As ridiculous as it sounds, high-end car auctions can get a bit samey. Year after year, it’s a similar bunch of crazy rare Ferraris, Porsches and old Bugattis that come out of the woodwork and swap owners for a few bazillion quid.
Over the years, we’ve seen so many 250 GTOs and 2.7 RS Porsches go under the hammer for crazy money that it’s all too easy to get a bit blasé about them. But that’s why Japan was invented, because when they do car auctions you get a proper spread of weird, wacky and deeply cool stuff. So we dispatched our man – Mark Riccioni – to sniff around the recent BH Auction in Tokyo. The results were incredible. From adorable sixties spiders to oddball race cars and what-were-they-smoking tuner specials, it’s a welcome palate cleanser to the norm.
So click through and tell us your favourites below. Enjoy.
1993 Nikko Kyoseki Skyline GT-R GP-1 Plus Group A
The only R32 Group A car to be maintained by the works Nissan Koki team (one that raced during the 1993 JTC championship season) and fresh from being restored and fitted with a new 600bhp engine based on an RB26DETT.
Estimate: £323,910-£467,870 (RM1.7-RM2.5 million)
2007 Caparo T1
Gordon Murray’s infamous take on a road-going F1 car. Only weighing 470kg and having a dry sump 3.5-litre V8 good for 500hp equates to 0-161kph in five seconds.
Estimate: £158,356-£201,544 (RM844,000-RM1.1 million)
2009 Superperformance GT40 Mk I
A faux GT40 built by acclaimed Superperformance LLC and based on a 1966 GT40 Mk.1. Fitted with a Holman Moody 5.76-litre V8 engine, it’s in Le Mans spec wide-body form here, with a monocoque body made from aluminium and fibreglass and finished with BRM style wheels. The engine and suspension has been tuned in Japan for track driving and has 2,680 miles on the clock. Perfect for the Japanese Steve McQueen wannabe.
Sold: £80,761 (RM430,400)
1968 Honda S800 M Coupe
A very rare left-hand drive car (originally intended for Honda Belgium) but fully restored in Japan two years ago and fitted with RSC replica wheels.
Sold: £60,997 (RM325,100)
2014 Taisan R8 Fukushima (Super-GT) Audi R8 LMS Ultra
Audi’s endurance racer that raced at the 2016 Super GT Round 1 in Okayama.
Estimate: £43,209-£64,814 (RM230,300-RM345,500)
1987 Ferrari Testarossa Koenig Special
Built by wacky 80s tuner Koenig, this Testarossa has been ramped up to 800bhp.
Sold: £225,769 (RM1.2 million)
1990 Ferrari F40
Certified by Ferrari Classiche in 2017, it was fully restored at 128,535km miles and then zeroed having had all its mechanicals (including engine and gearbox) fully overhauled as well as the all interior parts (seats, carpets, linings). All exterior parts, even down to all the rubber parts and trims are restored to almost as new condition. It doesn’t stop there: all suspension parts and the wheels have also been restored, and then everything resprayed back to its original. Now there are only 2,000km on the clock.
Sold: £871,380 (RM4.6m)
1985 Ferrari 308 Koenig Special
Another Fezza from Koenig, this time a very rare 308 fitted with non-original Panasport Racing wheels, Recaro seats and a carbon fibre case.
Sold: £102,988 (RM548,900)
1973 Toyota Miniace
A rare, original owner car with an air-cooled OHV 2-cylinder engine good for a top speed of 60-ish miles per hour (97kph). Other highlights include a crazy turning radius of 3.9m. Only 23,000km on the clock.
Estimate: £5,761-£8,642 (RM30,700-RM46,000)
2003 Dodge Viper Competition Formula Drift Car
Want one of the coolest drift cars on the planet? Look no further.
Estimate: £57,615-£79,221 (RM307,100 - RM422,300)
2016 Porsche 911R
The halo 911 and one of only 991 produced (Serial No. 181/991). It’s a brand new unregistered car imported directly from Germany. Who said people bought them to flip, eh? Given they used to go for a cheeky £mil, it looks like that bubble has very much burst.
Estimate: £252,069-£302,483 (RM1.3m - RM1.6m)
1969 Honda S800
Powered by a 791cc engine with a whole 70bhp, you’ll see 0-400metres in 16.9sec. Rapido.
Estimate: £32,408-£46,801 (RM172,700 - RM249,500)
1973 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R (KPGC110)
A mechanically sound “Ken & Mary” Skyline GT-R. One of only 197 KPGC110s and one of only seven produced in red.
Estimate: £540,017-£756,024 (RM2.9m - RM4.0m)
2004 Porsche Carrera GT
Chassis number 0286 with 6,490km on the clock and that screaming V10.
Estimate: £576,018-£720,023 (RM3.1m - RM3.8m)
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing AMG
One of only eleven 300 SLs converted by AMG and one of only two RHDs produced. Being a restomod, there’s a 6.0-litre V8 M119 engine mated to a four speed automatic gearbox and all the mod cons. Unusually, this one is fitted with a pair of aftermarket bucket seats.
