[LHC] - Letara History Challenge - Rd 5 [Results being posted]

New Company Registration:

Hikaru Heavy Industries (光 株 式 会 社 Hikaru Kabushiki Gaisha)

Country of Origin - Japan

Sub-Brands - None

A bit of lore for anyone that cares:

Hikaru Heavy Industries was founded in Sapporo, Hokkaido in 1958 by a 25 year old Kaicho (title) Yuiichi Hikaru out of a small garage his family ran. The company spent its early days gathering influence in the region, setting up relationships with resource providers and of course having a few talks with their local government wing about providing financial support.

It was only in 1964 that they released their first car, a small economy coupe. Seeing around him the trend among Japanese car makers of giving their cars Western names, the Kaicho decided he’d spit in their faces and give his car a quintessentially Japanese name, one that held spirit and had a bit of kick to it.

On that day, the Hikaru Katana BCT V1 was born.

Hikaru would hit relatively immediate success not only in Hokkaido but in the surrounding prefectures with their car, for it was said to have a good blend of economy and fun, a surprising statement given how anemic the engine was at that point.

They’d begin reaching into the family segment, and as the 70s began, they had even started to become serious with their utility vehicles too, developing a ute. Through this expansion, they gained immense expertise in appealing to a distinctly Japanese consumer base.

With all this in mind, you’d think that the Kaicho still had his sights firmly set on the big leagues, but his heart was still set on one thing. As the world entered the 80s, a thought had begun to spring in the Kaicho’s mind. Could his golden child, the ever-loved Katana series be loved by anyone outside of Japan? It was an ambitious goal, to say the least, but it was one he was willing to strive for.

In his eyes, the greatest challenge would be sellling his golden child in Letara, a market famous for cut-throat lobbyists and stringent regulations, far removed from Japan’s relatively lax attitudes. He couldn’t convert the current 1980 model year Katana for the Letaran market, but could he do it with the next generation? He set to work, working late nights, determined. Would he manage it? It was in the hands of God to decide.


1984, in an alleyway outside a Hikaru Dealership just outside Sapporo…

Customer: I am allowed to be hearing this, right? This isn’t secret internal info, is it?

Dealer Representative: Well, it’s different between longtime friends, right? Well, do you want to hear it?

Customer: Yeah, go on!

Dealer Rep. : Okay, so we’ve been hearing about Hikaru’s new car right, the Katana. Turns out they’re thinking of sending it outside of the homeland… they’re going to be trying their luck in Letara of all places!

Customer: No way. No-one over there would buy it! Doesn’t everyone in Letara want big hungry V-shape engines? I swear, you work for some pretty strange people.

Dealership Rep. : Well, that’s not all the news, I have a photograph of the car. It’s really bad because I didn’t have time to adjust the exposure before I took it, but i’m sure you can guess what she’ll look like, right? Hikaru’s a bit of a one-trick pony in that regard…

Customer: Stop rambling and show me! Really keeping me on edge here…

Dealership Rep. : Here you go then…

The all-new Hikaru Katana, coming to Letara in 1985!

Hikaru - Performance made simple.



The fourth generation of this sporty premium midsize car breaks with all previous generations. Front-wheel drive. A styling dictated by the laws of physics. More standard features (the 180 GL already comes with four power windows as well as ABS) and maximum efficiency.
Not more than four cylinders turn this spacious car into a hot machine (if you opt for a 200 model, but the 180 already offers impressive performance for how lean on fuel it is)!

The 180 GL is the car you get to know when you take part in the ADVANCED DRIVER PROGRAM sponsored by Primus for the Letaran ministry of traffic and transport. It aims at all that have a license, but are not experienced behind the wheel and wish to be trained for emergency situations. Beginners, elders and women are strongly encouraged to call for more information. Please note: This program is limited until december 30, 1987, but with the almost three-year span, you will get a chance if you wish.

Professional race drivers might be not in need of this unique program. Primus also introduces the 1985 Ares - if Letaran racing returns to old glory, this will surely be our choice for a works team.

Well, and you already know this one. I only turned it visually into a Letara-Spec model. that´s it.



