Behind The Scenes: My Car Geek Room

When you think of us Speedhunters creating content for the site, you likely imagine us out there with cameras in hand, be it under the sun at a race track, a late-night meet or amongst project cars at a shop or garage somewhere.

Without that on-location shooting there would be no Speedhunters, but what about the less glamorous, more routine side of the job? You know, the part where we actually have to sort and edit the photos and write the stories that accompany them…

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As you would imagine, a good amount of our time is spent sitting down at a computer, be it on the road somewhere or in our own offices.

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Earlier this year my wife and I moved into a new place, and one of the reasons we chose this particular house was that it had a spot that’d be perfect for my new home office – right off the living room and just a short hop to the fridge.

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And now that I’ve finally gotten settled in and have the office decently presentable, I thought it would be fun to take you guys on a little virtual tour of my ‘workspace’.

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In terms of the actual office equipment, it’s pretty straight forward. There’s a desk, a desktop computer, a laptop, and space to store all of my camera equipment when it’s not in use.

But for me, this room has become a lot more than just an office. It is indeed where I work, but it’s also part library, part games room, and part toy collection. I guess you can call it my ‘car geek room’.

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I’ve been a car magazine hoarder since before I had my drivers license, and prior to moving houses I liquidated a lot of my magazine collection. But I still have a ton of them, many purchased in Japan. Even in the internet age, I constantly find myself digging into them for research or just for fun.

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I’ve also got a sizable stack of vintage American car magazines from the ’60s and ’70s, because what’s better than looking at old advertisements or reading 50-year-old car reviews?

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I wouldn’t say I’m a huge anime fan, but my love for old Japanese comics is well known. The new office houses much of my manga collection, almost all of it related to cars in some way.

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Did somebody say diecasts? I’m not the biggest collector out there, but while packing for the move I discovered all the unopened Hot Wheels and other diecast cars I had stored in various places.

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So rather than leaving them packed away in closets, I decided to fill up an entire wall with them. The display has a mix of brand new releases and some very old ones I’ve purchased at various events over the years.

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And that’s in addition to all of the unboxed Hot Wheels, Matchbox and Tomica cars that I’ve got in display cases and other storage boxes.

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Speaking of Tomica, I’m a huge fan of Japan’s popular diecast brand, and one of the shelves above my desk is filled with a little slice of Tomica Town.

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Thankfully my cats haven’t found this yet. I really don’t want to think about the chaos if they did find it, but so far so good.

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Along with the toys, there’s also some more adult collectables in here, including this amazing AUTOart DR30 Skyline that was a gift from Speedhunters founder Rod Chong to commemorate my five-year anniversary back in 2013.

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It’s joined by other classic JDM diecast cars, some bought at collectables shops, some given as gifts from friends, and others that came packaged with Japanese canned coffee.

I don’t have many 1:43 diecasts, mainly because the costs can quickly eclipse that of the full-size car hobby, but I do have a few favorites that I’ve picked up. One of them is my prized Kyosho JTCC Primera Test Car that I bought in Akihabara last year.

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Not to be left out are the plastic models. I’m a pretty terrible builder, but that hasn’t stopped me from amassing a big stack of kits over the years.

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Once again, it’s a mix of old and new and kits from both Japanese and American makers.

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For example, this AMT Dodge Dart Sportsman Racer kit has been a pretty big inspiration for Project Yankee.

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License plates – along with Hot Wheels they make the perfect wall decor.

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This one’s pretty special to me – a personalized plate that I had autographed by Keiichi Tsuchiya, Manabu Orido and others at the 2004 GT Live event in Fontana.

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Having a video game/steering wheel setup in an office is not a recipe for great productivity, but at least I can make the excuse that it’s related to my career, right?

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Along with the driving games, I also saved my old VCR in case any of these old VHS tapes need to be watched. At one point I had over 100, but I ended up selling many of them off to clear space before I moved to Japan in 2008.

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I could probably do 20 different stories about all the different junk I’ve collected over the years, and maybe I’ll have time to do just that some day. But for now this should give you better idea of the place where the real Speedhunting happens.

