Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff

東京 自動車 競争

“MOTOR SPORTS ACTIVITIES are flourishing in Japan.” So reported Road and Track in “Tokyo Road Race,” its heavily illustrated one-page article appearing in September 1951.

A Familiar Slogan. “All of this information, and photos,” Road and Track said, “came to us thru our Japanese contemporary, ‘The Motor Fan.’ They have excellent articles of both sports and technical nature on all phases of motoring, including a readers’ Design Forum. Their slogan ‘The Motor Enthusiasts’ Magazine’ was borrowed from your favorite publication.”

A Sales Pitch. “No motor library,” Road and Track said, “is complete without this Far Eastern Road and Track, so write: The Motor Fan, Tokyo-to, Shinjuku…. (P.S. The articles are written in Japanese.)”

I couldn’t find any details for Motor Fan today, though I recall the magazine being around fairly recently. Also, for a while there, R&T had a Japanese edition. I recall my favorite Ginza bookstore having an R&T banner in its window. 

A 1951 Venue. Road and Track reported, “Many ex-horse race tracks have been converted from hay to gasoline. At Funabasi, Chiba, near Tokyo, such a track was the scene of an Annual Charity Race. Thick dust boiled from the cinder surface as enthusiastic drivers went tearing about in pukka dirt track style.”

Three MG races, dominated by TDs, were accompanied by a Specials race.

A Formal Headline. 東京ロードレース is Google Translate’s rendering of “Tokyo Road Race.” This mixture of kanji 東京 (literally “East Capital”) and katakana ロードレース (ro-do re-su) contrasts with Motor Fan’s more traditional 東京 自動車 競争, its latter portion, jidosha (“automobile”) kyoso (“competition”). 

Other Captions. スボーツ カ is “sports car.” Several of the others baffle my meager Nihongo. Perhaps a reader will come to my rescue.

F.T. Skeen’s flat-rad Morgan is visible through the dust being raised by an MG TD in one race photo. The other shows a TD leading a zillion motorcycles on what appears to be a parade lap.

Another shows a Crosley Hotshot competing with two of the specials. 

Evidently a good—if dusty—time was had by all. ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2022

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