No one does miniaturisation like the Japanese, so when regulations were introduced to encourage the growth of their small car industry (Kei Car), Japanese car manufacturers responded to the challenge with an innate understanding of the issues that needed solving.
Daihatsu was no exception, embracing the challenges by adopting a ‘less is more’ philosophy, turning small car design into an art form with the launch of the Daihatsu Cuore in July 1980.
Partly as a response to the limitation the Japanese face with the lack of physical space in their bustling, over-crowded cities, small but spacious cars are now considered beautiful, making the Cuore a stunner and paving the way for the Japanese automotive industry to become leaders in the Citycar category.
In Australia, the Curoe was first marketed as the Handivan and later as the Handi. Globally it has also been known as the Mira, the Domino and the Charade.
The Cuore is a city car that squeezes out every inch of space from its compact dimensions, creating a spacious, comfortable driving experience in both the 3-door and 5-door versions. With the Japanese Government’s expansion of the Kei Car minimum dimensions, the current Curoe is a little bigger than you might expect. Slightly longer and wider dimensions has allowed the latest Cuore to grow in every area but height.
The Cuore’s narrowness has genuine advantages making it possible to squeeze through gaps that otherwise would have not been possible. Parking in tight city spaces is a breeze and with a turning circle of 8.6 metres, the smallest in its class, manoeuvring through the complex driving conditions that plague today’s modern cities makes this giant of the Kei Car class an enthusiasts dream.
If you’re still enjoying the ease of driving through the city or just doing the school run in your Daihatsu Cuore, it’s reassuring to know that Transgold stocks replacement suspension, transmission and engine mounting part for your model.
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When the Japanese Government introduced the Kei Car (small car) regulations in 1949 to
encourage growth in their struggling car industry, no one would have predicted that it would pave the way for the emergence of a 4×4 cult classic.
The regulations were introduced as part of the Japanese Government’s post-war efforts to stimulate growth in an automotive industry, which saw consumers becoming dependent on the more affordable and fuel-efficient motorcycle instead.
As the name implied, the Kei Car regulations were designed to encourage the development and manufacturing of smaller, more affordable cars in exchange for tax and insurance benefits.
Initially limited to a displacement of 150cc, the limit was increased to 360cc in 1955, paving the way for Suzuki Jimny to be introduced in April 1970. Branded the LJ10 (Light Jeep 10), the Jimny was released with the diminutive dimensions of 1.5m wide and less than 3m long, sporting a Mitsubishi 360cc, two-stroke engine, making it the first four-wheel drive in the Kei Car category to enter series production.
Australian first got a taste of the Jimny in 1975 with the LJ50 model, which was essentially a re-powered LJ20 with a water-cooled 540cc three-cylinder two-stroke engine. The LJ50 was an instant success in Australia; both as a recreational 4×4 and as a farm vehicle. In its day, the Jimny embarrassed many larger, more powerful 4x4s.
Various iteration of the LJ series, the LJ80 were introduced in Australia in the late 70s including a long-wheelbase ute version, designated the LJ81 and called the Stockman with a particular focus, as the name suggests, on the farming sector.
The 2nd generation model saw the name Sierra introduced in Australia and the 3rd generation version was dubbed the Jimny Sierra. Holden also sold a rebadged version of the Suzuki Sierra from March 1985 until 1987.
The Jimny is now in its 4th generation, with the latest model released in Australia in late January, 2019. Additional power and sophistication hasn’t distracted from its core character, paying homage to the qualities that has made it a retro cult-hero classic and a global 4×4 favourite.
If you’re still enjoying the outback or just doing the school run in your Suzuki Jimny, it’s reassuring to know that Transgold stocks replacement suspension, transmission and engine mounting part for your model.
Introduced in October 1992, the Impreza, which featured Subaru’s innovative ‘Boxer’ engine, providing a more stable, balanced engine and enhanced performance, became synonymous with Subaru’s dominance of the World Rally Championship (WRC) during the 90s.
With its legendary blue and yellow colour scheme, the Subaru World Rally Team won 3 consecutive WRC manufacturer’s championships from 1995 to 1997 and 3 WRC drivers’ championship in 1995, 2001, and 2003.
Subaru’s supremacy in the WRC showcased its symmetrical all wheel drive technology and was credited for the increased sales of its vehicles, especially the Subaru Impreza.
The team withdrew from WRC competition at the end of the 2008 season, blaming an economic downturn for the decision. Subaru Rally Team USA, an independent rally team, still competes in the Rally America National Championships.
So it’s no surprise that the WRX version of the Impreza was inspired by Subaru’s World Rally Cross vehicles. The ‘WRX’ name was adopted to stand for ‘World Rally eXperimental’ and featured rally inspired modifications in the wheel drive, suspension and turbocharged engines.
The STi version of the WRX, which stood for ‘Subaru Tecnica International’, was introduced in 1994 and included performance engines, transmissions and suspensions and handcrafted tuning. Its success and reputation in rallies, made the WRX Still a popular choice amongst Japanese street racers. Subaru recognised the street appeal of the WRX STi also releasing the WRX Type RA, a stripped down version of the WRX for private motorsports and tuning.