Some lore on Hikaru's entrance into the Letaran Market

Even considering Hikaru’s complete lack of expertise in the field of foreign marketing, in early 1985, they made their first foray into the foreign market. Filled with pride and with an aim to show Letara the best of what their company had to offer, they decided to only sell the Japan-wide success that was the Hikaru Katana Series at first until they had a foothold in the market. They would indeed have to pay the 20% import tax on a car that was already inching over budget, alongside needing to pay fines due to the lack of a speed limiter on the car, but those were tradeoffs that they were willing to take. They’d just have to let the car speak for itself, and see how it did on its own merits.

Introducing the 1985 Hikaru Katana BCT V5

An all-new coupe ready to take on whatever is thrown at it, from bad weather, to poor maintenance, this car is designed to be a cinch to own. With a hardy 1.7L 16V SOHC I4 producing over 110HP propelling a body weighing only 820KGS, it’s no slouch either, getting to 100KPH in just 7.7 seconds, and going on to reach a projected top speed of almost 210KPH. With this performance, you’d expect the car to be a bit painful to drive everyday, but the Katana is here to change that perception of sports cars. With a fuel economy rating of 33.0 UK MPG, it can easily whisk you around town whilst not breaking the bank. Alongside this, the car features fully independent all-around double wishbone suspension, tuned meticulously to offer the perfect blend of a comfortable and sporty feeling. This is all crafted with a highly advanced auto-reversing and logic-controlled cassette deck with Dolby sound, alongside a full equaliser panel.

For all of the sports lovers out there, the Katana comes standard with a five speed manual and FWD for excellent acceleration and cornering. With low-speed cornering grip being 9.48Gs and high-speed cornering grip being 9.33Gs, you can definitely expect to have a fun time driving if you’re in the mood to throw it around a bit.

Of course, the car comes fitted with all the required safety equipment recommended by the Letaran Automotive Safety Commission, featuring side airbags and seatbelts all around. It’s engine is WES-8 capable, ensuring that the car is very much future-proofed, perfect when combined with its trademark Japanese reliability.

With all of this in mind, is there any reason not to go to your local import specialist today and order one of our new Hikaru Katanas?

And now a message from our Kaicho, Yuiichi Hikaru:

“From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank you for allowing our cars on your shores, and we hope that they can make a positive impact on your market. みなさん、ありがとうございます. (Minasan, arigatou gozaimasu).”

Hikaru - Performance made simple.


And the second trim, the 1985 Hikaru Katana BST V4

With the same basic chassis as the Katana BCT V5, this next-generation sedan is ready to take Letara by storm, bringing comfort and fuel economy to the masses. Weighing in at 895KGs with four and a half seats, it can fit the whole family. It sports a bulletproof 1.6L 8V SOHC motor producing a healthy 74HP, just enough to keep the car going at a nice sporty pace whenever you need it. It sports the same suspension as the BCT, but has been retuned for maximum comfort and drivability, alongside a premium interior with an upgraded cassette deck.

It holds the same safety equipment as the BCT, but it is built tougher, perfect for keeping your family safe in accidents.

Hikaru - Performance made simple.


Mara Goes Letara, Ep. 5-3: … something to sell…

Previous post

January 16th, 1984

With not the most enthusiastic of moods, Rodyn Gumprov, Mara’s Comrade Director of Engineering (CDE), entered the office of his superior, Roman Smit, Mara’s Comrade Executive Director (CED) on this chilly Monday morning.

Inna Horyova, the Comrade Director of Letaran Operations was already seated in front of Roman’s desk, having been ordered to fly in from Letara for a week to take part in a series of meetings.

Planning the next round of Letara offerings

Roman had been appointed CED by the Archanan State Planning Commission two years earlier and had been the first non-engineer in the role, unlike his two predecessors Henri Nordhov and Fedor Piechov, and it had shown in a much more controlled (and controlling) approach to company leadership since then.

“Good morning, Comrade Rodyn.” Roman was his usual composed self and pointed towards the empty seat in front of his desk, next to Inna. While he took a seat, Rodyn exchanged a glance with Inna, as they both were curious what Roman had in store for them.

Starting with the previous year, the in-depth review and discussion of foreign sales and operations had been taken off the agenda of the quarterly boardroom meetings which were now almost exclusively focused on domestic operations, a simple report of foreign sales figures being the exception.

Roman continued. “As you may have guessed, this meeting is about the future of our Letaran operations. While I personally remain skeptical about the strategic purpose, things work well enough operationally that we will maintain the assembly plant for the time being.”

