Seeing Japan slow down for the beginning of the New Year is something that always impresses me. The pace of life in a big city like Tokyo is so constant and unrelenting that you often do wonder how it can all function so well. There seems to be so much pressure to never stop, to always abide by the multitude of rules that people are put under in an effort to come off as a perfect society. Not that anyone is judging.
But for a few days at the beginning of every year, the cities empty, people return to their hometowns in the countryside and family time begins. It’s a few days to ponder over what has passed and what is to come, and a time to link up with your extended family over a traditional meal.
Being Japan, however, that also means there’s always time for cars, and this was the scene at Daikoku Parking Area on January 2.
Despite arriving before 8:00am, there were already a few cars gathered, this red FD3S RX-7 becoming the first car for me to photograph in 2017. The Mazda was pleasantly left in its 25-year-old stock form and simply enhanced with a suspension drop and a set of wheels.
With meetings spread out through most of the week I wasn’t sure what I’d be able to see on this particular morning, but the selection became better by the minute as groups of BMWs and Porsches started to roll in.
Not to mention the odd rare Italian exotic, like this Ferrari F430 Scuderia Spider 16M. It’s hard to believe that since the launch of the 488 this car is two generations old now. That blows my mind as it still looks very current.
For the past couple of years I’ve been seeing this M’s Machine Works Carrera 3.0 at the New Year meeting, and once again it was a welcome sight.
Here is a car I regret not having sampled in 2016. In my eyes, the BMW M2 is so much more than a new, smaller M car; it’s far more in line with what the E30 started back in the ’80s, and for that it needs to be commended. It’s definitely one to add to the must-drive list for 2017!
It didn’t take long for the Ferrari 430 we saw above to get some company in the way of a 458 Speciale, the last car to run the naturally aspirated V8 before the move to forced induction and the 488. This Ferrari will become quite a sought-after collector car in years to come, especially in Speciale guise.
On the subject of collector cars, here’s one of the best Japan has to offer, the KPGC10 Skyline 2000GT-R. I really wanted to find out if this was a genuine car running the S20 engine, but I never managed to track down its owner.
Even as replicas these cars can be a lot of fun as you can drop in very powerful stroked L-series motors and a host of other aftermarket goodies to spice up the handling. Still, if it wasn’t the ‘real deal’ I personally wouldn’t place a GT-R badge on it though.Japan Keeps Impressing With Its Variety
Did you know that the Toyota Hiace is the most stolen vehicle in Japan? It’s an extremely popular van for construction and other types of businesses, so there are a ton of them on the road. And as with everything in Japan, a thriving tuning market has developed.
I swear I cannot look at an S2000 these days without getting emotional. It both fills me with love for knowing that 18 years on it still remains one of the most fun and best handling cars ever, but also with anger at Honda for not having come up with a successor. Come on guys, the whole world is waiting! Maybe the Tokyo Motor Show might bring some surprises…
Daikoku really never manages to disappoint; it’s like you are presented with the best of the best every time you show up here. No matter what site you follow and read or what YouTube channel you watch car reviews on, right now all you will see is journalists nonstop raving on about cars like the 991 GT3RS and the Aventador SV.
And here they are presented in front of you, parked up next to that Speciale we saw rolling in a few pictures up.
When I saw this Gallardo arrive I did wonder why we haven’t seen any Japanese tuners doing turbo conversions with them. It seems like such a popular thing to do in the States, and you would assume a 1000hp Gallardo would be quite the weapon on the Wangan and Aqua Line. I should ask Nagata-san at Top Secret if he’s got any plans.
I love 911s; I love them in any shape and size; boosted, naturally aspirated, RWB’d or Singer’d. But the sheer elegance that a classic 911 brings to the table is hard not to fall pray to. Call it the purest execution of the 911 form.
The eccentric mix of cars now brings us to something a little more modern, a Toyota Mark X G’s. I have to say, I’d never noticed how nicely these cars sit.
