‘Very collectable’ Japanese models take centre stage

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Bill Richardson Transport World workshop team member Darren Robbie with a Mazda 323 4WD, one of the highlights of The Evolution of Japanese Cars exhibit.

WHEN Darren Robbie was young, people usually did not regard Japanese cars as classic, he says.

“They were almost considered a throwaway commodity. Everyone collected American, Australian cars

But as he grew up, people started to became more interested in those models and collectors throughout New Zealand started looking for vintage models to complete their collections.

“Japanese cars became very popular, very collectable… 20 years ago, I would never have thought this would happen.”

As a team member at Bill Richardson Transport World, Mr Robbie helped to put together The Evolution of Japanese Cars exhibit, which opened last week.

The display celebrates the best of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s from marques like Toyota, Nissan, Mazda and more.

Mr Robbie said about 41 cars would be on display, including the actual four-wheel-drive Mazda 323 with which New Zealand driver Rod Millen won the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship in 1989.

Another special car for him was a Subaru which belonged to his father.

Mr Robbie believed the exhibit would be very popular.

“We are having quite good reactions in social media.

“I think we will be quite surprised at how many people will come to look at it.”

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