RE: Tommykaira ZZ | Spotted

RE: Tommykaira ZZ | Spotted

Wednesday 6th November

Tommykaira ZZ | Spotted

Built in the UK, but Japanese at heart - the ZZ will be familiar to anyone with a Gran Turismo race licence



Perhaps it's the classic design, the diminutive proportions or the agile dynamics, but the Japanese market has long-held an appreciation for the great British sportscar. From the Mazda MX-5 to the (ahem) Mitsuoka Viewt, be it in style or substance, Japanese manufacturers have sought to emulate the DNA of some of Britain's most beloved brands.

The flip side of that coin is, of course, the British love for all things JDM. Ever since the very first Imprezas, Evos and GT-Rs landed on these shores, our island has been gripped by tuner fever, a trend which continues today with the GT86, Civic Type R et al. But, despite the attention lavished on the previously obscure market segment, it was left to another cultural phenomenon to introduce fans to one of the most respected names in the game.


Yes, it was of course PlayStation's Gran Turismo racing series which brought the Tommykaira name into most UK households for the first time. The now-famed company being a tuning outfit which, since 1988, has focussed exclusively on the modification of Japanese models. Nissan's 300ZX, Silvia and Skyline, Subaru's Impreza and Legacy and even Toyota's Prius have all received its attention, along with the resulting power bumps, big body kits and (in the same vein as German tuners such as Alpina and Ruf) new names.

So what do you get when you marry the two groups' appreciation for each other? Well, this, of course: the Tommykaira ZZ. The company's first foray into independent production, the ZZ incorporated British lightweight principles and Japanese engineering in the finest tradition. So far was Tommykaira willing to go to get it right, in fact, that the whole thing was manufactured in Lotus' back yard of Norfolk, before being shipped back to its home market.

Power comes from a Nissan-sourced 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated inline-four, the 193hp and 142lb ft output of which is sufficient to whisk the 670kg car from 0-60 in just four seconds, and on to a perfectly sufficient top speed of 150mph. Add to that two seats, a detachable roof and a five-speed manual transmission, and what more could you need from a purist driver's car?


It's been a while since we've Spotted a ZZ, or rather this ZZ, in fact. A blue 1998 car with a euro price tag and just 6,000km on the clock, it seems likely that today's Spotted is in fact the exact same example we wrote about back in the summer of 2017. Since then it doesn't look to have had much use, its Β£30,000 price tag (albeit a Β£3,000 decrease versus 28 months ago) likely having something to do with that...

Still, with only around 200 believed to have been made, and such cult pedigree behind it, it'll surely find a buyer eventually. And until such a time, the rest of us can always enjoy it in virtual form.


SPECIFICATION - TOMMY KAIRA ZZ

Engine: 1,998cc, straight-four
Transmission: five-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 193@6,900rpm
Torque (lb ft): 142@4,900rpm
MPG: N/A
CO2: N/A
Recorded mileage: 3,730
Year registered: 1998
Price new: N/A
Price now: €34,999 (Β£30,000)

See the full ad here

Author
Discussion

edoverheels

Original Poster:

81 posts

52 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
What a great car but doesn’t seem to offer more than a tuned S1 Elise. Less practicality but much more interest. I have never seen one in the flesh but hopefully at a Goodwood Breakfast Club one day!

yellowstreak

525 posts

99 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
I am sure I read a review of this in a newspaper motoring section at the time. I remember it being fed by multiple motorbike carbourettors still labelled "for motorcycle use only". Am I right?

sidesauce

1,075 posts

165 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
edoverheels said:
What a great car but doesn’t seem to offer more than a tuned S1 Elise. Less practicality but much more interest. I have never seen one in the flesh but hopefully at a Goodwood Breakfast Club one day!
Actually, the ZZ offers less than an S1 - around 45kgs less weight which at this point is probably going to make a difference to overall performance and feel IMO.

samoht

1,033 posts

93 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
edoverheels said:
What a great car but doesn’t seem to offer more than a tuned S1 Elise. Less practicality but much more interest. I have never seen one in the flesh but hopefully at a Goodwood Breakfast Club one day!
Yeah, it would mostly be the cool factor of having a car that everyone's seen in videogames but almost no-one's seen in real life. On a practical note however, the SR20DE is a very reliable chain-driven engine, so it has that over a K-series car.

thelostboy

3,617 posts

172 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
Wow, good bit of nostalgia here with the Gran Turismo connection!

I think they look great. Very curious to hear more about the chassis and if they were actually any good though?!

