I like to think of a finished build as a sum of its smaller parts. Each small detail combines to form the cohesive larger image. One of these smaller details on a kaido racer build is the mirrors. Some of these mirrors are no longer produced, making a pair of them very expensive ($300-$1000). Others can be had for relatively cheap and available from multiple websites. A few of these mirrors were also very common on race cars and Italian cars from 50 years ago.
Aftermarket door mounted mirror popularity could have resulted with the law around fender mirrors. Some European manufacturers experimented with fender mirrors on their cars in the 1950s, but eventually switched to door mirrors. Door mirrors really gained popularity in the 1960s with most Western countries adopting them in production. However, in Japan they made fender mirrors a requirement until the 1983. This is why many early kaido racers had a mix of fender mirrors and door mirrors, with the door mirrors being aftermarket. Another interesting fact is fender mirrors are still used in Japan on taxis and other luxury cars so that the passengers wont catch the driver looking at them with the mirrors.
Let’s dive into some of the most common mirrors found on kaido racers.
Vitaloni California / ビタローニ カリフォルニア
The Vitaloni California are one of the more common kaido racer mirrors you will see. This is partially due to being still available to purchase new today. There is also a lot of replicas of them out there as well. Expect to pay somewhere around $100 for authentic ones to $50 for replicas. One thing to keep in mind with these, some owners have experienced the mirrors “drooping” on them. I haven’t had too much issue with this personally, as long as I had the metal stay (the one in the top left of the mount parts) slightly bent. But there does exists adapter plates to hold the mirrors up.
Vitaloni Baby Turbo / ビタローニ ベビーターボ
Baby Turbo mirrors give off an ’80s Porsche vibe to me, with their rectangle shape and the ridged rubber stalk of it. Personally, I feel like these are somewhat less common, but still a good choice for a mirror.
This Vitaloni Sebring mirror is very common to be found on actual race cars. Because of its flat base, brackets are usually created for it like the example above, or mounded farther up on the fenders.
Car Mate Access AX-3 / カーメイト アクセス AX-3
These Car Mate mirrors were very popular at the time. Because of this, used examples can be very expensive at auction. Expect to pay somewhere around $300 or more for a pair of them.
Napoleon Beltage / ナポレオン ベルテージ
The Napoleon Beltage is another popular kaido racer mirror. It is very similar looking to the Car Mate mirror, but with the Car Mate mirror the bracket points forward and the Napoleon to the rear. These are another mirror that tends to be expensive at auction, with prices in the $300 range.
Napoleon Bacca / ナポレオン バッカ
The Bacca mirror is another perfect example of a period correct mirror for a kaido racer. Unlike the Sebring, the Bacca has an adjustable mount. Unfortunately the Bacca also has a high hammer price at auction. Many single mirrors sell for over $300. Where pairs of mirrors can go up to $800 or more. There are apparently replicas available for them as well.
Jaguar Meiwa / ジャガー メイワ
The Jaguar Meiwa is another good option for a period correct mirror. The mount is a trapezoid shape with the stalk on the back. For a vintage used mirror, these are fairly affordable compared to some of the other mirrors above. With many auctions ending around the $150-200 range.
1983-1986 Nissan 720
For the budget concerned individual (who also doesn’t want to run Californias), comes the 720 mirror. This mirror can be found used at junk yards or sites like eBay. The actually 720 mirror is somewhat wide, but there are other replicas of them with a more narrow profile
This covers the basics of kaido racer door mirrors. This doesn’t mean all cars had to have door mirrors. Some opted to keep their original factory fender mirrors. Other placed aftermarket mirrors like Alberts on their fenders. I have even seen California mirrors placed on a fender (but I doubt the visibility is that great).