1971 PANIC
Just like the KUSABI, the PANIC was a formula junior racing car fabricated using formula racing car suspension parts made by Legrand. The space frame was constructed by the end-milling of each constituent pipe according to the design drawings, so that they could fit together in a predetermined way like a jigsaw puzzle. In fabrication, right and left ladder-shaped frames were built on a wide H-bar instead of on a surface plate. Then, the two frames were joined together in a trapezoidal shape, also on the H-bar. Such an irregular way of fabrication was chosen due to the lack of a surface plate and money for making jigs. To overcome such "poverty," I worked on one idea after another to achieve cheaper fabrication in those days, out of my sheer desire to build racing cars.
Just as with the KUSABI, a curved acrylic resin board was used for the body surface of PANIC's master model. Fabrication was slow, as usual. When it became unlikely that the car would be completed in time for the race, I called Kikuo Kaira, a friend of mine who is currently an executive for Tommykaira, and said, "Why don't you come to see me in Kyoto?" He came to visit without knowing for what, and I managed to cajole him into helping me in my workshop. When we found interference between the body and engine, I tried to modify the engine mount, not wanting to change the car body contour. However, Kikuo said, "If you want to make it to the race, we've no choice but to cut the body. Otherwise I really can't help you any more!" Very reluctantly I cut the body around the rear bulkhead. The car looked a little shapeless with its tail chopped off.
We went to the Suzuka Circuit for the car's debut race, where we got completely flustered just before the race when the Honda light motor vehicle engine mounted on the car wouldn't start. Masao Kimura, a former executive director of Mugen Co., Ltd. who was working for HONDA RSC at that time, appeared and told us that we could use an engine that had been used in tests at his company. We went excitedly to the storehouse, and were surprised to see a mouse scuttle out of the exhaust manifold of the engine. With no other alternatives and not much time left, we borrowed that engine and barely made it to the race.