Many would argue that the golden era of JDM machinery was the late 80s through the 90s with a curtain call on all that glory in the early noughties. It’s a notion that’s difficult to dispute with what devotees claim to be the pinnacle of desirability from Japan.
Nonetheless, it wasn’t just the Land of the Rising Sun that injected allure into that time period. The land of no speed restrictions certainly more than held its own during that era with BMW, Porsche and even Mercedes-Benz contributing to the pool of excellence with the likes of the M3, air-cooled greatness of the 911 and the 190E Evo.
Lest we forget, our very own Proton delivered some of its finest during the period as well in the form of the legendary Proton Satria GTI and the rarer-than-hens-teeth Wira C99. The latter, officially tagged as the Wira C99 Limited Edition 1.8 EXi DOHC, was built to meet World Rally Championship homologation requirements of 2,500 units.
Instantly recognisable to petrolheads by the “tiang gol” spoiler, the Wira C99 had a stiffer shell from extra welding to handle the 138hp from the 4G93P 1.8-litre mill; the same as the Satria GTI. It also had Recaro front seats and a Momo steering plus gear knob.
If that isn’t enough of a hard sell, Michael Schumacher hit speeds of over 230kph in a rally-prepped version that belonged to Malaysian Suriya Sankaran; a familiar face in the local motorsports fraternity.
However, as the analogue appeal of those machines evoke more fondness in our hearts, coming across unmolested specimens to drool upon are rarer than Taylor Swift songs that don’t centre around ex-boyfriends.
This is where No Equal comes to the rescue with their third annual NEAT (NoEqual Automotive Tribe) Fest that’s basically a curation of the finest examples of cars that era had to offer.
An invite only affair to display, the show’s basically an exclusive indoor exhibition curated to exemplify the best and latest that Malaysia's automotive lifestyle culture has to offer.
Occupying most of Hall C at this year’s Art of Speed, the theme was Modern Classic Showcase and brought together 35 show cars from the era displayed in a museum style showcase. There was even a special section dedicated to the Bahnstorming BMW M3 with each generation displayed; from the E30 all the way to the current F80.
Anything that occupied your bedroom walls growing up could be found on the floor in pristine condition.
Enjoy this third part of our Art of Speed coverage. You can find the first and second parts here and here.