Thank You Japan, You Are Awesome
Making The Right Choice

Having driven four hours to get to Nagoya for the recent Tuning Car World Showdown, finding out that pretty much nobody would be showing up on Sunday with their cars due to the closure of the massive parking area was little disappointing. Typically, this particular weekend in Nagoya would see a turn-out of untold Kyusha rides as well as the colorful appearance of some Kaido Racers. It’s something I’ve always looked forward to, but for a moment it seemed like it was just not going to happen this year…

I was talking to Inoue-san of Star Road about my predicament – he was at the show with his orange S30 project car – when he said, “Hang on a second, I’ll call my friend and ask if people are meeting elsewhere.” After a few minutes on the phone he turned to me and replied, “It turns out there’s a meeting tomorrow in Sagamiko – over 300 cars are expected.”


Awesome! Sure, that meant I’d be pretty much driving all the way back to Tokyo when I need to still be in Nagoya that night for a shoot in Kyoto the following day, but with the prospect of a few hundred cars – including the potential showing of a few Kaido Racer teams – there was no way I could pass up the opportunity. And boy am I glad I got up at 4:00am that morning to drive to Sagami Lake…


I spotted some cool old cars on the way up the highway – each car-sighting reassuring me that I was doing the right thing. And once I arrived at the Sagamiko Pleasure Forest gates – the same place where I covered the Hachirock Festa in 2012 – I was grinning from ear to ear.


There was a steady flow of Japanese classics making their way inside, and after queueing up for a while I managed to drop off the car and get out to enjoy the spectacle.


I even saw a few people rocking in on fully-fledged Boso bikes. They looked super-happy to be enjoying a day out with their friends, even if this meeting was all about machines of the four-wheeled variety.


The event was organized by a Skyline club so it was no surprise to see many generations of the iconic Nissan model present. It was in no way only limited to these cars though, and in the main meet area there was a huge variety of cars to feast your eyes on.


And then the Kaido Racers arrived! This was awesome as I don’t get to see as many of these now as I used to in my travels.


This team from Numazu in Shizuoka were super-cool and friendly and I definitely plan to drop by their area to maybe feature one of their cars. That is, if you guys would be interested in seeing what it takes to build one of these Silhouette racer inspired creations?


With so many Skylines in this scene using Cherry taillights, it was actually cool to see a Cherry in person – let alone one with body-coloured fender flares and tiny Watanabe wheels.


With the majority of the cars grouped in the main parking lot it seemed everyone was heading in that direction, so I followed suit, wanting to see for myself if the rumoured 300-odd cars had actually materialised.


You’ll notice that all the Kaido Racers were missing an important detail of the style:  takeyari pipes. That’s because the vertical ‘bamboo-spear’ exhaust extensions were banned from the event, as the organisers didn’t want things to get too loud. Owners respected that (for a while) and did their best to enjoy things in other ways.

What A Sight

As soon as I caught a glimpse of the big parking lot, it was pretty obvious that this was the biggest Kyusha meeting I had ever come across. Everyone was talking about the sheer size of it too.


So many well-known teams and clubs were present, and photographers from Champ Road – a magazine specifically dedicated to this scene – were running around attempting to capture all the cars that had shown up.


Being in the middle of this awesome gathering really blew me away. I may come across as being a touch jaded at times – it’s part of this line of work I suppose – but my adrenaline was pumping like it hadn’t pumped in a long time.


I was frantically running around trying to get as many shots as I could, as I knew this wasn’t something that occurs on a regular basis!


I mean, come on, they even had a pink Hakosuka! I know Taryn will probably faint when she sees this!


With cherry and peach blossom in full bloom, the whole setting for the event couldn’t have shouted ‘Japan’ more. It was almost surreal.


