Hino celebrates little known racing past with retro look

Team 18's Camaro for the Gold Coast round of Supercars.

Team 18 and Hino Australia have revealed a retro-inspired livery for Scott Pye’s #20 Camaro at the upcoming Gold Coast round of the Supercars Championship.

The striking red livery is inspired by a brief, little-known foray into car racing in the 1960s.

Following a 1-2 finish on debut in 1966 at California’s Riverside Raceway in front of 100,000 fans with a race version of the 1300cc Hino Contessas, the famous American automotive designer Peter Brock created a Hino ‘Team Samurai’ prototype, which he intended to enter in the 1967 Japanese Grand Prix and Le Mans.

“It was a hailed a ‘styling triumph’ featuring in several magazines and displayed at motor shows, but ultimately it didn’t compete in the Japanese Grand Prix due to a steward’s ruling that it had insufficient ground clearance,” said Richard Emery, Vice President Brand and Franchise Development for Hino Australia.

“A merger with Toyota in 1967 ended Hino’s production of cars and racing program, and the ‘Team Samurai’ prototype remained just that, a prototype.”

Hino has over 80 years of global experience in design and innovation, predominantly in trucks, and has been supplying the Australian market with quality trucks and buses for almost 60 years.

“The story of our involvement in car production is one that is rarely told,” said Mr Emery.

“In 1953 Hino became a private car manufacturer, initially assembling another brand’s car under licence.”

This evolved into Hino introducing its own four-door rear-engine saloon, a Hino Contessa 900 PC in 1961.

“The range was imported into various markets including Australia – the racing program with Peter Brock was a marketing exercise to promote Hino to the American market,” said Emery.

“Similarly, our long-standing involvement in Supercars including our partnership with Team 18 is a brand-building one that continues to reap rewards for us – this is the fifth time the Hino #20 Camaro will hit the track this year, we wanted it to truly stand out in front of one of the biggest Supercars spectator events this year.”

Team 18 Team Owner Charlie Schwerkolt said it was a tremendous honour to showcase Hino’s historic Samurai livery on Scott Pye’s Camaro at the Gold Coast 500.

“This unique design pays homage to Hino’s short but remarkable history in car racing, a story that’s often overlooked,” he said.

“The 1960s was a fascinating period for Hino, and their ‘Team Samurai’ prototype, brought to life by legendary American designer Pete Brock, truly reflects their commitment to innovation and style and we’re proud to showcase that at Team 18.”

The 2023 Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 will take place from 27-29 October 2023 on the streets of Surfers Paradise.

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