By on March 22, 2013

Somebody Say I look like an old woman?

Yesterday I shared with you dear, reader, one of my favorite games, the $5000 Craigslist Fantasy Challenge and you responded with a lot of great cars. Today I thought I would step it up just one more notch and introduce you to that game’s Japanese cousin – the “Goo Game.” Won’t you come and pray with me?

On an internet filled with NSFW Japanese websites, it seems odd that one called “” would be dedicated exclusively to cars, but trust me on this it really is. I have used Goo-net for years to peruse the JDM market and to wrap my head around the prices and the kinds of cars for sale there. Once upon a time you needed to have some ability with the language to be able to navigate the site, something that prevented most non-Japanese speakers from doing anything more than looking at photos, but now, thanks to the advent of the Google translate button, your need for years of study has been erased. Simply follow the link, translate the site and start exploring.

A few things you will need to know to better understand the site. First, the Japanese dating system is a little different from our own. Each Emperor selects the name of his era at the beginning of his reign. The current “Heisei” era began in 1989 and cars marked as H1=1989, H2=1990, H3=1991, etc. The prior era, “Showa” ran from 1926 to Emperor Hirohito’s passing in 1989. Therefore, “S” dated cars have higher numbers. For simplicity’s sake I usually think abut them backwards, so S63=1988, S62=1987, S3=1986, etc.

Exchange rates are complicated so let’s forego any price limits. Just find something cool for us to look at! However, anyone looking to do a serious calculation of a car’s price may want to note whether or not a car has a current “shaken” inspection. Some cars list “with inspection” meaning that the shaken is not current and that the dealer will include it in the price. Some listings show “without inspection” meaning that will be on your own dime, and some only show a number H25.8 meaning that the inspection expires in August of H25 (2013). Whether or not a car has a shaken will affect the price and on older cars the cost of repairs may be significant. You will note that there is a “price on car” and then a “total price.” This total price includes the inspection and any service the car actually needs. Pay close attention to this, fellow bargain shoppers!

That’s it. There are no rules this time, let’s have some fun and find some cool cars to look at.

Here are three to begin:

1969 Nissan Datsun Fairlady SRL311
68K Kilometers
Price – 287.8 million yen or about $30,000 USD
Located in Saitama Prefecture

The state of the body is in very good condition with no corrosion. I do not think what you are after more than 40 years. Development status as well, is easy to ride hand car is contained meticulously. For information on the development of future, please contact us.

What can I say? This is a classic that I would love to own.

2008 Mazda MPV 23T 4WD FSB monitor P backdoor AFS side SRS
48K Kilometers
Price 226 Million yen – about $24,000 USD
Located in Nagoya

Please let me inherit a new car warranty (5 years from the time of new car registration). Subject to the warranty at dealers across the country by the new car warranty can be inherited. In addition, we have our own guarantees with a maximum of two years from the time of car delivery.

I love this new generation of Mazda MPV mini-vans. This one has it all and if I was going back to Japan to stay this, or something very close to it, would be in my driveway. I think it is an absolute pity that Mazda USA doesn’t sell these in the USA.

1988 Toyota Soarer 2.0GT-L twin turbo
129K Kilometers
Price 28 Million yen – about $3200 US Dollars
Location, Osaka

No ad text.

This is another one of “those cars” that should have got sold in the USA. It is a real personal luxury coupe that I would love to drive. The power train in the same one I had in my Supra so I know it isn’t really going to be a race car, but it would be a good cruiser and have enough poop to run on the highway.

So there you have it, there are a lot of nooks and crannies on this huge website. Check it out and show us what you are able to come up with. Dot’s forget that over there in Bizarro World, their domestics are our imports and vice versa.

I hope you have a great time and find something interesting for us!

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38 Comments on “My Fantasy Life Laid Bare Part II: International Edition...”

  • avatar

    “Somebody Say I look like an old woman?”

    Sounds like this year’s Halloween costume for ya!

    On a serious note, that Toyota Soarer looks epic, finally a Toyota I can actually lust after.

    Akio are you out there? Build and sell this in the US plweeeaseee, and finally win over one of the most anti-Camcord people in existence.

    • 0 avatar

      That Soarer is a 1988 Model. It’s old enough you could just import it, but no way in heck will it pass modern safety/emissions standards.

