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Zero to hero

3 years ago

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Charlie Martin | Young writer


5 June 2021

Minoru Hayashi had a dream. Afflicted with what he called ‘a serious car-building illness’, he wanted to establish a new Japanese car company. In 1965, aged just 19 and working from his bedroom, he produced a bespoke glass fibre body for his friend’s Honda S600 called ‘Karasu’, or ‘Crow’ in English, because of its black anti-glare paint.

It was not there to look cool or imposing, but to cover the many imperfections in the body, glass fibre not being a material with which the ambitious teenager had any prior experience. Despite the decidedly amateurish build, the Crow headed off to Suzuka for its maiden race, and duly won, first time out.

Spurred on by such success and inspired by the launch of the more powerful Honda S800, Hayashi next developed the Macransa for 1966. It was a featherweight fibreglass body kit for track use, and it proved highly popular within the Japanese club racing scene. Hayashi’s own Toijiro III – an early Macransa equipped with a supercharger – participated in the third Japanese Grand Prix, but retired after the supercharger’s drive belt failed.

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