He made a brief dramatic pause, allowing Inna and Rodyn to exchange a relieved glance.

“Comrade Inna, I expect continuing quarterly reports, to cover assembly, sales and the state of the workers. I also agree that we should consider refreshing our offering there. How about the Kanyon off-roader?”

Inna thought for a bit. “There is no real large off-road market over there. The van version, the Yak, might work perhaps? But that’ll only utilize one of our assembly lines over there, and I don’t think demand will be strong enough for two or even three lines.”

“How about we keep the Irena then?”

Inna replied again. “Especially with the odd classification as city car - and being at the upper end of that segment - I don’t think it will be very competitive in the future.” She didn’t add that the model was now in production essentially unchanged for almost ten years, even with a minor recent facelift - which was mainly to update factory tooling, and comply with Fruinian emission standards.

“So… larger or smaller?”

Rodyn chimed in. “I think our large Kavaler would also be at a disadvantage, given the preferences of the Letarans. So, maybe we should go smaller: the new Zora.” As with Inna, he didn’t mention that the same model of Kavaler was now beyond the ten year mark in production with hardly any change, and now severely overdue for a refresh.

Inna added: “If we put the Zora on the Letaran passenger car market, it has to be the 5-door. They seem to value practicality, even in the smallest of cars. And the Zora van might also be well received, at least it’s worth a try.”

Roman frowned. “So an additional 3-door option would be futile?”

“Probably, based on what I’ve seen with the 3-door SSE Irena. There do not seem to be many singles or couples without plans for kids in Letara who would not need or want a pair of rear doors. While we have the capacity to assemble three different variants, I don’t think having a 3-door Zora in addition to the a 5-door would bring us any benefit. The price difference also wouldn’t matter for sure.”

“That’s the entirety of the Zora line-up, correct?”

Rodyn nodded. “Yes, 3-door, 5-door and panel van.”

Roman nodded in return and started making some notes.

“Thanks, Comrades. Then we go for the Zora for Letara for the next years. 5-door and panel van.”

With a slight gesture, Roman signalled the conclusion of the meeting and Inna and Rodyn made their way towards of the door…


Mara Goes Letara, Ep. 5-4: … something to modify…

Previous post

After the conclusion of their meeting with Roman, Inna and Rodyn walk back to the latter’s office.

“Is it just me or has everything become an uphill battle?” wonders Inna after she has made sure that noone else was in earshot.

“Tell me about it”, Rodyn grumbles. “And at least you’ll go back to Letara soon while I have this basically every day. Our two main sellers basically unchanged for ten years, and the main reason that finally gets a facelift through is worn out factory tooling…”

Detailed planning to prepare the Zora for Letara

Once they arrive in Rodyn’s office, they sit down at his desk.

“So, tell me, what are the current Letaran regulations to get new market entrants certified for the market?”

“Good thing Roman hasn’t asked - or even thought - about that.” Inna smirks. “First, they require WES 6 emission standards and a catalytic converter.”

“No problem, Fruinia is actually more strict, and the Zora sells quite well there.”

Inna continues. “We might have to check for some safety stuff, and they want rear amber blinking side markers.”

Rodyn frowns but nods. “Probably some rewiring for you to do, and the glass shouldn’t be a big deal.”

“And the strangest thing for last: ABS is mandatory.”

Rodyn looks up. “Sorry… what’s that?”

“Anti-lock braking system. You’ve never heard of it?” Inna doesn’t have to feign her surprise.

Rodyn shakes his head. “I’ve heard of the concept, yes. But it’s nothing we have even considered, let alone for a city car that’s supposed to be on sale in a year. How do they assess it?”

Inna had to ponder this question for a moment. “I think they both want to see the design specs and then they test the ABS for functionality on dry and wet surfaces.”

For a moment, Rodyn stares blankly at Inna, going through the implications of such a technology for car engineering. “So this has to be done properly…”

“One thing that may help us…”, Inna starts again. “We are not the only ones caught out by that, and there has opened up a small industry in Letara selling ABS aftermarket kits since the legislation was passed. Apparently by far not as good as ‘properly’ engineered ABS systems of course, but enough to at least pass the certification tests… usually. They are not trivial to integrate when the car hasn’t been designed around ABS, but not impossible either.”