Now that you’ve seen my office, I’d like to see some of the other car-related offices/man caves/game rooms out there. I’m sure there are some great ones, so post them up in the comments section below!

Mike Garrett
Instagram: japanifornia
mike@speedhunters.com

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93 comments

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1
EricSeanDelaney

A suh dude. My dad and I have been collecting anything and everything race related for around 15 years I'd say. Mostly Hot Wheels since they're easy to find, but anything we can get our hands on. There's plenty more in this room too.

2

EricSeanDelaney That's epic!

3

EricSeanDelaney Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn, That is awesome.

4
EricSeanDelaney

Mike Garrett Thanks! This is from a couple years ago, but it's still pretty close. We're really into 1/18 cars but they're so expensive. I love resale shops too, found some badass stuff recently.

5

50ft straight for about 75 scalextrics ;)

6

That's one awesome room and collection! 
I'd love to own some more Japanese related die cast cars and magazines. 

My collection of die cast cars (mainly Matchbox and some 1:18s) and magazines are spread out to my room/office and a few more boxes in storage because of the lack of space. Although I have one display cabinet filled with cars I bought as a kid and stuff I have added over the years:

7

I had a room similar to this,until my ex wife let my 4 year run rapid in there taking out all the cars from the packaging. Breaking die cast cars. Somehow he manage to break the wings and wheels off a supra & is300 and a vintage skyline I recieved at "Quail motorsports gathering".long story short......that's why she's the ex wife.

8

EricSeanDelaney Mike Garrett I approve of the Martinis in this picture.

9

TheGentleman  You sure taught her a lesson!

10

I'm jealous. Especially of that signed number plate of DK and Orido. Only thing I got signed is a T-Shirt from Nakai-San.

11
FrankensteinConnelly

Dude I can't wait to build a room like this. I'm thinking its going to be in the small shop I'm planning to build in the near future. Nothing like being surrounded by inspiration. Now if only I had all the cool sh*t to out in it like you do lol. Guess its time to start hunting .

12

Is the c110 in the seccond picture with the demons a kyosho mini z? Also i have a toyman challenger at my dads place. Lastly a very cool geek room wish i had the finance and space to do something like that

13

Thank you so much for sharing with us! I'll be doing something similar to a space in my basement when the time is right!

14

Just moved into my first home and have yet to unpack/get suitable furniture, there will definitely be more to come

15

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17

Great office Mike! But my collection is also kinda impressive and has a great diversity for someone who still lives with his parents. As soon as I'll move out I'm gonna look for an appartement with a small office-like room for letting my collection grow much much bigger than it is now.

18

I hardly read the article Mike - My eyes kept being drawn to the pictures. Be honest here though; you dusted everything before whipping out the camera, am I right?
Mancaves and

19
difflocked_mees

would be cool to see how the other speedhunters get their work done, an insight into what their offices look like, what do they take with them when they travel and garages too.... how do they take care of their cars. 

nice write up!

20
TarmacTerrorist

I'm too ashamed to show you my desk area, have a shot of the wheels in the bathroom instead.

21

I've got a bunch of Hot Wheels and stuff at my desk at work, but I bought a Z31 about a month ago and I am droooooling over your pace car toy up there!  :D

22
Sarlaccsurvivor

Really don't like you right now Mike lol. Like I don't spend enough money on my car and other random crap. Now im all over ebay looking at hot version dvds and option magazines.

23

Hi Mike, where did you get the wall mount display case?

24

Need some 1:18 scale Autoart models in there brother.

-Alex

25

Mike, thanks for sharing your car geek spot! Every one of us gear-heads have or "need" that space to trip-out and help the creativity to flow. It's good to be surrounded by all our cool collections like models, hot wheels, die cast, books, parts, tools, art......it's almost a mental illness! Your story reminds me of my basement wreck room that my wife say's I need to get busy doing. It's refreshing to know I'm not the only overgrown kid at target sifting through hot wheels! Enjoy your new space, it sure is cool.

26

difflocked_mees the speedhunters already have project car articles released. Dino's R34, Chen's 240z, Taryn's Z, amongst more

27

JakWhite difflocked_mees Though none have updated in ages...

