Given we’re living in an age of being permanently tethered to our phones, and considering there are only a finite number of barns in the world, you’d think the days of ‘barn finds’ would be numbered. Not in Japan.
The idea of oversharing information on the internet hasn’t ruptured the East like it has the West, so there are still unknown gems to be found. And not in barns, but seeming car-y catacombs of awesome. See, the barn finds over in Nihon aren’t some Mercedes 300SL that’s been tucked away as an appreciating heirloom. Rather, they’re simply vehicles vanquished from the annals of time because people forgot that they own them.
Take this Mazda RX-7, for example. As you can see, it’s no ordinary RX-7. Rather, a Le Mans-ified Mazda 254i that competed in the most famous endurance race on Planet Earth in 1982. The 254i is a significant car too, being the first Mazda to finish the tortuous 24-hour race. That year, Mazda entered a few cars, a No. 82 car (driven by Yojiro Terada, Allan Mofatt, and Takashi Yorino) that placed 14th overall and sixth in category, and a second car – No. 83 (driven by Tom Walkinshaw, Chuck Nicholson, and Peter Lovett). That got up to 8th place before retiring after 180 laps. But considering this was the first time any Mazda had seen the chequered flag, it was as good as a win for the bosses back in Hiroshima.
Photography: Mark Riccioni