      • 0 avatar

        In PA 15yo is a classic/emissions exempt and 25yo is an antique and exempt from both… this would just about qualify (unless grey market can’t be antiques?)

        Hmmmmm… this is almost worth doing….

        • 0 avatar

          The modern version of the Soarer is the Lexus SC. Like you, I prefer the 80s version.

          • 0 avatar

            Honestly I’m loving the Soarer, but maybe a Gen 1 SC300 would be a more realistic find on this continent.

            How are common parts for these models in Japan? I’d imagine if they are not common then parts over here would be next to impossible.

          • 0 avatar

            I’m not sure what the last year for this model is, but I searched all Soarers built between 83 and 91. Goo-net shows 67 vehicles currently for sale nationwide. That’s pretty respectable for a car this old in Japan.

          • 0 avatar

            If only I had 10K or so burning a hole in my pocket… flight to Japan to check out the cars, purchase price, then of course shipping from Japan.

    • 0 avatar

      I wish they had brought over RWD sedans like the Chaser and Mark II etc.
      Something about cars like those (even if they wouldn’t sell) that you just love…

    • 0 avatar

      Looks like a two-door Cressida. Love it.

  • avatar

    I think the math is a little off. 28 million yen would be closer to 300k USD than 3,200.

    • 0 avatar

      Sigh – you are probably right. The Japanese count big numbers in 10,000 yen units called “man.” To simplify things I always think of 1 “man” as $100 (although when I was there 1 man was really $85, now it’s $105)

      The Soarer’s price is 32 “man” or around $3200.

      My USD prices are right, where I am probably off is on the “millions.” The MPV van would be 226-ten thousands and the Datsun would be 287.8 – ten thousands.

      Now excuse me if I go crawl under a rock. That’s too much math for me today…

  • avatar

    I’m smitten by the Mazda AZ-1. It is a Acura NSX scales down to the dimensions of a minicar, with a 660 cc turbo 3 cylinder mid mounted engine. Oh, and gullwing doors.

    • 0 avatar

      Ah yes, the “Autozam!” My wife had a Mazda Carol Kei-car that probably used an engine similar to this. It was a pretty spry little car, honestly.

      I can’t claim to have sat in or driven an AZ-1 but I did drive a student’s Suzuki Cappuccino turbo once. I was about 65 pounds lighter than I am now (about 210 back then) and I had a hell of a time fitting into it. The footwell was so narrow I didn’t know where to put my feet and I couldn’t even look around down there to find a spot. The guy had to tell me there was a dead-pedal for my left foot to rest on. Still the only turbo car I have ever driven with a pop off valve.

      I love the idea of a Kei-car, but anything much smaller than a Mazda Miata is a no-go for me these days.

      • 0 avatar

        Thanks for tip. That Goo site looks quite interesting. Could you please somehow show me how I can filter “LHD only” in search or in results, there’s places were one can choose “4WD” or “2WD” but nothing for driving side in Romaji. Google can help me, probably, though. I’ve been thinking about importing from Japan to EU and there seems to be reasonable amount of LHD (German-) cars, at least on those mega-auction sites. Other question: prices mentioned on Goo-net, there’s 2 for each car, upper black and lower red, why and what does, say, price “100” mean, looks to be JPY 1m e.g. $10k, am I right? Thanks in advance.

    • 0 avatar

      Wow, good to know. Always check to see if you fit.

      I used to live in Saskatoon, SK, and Japanese used imports were definitely a thing. (Maybe this applies to all of western Canada.) Skylines and (old) GTRs were a common sight at night. The tiny diesel trucklets were popular too: a lot of local companies had started using them.

      In fact, near where I used to live somebody had Mitsubishi Delcia Star van, which was awesome. Imagine a van the rough shape of a 80’s Toyota van about the size of a VW microbus, with four wheel drive.

  • avatar

    If you’ve seen enough of my posts, then this is easy.

    A BNR32 Skyline GT-R V Spec II. My favorite GT-R model by far. Sadly very much illegal here in the states.

  • avatar

    I really wonder how this one is different from
    The interface and arrangement of used cars are very close.

    Also it seems to me that your choice of vehicles has somewhat high mileage. Especially the Soarer. My experience with the old JDM iron telss me that many cars with over 100K on the odo are very tired. As well it was really easy to pick pristine 15-year old mercedes and BMWs with paltry 40-60Kkm on the odo (Up to Grade 4.5-5 at dealer auctions). A couple of them appeared to have their odos rolled back, but others were just fine and like new.