One of the rarest Imprezas is the limited edition STi 22B version, built in 1999 to celebrate Subaru’s WRC victories. Only 400 were sold in Japan with a handful gifted to legendary drivers like Colin McRae and his co-driver, Nicky Grist.
Despite missing out on the STi 22B, Australia’s admiration of the legendary car has been recognised with their own modern-day tribute to the STi 22B, the 25BB, manufactured by Willall Racing, a South Australian based motorsports company.
If you’re still enjoying the thrill of driving an older model Subaru Impreza, it’s reassuring to know that Transgold stocks over 50 replacement suspension, transmission and engine mounting parts for your model.
Nissan produced its popular Pulsar range of vehicles from 1978 to 2000. Despite being replaced by the Nissan Bluebird Sylphy, in Japan, the Australian market continued using the Pulsar name by rebadging the Sylphy for the local market.
This arrangement lasted until 2005 when the Nissan Tiida replaced the Pulsar. Eight long, restless, years passed before the Pulsar name resurfaced in Australia when Nissan introduced 2 new Pulsar models to replace the Tiida.
The Pulsar first appeared in Australia in 1980 as the N10 series Datsun Pulsar and was available as a hatchback, fastback, van and station wagon.
In May 1983 the first Australian made range of Pulsars were introduced. The local versions included minor trim changes, suspension and steering revisions and improved seats. A turbocharged Pulsar ET five-door was also introduced in April 1984, sharing its engine and trim with the Nissan EXA, a sporty coupe manufactured from 1982 to 1990.
The Australian made, Nissan Pulsar ET, a cult-classic, was inspired by Nissan Australia’s product planning manager, the late Howard Marsden, who took the Japanese version and improved it dramatically. The ET was available as a five-speed manual, and had alloy wheels, a modified suspension and various aerodynamic improvements.
In 1984, Nissan Australia used the Holden Astra (LB) as a donor vehicle under the Motor Industry Development Plan, an Australian federal (Labor) government initiative intended to rationalise the Australian motor vehicle industry and transition it to lower levels of protection.
Also known as the Button car plan, it took its name from Senator John Button, the then federal Minister for Commerce, Trade and Industry. The arrangement with Holden lasted until 1989, leading to the introduction of the N14 series in 1990, which included a more rounded facelift. The Nissan produced N14 won the coveted Wheels Magazine, Car Of The Year award in 1991.
The Pulsar name continues to grace the Nissan range of vehicles, regardless of which Japanese model is being re-baged for the Australian Market.
If you’re still running round the city in your Nissan Pulsar, it’s reassuring to know that Transgold stocks replacement suspension, transmission and engine mounting part for your model. Over 60 parts in total from 1981 onwards.
There is a good reason why the LandCruiser is Toyota’s longest running series of models boasting sales of over 6.5 million units since manufacturing of this classic 4WD began in 1951.
Having been produced in a variety body styles, it’s longevity and reliability have contributed to its incredible popularity, in particular in Australia where it is the best selling body-on-frame 4WD vehicle.
But if there was ever a vehicle that was built for Australian conditions, it’s the LandCruiser, a point not lost on Toyota who test the LandCruiser exhaustively in the Australian outback, due to the rugged terrain and extreme temperatures.
It’s also a point that wasn’t lost on construction giants, Thiess Brothers, now part of Leighton Holdings, who in 1959 were sub-contacted to build large parts of the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme. With vehicles of choice at the time, the Dodge Power Wagon and the Land Rover, experiencing difficulties meeting demand, Toyota spotted an opportunity and pounced.
With the backing of the Thiess Brothers, who were already familiar with the vehicle, Toyota were able to supply enough vehicles to meet the demand and become part of the folklore that remains Australia’s biggest and most important engineerings and construction achievements.
The Thiess Brothers’ love affair with the LandCruiser did not end there. Recognising that the vehicle would excel in the vast, desolate landscape of the Queensland outback, they promptly entered the market with over 20 dealerships in the Sunshine State, by the end of 1960.
This was the start Toyota needed in the Australian market having previously experienced obstacles and prejudice. With the support of farmers, miners and the science community, it’s place in the Australian automotive market as the work vehicle of choice was entrenched.
Today’s LandCruiser continues to serve industry, law enforcement and Australia’s defence forces and countless 4WD enthusiasts.
Globally, the LandCruiser remains the NATO vehicle of choice and also remains popular amongst many militant groups in war affected regions due to its ruggedness and reliability.
The current model, the J200 features a Lexus platform and has been described as the most sophisticated LandCruiser model to date. An attribute that many purists find challenging to accept.
If you’re still enjoying the outback or just going away for the odd weekend, it’s reassuring to know that Transgold stocks some 149 replacement suspension, transmission and engine mounting part for your Toyota LandCruiser.
Up until the early 80’s, compact, rear-wheel drive cars such as the Lancia Stratos and Ford Escort dominated world rallying. It took the ingenuity of the Audi engineering team and the release of the Audi Quattro in 1980 to change that.