After a quick walk around the lot just to gauge the size of it, I wanted to check out what the vendors had up for sale, as you can bet there is always something cool to check out. This guy was looking super-pumped for having picked up a set of Liberty Walk’s new tyres. With the lack of appropriately sized 14-inch rubber around and brittle old race rubber from the ’70s and ’80 not exactly a safe option, Kato-san has really managed to provide for a scene that still remains so close to his heart. Time to stretch those babies onto some stupidly-wide vintage race wheels I guess!


I’m glad I got a few images of the vintage awesomeness that was up for sale, as it quickly disappeared throughout the day.


Wheels, tyres and over-fenders – this is a pretty good place to start if you are looking to convert your old JDM ride.


Despite a few paint chips, this vintage set of 14×6.5-inch Heroes Racing wheels were in really good condition. It’s just another example of the cool stuff you come across at an event like this.


There seems to be a variety of takes on the Kaido Racer style and not all are super-extreme like that Skyline Japan we saw earlier on from Numazu. This Soarer has a few must-have touches, like the extended hood, the bonnet fins, and of course the bulbous over-fenders. There was no deppa chin spoiler present, although it would be a lot easier to drive around like this.


There’s more race car inspiration going on here. Just like the race KPGC10s that dominated at the Fuji endurance races, this example has the fender flares, the front-mounted oil cooler, headlight deletes and a bucktooth splitter. The candy red paint could possibly been seen as too modern for an early-’70s car, but it just fits in beautifully with the Yankee subculture that all these cars fall into.

When In Doubt, Over-fender It, Or Not

This black four-door was all kinds of mean and definitely one of my favourites at the event.


Here’s a side shot so you can get the full effect. Just look at the size of those over-fenders! And yes, those rear doors ain’t opening…


Of course, in this scene the narrow look does the job too.


If wild over-fenders are your thing, then take a look at this CD Cosmo! The style is pretty wild, but the base car is what makes all of this so special. You definitely don’t see many old Cosmos modified like this, so it’s no wonder that a constant stream of people were checking it out in detail.


Here’s another superb rotary find, this time an SA22C RX-7 with a somewhat more sedate, albeit very authentic and period-correct look.


I was almost overwhelmed with the size of it all, but the best thing to do in a scenario like this is to step back, lift up your head and just take it all in.


Rather than trying to capture a ton of pictures that I just know I wouldn’t be able to share with you (500-photo posts would be awesome, but they aren’t going to happen), I shot a few spotlight features on cars that I knew you’d like. Expect to see those coming up over the next couple of weeks!


On top of that I met a lot of owners who I exchanged phone numbers with, as I’m itching to do a few full-on features with some mind-blowing cars I found.


As I watched it all unfold I just couldn’t help but fall on the same train of thought that always passes though my head when I find myself at any type of Kyusha event. The Japanese sure know how to enjoy their old cars. Anything goes – no matter how weird or whacky – and it all nicely slots into a scene where nobody gets judged.


Well, maybe they all get categorised as Yankees, but nobody cares – instead it’s embraced. As one guy told me, “I’m a professional Yankee and proud of it!”


During the day I was updating Speedhunters’ Instagram feed as well as my own, and noticing that these cars were generating thousands of comments.


But given that this is one of the most interesting Japanese subcultures around, that’s not surprising I guess.


Towards the end of the day takeyari pipes started being fitted, and as some of the cars began leaving things got pretty rowdy.

Keep The Noise Down!

I had to laugh when one of the organisers went out on the stage and announced over the mic, “We know your cars are loud – we get it – but can you please try to keep the noise down as this is one of the last venues that we have managed to get.” Not that anyone really took notice…


C110 Skyline wagons are pretty rare, so I spent quite some time looking over this one in detail. It came all the way up from Hiroshima, which is a 2,000km round trip, for a chance to make a showing at this big meet.


I love how most of the teams rock cool jackets with their club name and insignia embroidered on the back. The 70’s Street Fighters from Shizuoka Racing are a group we have seen before at the Nostalgic 2days, and I’ll be paying them a visit in the near future to chat about vintage cars, their style, and to feature the best machines from their group.