Fear it might be more like a Renault Sport Spider (which I'd still love..) than an Elise to drive.

scottygib553

181 posts

42 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
I'd never seen the interior of one of these before. Looks like some home build job.

vtecyo

2,040 posts

76 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
Cool little car. Prefer the ZZ2 though. Looks a bit like a mini Saleen S7.


Craikeybaby

9,082 posts

172 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
I had never heard of these, but seems like my sort of car!

s m

18,131 posts

150 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
Autocar had one at their Annual Handling Day event at Silverstone back in the 90s. Was a smidge quicker than the Lotus Elise Sport round the track ( couple of tenths over a 72second lap )

ZX10R NIN

15,560 posts

72 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
vtecyo said:
Cool little car. Prefer the ZZ2 though. Looks a bit like a mini Saleen S7.

Now that's a car I'd love to own.

The Crack Fox

13,730 posts

139 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
There's a Kaira ZZ sat under a sheet at an automotive proving ground I know. Been there ages. I have every intention of stealing it. Cracking little cars.

But.... £30k? It's a curiosity worth £20k, no more, to me.

WCZ

7,308 posts

141 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
vtecyo said:
Cool little car. Prefer the ZZ2 though. Looks a bit like a mini Saleen S7.

that's so nice!

SalsaJason

16 posts

1 month

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
At the place where I work there are about 4 Elises in the car park every day that is is vaguely sunny, I would take that just for the rarity value alone.

Dr G

13,804 posts

189 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
At 35k surely they can afford to clean it properly? Exposed rusty bits and glue residue; you'd think it was at everyone's favourite former multi-storey car park rofl

s m

18,131 posts

150 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
sidesauce said:
edoverheels said:
What a great car but doesn’t seem to offer more than a tuned S1 Elise. Less practicality but much more interest. I have never seen one in the flesh but hopefully at a Goodwood Breakfast Club one day!
Actually, the ZZ offers less than an S1 - around 45kgs less weight which at this point is probably going to make a difference to overall performance and feel IMO.
Would the natural competitor be a Sport 190 Elise with the Toyota engine - that's what the track comparison was done against in one mag

Duncan Lang

53 posts

54 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
yellowstreak said:
I am sure I read a review of this in a newspaper motoring section at the time. I remember it being fed by multiple motorbike carbourettors still labelled "for motorcycle use only". Am I right?
Yes, you are right. They struggle a little though so I swapped mine for twin 45 webers.

They are great handling cars and the Nissan running gear is very reliable and cheap/easy to maintain.
I've got two of them, one road car and one race car. The previous owner of the are car used to race in the MC750 championship and I'm led to believe that he never lost to the motorsport Elise in his class.

The ZZ2 was never more than a concept car. Apparently it just about ran enough to get it from the truck to the show stand.

I've been told as few as 80 and as many as 200 were produced.

If anyone wants to know more, just ask and I'll rack my brain.




SalsaJason

16 posts

1 month

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
Duncan Lang said:
Stuff
Very, Very Jealous.

kambites

57,509 posts

168 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
s m said:
Would the natural competitor be a Sport 190 Elise with the Toyota engine - that's what the track comparison was done against in one mag
I guess the natural competitor would be an S1 Sport 190, which is a VHPD K-series.

s m

18,131 posts

150 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
kambites said:
s m said:
Would the natural competitor be a Sport 190 Elise with the Toyota engine - that's what the track comparison was done against in one mag
I guess the natural competitor would be an S1 Sport 190, which is a VHPD K-series.
Ah you're right - I was thinking of the later series Elise !! There was a CCC mag comparison with an S2 Sport -I remember the Tommykaira was a 2nd hand one

Performance Car mag ( before the original mag died ) tried these as well


Edited by s m on Wednesday 6th November 13:11


Edited by s m on Wednesday 6th November 13:17

thelostboy

3,617 posts

172 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
Duncan Lang said:
Yes, you are right. They struggle a little though so I swapped mine for twin 45 webers.

They are great handling cars and the Nissan running gear is very reliable and cheap/easy to maintain.
I've got two of them, one road car and one race car. The previous owner of the are car used to race in the MC750 championship and I'm led to believe that he never lost to the motorsport Elise in his class.

The ZZ2 was never more than a concept car. Apparently it just about ran enough to get it from the truck to the show stand.

I've been told as few as 80 and as many as 200 were produced.

If anyone wants to know more, just ask and I'll rack my brain.



Now this is cool, and why I love PH. Other than the naff wheels on them, they look great! Much want.

How often do you use them? And when you say handle well, compared to what?

Would be interesting to know which Motorsport Elise that was, as they're pretty rare too (65 made), and I have one!