Vintage cars from
Japan to tour nation in thanks
By Shelley Shan / Staff reporter
More than 200 owners of vintage automobiles and enthusiasts from Japan are
scheduled to embark on a four-day journey around the nation tomorrow to thank
Taiwan for its generous donations to Japan in the wake of the March 2011
earthquake and tsunami.
The owners of the vintage cars are participants in Rally Nippon, an annual event
that has been held in Japan since 2008.
Four of the cars were on display in front of the Ministry of Transportation and
Communications (MOTC) yesterday.
The road trip is slated to begin tomorrow at 9:30am in front of the Presidential
Office Building. They are to make stops at Old City Hall Plaza in Greater
Taichung, Wushantou (¯Q¤sÀY) Reservoir in Greater Tainan and the World Trade Plaza
in Greater Kaohsiung, before arriving at Liberty Square at Chiang Kai-Shek
Memorial Hall on Sunday, after covering a distance of more than 1,000km.
Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih (¸¦J®É) said this
would be the first time that the rally has been held in a foreign country.
He said the oldest vintage car arriving in Taiwan is a Bentley 3 Liter Speed
Model Four-Seater Tourer produced in 1926. The newest one was produced in 1974.
Yeh said the event means a great deal in terms of the relationship between
Taiwan and Japan.
Rally Nippon board of directors representative Yusuke Kobayashi said he started
planning for the tour around Taiwan about a year-and-a-half ago, when he visited
Taiwan for the first time.
¡§We are not here only for an around-the-island tour, we also want to express our
gratitude to the Taiwanese,¡¨ he said. ¡§We should say thank you for your
donation. Participants of the rally know the purpose of this trip, so they hope
that they can interact with the people in Taiwan during this time, if possible.¡¨
Among the 60 vintage cars, 58 were imported from Japan, he said.
The Tourism Bureau said that nine of the vintage cars have been around for more
than 70 years, with five of the cars more than 80 years old. The total value of
the cars tops ¢D1 billion (US$9.86 million). The cars are insured for ¢D10 million
To allow the cars to be driven around the nation, Yeh said the
Directorate-General of Highways has given each car a temporary license plate.
The National Freeway Bureau will also help regulate the traffic while the cars
are traveling on freeways.