Vroom! It’s Formula 1 weekend in Singapore, and what better to write about this weekend than to revisit a bunch of iconic cars used by our favourite Tokusatsu heroes over the years.
While motorbikes have been a more popular choice for the heroic sort, there have been many heroes over the years who have opted for a cooler (subjective) and more comfortable way of transportation. Since we’re focusing mainly on transportation, we’ve left out cars that could be categorised as ‘giant mecha’.
Here’s ten of the most stylish ones:
10. Joker (Robot Keiji, 1973)
Looking like something out of JAKQ Dengekitai, the Joker from Robot Keiji actually came out a few years earlier. This modified ’73 Nissan Fairlady Z boasted gullwing doors and flight way before Doc Brown’s DeLorean. A possible cult favourite amongst classic Tokusatsu fans, since it was released as part of Charawheels, a collaboration line between Hot Wheels & Bandai in the early 2000’s.
9. Zubat Car (Kaiketsu Zubat, 1977)
A nuclear-powered car that can both travel on land and fly, the Zubat Car was originally built to also go to space. Correct us if we’re wrong, we don’t think this feature was eventually explored in the series. We’re just going to think even Zubat himself couldn’t figure out how anyone was going to breathe in space while sitting in a convertible.
8. WinSquad/FireSquad (Tokkei Winspector, 1989)
Remember the classic 80’s American TV series Knight Rider starring David Hasselhoff? Well this is possibly the Japanese version. Known as WinSquad in its regular black & white livery, it can transform into the cooler-looking FireSquad when Ryouma Kagawa (Fire) inserts the SP Card. A button on the modified Chevy Camaro’s central console also enables Ryouma to transform into Fire.
Just look at this amazing video!! Is it a mere coincidence Ryouma’s upgraded form in Solbrain is called Knight Fire?
7. Machine Bull (Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger, 2004)
Sen-chan (Deka Green) and Umeko’s (Deka Pink) choice of transport. It’s entirely possible that the vehicles Umeko is seen driving in the 199 Heroes movie, as well as in Dekaranger 10 Years After are newer versions of the original Machine Bull. Though the vehicle models have changed throughout the years (it was originally a Toyota WiLL VS), the overall styling remains the same.
6. MAT Vehicle (Kaettekita Ultraman, 1971)
A simple paint & decal job transforms an ordinary looking Mazda Cosmo into a stylish, yet utilitarian vehicle used by the Monster Attack Team to support Ultraman Jack. Despite its lack of any standout features, the MAT Vehicle is a classic fan favourite.
5. Wild Cars (Gekisou Sentai Carranger, 1996)
With their sleek designs, the Wild Cars Pegasus Thunder and Dragon Cruiser, may seem like cool cars to ride. However, the Carrangers had to fight off immense competition from the Bowzock and the cars themselves, in order to earn their trust. This story was famously adapted in Power Rangers Turbo, and might have boosted the popularity of the Wild Cars. Pegasus Thunder can also fly in ‘Sky Mode’.
4. Tridoron (Kamen Rider Drive, 2014)
The personal vehicle of the first Kamen Rider to not have a motorbike as his primary means of transportation. However, Tridoron is no mere jacked up sports car. Its array of offensive and defensive capabilities are on par with that of a military tank. Tridoron is also a homage to Kamen Rider Black RX’s Ridoron, in both name and colour.
3. Speeder Machines (Gekisou Sentai Carranger, 1996)
How can anyone deny that they never had a tingling for go-kart racing after watching the Carrangers’ Speeder Machines in action? Each one was equipped with a different weapon, and also served as the cockpits for the Carrangers’ individual Ranger Vehicles. The Speeder Machines allowed the Carrangers to get from place to place really fast, but they saw lesser use when the Wild Cars arrived.
2. Pointer (Ultra Seven, 1967)
The Ultra Guard’s choice of ground transportation was a custom-built body laid on a Chevy Imperial chassis. Possibly inspired by the popularity of the James Bond movies of the time, the Pointer featured an endless armoury incorporated into the car’s design, from laser guns hidden in the side view mirrors and a barrier that could deflect UFO attacks. The Pointer might have had different base cars in the later incarnations of Ultra Seven, however the original Imperial version remains the most well-known.
1. Ridoron (Kamen Rider Black RX, 1988)
Likely the most iconic Tokusatsu car of the entire bunch, Ridoron was a radical addition to a Kamen Rider series when it debuted. While Kamen Riders traditionally rode motorcycle, Ridoron was the very first car that belonged to a Rider. The modified Mazda RX-7’s sleek bespoke look just seemed to fit very well as a part of RX’s arsenal. Like his personal motorcycle Acrobatter, Ridoron was a sentient being and could speak to Kotaro.
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