If you don’t have team jackets, overalls are always a good alternative.


Closer to the stage area people had brought out some proper classics. This was a more collector car oriented display, which was also made up of tiny Kei vans from yesteryear.


Now, I’m a sucker for older 911s, but seeing one cruise into the venue left me thinking that this guy must have got the wrong event.


Butaketsu anyone? Look out for a spotlight feature on this Laurel soon. Trust me, you will love this one!


High on the top section of the main parking lot was the Mizuno Works crew with their Toyotas. Check out that collection of appropriately-stanced perfection. Man, the Japanese do things so right.


Like at any car event in Japan, you know you are bound to come across someone that has made a scale replica of their car from a RC drift car body. I had no idea they had scale vintage ’80s rims for these cars though.


With many people having come from a long way away, some began leaving early, and the mayhem of raspy exhaust notes began.


Even if every attempt was made to keep people from revving out their engines too much during most of the day, that all pretty much went out the window as the cars left.


With a ton of bystanders lining up on the sides of the access roads to check out the convoy of cars leaving, many owners wanted to make their outing a memorable one, which pretty much meant a loud one!


Needless to say this Kyusha meeting at Sagamiko Pleasure Forest is never going to happen again. Ever. The guards at the gates were far from happy hearing the commotion of revving straight sixes destroying the tranquility of the venue. Some owners even started doing donuts in front of them just to finish things off all together.

I’m very happy I chose to make the 800km round trip that day, as it seems nobody is sure when something of this size is ever going to go down again…

Thank you Japan, you are awesome!

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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Amazing..... Simply Amazing.....

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

Yes Japan, you are definitely awesome. Cheers Dino!


Is there any more information anywhere about the Liberty Walk tyres?


Dino, this is why I look forward to your articles on SH the most. So many awesome's in this post I don't know where to begin.


So incredible, please post more!!!


Nick1077 I've only seen them for sale at shows. If you are interested you should probably contact their local distributer to you




speedhunters_dino Nick1077 Thanks Dino. I just hadn't been any able to unearth any information online anywhere about their launch etc. That's probably due to my inability to speak Japanese, though.


BT180 haha thanks man, really appreciate. I've been shooting some cool stuff as of late, so the next few weeks will bring nice stories to the site




ra64freddy! Got a few spotlights from the event...


Nick1077 speedhunters_dino Well they have a guy at the shop that speaks english, could always give them a call directly and see what they say ;)


Dino, take pride in posts like this. Nearly all whom read it have *only* your pics and your words to experience it. Take it or leave it, you are a crusader! Keep it up.


SOOO SOOO GOOOOD!!! Thank  you Dino and Speedhunters


I know that this won't get anywhere near the amount of OMG stanced out hektikness likes from the kiddies like it should but this is epic.
This is what car culture is about. Being different and standing out. Great article, thoroughly enjoyed reading it and looking forward to the spotlight posts!


KINGSPADE Thank you sir, I'll keep crusading away :)


StreetStatik Share it around, we got to show these cool scenes out of Japan!


Kory Leung I hunted down some cool cars so keep an eye out for them!


I want more photos of this thing right here.
Damn it looks good.


Goosebumps of note! Dino you are a scholar and a gentleman, for some to only ever see marques and models of this nature on the internet, this is pure utopia.

Im turning Japanese, I really think so.


I normally hate any type of flames painted on anything, but that Soarer is soo cool. I'm also as sucker for a long nose conversion. I love the シャコタン scene in general.


speedhunters_dino StreetStatik consider it shared
I need to get myself over there for a few months to shoot.


Praise the lord! 
More shakotan, more kaido racers, more of everything in this post.


That Datsun 510 is just so right!


I was really looking forward to the full article on this event after seeing your Instagram posts, and it really did not disappoint. Every car there looks great, but that SA22C is damn near perfect. Great post, really looking forward to seeing the upcoming features!


