, their plans were set, and in 1967 the Yuro Motor Company was established. Starting out with only 15 people and some manufacturing equipment bought from Honda, things were rough, however they were passionate about what they wanted to do, and eventually in 1969, their first car would be unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show.
The Yuro A1600 is a 2-door, 4 seater performance luxury car that was unveiled at the 1969 Tokyo Motor show. Powered by a 1600cc Anhultz engine producing 80HP, this car gained the attention of the entire world for its stylish but compact looks and superb, fun handling.
The first prototype was built handmade within a year of the company’s founding, the chassis was built from the ground up by the 17 people in the company at that time. Suspension was reverse engineered and upscaled from the Honda S800.
The engine is a 1600cc inline 4 and was provided by Dutch company Anhultz Motors, and originally produced 75HP for the prototype.
The car went on sale in October 1970 for about US$4,000 (Roughly US$25,000 adjusted for inflation), the production car was even more refined than the prototype, the Anhultz engine produced 80 HP instead of 75, and the suspension was completely redesigned and built in-house. To send that 80 HP to the rear-wheels, the engine was mated to a 3-speed manual transmission, which had superb shift times and sent the car from 0-100km/h in 13.2 seconds. The interior is handmade with the finest cloth and leather from its time, which made a huge impression on buyers.
The A1600 was also one of the few cars during that time period to offer disc brakes on all fours, which improved handling and braking considerably compared to similar cars of its era, despite being rather revolutionary, they weren’t very reliable and were often swapped for aftermarket Drum brakes instead.
The car had 4 seats instead of the usual 2+2 layout featured on most other coupes of that time, meaning it was highly practical as well.
Sales were well, with 1,341 cars being sold until 1973 when production of the A1600 ended.
The A1600 was often exported to other RHD countries such as the United Kingdom and New Zealand, however these were never sold directly by Yuro internationally and were often grey-market imports.
Of the 1,341 cars built by the 17-man team within 3 years, 1,300 cars are known to survive. The car is highly sought after by collectors for it’s cultural and technological significance, and can often be seen selling at auctions for large amounts of money.
Yuro had also released a Special Edition of the A1600 in 1971, featuring a tuned engine producing 93HP, as well improved handling and comfort. The 4-speed manual was adjusted for better acceleration and could send the car from 0-60 in 12.2 seconds.
The car featured special Magnesium wheels which were handmade by Yuro during that time.
It also recieved a special paint job which was hand-painted by the people at Yuro during that time.
The Special Edition wasn’t very reliable, however, and most Special Edition A1600s often broke down and costed a fortune to repair as the engine had to be replaced entirely. The Magnesium wheels were also prone to breaking, as they weren’t made to the highest quality.
Yuro originally planned to make and sell 500 of them, but due to said reliability problems as well as manufacturing problems, only 100 were produced, and sold in Japan, about 30 cars were exported worldwide via the grey market.
To date, 74 Special Edition A1600s are confirmed by Yuro to currently exist worldwide, making them even more highly sought after by collectors than the Standard Edition, one of them being owned by famous collector Lay Jeno.
Rear end of the A1600.
Yuro A1600 Special Edition driving at night.
Yuro A1600 #34 owned by Lay Jeno, as featured in Lay Jeno’s Garage