    Oh, and as far as a pick that would be an Alfa-Romeo 159 or 156 Touring Wagon with a V6 especially if I lived in a rural area.

    • 0 avatar

      The two big car sales magazines in Japan are Goo and Car Sensor. They are pretty much the same thing so it wouldn’t surprise me if their website was similar. For all I know they might even be the same thing in different regions or something.

      To be honest, I wasn’t looking for the lowest mileage cars for this articles. I was just looking for good clean rides with nice photos so I would have some examples. I think that’s part of the fantasy, though – if it was real then the miles (kilos) and the prices would be a lot more important to me.

      For a car like the Soarer, I think I would rather have something that has been being consistently used over the years than something with super low miles. For the money they are asking, I might bite if it looked like it was a solid, original car. I’m probably not going to trapse all over the place to look at a dozen of them.

  • avatar

    So Thomas, is the Japanese car inspection regime as crazy as rumor would have it? Does it mean that older cars in Japan are typically in decent condition?

    Friend of mine had a Datsun 1600 that was a dead ringer for the one pictured. Looked pretty, but the body was about 30% bondo… Still a fun car, but for $30K I’d have a really nice early MGB.

    • 0 avatar

      I wrote an earlier article about how I did my own “user shaken” inspection so I have some experience with the system. It is more bark than it is bite, but it does motivate people to keep their Cars in good running order. I think most cars in Japan tend to be low miles, but high “hours” because of how much time the spend sitting in traffic.

      Most families only have one car and there is virtually no youth market, so cars tend to be pretty well taken care of.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    Woo, found the trucklet version; bB Open Deck!
    I preferred the original “black box” name designation of Toyota’s domestic version.

    Hm, the translation software’s getting things wrong; the Japanese divide their numbers into 4 digit blocks, so 101.6万円 does not mean “101.6 million yen” but “101.6 ten thousands” or 1.016 million yen. That devolves into ~US$10,700 at today’s exchange rates.

    Now to see if anyone’s selling one of Nissan’s Cube Cubics…

    • 0 avatar

      I think the translation software is what screwed me, too. Figure 1 man – that kanji on the right – is a little more than $100. So the way you have it figured is 100% correct.

      • 0 avatar
        Felis Concolor

        Bummer; I found a few Cube Cubics, the 7 passenger version of that chassis, but none with the top of the line 1.5/CVT/4WD configuration.

        I read about an experimental variant of that Cube chassis which used the e-4WD unit in conjunction with an oversize battery pack to provide short distance EV abilities.

  • avatar

    The Soarer looks great! Would be even better with wing mounted mirrors. Anyway, why does the Mazda MPV had license plate that says “Freed”?

  • avatar
    Ron B.

    Why lust over those japanese cars? Australia and New Zealand have been picking over them for years and for you in the USA they are all Right hand drive . The real bargains are the R34 Godzillas if you can find one that hasn’t been played with.
    But for me, the best porn has to be the yahoo auction site featuring lots of AMG cars from the early 80’s to present with crazy low prices for very desirable cars. All are LHD because that is a status symbol in certain areas of Japanese culture (along with full body tattoos) which means it’s impossible for me to import a low Km E500 until it reaches 30 years old ,to meet Australia’s draconian laws.
    There are also places in Japan where you never buy a car because it will be both worn out or a dodgy repair job to hide the rust and places where the income levels are very high and cars are always cherished. In the latter a friend of mine has just imported a 1985 500SEL with high comp.ECE engine with only 7000 kms on the clock. it’s just like a brand new car. The japanese will also leave a car sitting at the front of a store while they go shopping ,with the engine idling to keep it warm in winter or cool in the high humidity of summer. So that little silvia with the turbo etc may only show 40,000kms it may also have 200,000 worth of engine running time.
    Another thing to watch for is speedo clocking. It’s illegal to clock the speedos there,but if a car is going to be exported,well anything goes. I have seen Surf pickups arrive here with the dash boards hanging out… The only way to get a handle on the true milage was to test run them. Really doughy ones were obvious ex snow country cars with high mileages although it was hard to see.
    I think the way a lot of the AMG W126’s are being shipped into the USA is Via Canada. None of the Japanese market mercedes etc have Pollution/emmisons control devices .No air pumps,no cats, and often the older versions are high compression engines.
    Something to consider if you cannot buy decent fuel in your area.