Love this! Thank you very much for sharing this with us!


That hakosuka in motion picture will be great as next picture for your prints in eshop. You have one buyer already ;-)


Geextah502 Haha I'll make sure I mention it to Jonathan :)


Shakotan My pleasure!


azmedaj I will do my best! ;)


HunterHunted Thanks man!


StreetStatik speedhunters_dino Thanks buddy!


VERY excited for spotlights from this event.
Question though, how do Japanese people view burnouts and revving during and after events like this? In Australia it is massively frowned upon. In some instances event organisers may even report drivers to police if the do burnouts on the way out.


LOVE THIS... I'd like to see more of these running pixar's cars sunshades!


It looks like Heaven


@NightRider It was!


Brentonmartian It depends on the venue, but mostly not really accepted if it's private property. Not that these guys care too much lol


Taryn Croucher hahaha


Dino, man you should be a tour operator! I would love to go to Japan to see this stuff but know I'd never find it with the language barrier, imagine arriving at the airport and getting taken around to all of these legit club runs. Awesome post


Awsome.... just Awsome !


@86wip Haha, I already do that sort of thing if you are interested ;)


speedhunters_dino I'm heading over in May/June for 2 weeks to a conference and would love some tips if you have any! Spending the first week in Sendai (conference) then four nights in Kyoto and three in Tokyo...


Speedhunters #bosozoku !! :D


Dino, How can I get a hold of those 245/525/14's outside Japan?

This is by far my favourite article on SH in years, probably ever.

I've had the great privilege to be at the JCCA Fuji Jamboree last year and it's truly mindblowing seeing these cars up close.

I'll be at this years JCCA event on Tsukuba too... and I just can't wait. Will you be covering that too?


Wow quite impressive! Great pictures and amusing read Dino.


Dino, I would love for an article on those Kaido cars. I am just completely in love with the Kaido/Kyusha styled cars. I get my fair amount of shit from my friends because I live in The States and I just dont think they get it. This article is the reason why speedhunters is the first thing I see when I wake up! Thanks for the great article.


Just Wow!!!!!
I'm hanging out for the feature on the Pigsbut. I'm also hoping you've got some more shots of that 510 coupe - it looks spectacular.
Awesome coverage and shots Dino - I love stories like this! Fantastic


the last picture is Datsun 180K  , I think 1977 . my fathers car and what I learned to drive with! tough car and spacious.
his 1.8 OHV was awesome in that time

thanks a lot for all memories that you reminded me :)


speedhunters_dino  These are my all time favorite features, being from the US I have to get my fix from you. I would love see more especially on the clubs and teams. Any chance on more features of R30's and R31's and more Soarers =) Thanks for the great cars!


Speedhunters u ain't about that boso life


lmao my dad says bosozoku style is stupid, you know what dj jazzy jeff says "parents just dont understand"


Wow 800km to bring us this amazing content ! Thank you Dino !


CharlesSangollo Was worth it right? ;)


Thabeastie LOL


JoshHall3 speedhunters_dino You are in luck, I've got something planned, just hang in there and I'll get some cool features together


AliNorodahr My pleasure!


day_old_tofu Didn't get any extra snaps of the 510, but I'll run into it again sooner or later I'm sure :)


JoshHall3 It's a curious style but so unique right?


koko san Thx!!


AlexGut Probably will, and I'm pretty sure you'll be able to pick up those tyres there. That's unless they get sold out first! Like I mentioned below in another comment probably best to call up Liberty and reserve your set


MichaelFenton speedhunters_dino Drop me a mail :)


That feeling you get the moment the alarm goes off, you should be tired and not willing to go so far for so little time. 

Then again, it is times like those, I remind my self, it could be once in a lifetime, jump up and with a rush of adrenaline I am out the door.

Good work, these are events I dream of when I pull up after a long drive. Thanks for sharing the pics, in for the spotlights...

