Tommykaira: A Forgotten Japanese Sports Car Manufacturer
If you never played Gran Turismo or early Forza Motorsport games, there's a good chance you've never heard of Tommykaira. They are mainly known for tuning Nissan Skylines, Nissan Micras, Subaru Imprezas, and Subaru Legacys, all of which are considered Tommykaira models instead of Subarus, or Nissans similar to how Ruf operates with Porsche. They have made also several cars since the mid 90's that you might not have heard of.
In 1996, Tommykaira started production of their original sports car, the Tommykaira ZZ. It was completely designed by Tommykaira as 2 door targa coupe. The car was powered by Nissan's naturally aspirated SR20DE inline-4 engine, which was mid mounted, and made 190 horsepower. While this doesn't seem like a lot, the car only weighed 1,433lbs (650kg). Power was sent to the wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission. Because of the car's low weight, and 190hp on tap, the car could sprint from 0-60mph in around 4 seconds and had a top speed of 150mph (241kmh). Tommykaira also made the ZZ-S which increased the power output to 197hp but everything else stayed the same. The car stayed in production until 2000 but it's quite rare because only 200 ZZs were built in that time.
In 2001, Tommykaira unveiled the ZZII at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It went from a fun little sports car to a full blown $90,000 Japanese supercar. The car was more aggressive and aerodynamic. It had an all aluminum chassis and carbon fibre bodywork. This allowed the car to still have an insanely low weight of 2,205lbs (1,000kg). Although it gained some weight, it gained also a lot more power. The ZZII was powered by Nissan's RB26DETT tuned up to make 542 horsepower which was quite the jump from 190 horsepower. The ZZII was also AWD. All that power was sent to the wheels through a 6-speed manual transmission. All of these improvements made the 0-60 sprint 3.3 seconds and it had a claimed top speed of 210mph (338kmh). According to DisenoArt the ZZII is one of Tommykaira's best designs. The car was promised to be sold in high volumes. Unfortunately, shortly after the Frankfurt Motor Show, Autobachs Seven bought out the design, renamed the car to the ASL Garaiya RS01, and then the car never made it out of the prototype phase.
I mean just look at how staggering the ZZII looks!
After the ZZII was introduced, Tommykaira went back to tuning their Nissans, and Subarus for 13 years. In 2014, however, they introduced the new 2nd generation ZZ which was built with the help of Green Lord Motors. It is also known as the ZZ-EV by critics because it is now 100% electric. The electric motor produces 305hp and does 0-60 in under 4 seconds which is faster than the original car. If this doesn't power doesn't satisfy you, Green Lord Motors said that the ZZ's chassis is "adaptable" meaning that upgrades can go beyond the car's limits. Unfortunately the range of this car isn't great at only 75 miles (120km). It also will set you back about $80,000 so it isn't cheap either. I'd say that there are better options EV wise than the ZZ, but if you the money and want something more unique, the ZZ may be perfect for you.
2014 Tommykaira ZZ-EV - Photo Credit: motorauthority
Do any of you guys remember these cars? Do you have a favorite? Let me know in the comments. Don't forget to bump this post and join Lost In Transmission for more articles like this.