Rodyn gets up and starts pacing around the room. “It has to be cost efficient, and without you having to reengineer the entire braking assembly when you put together the Zora CKD kits plus the aftermarket ABS…”

“On the other hand, everyone has to do it”, Inna interjects. “So the effort balances itself out. And otherwise… you start to sound like Roman.”

Rodyn stops in his pacing tracks and looks at Inna with mock anger. “True.” He resumes pacing. “It’s probably best you get me a few of those kits as quickly as possible and I have one of my engineers run some tests. Might even help out myself. Finally something interesting!” Rodyn pauses. “Any other surprises?”

“They want to have two wing mirrors - but the Zora top trims have that, right? That’s it, basically. Leaves only the ‘waste’ of our third assembly line in our Letaran plant. Don’t think either the five door or the panel van would generate sufficient interest for two full lines instead of one.”

“Maybe we can think of something else then… But first, let’s get the ABS thing sorted!”


Mara Goes Letara, Ep. 5-5: … something special…

Previous post

8th October 1984
Main building, Mara main factory grounds, just outside the town of Mara, Archana

Inna Horyova - who has flown in from Letara for the first time since the beginning of the year - makes her way to the corner of the big engineering hall where a few development and testing engineers are working on the final Zora prototypes for Letara with ABS. Various parts and tools are scattered around on the floor.

Inna catches Rodyn standing next to one of the big desks on the side of the hall together with one of his lead engineers, Vitalii Zhmesky. “How’s the progress on the ABS kits going?” she asks after greeting both men.

Discussing progress and an option for a 3rd Zora trim

Rodyn looks to Vitalii who answers after a short pause. “Okay… I guess”, he mutters. “Some of these aftermarket kits are genius in some parts and a hair-raising kludge in others. Good enough to pass the certification tests if tuned well right before… if they don’t test too much, if you know what I mean.” Vitalii looks back to Rodyn.

“All I can say is that we’ll have something by the end of the year that we can certify and sell over there, and be reasonably sure that even a failing or malfunctioning system wouldn’t make things worse than no system at all. We also have to train our mechanics over there so that they know how to fix these. They sure won’t increase our reliability scores…”

Inna nods. “I guess that will affect everyone, more or less, so I don’t think this’ll be a huge deal.” She pauses for a second. “I had a thought the other day about what we could do for our third assembly line… and this is a question you might not like at all.”

Rodyn and Vitalii braces themselves visibly.

“How difficult would it be to convert the 3-door into a convertible - cut the roof off, you know?”

“Cutting the roof off?” Rodyn tries - and fails - to keep his voice down. “Making a convertible is more than cutting the roof off! You need a lot of extra work to keep the whole thing from flexing, let alone developing the convertible top material and mechanism.”

“Especially since we spent quite some time to keep the whole thing quite light, you know”, adds Vitalii.

They are suddenly joined by two of the engineers - a middle-aged man and a woman - who were working on the Zora. Inna is not immediately familiar with them, but they look like twins to her.

“We couldn’t help but overhear…”, the woman begins unapologetically. “… but we may know someone who knows something about building convertibles.”

Rodyn reads Inna’s confusion right. “May I introduce, Anya and Andriy Mayster, children of Andriy Mayster Sr. The Mayster.”

“Your father built the sports car?” Inna beams. “It was a rare sight, but I loved seeing a… Triumf, right? Before I went over to Letara full-time, at least. How is your father doing?”

“Alright, semi-retired, you could say”, answers Andriy Jr. “He never officially stopped building Triumfs, but I don’t think much happens these days in the workshop over at the other side of the lake near Glensk. Actually been a while since I was last there.”

“I know Dad keeps some of his old mechanics - and friends - on the payroll, for the occasional maintenance work. Everyone who has a Triumf wants to keep them alive.” Anya adds. “I am sure they won’t mind some bonus work, such as cutting the roof off of a 3-door Zora and doing some other things to it…”

Rodyn turns towards Inna again. “You think those would sell?” he wonders.

“It’s worth a try. Letara has very nice weather almost the year round, and we’ll almost certainly be the cheapest convertible option. Not going to be the biggest seller, but something special and unique for sure. Maybe we’ll even define a new market niche?”

Rodyn looks between Vitalii, Inna and Anya and Andriy and pictures how a 3-door Zora might look without a roof.

