Wangan Midnight (湾岸ミッドナイト) is a Japanese manga comic series written and illustrated by Michiharu Kusunoki. It won the prestigious Kodansha Manga Award for general manga.
The story has its roots in the street racing culture centered on the Bayshore Route of Tokyo's Shuto Expressway. “Wangan” (literally bayshore in Japanese) is the longest, straightest road in Japan. Because of the road traffic to contend with, including a fair number of heavy trucks, the racing action is inherently hazardous and wrecks are common. Blown engines are also a frequent hazard among the extremely high power engines.
In the story, Akio Asakura (朝倉アキオ), a high school student in his last year of study, is driving his Nissan Fairlady Z (Z31) one day on the Shuto Expressway when he challenges Tatsuya Shima, a doctor, in his black Porsche 930 Turbo, dubbed the "BlackBird." Akio attempts to win, but is defeated. When Akio finds the derelict midnight blue Fairlady Z (S30) in the junkyard, he becomes intrigued and wonders why such a classic Japanese performance vehicle is about to be junked. Akio convinces the scrapyard owner to sell him the old Z, but the owner has been advised by the previous Z owner to scrap the car because it is cursed.
The young Akio soon finds that the car is unnaturally fast due to a tuned L28 engine, bored and stroked to 3.1 liters and fitted with triple carburetors and twin turbochargers. He also finds that one of the car's previous owners shares his first and last name, and had been killed in a horrible crash on the Wangan a few years ago. Furthermore, every person who has taken possession of the Z has ended up spinning out of control and crashing, as if the car is rebelling against its driver. This gives the blue Z the nickname “Akuma no Z,” literally, The Devil Z.
Akio eventually races the Devil Z against the BlackBird, but he crashes and the car catches fire. Jun Kitami, nicknamed as the “Hell’s Tuner,” retunes the engine and Yuichi Takagi, the body work genius, reconstructs and further enhances the body kit.
Although he is a humble young man, Akio is already regarded as a legend on the Wangan. Still, despite his gentle demeanor, he is so serious about racing that he skips school, even to the point of repeating a grade, to drive the Devil Z. His day job, a waiter for a nightclub, eventually ends when he is fired for showing up tardy too often due to late-night racing and the active social scene at the heart of Tokyo. He was already an accomplished racer with his old car, but behind the wheel of the Devil Z, Akio is nearly invincible.
AUTOart once again faithfully replicates a famous vehicle from manga fiction, recreating the Devil Z exactly according to the comic series, down to the smallest details of the model. You may notice that some details are different from the Devil Z that appeared in the live action film and the animated series, such as the light covers, which were absent from the film but were shown in the printed comic series. Logically, the light cover is a must for a car reaching its top speed of 300km/h (186 mph). The 1/18 die-cast model features small details of the Devil Z after having been reworked following the crash, which set the car on fire and burned it badly:
*Midnight Blue body color
*Tuned L28 twin turbo engine
*Big front intercooler
*Head light cover
*Front aero parts
*8-spoke wide wheels
*Low ground clearance
*Large brake rotors
*100-liter gasoline tank
*Big-bore muffler and exhaust pipes
*Tower bar front and rear
*Bucket seats with 4-point seatbelts
*Sport Steering wheel
*340km speedometer and turbo boost gauge