Since 1989, Japanese automakers have all approved – at least on paper – a kind of gentlemen`s agreement that limited their advertised horses to 276 on domestically manufactured vehicles. Their main objective was to avoid a PS war in a country where the maximum speed is 62 mph. But in October, Honda officially broke the agreement on its legend (Acura RL in the United States) by unveiling the 300 hp V-6 of 300 hp and 3.5 liters of the model. A gentlemen`s agreement, or gentleman`s agreement, is an informal and legally non-binding agreement between two or more parties. It is usually oral, but it can be written or simply understood as part of a tacit agreement by convention or by mutually beneficial label. The essence of a gentlemen`s agreement is that it depends on the honour of the parties for its achievement, rather than being enforceable in one way or another. It differs from a legal agreement or a contract. In 2004, growing divergences in local industry culminated at a turning point. The former president of JAMA, Itaru Koeda, told the press in July 2004 that his organization had indeed not found a link between speed mortality and road mortality, which had fallen to 8000 per year, and that it had therefore called for an end to the agreement of 280 hp gentlemen.
The gloves were now off, and Japan was able to beat its weight in terms of its motor muscle, without any problems on the international stage. Just as Nissan`s Fairlady Z was already there in 1989 to launch the electric cover, another car was waiting in the wings to mark its abolition. The car, the Honda Legend, came on the market in mid-2004 and is 300 hp. Since then, of course, many other models have followed – including the 308 hp Subaru Impreza STI, the 333 hp Nissan Skyline Coupe and the 380 hp Lexus LS460. But this is just the beginning. In addition to Nissan`s just-launched 480-PS-GT-R, Honda is working on a two-door 550 hp, while Lexus is putting the finishing touches to its own 520 hp LF-A. Given that these last two super cars will cost more than $15,000,000 when they arrive by 2010, one wonders if the creators have not been able to organize some self-limitation on the price side. A report by the U.S. House of Representatives detailing its United States Steel Corporation investigation stated that in the 1890s there were two general types of associations or bulk consolidations between steel and ferrous interests in which different groups owned ownership, as well as a high degree of independence: the “pool” and the “Gentleman`s Agreement.”  The latter type lacked a formal organisation to regulate production or prices or forfeiture rules in the event of infringement.  The effectiveness of the agreement relied on members to meet informal commitments. Until Jackie Robinson was hired by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946, a gentlemen`s agreement ensured that African-American players were excluded from organized baseball.  The vehicles were completed in a special blue color scheme. They also carried 16-inch lightweight gold alloy wheels and a special numbered plate. The production plant was limited to 200 units and the search for rehabilitation in the United States will be a daunting task. Dissent increased further as foreign manufacturers built increasingly strong cars and restricted the Japanese car market abroad until the decisive (and surprisingly last) year of 2004. In July 2004, former JAMA President Itaru Koeda went to the press to tell them the truth – JAMA had not found a link between speed and road mortality.