• Kyodo

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Organizers of an ongoing exhibition of about 30 vintage vehicles from Taiwan and Japan that kicked off on Saturday in Taipei hope the event will strengthen bilateral ties through the love of classic cars.

“Although Taiwan and Japan don’t speak the same language, our hearts have always been connected together,” Wayne Liu, deputy director general of Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau, told a news conference before the exhibition was opened to the public. The Tourism Bureau and Rally Nippon, a classic car club in Japan, organized the event, which runs until Sunday.

Yusuke Kobayashi, head of the Rally Nippon club, said the annual event is not only about vintage cars, but also people.

Kobayashi said many of the club members who participated in the previous event in 2013 were surprised and touched by the hospitality of the Taiwanese people and wanted to come again. The 2013 event was aimed at thanking Taiwan for its generous donations following the March 2011 nuclear meltdowns following the earthquake and tsunami.

Kizuna is an important word for the Japanese people,” he said. “Japan and Taiwan have been helping each other on so many occasions that we cannot thank Taiwan enough.”

However, Kobayashi said it is embarrassing that not many people in Japan know about Taiwan and its difference from China. He hopes this year’s event will help his club members and the Japanese people better understand Taiwan and vice versa, he said.

Kobayashi has shipped three vehicles from his own vintage car collection for this year’s event, including an MG TD that previously belonged to his late father.

Kobayashi said his father loved cars and took his family for rides quite often. His father also changed cars so regularly that he once hesitated to tell his family about the purchase of the MG TD.

“I would’ve done the same. It’s a man’s secret,” he said, laughing.

Owning classic vehicles brings back childhood memories of time spent with his father learning about cars, fashion and lifestyle, Kobayashi said.

Nostalgia is definitely a huge part of classic cars.

Visitor Liu Cheng-yang said he enjoys purchasing old motorcycles because of their vintage appeal.

A proud owner of a 1998 Vespa ET-8, the 18-year-old freshman at National Taipei University of Technology said he was inspired by his father, who is a car enthusiast, to major in vehicle engineering. His father also took him to car shows when he was little.

Yen Hao-en, a 21-year-old university junior, took a one-day trip from Hualien, eastern Taiwan, to see the exhibition.

Yen said he missed the event in 2013 and didn’t want to miss it again. What he likes about vintage automobiles, he said, is their uniqueness, their simple yet bold design approach, embodied in the 1964 Marcos 1500 GT on display.

All proceeds of the exhibition will be donated to charity.

The event consists of two parts. The first will run through Sunday at the Huashan 1914 Creative Park in downtown Taipei. A four-day round-the-island tour will begin in Taipei on Nov. 10 with more than 65 vehicles taking part.

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