  • avatar

    What a neat website. They have some pretty rare cars upon the site and I mean just for the Skylines.

    – they have actual legit “Hakosaka” GT-R’s for sale, complete with the S20 engine. Horribly expensive,yes, but there for the taking. On page 24 of the Skyline search, there’s a red Hako GT-R with video…. click it!

    – didn’t know the Ken and Mary Skyline had a diesel engine option.

    – The R31 Skyline GTS-X is fairly common and very reasonably priced for clean cars. These have a RB20DET engine.

    – of course, plenty of Turbo RS-X (R30), GT-EX (C210) and of course…. GT-R’s. I almost wept when I saw pristine R32 GT-R’s selling for 10k US, or even less in some cases.

    – they even have the worst Skyline ever built listed, the absolutely horrid R32 “GX-I” Skyline. Rarer then the GT-R and for good reason; this was the absolute base model Skyline with full plastic wheel covers, no air bags, no ABS, no A/C and very sparse options. The worst thing about this car was the TBI CA18I engine. A 4 cylinder economy car engine did this car no favors. What a hunk of junk and pretty much ignored by everybody.

    – not a Nissan, but I noticed they had a USDM Toyota Sequoia Limited for sale…. how’d that one end up there?

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks for your post, you are exactly the kind of person I was trying to reach with this. I’m sure a few people clicked the link and checked it out, but it looks like you had some serious fun and got pretty deep into that site.

      That’s the kind of thing that makes me feel like my effort was worth while.

  • avatar

    I have to admit, I’m a sucker for the SVX, so you have me stuck looking at them now! It’s interesting to see the differences the JDM had compared to us- power folding and heated mirrors, another digital display for the climate control, 4WS, etc. But my favorite has to be those floor mats! Those things are trippy in a good way. I’m a little disappointed that there were no late model Mazda Cosmos for sale. That is a car I’d have to own if I ever get stationed there.

    I do have a question about those used cars- why do some of them have smart card readers installed? I noticed that on a few different cars and was scratching my head.

    • 0 avatar

      Those would be “ETC cards,” express lane passes for toll roads. When. I was commuting on the expressway, an ETC card got you half price during rush hour. The readers take a credit card, my wife got us a card just to leave in the reader, although you are advised not to do so.

      I had indoor parking at home and we had a guard at our lot at work so it was never an issue.

  • avatar

    A little late to the party (finally had time to sit in front of a computer instead of my smartphone); and with a different take:

    I learned from the TCCA forum that Ford imported the Taurus to Japan; where the wagon in particular did well. A search to see if any were for sale turned up two:

    Both are 1996 and have the 3.0l Vulcan; the blue one has been fitted with a aero kit; and neither has a current shaken. What amazes me is the price; if understand the conversion correctly, roughly $24,000 for one and $28,000 for the other (or did I had one digit too many?)

    • 0 avatar

      One digit too many. $2400 and $2800 respectively.

      Both of these are pretty typical of most American cars in Japan. Lowered, aero kits etc. American cars are still aspirational there and they get dressed-up with these kind of mods a lot. These were probably owned by “cool” guys or gals.

      • 0 avatar

        Thanks, Thomas; that makes more sense, and is closer in line to what you would pay here.

        The story is that Ford did very well with wagon sales; compared to the Accord wagon. They appealed to the government, who in turn ordered Ford to install a larger fuel tank on future imported Taurii. The floorpan could not support a larger gas tank; so Ford shut the right hand drive assembly line down. (This story related by a former worker on that line.)

  • avatar

    I had the opportunity to drive a Taurus wagon a few times when we lived in Jamaica. My employer had a couple we could pay milage on and “rent” on the weekends and before my car arrived I had one every weekend. The other alternative was an S-10 Blazer.

    The first time I got one of the Fords I was unhappy, but after driving the Blazer once or twice I decided I liked the Ford wagons better. They were nice driving cars and they had a lot of usable space. Ford sold a lot of them as fleet cars and that cut into their cool factor, but now that they are getting scarce I miss them. They were a nice mid size family car – Ford should make a Fusion wagon or something similar.

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