28

I remember Tomica (Tomy) has their Pocket Cars that I drooled over. Those Pocket Cars, specifically the Porsche race cars, were what got my car fetish started.

29

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31

I'm feeling slightly hard done by at the moment.

32

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34

Paddy McGrath That just means you can get more work done!

35

Matt_Redondo Love that!

36

@Mike K  It's a mental illness indeed. Or at least that's what my wife thinks.

37

@ML Got it from Prestige Hobbies in Orange County a long time ago. Last couple of times I went they didn't have any though.

38

Sarlaccsurvivor Sorry about that lol

39

TarmacTerrorist Good spot for them haha

40

difflocked_mees I agree on the office posts!

41

SachaAlbarda Just a little bit. Most of this stuff hasn't been there for TOO long, so dust hasn't become a huge problem. Yet.

42

JPRedhead It's a good incentive!

43

jungle168 Can't wait to see it!

44

JakWhite Unpacking all your stuff is one of the funner parts of moving isn't it?

45

Janne Koskinen It's an RC that's the same size as a Mini Z but is more of a "toy". Came in a plastic can looking thing and cost about 20 bucks. Bought it at Toys R Us in Japan years ago.

46

FrankensteinConnelly My goal for the next place is to have a shop with a room like this attached. Some day!

47

TheGentleman When I have kids I'm gonna have to be very careful haha.

48

AudiBoy Yes!

49
awesomefearwave

damn matt, knowing you hang out on a car enthusiast community, i'd thought you'd have some like nice racing simulator, with a fanatec wheel and pedals and shifter or a thrustmaster equivalent like a t500rs, or at the least, a g27, but seriously, you have one that doesn't even have a shifter? i'm not talking trash, i'm just a little disappointed really.

50
TarmacTerrorist

Only spot left that didn't have parts in it already...
I really need a bigger house.

51
TarmacTerrorist

for Comparision:
Ahem.

52

Yeah, Mike.. You don't even have a shifter, lol what a LOSER. Seriously, get a life!

53

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56

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57

You clearly have a cool wife. And nice taste in die-casts!

58

fabulous71 She's tolerant to say the least haha

59

awesomefearwave Haha. It's on the list. I have a G25 in my closet but it doesn't work with XB1 sadly.

60

That's pretty neat. I've started making a few models but my bug eye dc2 is my fav so far. Modelled as close as I could after my own car if it was a type r :(

61

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I wish I had a house and a wife.

63

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65

I'm travelling to Tokyo on November. Is there any specific place to find books or magazines like the ones you have? I would love to buy some of them there.

66

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67

rikimaru these spam posts are getting really weird.

68

Mike Garrett 
What truck is that on the left?

69

tarik_tjs That Lego 8880 set tho.

70

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72

That Ikea chair works great for racing, doesn't it?! Very similar to my setup.

73

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75

More of a dedicated room than an office/man cave/game room. 

The garage is the man cave, and a garage is where every real car man's man cave is...

76
TarmacTerrorist

Holy shit dude, that's a very understanding partner you must have, I've got a manifold in the living room with a seat and some switches and mine is already issuing death threats!
Also, may I add, stunning car and awesome, awesome garage.

77
TarmacTerrorist

Akiharbra would be my first stop, be warned though, shit gets real strange in Akiharbra.

78

Sorry for the low quality of the pictures... This is my hobby room..

79
TarmacTerrorist

I get the feeling you like French cars, I'm not sure why..... You have a great set up there.

80

TarmacTerrorist Yes you're right :) I like Renault sports cars and hot hatches

81

apex_DNA Mike Garrett toyota town ace or daihatsu gran max as it is called here in indonesia

82

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83

So clean!  So organized.  Damn.  Sick.

84

Awesome room Mike!  Where did you get the  Chibi HakoSuka GTR that you've got sitting on top of the AutoArt DR30 Skyline?  I want one!

88

Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.
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89

Mike Garrett i came back looking for some ideas for my geek room too, and noticed Project Yankee spoiler has been in front of us all the time on your desktop wallpaper!!! i see what you did there!!! lol

90

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Mike Garrett JPRedhead http://bejeweledfull.com
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93

Wow such awesome career i would love to work in such great space !!

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