Strolling through the forecourt of a dealership specializing in JDM imports, I was expecting to see the usual array of Skylines and plush vans. Naturally, this dealership delivered on that. What I wasn’t expecting was a genuine reikyusha based on a Toyota Land Cruiser.
What’s a reikyusha, you may ask? Well, initially I had no clue what was going on with this ornately decorated Land Cruiser but figured it had something to do with funerals. Bingo: a reikyusha is a Japanese hearse, although there are many hearses in Japan that feature the more conventional style of North American examples. Because of its positioning on the lot, I couldn’t snap many photos but this shot clearly shows how intricately detailed these are. Interestingly, almost all Japanese deceased are cremated. It is common for their ashes to be driven in one of these hearses to the cemetery, where they are then buried in a family plot. These reikyusha hearses are often based on luxury sedans so this Land Cruiser is a somewhat obscure example.
Ok, so maybe you don’t want to spend $12,000 on a fancy hearse. Well, there’s plenty else on the lot to tantalize North American Curbsiders, even if those of us in the Asia-Pacific region find this collection of gray imports unexciting due to their ubiquity. Here’s an R34 Skyline sedan and its platform-mate, the WC34 Stagea. Also, I’ve never gotten used to the name “Stagea”. It looks and sounds awful, much like Toyota’s Australian market name for the Highlander, “Kluger”. Blech.
And here’s the WC34’s successor, the M35-series Stagea. This is basically a wagon version of the Infiniti G35 (V35 Nissan Skyline) and something I very strongly considered buying.
Oof. Some people think wagons look like hearses but I think this is a beauty. With an available turbocharged 2.5 version of the Nissan VQ engine pumping out 280 hp and 300 ft-lbs, not to mention a spacious load bay, I’d be happy for my mortal remains to be carried in style and pace in one of these Stageas. Actually, I think I’d prefer my living body in one of these!