The base 3-door Zora hatchback, still with a roof

"There is no way we could run this on our premises here under the current circumstances. But if a Zora 3-door appeared over at the Mayster workshop… " He shrugs. “And I am sure there are ways to reimburse the folks over their for their expenses without anyone here easily noticing.”

Vitalii agrees. “It’s certainly a way out of the current restrictions, as long as we keep it low-key. We’d simply put any extra parts into the CKDs and you have to assemble everything anyway over there. No reason why you couldn’t also remove things, such as the roof.”

Rodyn looks at the Mayster twins. “Meet me in my office on Friday at 4pm. We can then discuss the next steps. Until then…” He points at the Zora ABS prototypes.

“Yes, comrade.” The way Anya turns around on her heels makes it look that she had to suppress a mock salute. Andriy follows her and they both get back to work.

The remaining three exchange amused glances.

Rodyn walks away with Inna. “So now it looks like I’ll be running a skunkworks with the Maysters, and that as Comrade Director of Engineering in my own company.”

“How far we’ve come…”, mutters Inna.

“You know what, I’ve never imagined that I’ll be looking forward to my upcoming retirement. But at the moment it’s only stuff like this that keeps me from pulling the pin a few years early. And I suspect Roman wouldn’t mind at all…”


I appreciate reading tidbits of Archanan lore, as it’s giving me ideas for the ongoing FC1 story.


Mara Goes Letara, Ep. 5-6: … something open…

Previous post

November 3th, 1984
Mayster Avto Manufaktura Workshop, near Glensk, Archana

Andriy and Anya Mayster, two of Mara’s development engineers, open up the garage door to their father’s dormant workshop where the Mayster Triumf sportscar has been built since the early 1960s. They have gotten the keys from her father earlier that day.

Regular Triumf car production in the workshop has stopped as her father semi-retired a couple of years ago. Since then, the workshop has been mostly unused, but someone has apparently kept the surroundings quite neat. One side still had some machinery and tools set up, potentially for servicing a single Mayster Triumf at a time.

Anya and Andriy look around. “It hasn’t changed much since I have last been here. But odd seeing it so empty”, states the latter.

Getting ready for a Zora convertible conversion... and how could it look like?

“At least we’d have ample empty space to work on things here.”

Andriy makes his way towards the tools arranged nearly on the wall. “Some of the tooling looks quite worn out, but overall all should still be useable.”

“And there are more tools in a big box here.”

Through the still open garage door, Anya signals Vitalii Zhmesky who has arrived in the meantime with a 3-door Zora as well and was waiting outside to drive in. She can see that there are a fair bit more of tools and parts in the back, all useful for a convertible conversion.

Vitalii gets out of the car holding a stack of papers and plans. “Here are some first sketches of what needs to be built, including some extra safety for rollover protection. Did the Triumf ever get a rollover hoop, by the way?”

Anya has a look over the plans and drawings. Instead of answering the question, she comments. “I’ll also see whether I can get some extra engine power for all the added weight to strengthen the chassis.”

“How much more do you think you can get out of the old iron lump?” wonders Andriy.

She shrugs. “The current 33 kW were engineered on the cheap, intake and all. Without going totally overboard… 40 kW? Perhaps a bit more? The old lump has more left in it than you might think.”

Together, the three start preparing a separate space in the workshop for the convertible prototype conversion and await the arrival of some of the old Mayster mechanics, most semi-retired as well.

Among the papers that Vitalii placed on a unused table on the side, is a pencil drawing of how a convertible Zora could look like.


Mara Goes Letara, Ep. 5-8:… something off-road…

Previous post

12th May 1990
Lerance Convention Centre, Letara

Rodyn Gumprov, former (and recently un-retired) Comrade Director of Engineering for Mara, strolls through the 1990 Letara Transportation Show to make his way to the Mara exhibition area and to take a look at the most recent developments of the competition in the process.

The show’s motto “The Road Offtrack” resonates well with him, given that his home country has left its ‘main track’ of over 40 years only a couple months ago, gone ‘off-track’ for a couple of weeks, until rejoining a new ‘main track’ that was more in-line with the track followed by the other countries on its continent and the world.

Mara at the beginning of the 1990s

As quickly as the established structures of his home country had dissolved and reemerged in a new guise without too much upheaval, as quickly and fundamental had been the changes to his former (and now again current) employer. The politically backed former Comrade Executive Director was gone and replaced by the former Comrade Director of Mara’s Fruinian operations, Klavdija Hechova-Rossi. Her first order of business was to rename the position to Chief Executive Director to reflect the changes, but retain the established acronym.

