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Classic Cars of Kōchi

Konan in Kōchi has an amazing collection of classic cars, motorbikes, buses, and trucks.

Classic Cars of Kōchi

Konan is a thirty-minute drive from central Kochi city. You go through Konan on the way to the Ryugado Caves, some of Japan’s best caves. As you go, your eye may be caught by some signs to ACT Land, but you’d have no idea that you were passing by a truly fabulous collection classic cars from around the world, both at ACT Land itself, and at the nearly invisible Shikoku Automobile Museum next door.

ACT Land

The ACT of ACT Land stands for Art, Culture, and Technology, and the technology basically means vehicular tech. You can read about the Art and Culture elsewhere on the site, but here we’ll look at their amazing collection of classic cars, buses and trucks, and their unique model car museum.  

ACT_Land_classic_car_museum_8

World Classic Car Museum
This extensive line-up of classic cars starts with the extremely rare Italian Fiat Model A manufactured in 1907. The developers of early cars included people who were involved with bicycles, motorcycles, carriages, arms and ammunition, and the iron and steel industry. People at that time weren’t satisfied with limitations of rail travel, and many researchers, explorers, industrialists and the nobility pursued the freedom offered by cars. Once working cars had been achieved, the pursuit of speed and comfort led to rapid technical development, followed by a revolution in manufacturing. Mass production technology enabled costs to be reduced, so that cars became available to everyone.

The full list of exhibits is as follows:

  • Ford Model T Prototype
  • Ford Model T
  • Ford Model A Standard Phaeton
  • Cadillac Model M
  • Durant Rugby Phaeton
  • Dodge Touring Sedan
  • Austin Seven
  • Singer Nine Le Mans Replica
  • Morris Eight Tourer
  • Citroën 5CV-C3 Cabriolet
  • Citroën C4
  • Peugeot 201
  • Fiat Modello A (6/8HP)
  • Fiat 501 Roadster
  • Datsun Type 16 Sedan
  • Datsun Type 17 Sedan
  • Mazda Cosmo Sport L10B
  • Mercedes Benz 170Da
  • Mercedes Benz 250S
  • Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow
  • Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham​​​​​

Bonnet Bus Museum
Bonnet bus is the Japanese name for the cab-over-engine buses popular in America. In this design, there’s no separate driver’s cabin, and the driver and passengers sit in the same space. This style is regarded as better suited to driving on the narrow roads with sharp curves typical in Japan. In the heyday of these buses, they were driven even in the mountains of Shikoku, on roads above teetering cliffs.

In this museum, you can get on the buses and experience what it was like for a driver and passenger. The feeling of nostalgia is overwhelming. There’s also a haulage lorry on display and an old fire engine. On the firefighting theme, there’s various firefighting equipment from the Edo to Meiji periods.

World Model Car Museum
Little cars that started as toys for children gradually evolved into works of art for the enjoyment of adults. This is the first museum in the world to gather 3,700 examples of model cars. The variety of makes and models is astounding, as is the quality and detail of the models. Even the world’s rare three-wheelers such as Morgans and Heinkels are covered. Once you’ve seen the real classic cars, it’s fun to enter the world of miniatures and see what else the world of driving has to offer.

Shikoku Automobile Museum

Housed in an inconspicuous metal shed with a discreet sign outside, the Shikoku Automobile Museum is a remarkable facility, displaying rare and historic cars and motorcycles from 1960 to around 1980, with a particular emphasis on racing cars and supercars, such as Abarth, Porsche, and Ferrari. Among the motorbikes, English café racers are well represented. A Japan Formula racing car can be glimpsed through a  window at one end. Some impressive cars can be seen just in the lobby, even before you pay to enter the main hall. Be prepared for an amazing sight when you go through those doors.

The museum was started by a successful but anonymous local Toyota dealer in 2001, based around his collection with an Alfa TZ, an Alfa TZ2, and a 2000GT. The collection grew to include a DeLorean,  decked out as a replica of the one in Back to the Future, a Shelby Cobra 427, a Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Competizione, several Fiats and Alfa Romeos, and a Cizeta Fenice TTJ Spider. In addition to the supercars and rally cars are some classic Japanese passenger cars.

As of 2020, the cars include the following;

  • Abarth Record Monza LM
  • Fiat Abarth 2000 Sport Spider
  • Fiat Abarth 131 Rally
  • Fiat Dino 2000 Spider
  • Alfa Romeo 155 V6 TI
  • Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ2
  • Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veroce
  • Alfa Romeo GTA1300 Junior Monzeglio
  • Alfa Romeo ES30 (New SZ)
  • Cobra 427SC
  • Dino 246GT
  • Dino 206S
  • DeLorean DMC-12
  • Ford RS 200
  • Ferrari 365GTB/4 Daytona Competition
  • Ferrari F-40
  • Lamborghini Countach LP400
  • Lancia Rally 037 WORKS (Martini)
  • Lancia Delta S4
  • Lancia Stratos
  • Lotus Europa Special
  • Lotus Super 7
  • Toyopet Crown 1900 Deluxe RS31
  • Toyota 2000GT
  • Toyota Corolla 1100 Deluxe (KE10)
  • Toyota Sports 800
  • Toyota Celica 1600 GT
  • Toyota Publica Deluxe
  • Subaru 360
  • Honda S (S500, S600C, SM800)
  • F3000 Cabin Racing Team
  • Petronas Toms’ SC430 #36 2008

The motorcycles include bikes from Norton, BSA, Triumph, BMW, and of course the main Japanese makers. Some of the earlier bikes betray their origins as pedal cycles. The motorbikes include the following;

  • Honda CR93 STREET
  • Honda C105
  • Honda CB750 Four K0
  • Honda CB77
  • Honda RCB481A
  • Honda RC30
  • Yamaha TA125
  • Yamaha TZ250
  • Suzuki TS400-1
  • Suzuki TM400-1
  • Condor
  • Toyomotor E8
  • Bluebird MC
  • Meguro Junior S2
  • Rikuo RQ750
  • Fuji Jukogyo Rapid S-48
  • BMW Rennsport
  • Triumph Twenty-One 3TA
  • Triton
  • BSA Rocket Gold
  • BSA C-15
  • BSA M-20
  • Royal Enfield Continental GT
  • Ducati Silver Stone 175
  • Ducati 250 Mark III Desmo

All the exhibits in both museum  are in excellent condition and are kept mirror clean. Chrome sparkles wherever the eye falls. If you’re interested in cars, motorbikes, design, and engineering, be sure to allow yourself an afternoon or longer to enjoy these classic car museums to the full.

Contact at us [email protected] for more information.

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