Okami Motorsport

Japanese car culture can do little-to-no wrong in my eyes as of late. Whether the car is clean and simple with an attention to detail or extravagant and loud in all ways possible, I'm drawn to it.

But the more I think about it, the less I find it having to do with the car's style directly but the crafter's/owner's dedication to their goal. Add to that everyone's general acceptance of the completed work in appreciation for the craftsmanship, and its all in good fun.

So thanks again Dino for being our "car culture caretaker" for all things Japanese and dealing out or fixes! Question! What car does the upside-down spoiler = rear diffuser originally come from? Have you heard? Every time I see it on a kaido, its the same design.


Dino, thank you so much for your time and effort! This content is the bee's knees yo!


Among my friends that were into cars, I'm the only 1 digging the kyusha/kaido racer/bosozoku scene. I can't explain to them why but I just love it. This might be the best article on SH. Good job Dino.


It seems like car culture in Japan is missing something. Haters. All the auto enthusiasts seem to be pretty cool with each other. I think American car guys could take a note or two and spend a little more energy on our cars and a little less on partisan bs. 
Oh and great pictures Dino. Any chance you have another of that awesome green Cosmo?


Dino have you ever done (or thought of doing) a post where you followed around the Boso crews to learn more about what they're like? I mean sort of how Mike did it with the Kaido racers. I'd love a little history story on that!


Best thing I've seen in a while.  Cheers Dino.
BTW the happy guy carrying the LB tires looks just like Mizuno-san.  ;)


i must live there, 
(and one day we will see a capella/rx2 in japan).


THIS is the sort of event I'd love to attend when in Japan....but I suppose you need to know someone and ask at the right time to find out about it!!!

So much win here(Love that Cosmo/RX5), including the blossoms!

Cherry taillights I was thinking they were XT Ford Falcon tailights, LOL ;)


zapsnyder This is precisely why Japan wins at cars.


Spaghetti lol yep, cherry lights are the ones to have! These meets happen often, not as big, but yeah need to ask the right guys


Jun Imai Yes it is :)


@zz I just did that, except that was for German TV lol


day_old_tofu I'm finding some new love for the Pigsbutt lately....wasn't a fan originally but I am now!


zapsnyder Yes, exactly, no hate. This is how it should be everywhere


Spaghetti zapsnyder Well said


@yang95 Thanks man!


Jesse62 :)


Spaghetti day_old_tofu Can't get enough of those Laurels lately lol


speedhunters_dino Spaghetti See the similarities? Of course I'm kidding, but they're very close.


Spaghetti speedhunters_dino yep pretty similar, but a lot bigger maybe?


I was reading the article the whole time waiting to see a butaketsu, and as always you didn't disappoint speedhunters_dino! Can't wait for that feature. I love all kyusha, but the C130 Laurel and C210 Skyline are my favorites


lgunnz speedhunters_dino Just done writing the C130 spotlight, you can see some preview images at the bottom of the front page. Don't forget tissues... lol


You imply alot about how Japan enthusiasts don't hate on everyone's cars and how everyone in Japan appreciates all styles and genres of cars.  I hope you realize that the world isn't like Japan.  Kaido Racers are sacred to Japan, sometimes it's better for things like these to be kept that way instead of it being exposed like how all media outlets do with anything that catches fan's interests.  Cool article and photos, but please respect the culture before sharing photos of cars that many foreigners will never understand.


Amazing work, Dino!  I know from the get-go, when you mentioned Inoue-san, this article was going to deliver.  I always love seeing cars with the vintage 70s touring car look, and the amount of pure passion put into these rides is phenomenal.  I'm thankful you got up extra early and made the drive! (I know from experience that a lot of times, you've got to fight that urge to blow something off--got to see a Singer 911 recently as a result).  
Top stuff.


Dino, any chance you can do an expose on Flex Dream, a Japanese Land Cruiser shop? They do a great 80 series to 60 series front conversion I would love to know more about. Help us US based Cruiser guys out!