After taking stock of the existing model line-up, the new CED had initiated a two-tier crash revitalisation programme: First, the existing models were to receive a rapid facelift to make them compliant to the newly opened Gasmean and Hetvesian markets as quickly as possible. Second, a series of new mid-term development programmes were to follow to eventually replace three of the four main sellers, with the Kanyon family slated to stay in production for a couple of years longer. These programmes were funded by substantial loans as well as other funds that surreptitiously appeared within the company once the constraints of the planned economy mechanisms had disappeared.

Since the existing engineering leadership talent in the company had been too scarce to oversee four simultaneous facelift engineering programmes (and all capable engineers were needed on the ground to actually do the work anyway), Klavdija had asked Rodyn whether he wanted to come out of retirement to oversee the quick-fire facelift of the Kanyon, and perhaps mentor some more junior engineers alongside.

While it was odd working under his previous subordinate, Vitalii Zhmesky, who had succeeded him as CDE - now called Chief Development Engineer instead of the Comrade Director of Engineering - Rodyn nonetheless had enjoyed the past months where funds were generally available (within reason at least) and the default answer to ‘can we?’ seemed to be ‘yes’ instead of ‘no’ (or ‘I don’t care’) as was common in Rodyns final years. Now he is looking forward to seeing the outcome of their work at the Mara stand.

As he approaches the stand, he can see the new Director of Letaran Operations, Nina Vaskova, in conversation together with Inna Horyova, her predecessor who had retired two years after Rodyn. But before he joins them, he takes some time to have a good look at the facelifted Kanyon, Bizon and Yak on display and wonders what the future on this new track will bring for him, his company and his fellow countrymen.

For the image, have a look at the Letara Transportation Show thread


A quick reminder that the deadline is a little less than a week away!

Happy Holidays!

Thanks a bunch to @cake_ape for running LHC all this time. It’s been so long since the last round, but I’m still excited for the next one. Hope to see a bunch of familiar faces for the penultimate next Letara History Challenge round! Happy holidays, and good luck to everyone!

edited to fix dumb

Do rear seats count as said “creature comforts”, if the stock car (usually, “homologation special” aside) has them? Double checking so I don’t wreck myself early.
Bonus question - I don’t see any ruling on driving aids, or am I blind? (cue turning point meme…)

The Swanson entry, if they can make sure it's legal

1 Like


Considering a rather large update just dropped that makes changes to emissions and tire grip calculations, among other smaller changes, I will allow everyone who has submitted their cars to re-submit this one time if they feel that they have been changed too much.


I am still testing the update and yes, I am considering an extension of the deadline as the changes may need a bit of work on most cars.

Re the racing tire choice, I will stick with road legal tires (not the new race tires). But I am considering making the cut-off time a bit slower in light that semi-slicks are not available anymore.

Stay tuned.

is anyone even going to read this? I guess I'll just put a spaceship here (_)(_)=====D~~

Planar History Files: Cruising through oblivion.

Planar since Round 4
Planar hadn't had as much success with the SM40 Danazine as they'd hoped, with disappointing sales of the SM40 F6, and even more woes when it was updated to the SM42. Further models like the SM46 and SM48 had improved it a bit, but there was still a quite prominent question: why was Planar still selling a quite old niche car? The simple answer was, as ever, corporate infighting.

Planar was a company in crisis throughout the 80’s, with development of their new flagship SM50 set to wrap up for a 1988 release that just never happened due to the project getting more and more bloated. The lower-end Owlsa refresh of the SM4X chassis that was supposed to preview the full SM50 and test its systems to solve any issues released on schedule, with stopgap new systems to replace the myriad of unfinished ones, which left Planar in a bind; what to do with the SM50?

Eventually, in 1990, they had to make a decision. SM50 development was shifted to the Owlsa’s team (ironically now known internally as the Thunderbirds) to try salvage the development and put out something workable, while the bulk of the Advanced Development Group’s work was shifted to become the future SM60.

So while externally it seemed that Planar was cruising, it was actually in a mad scramble to get SOMETHING out to replace it’s innovative, but old and tired flagship.

