Sometimes feeling confused is a good thing. Let me elaborate; for us Speedhunters feeling a little disoriented at events or shops means we are usually surrounded by a lot of goodness, goodness that plays havoc with our brain making it hard for us to decide where exactly where we should begin our coverage. This is pretty much how I felt when I visited the S & Company workshop in spring, sitting there surrounded by a vast mix of great cars.
We may focus a lot on performance, or the old classics, or straight out action a lot of the time, but for me being allowed to wander through a shop alone, just me and my camera, is another very important angle to the “hunting” that we do here. It’s all about taking in the details…
…and at S & Company there are plenty. Shikata-san, the man behind it all, will pretty much be able to do anything you would want to your car. His main line of work revolves around his successful wrapping business, which is handled at a smaller shop down the road in Kobe, while everything else is taken care of at the main workshop and bodyshop you see here, in Osaka.
You may remember this SLS I featured a few months back, wrapped in custom vinyl for a customer that wanted to stand out just that little bit more!
Take a step inside and you slowly begin to understand what a broad variety of cars they work on…
…all the way from restoring and repainting modern American classics like this…
…eighties El Camino which was sitting next to a tuned Ferrari 360 Modena.
Obviously some of Shikata-san’s customers have a thing for massive sixties and seventies American cars, which for me are always a very interesting sight, seeing I only got to see cars like this Mercury Montego convertible…
…in TV shows as I was growing up. This particular car had just been given a fresh coat of paint and a new retrimmed canopy, all ready to be picked up.
Right behind it was this Cadillac Coupe De Ville.
It never fails to impress me just how massive these cars really are. Look at that rear overhang!
Osaka is a very special place; if you think wealthy people in Tokyo try very hard to stand out with their expensive exotics, then you haven’t seen anything until you go down to Kansai. Everything gets modified down here, and this Gallardo was in to get a two tone paint job done…
…along with a new set of custom painted wheels.
Shikata-san does get some odd requests sometimes and this has to be one of the strangest projects he has worked on. The owner of this Renault 4 came in one day with an old French car magazine and showed a picture of a custom cabriolet conversion that had been done back in the seventies.
He wanted the same to be done to his car, so off went the roof!
Along with much needed strengthening to make sure the chassis doesn’t bend through the corners the old Renault will also be treated to a full restoration.
When done it will be one of the rarest French cars on the streets of Japan!
Sitting in front of the Renault was this recently completed Gallardo…
…dressed up with lots of custom color detailing. Interesting combination of matte and glossy paint, looks like the owner wanted to got for a reverse Superleggera look. Remember it’s all about standing out in Osaka!
At the back of the shop was this Hakosuka, which I spotted as soon as I came in. With a fresh restoration having just been completed…
…the car was awaiting its engine to be overhauled. This isn’t a real GT-R, but a very well executed replica sporting the all important details like the rear black overfenders and the trunk spoiler.
There wasn’t much to see in the engine bay as pretty much every component had been removed for the restoration and paint. Above you can see things like the radiator and L28′s sump and in the distance the exhaust manifold.
The head was given a much needed once over and the carbs rebuilt.
If you are going for the authentic look, then when it comes to wheels it can only be Watanabes!
Sitting in front of the Hakosuka was this beast of an engine. The idea to stick the gearbox under the 512′s (and Testarossa’s) 12-cylinder boxer engine might have seemed like a great idea at the time but it had its issues. Aside from making it a pain to work on, requiring…
…the engine to be removed whenever any maintenance was required, it also gave the car a very high center of gravity, causing it to be rather tail happy and tricky on the limit of grip.
And this is where the boxer-12 will be fitted back into once the differential rebuild is completed.
Another great Italian exotic, the Diablo…
…which unlike most other cars at S & Company was pretty much stock, only there for a little routine maintenance under the hood.
It may be over twenty years old now but it still very much has its charm. Back in the day this was the pinnacle of exotic supercars.
Only in Japan can you see a Lotus 7 replica on Volk Racing TE37s! Add sticky tires like these Toyo R888s and you have nothing short of a race car for the street.
Next to the Testarossa at the front of the workshop was this interesting 360 Modena. It might only look like it’s sporting aftermarket wheels and aero…
…but there is something a little more serious going on with the mid-mounted V8. This car runs a twin-supercharger kit for a little over 700 HP, making it blistering fast out on the street, scaring more modern prancing horse creations like the 430 and 458.
The whole Hellaflush movement in Japan is very popular at the moment and Shikata-san does a lot of work at prepping cars for such static events. This Beetle on air suspension was custom built for the wife of one of his customers.
It was great spending an afternoon going through the unexpected mix of cars at S & Company and this little find at the back of the shop was like the cherry on top of a nice cake. This BMW 2002 is on its way to getting fully restored…
…but it has currently been put on the back burner as more pressing customer cars projects continue to come in.
S & Company is a great example of the sheer demand for custom work that exists in Japan, and Osaka in particular is where things get done with a little more, how should I put it, flamboyance.
-Dino Dalle Carbonare
If you mess up a Lamborghini in Europe, from stock I mean, you can kiss good bye 50% of the resale value right there! :) Non stock rims? Even thogh they are HRE or Rays or Watanabe or what ever.... minus 10%. Non stock paint? Minus 20%. Non stock engine? Even turbo's? Ok, maybe not a minus on a Lamborghini, but for sure nat a plus. On a Ferrari? Definetly a HUGE minus on the entire car value.
It seems that Japan has is own way.
Totaly agreed on the modification of that R4.
Saw one once in South of France, Nice actually....was superb convertible, bleu ciel with a immense ground clearence and skinny wheels!
how expensive is it to live in japan...also how hard would it be to become a native from the US..?
LavarBowers Depends what you are after, big or small apartment, nice or not so nice area. On average it is quite more expensive than most countries
Dino, good job! the mini truck Chevrolet El Camino eighty years prettiest know what Moon Eyes and rarer French cars on the streets of Japan!
This 2002 BMW is on track to achieve fully restored, but has stickers or Turbo and Alpina
Yes it might have been. The were working on it so never got more pix of it. I'm supposed to get a little test in it when I drop by next...
man that bug was just nasty, awesome garage; thats what mine would look like if i hade the money and the no how
this just shows again how much japan just likes "cars", pretty much everything and anything is in japn
haha is this heaven? Made me laugh seeing the Ferrari flat 12 out, rebuilding the diff. A friend of mine just finished doing exactly the same job on his Testarossa. What an expensive bit of kit they are :P
HeathvanderWaerden Yep they sure are, the weakest part of the the driveline...if you treat the gearbox nicely that is haha
speedhunters_dino Yeah well they have a 'quill' shaft which is a 'consumable' item lol. As in it's designed to be the weakest link and fail before the box (and I guess diff) fails, but the latter doesn't work. Anyway, this quill shaft - Ferrari's idea of a 'consumable' part - costs four and a half grand! ($AUD) hahahhaha
Wow great photos. Really interesting combination and variety of cars. Dino - never heard back from you about that guest feature. Let me know!
Hey CR, yeah sorry man, been flat out! I'll get back to you as soon as I can on this but it all sounded like a great idea!
speedhunters_dino No worries Dino, I know how it is. Been so busy with work I forgot my own birthday this year. I'll send you a follow up email if I don't hear from you in a couple weeks and I'll work on getting down on location and shooting / interviewing in the mean time. Looking forward to giving you guys some awesome content. Talk to you soon.