Estimate: £970,607-£1,150,349 (RM5.2m - RM6.1m)
1972 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R (KPGC10)
An original GT-R that had its engine and body fully restored 10 years ago. Also comes with a factory oil-cooler if you want to hit the track.
Estimate: £136,572-£165,324 (RM728,000 - RM881,000)
1962 Datsun Bluebird "P312"
The first generation “Bluebird” in fully original, unmolested condition. Features a very rare single-digit registration plate and the later ‘Takenoko’ (bamboo shoots) tail lights from the later model.
Estimate: £7,189-£10,065 (RM38,300 - RM53,600)
Lots of good things
Ok, from left to right. A 1960 Daihatsu Midget DSA that was launched with the tagline ‘Everyone’s Helicopter’. Then we have the 1969 Honda S800 from earlier next to a resprayed 1979 Ferrari 308 GTB (it used to be yellow) before the 1992 Nissan Skyline Autech S&S. Produced by Autech (the specialty vehicle production arm of Nissan) these R32 were a limited run of 500 units, fitted with Ithe BNR32 RB26DETT engine but without the turbos of the GT-R.
Sold: £21,372 (RM114,000)
2002 Nissan Skyline GT-R (BNR34) V-SPEC Ⅱ NÜR
From one GT-R to another. Players of Gran Turismo will be familiar with this rare spec. It’s one of 1000 BNR34 Limited Final Editions produced, one of around 300 “Nur” specs produced based on V spec II. It has the N1 spec engine, as well as a specially designated gold colour and only 4,000km on the clock.
Sold: £174,072 (RM928,000)
1959 Mitsubishi Willys Jeep (CJ3B-J3)
It wasn’t just the US that had the Willys Jeep. This post-war Civilian Jeep (CJ) was manufactured in Japan, led by the US army.
Estimate: £12,947-17,983 (RM69,000 - RM96,000)
2008 HKS TF Kamikaze R Super Sonic
A standard R35 not fast enough for you? Well you might like this one tuned by HKS Technical Factory. It holds the record for radial tyre shod cars at Fuji Speedway with a lap time of 1”41’70. The legendary VR38DETT engine has been increased to 4.1-litres and has over 1,000bhp. To cope with all the grunt, it’s had HKS’s strengthened transmission thrown in and DCT diff coolers. Meanwhile, those aerodynamic body parts are exclusively designed and developed by Varis.
Estimate: £129,438-£179,775 (RM690,000 - RM958,200)
1971 Mitsubishi Galant GTO MR
An extremely rare car and the only Gallant GTO model with DOHC.
Estimate: £14,382-21,573 (RM76,700 - RM115,000)
1965 Honda S600
Just imagine cruising through Tokyo – roof down – during cherry blossom season in this. Bliss.
Estimate: £32,359-46,741 (RM172,500 - RM249,100)
More good things
Let’s concentrate on the two cars closest to the camera: a 1983 Nissan 240RS and a 1965 Toyota 800 “UP15”. The Nissan is in full Group B spec, one of only 200 produced (50 RHDs and 150 LHDs) and has only 585km on the clock. It didn’t sell but is worth somewhere in the region of £64,754 (RM345,100) and £104,327 (RM556,000). The little Toyota, on the other hand, is a fully restored early 1965 model and sold for £47,486 (RM253,100).
1993 HKS ZERO-R
Quite special, this one. It’s a remake of the HKS ZERO-R that came out in 1993. The RB26DETT has been bored out to 2,688cc and 600bhp thanks to HKS’ variable valve timing system, “V-Cam”. The rear seats have then been binned so the fuel tank can go behind the driver for better weight distribution and there’s a full aero package. This is only one of four in the world, so proper rare and a real trump card for GT-R nerds.
1996 Ferrari F512 M
Hasn’t the 1996 Ferrari F512 M aged well? Those lights just look cooler in Japan too.
Estimate: £201,520-£237,506 (RM1.1m - RM1.3m)
1964 Prince Skyline Sport
Debuting at the 1960 Torino Motor Show, the prince was Japan’s first ‘Specialty Car’. Designed by the famous Italian designer Michelotti, almost the entire body is handmade and the chassis was shared with the Prince Gloria. Only 33 coupes (some say 35) and 25 convertibles were ever produced, this one is immaculate and was displayed at the 2009 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este.
Estimate: £215,880-£287,840 (RM1.2m - RM1.5m)
1967 Ferrari 330 GTC
Introduced in 1966, the 330 GTC is the luxury version of the 275GTB/4. Powered by a single cam V12 engine, only 600 units of the coupe and 100 units of the spiders were ever made.
£503,720-£647,686 (RM2.7m - RM3.5m)
1995 BMW 320ST Nurburgring & Spa 24h Winner
Here is a slice of BMW race history: the overall winner of the 1995 Nurburgring 24 hours race, the overall winner of the 1996 Spa 24 hours race and the overall winner of the 1997 Spa 24 hours race. Amazingly, it has had no major accident record during races, runs well and comes with plenty of spares.
Estimate: £179,956-£215,948 (RM959,000 - RM1.2m)