The 1994 SM50 Danazine S and XS

SM50 lore & more photos
By 1994, even the average punter could see that the SM50 was a laboured birth to say the least, but once it started to show up in showrooms it was hard to see why.

The car was a quantum shift from the previous Danazines. The old too small 2.4m wheelbase had been stretched to just over 3m, the pneumatic suspension had received a full update to PASSe.2, which now had full electronic user control as well as electronic control systems, and the styling was a fresh, sleek new design (albeit one that other Planars had already been mostly using since 1990).

The PASSe.2 controls on the roof, now fully electronic and adaptive instead of just a height adjustment slider.

The visible changes weren’t the only ones either, with the venerable Rotomax RXO78 under the bonnet, now in its 27th year of production, making 214kW while beating most global emissions standards, a new advanced automatic transmission giving it great performance and a top speed of 293 km/h.

An advertising photo from the launch, showing the interior's impressive legroom.

Of course, it wasn’t all roses, while the S beat its target of $70k pre-tax, after Letara’s taxes that came out to a hefty $87,317, while the more expensive XS ended up at a whopping $117,130. Whether that money would be worth it would, as ever, be up to the market to decide.

An ad for the SM50, showing it with the SM40 and SM30.

The 1995 SM50 Danazine EX-S

EX-S lore and photos
Arriving right at the end of this History Files edition, the 1995 EX-S was the latest in Planar's line of V12 super saloons, and the SM50 put more emphasis on the super than ever before.

With the new RX521 V12 giving it 285kw, a 6 speed manual, and an LSD, it could get to 100km/h in just 5,2 seconds, and go on to a top speed of 311km/h. Fast enough to bother some supercars, a point that Planar drove home hard in its advertising.

The EX-S interior, showing the manual gearbox.

Unlike the previous generation of Danazine, the EX-S didn’t massively compromise its comfort, scoring well despite having “just” a sports interior instead of the handmade interior the SM50 was known for.

For looks, the EX-S debuted a new hero colour, Tinamou Mica, had metallic black accents instead of just gloss, and got sports trimmings like a spoiler, lip, and chrome tri-spokes.

Planar’s supercar killer wasn’t for everyone, though, with a post-tax price of a shade under $103k, it was very obviously still a luxury car, and how much of a market for a fast large luxury sedan would exist in 1995 was anyone’s guess.

An ad for the EX-S, comparing it to contemporary supercars (thanks to @Danicoptero for the cars!).


With the latest update, semi-slick tires won’t be available in 1989, but sports compound tires will be. For this reason, any build intended for the racing category that used them will have to be revised to account for this. However, the update has also introduced race tires (a separate category from road tires) - but are we actually allowed to use those for our race cars, and if so, which ones?

Also, even a lightweight car whose engine is at or near the power limit will struggle to reach the original target lap time of 6:15 (a tentative marker in the OP for this round) on sports tires - I think this should be increased (by about 5-10 seconds) as a consequence of the latest update. As it stands, my test mule is two seconds adrift of the initial target - but it may well be ahead of the new one, if the target becomes more lenient.

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Its at least for the race car impossible to revise it within three days, especially considering how strict the rules are.
I will be already damn busy somehow managing to fumble together the rest.

I didn’t expect the update to release so close to the deadline, but considering how extensive it is (in terms of changes made to the game), a deadline extension may well be in order, to give entrants more time to rework their submissions.

I have not yet seen no interest in the race car category from anyone other than myself, though. It could be due to the fact that everyone else may have held off developing their entries until the latest update dropped - which may have been a better strategy after all.

Well, it’s probably better that the update dropped before the deadline than right after.

Some observations

  • Primary mule lost 15 seconds for both N/A (definitely out) and turbo (barely over 6:15) edition
  • Mid engine “benchmark mule” (updated Round 4 entry) lost "only"12 seconds, and still comfortably within the limit.
  • Most of this is from losing the semi slicks, so if you haven’t used them as a crutch (like me) it’s probably fine.
  • Engines seem to be barely affected.
  • Camber angle now seems to have a very neglible impact on grip and handling balance.
  • Gearboxes are still made of cheese, but the reliability penalty is now more transparent.
  • Brake balance calculations are also…rebalanced.
  • Photo Mode doesn’t work at this time for me.

My cars were more or less ready (before the update at least). For the consumer cars it’s just pure procrastination on which trims to pick.