The Audi Quattro story begins in 1977 during the winter testing of Volkswagen’s Iltis jeep. Audi engineer, Jorg Bensinger noticed that despite it’s relative low power output, the Iltis all-wheel drive outperformed the more powerful two-wheel drive Audi being driven alongside it.
Inspired by what they witnessed, Audi engineers wasted no time in developing a more powerful all-wheel drive prototype vehicle, dubbed the ‘A1’. The car was an instant success at its first trial in the deep snow of the Austrian Alps. The go ahead to enter production came soon after in May, 1978 when, then Volkswagen Chairman, Toni Schmucker, drove the vehicle over a wet, slopping field, himself.
The secret was in the hollow shaft, which contributed to a lightweight, compact design and the ability to distribute power in 2 directions. The car was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1980, under the name Audi Quattro.
The Quattro was an instant hit and with its 147kW, five-cylinder turbocharged engine also proved popular on the rally circuit, where it heralded the dominance of all-wheel drive vehicles. Audi dominated between 1982 to 1984, by which time other manufacturers caught up to all-wheel drive systems. Audi’s dominance on the rally circuit extended to the US and Australia.
The Quattro all-wheel drive system has evolved over the years to become a sophisticated piece of technology that now graces many Audi models, including their diesel range and SUVs.
In Australia, Audi entered a joint venture in 2001 with local company, Astre German Automotive PtyLtd to creating Audi Australia Pty Ltd, the sole importer and distributor of Audi vehicles in Australia.Audi is gaining ground in Australia and innovative technologies such as the Quattro all-wheel drive system have played and continue to play, a major role in their local success.
If you’re still enjoying the German engineering of your Audi Quattro, it’s reassuring to know that Transgold stocks over 20 replacement suspension, transmission and engine mounting part for models going back to 1995.
Spanning an impressive 44 year production run, the last Mitsubishi Lancer came off the production line in August 2017. Launched in 1973, the Lancer has been marketed as the Colt Lancer, Dodge/Plymouth Colt, Chrysler Valiant Lancer, Chrysler Lancer, Eagle Summit, Hindustan Lancer, Soueast Lioncel, Mitsubishi Galant Fortis and Mitsubishi Mirage in various countries at different times.
Despite the wide-ranging naming designations associated with the Lancer, it evolved and built on aproud rally heritage that culminated in its halo model, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.
Australian sales of the Mitsubishi Lancer regularly featured in the top 10 vehicle sales, however fell dramatically by 2017, which reflected the global plight of the model and a key factor in the decision to discontinue production.
First introduced in Australia in July 2008, the Evolution, included a Ralliart, the high-performance and motorsports division of Mitsubishi Motors, version. As the name suggests, Ralliart were also responsible for Mitsubishi’s rally and off-road racing vehicles.
The Lancer Evolution contributed to Mitsubishi’s proud motoring heritage and won over many local car enthusiasts in the process. The news that the model would be discontinued in 2017 in favour offocusing on crossovers and SUVs, was met with disappointment and disbelief by its fans.
Australian fans were given one last chance to participate in motoring history through the release ofa local version of the Lancer Evolution Final Edition in 2015.
Limited to 150 units the Lancer Evolution Final Edition improved on the regular Evo X’s outputs of 217kW and 366Nm to outputs to 226kW at 6500rpm and 414Nm at 3500rpm, edging out most of its direct competition at the time and delivering the highest engine performance of the Evolution series making it a fitting, final, tribute to this Mitsubishi classic.
If you’re still enjoying the ease of driving through the city or just doing the school run in your Mitsubishi Lancer, it’s reassuring to know that Transgold stocks replacement suspension, transmission and engine mounting part for your model. 107 part numbers in total covering models from 1979 onwards.
NISSAN PATROL – THE SIMPSON DESERT POINEER Way back in 1962 the Nissan Patrol became the first vehicle to make a successful crossing of the Simpson Dessert when renowned adventurer Reg Sprigg took eleven days to go from west east journey. It was a family affair too, as Reg was accompanied by his wife Griselda and their 2 children. Since then many Patrols of different vintages have followed in their pioneering tracks. in July 2012 Nissan Australia staged a re-enactment to commemorate the 50 -year anniversary of the event
The 60 series was the second generation Patrol built but the first to be sold in Australia. Powered by a 4litre six cylinder petrol engine, it was offered in different versions including short and long wheel base and pick up…there was even a topless version …but they were all pretty basic: manual gearbox, and no power steering or air conditioning.
The 1987 launch of the GQ Patrol allowed Nissan to compete with the well established Toyota Landcruiser. By the early 2000s Nissan were selling some 9000 models per year and you can see these models around today.
Nissan has certainly refined the vehicle over the years and we’re now up to the Sixth generation. The current model comes with a VK56VD 5.6 litre V8 engine, that the manufacturer claims is the most powerful in its class.
If you’re still enjoying the outback or just doing the school run in your Nissan Patrol, it’s reassuring to know that Transgold stocks replacement suspension, transmission andengine mounting part for your model. Over 40 part numbers covering the period from 1965 to 2018.