Sat, Nov 16, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Japanese planning ‘thank you’ race with vintage cars

Staff writer, with CNA

Visitors admire vintage sports cars in Japan in an undated photo provided by the Tourism Bureau. The Rally Nippon classic car club plans drive 60 vintage cars on a nationwide tour at the end of this month.

Photo: CNA, courtesy of the Tourism Bureau

About 120 Japanese drivers plan to tour Taiwan in vintage cars later this month in a gesture of gratitude to Taiwanese for their humanitarian aid after the massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of Japan in 2011, the Tourism Bureau said.

The drivers, paired in 60 classic cars, plan to visit various tourist spots, including the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) and Dapeng Bay (大鵬灣), bureau officials said.

The drivers plan to set off from the Presidential Office in Taipei on Nov. 28, traveling counterclockwise around the nation, and are scheduled to return to the capital and end their tour at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall on Dec. 1, said Cheng Yi-ping (鄭憶萍), a section chief at the bureau’s International Travel Division.

To make the trip a bit more interesting, the tour will take the form of a race, with the winner determined not by their speed, but by their punctuality, Cheng said.

A LITTLE MORE INTERESTING

In order to arrive on time, the drivers will have to use their skills in the vehicles, the youngest of which is 39 years old, she said, adding that one of the cars is a 90-year-old model.

“Not too fast, not too slow — it will be a real challenge for the vintage car lovers who are taking part,” Cheng said.

Rally Nippon, a classic car club in Japan, has organized the event to thank Taiwanese for their aid in the wake of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

Yusuke Kobayashi, who heads the club, said the members hope to express their gratitude in person during their encounters with local people in the club’s first overseas event.

Since its establishment in 2008, the club has held similar rallies across Japan, traveling hundreds of kilometers for the joy of driving classic cars and experiencing the beauty of the country.

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