Japan has one of the most interesting auto cultures in the world – from drifting to Bosozoku, it has it all and more. And I want to emphasize and then some, because it seems to me that every time I turn a corner, a new crazy trend emerges.
More recently, I discovered that stores were turning Kei cars into miniature copies of full-size vans and trucks from France, Russia, and the United States. One of these customs warehouses, “Cal Stage”, is headquartered in Osaka. The self-proclaimed “Auto Specialty Shop” hand-builds various Kei cars in unique retro conversions that resemble some of the most well-known full-size vehicles of yesteryear.
The vans above may look like the real deal, but the photos can be misleading. Take a closer look and you’ll begin to realize that each is a full-scale clone of a retro classic built on a more modern Kei car platform.
For example, the workshop built a Suzuki Carry DA63T mini-truck for looks like a Citroen H designed in the 1940s. And if that isn’t enough to wow you, how about a Honda Acty that became a tribute to the ’80s Chevrolet G-Series minivan? But we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention one of the most iconic conversions of all: the Volkswagen Type 2, of which Cal Stage has completed dozens of models looking both old and newer models.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are also custom kits to look like a Chevrolet Bel Air, Dodge B-Series, Ford E-Series, Austin Mini, UAZ, 452, school bus and many more.