Butaketsu? ketsu? i mean ,we`re allowed badwords now Dino? I bet thats not the education you recieved from "mama"! 
Jokes aside, rad article, awesome photography! I absolutely love the shakotan! =)


speedhunters_dino Will there be a story about your experience on here?


@pinard84 are you joking? do you live in japan? do you know any of these people? Dino does on both counts.  Also might want to check out if you think bosozoku don't like being photographed for sites. I was a part of this scene in Japan for years, idk where you got this idea in your head that they're like jungle dwellers that don't want their soul stolen from the scary hakujin and his camera.

Of course he realizes the word isn't like Japan, thats the whole point....


Wow that SA22C! Love every inch of it!


I can't say I like it, but it's definitely leagues better than anything similar here in the States.


@pinard84 For actual cereals?


@DriveCircles What would be remotely similar in the US?


EvolveWRC It was super clean!


mbretschneider I love me some big old deka-ketsu lol


Derelict Yes I can, in fact their second shop is 5 min from me, the main one about 30 min drive lol


KaoriInoue Yeah Inoue-san was the man in all of this! Top notch guy!


@pinard84 I've looked at your comment a few times, and I still dong get it. What? How? Why?


familycar Those cars aren't "bosozoku". Bosozoku are bikers.  Unfortunately, no I don't live in Japan and no I don't know the owners. I think you guys are missing the point of my comment. I'm only talking about kaido racers, most of the event coverage Dino posted aren't of kaido racers, but just nicely tuned classics. Same for the cars on the high top fade blog (although I did see some kaido racers in it).
Kaido racers, the ones with takeyari "blast pipes", deppa extended chin spoilers, extended hoods, huge wings, crazy silouette widebody panels, and vibrant paint colors and schemes. Those cars are the ones that most people just don't understand and talk sh!t about constantly. I know there are people on here that like the style, but it seems like theres more hate generated towards these cars which gives the Japanese a bad reputation just because people don't understand what they're looking at and it doesn't conform to their ideals.


I've seen it in the past where people (including my friends) post about how stupid the cars look are how the Japanese shouldn't be allowed to drive these cars.  Alot more than people appreciating the style and the amount of work these people put into their cars. That's why I'm saying that maybe most people don't need to see cars like these, it's special to Japan and it seems that the culture behind these cars are being lost and misinterpreted by people that aren't from there. Most people can only accept what's "normal" or "slightly beyond normal," and kaido racers are "extreme" in comparison.
Also, I hope you guys don't think I'm blasting Dino for doing his job.  The photos and coverage Dino posts are top notch.


speedhunters_dino Derelict Please Please Please do it! I am mostly a truck guy (although I have to fight the urge to pick up a Volvo 240 or Galant VR4 daily) and have had a few old, pre 80 series, Cruisers. Would love to see if you can get any access. Their 60 series conversion for the 80 is beyond cool.


And there's still someone who complains about the level of the events coverage on speedhunters... I mean, I used to PAY to read articles on the car magazines of my country that were not even comparable to the extreme awesomness we are used to here on this site, for FREE! You are doing a really amazing job covering this kind of authentic japanese events Dino! thanks for your dedication and your hard work! Awesome job as usual!


Bloody awesome Dino your coverage of Japan is nuts, it makes me want to hug children and kiss babies I am that happy after reading about Japan!!!! o7 dude!!!


EvolveWRC I agree.  It was the stand out for me of the article.


I would hate to think how much money I spent on magazines in my life.


Mother of god, what is thae car in the pic 13 from the bottom? The blue one with the Equip 03's?!?
It is gorgeous! Any more photos of it or details? Its perfect!


Derelict speedhunters_dino dont forget the 70 series Rando Curusahs they have as well...amazing! Thank you very much!


kadett 244 Bluebird SSS


the car was very good 
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