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1999 Tokyo Motor Show Part I

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Tokyo’s Motor Show takes place at Makuhari Messe, a complex of warehouse-styled convention halls northeast of Tokyo. Every other year, the world’s major car players bring the best they’ve got – concepts and production vehicles sold in Japan – to the party out by Tokyo’s international airport.

This year’s bumper crop of concepts and cool cars filled the usual three halls at Makuhari with glittery sheetmetal and carbon fiber. Volkswagen showed the way for its future Bugattis, while Nissan blocked out the stage for its recovery and Toyota asserted its dominance in Japan with a huge display and six concept vehicles (more than twelve, actually, if you count those from subsidiary Daihatsu).

To make it easier on your backs and feet than it was on ours, we’ve arranged our Tokyo Motor Show photo galleries in three halls, the same they occupied in the show. Don’t forget Makuhari hall two and Makuhari hall three – and don’t forget to read the rest of our Tokyo Motor Show special reports, either.

Bugatti 1999 concept Veyron

Bugatti 1999 concept Veyron

BUGATTI EB18/4 VEYRON Here’s the shape of things to come – specifically, that of the first VW-designed Bugatti coupe expected within a couple of years. It’s called the Veyron, and it comes complete with the 18-cylinder engine from Chiron sedan concept shown at Frankfurt. The unconventional powerplant, a 6.3-liter with 555 hp, has its cylinders splayed in a W shape, rather than a more conventional vee. Named for former Bugatti factory driver Pierre Veyron, who won Le Mans in 1939, the newest Bugatti concept has an oddly bulbous shape, with tri-tone blue and black paint and massive chromed air intakes on the roof, behind the cockpit.

1999 Daihatsu concept Kopen

1999 Daihatsu concept Kopen

DAIHATSU KOPEN Here’s the first of a quintet of fun microcars, all sharing some basic mechanicals but distinguished with wildly individualistic bodies. The Kopen (as in Hagen? Or just getting by?) is an open-air two-seater with a 0.66-liter twincam four-cylinder with turbocharging, worth 64 hp. Its convertible top is power-operated, a decidedly upscale idea in this micro-speedster. With front-wheel drive, a four-speed automatic, and a double-wishbone suspension, the Kopen seems to us like an Audi TT thrown in the dryer too long. As Martha Stewart would say, that’s a good thing.

1999 Daihatsu concept EZ-U

1999 Daihatsu concept EZ-U

DAIHATSU EZ-U The people mover of the Daihatsu quartet, the flexible EZ-U has rear suicide doors, with multi-adjustable seats that can be moved front to back, and side to side. The back bench also can be positioned in "limousine" mode, all the way in the back of the EZ-U. Practicality ranks high, but we’re not so sure about driving fun: the EZ-U uses a continuously-variable transmission (CVT) to extract its 52 hp from a 0.66-liter twincam three-cylinder.

1999 Daihatsu SP-4

1999 Daihatsu SP-4

DAIHATSU SP-4 A four-wheeler way smaller than a RAV4, the SP-4 has projector headlamps, a silver-framed shaped with colorful door panels and bumpers, a faux aluminum instrument panel, flat-folding rear seats for cargo space, and yes, four-wheel drive with a Low gear. Its 0.66-liter turbo three-cylinder spins out 64 hp, through a four-speed automatic.

1999 Daihatsu Naked concept

1999 Daihatsu Naked concept


1999 Daihatsu Naked concept rear

1999 Daihatsu Naked concept rear

DAIHATSU NAKED We’re not exactly sure about the name, because none of the various editions of this teeny urban assault vehicle were without cover. But we like the idea: a nifty city car with a flexible interior and a plainly mechanical exterior shape that offers plenty of room for personalization. With removable rear seats, user-defined body panel colors, and a funky sort of ascetism, the Naked left us . Powered by a 0.66-liter three-cylinder, the Naked offers anti-lock brakes and traction control to put the damper on its 52 hp (64 if you opt for the turbo 4WD model).

1999 Daihatsu micro concept

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