It takes a very strong love of rallying and a specific brand to run a WRC-inspired livery on your Impreza STI, but it’s definitely one way to get the looks.
And speaking of cars that stood out, I spotted this Prius from all the way across the PA. At first I thought it was a Focus RS (I am a tad on the blind side!), but as I got closer it became apparent I was indeed looking at a slammed Prius on Fifteen 52 Tarmac rims and a big tow hook sprouting out of its back side. This is one way to make a hybrid cool.
When the 599 was released I fell in love with its GT proportions, long nose, pronounced rear end, and of course the big naturally aspirated V12 up front – just like Enzo Ferrari would have liked it. But I have to say, with the F12 and Ferrari’s design language further evolving, it’s a model that’s not really ageing well.
You could argue that the JZA80 Toyota Supra has dealt with time in a far better way. In fact, these cars are looking really attractive as of late; I would love to have one as a project!
And since we can’t possibly pass up the lure of a sexy Ducati, here’s a tuned and murdered-out Diavel.
The RAYS Volk Racing TE37V in two very different applications. Which one tickles your senses more? NB or S14 – tough one, right?Supercar Central
When it comes to poster cars, there aren’t many more iconic than the Lamborghini Countach. This 25th Anniversary version attracted quite a crowd once it arrived, the owner doing the unavoidable door up reverse-park manoeuvre.
Over in front of the Police garages at Daikoku PA – yes, there is a Highway Police HQ right in there – this nice little group had formed.
It’s so nice to see R32 GT-Rs being really cared for. Clean examples like this one are becoming more common in Japan as owners begin to invest more money into their cars now that resale values are on a constant rise.
As I moved down the line to snap a couple of shots of the 911s, this beefed-up Mini arrived.
How about a little slice of Murica to start off the year with a roar; this rare Dodge Dakota RT and Chevy 350SS both looking ready to hit Tsukuba. Like I keep saying, the Japanese really are into anything and everything.
As the sun began to warm things up a little, more exotics made their way down the ramp that takes you into Daikoku PA.
They were quickly followed by an R34 V-SpecII Nür and a 997 GT3. Dream garage stuff right there!
For those wanting to make more of statement, the longer and wider parking spaces reserved for trucks and buses allow you to show off your car in better way.
Morohoshi and his crew made their usual entrance, and on top of his yellow Aventador, which is now converted into a rolling Pikachu, he had one of his buddies drive down his orange Murciélago.
Is this Pokemon thing really catching on?
Topping up the Lamborghini arrivals was a second Aventador SV.
I have a thing for Bertone design, so you can imagine the instant drooling that occurred when I saw this Dino 308GT4 reversing into a car space. I didn’t have much time to indulge in its angular lines though, as I saw something bright yellow arrive at the PA.
It was instant excitement for everyone as one of the few F12 TDFs in Japan pulled up in front of Morohishi’s crew.
Words can’t possibly describe the presence this Ferrari has; it’s as if a tuner took the F12 and spiced it up and made it that little bit more in-your-face. But then you realize it’s a factory built car. Ferrari really knows how to make epic machines.
It made for one hell of a start to the year and a wake up call that the 2017 car year is just about to start. In fact, it’s Tokyo Auto Salon next weekend!
Before then however, Ron will be chiming in with a few spotlights of some of cool cars he saw at the following day’s Daikoku meet, so make sure you check back soon for more awesomeness from Japan’s most famous Parking Area.
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I have been to Yokohama many times but, with much regret, I have never made it over to daikoku. On a side note, it seems as though, at least from this gaijin's perspective, Japan doesn't have the same narrow-minded attitude towards car modification that seems to plague more westernized countries.
Great article, as ever D. Always looking to improve my own car photography, what were the lens and exposure credentials you used on the F12 and the V-Spec II Nur that just took the background out of focus ? Cheers.
My Uncle Jonathan recently got a fantastic green Kia Optima Hybrid by working part time off
of a pc online.
I totally agree with you that Honda needs to build a new S2000. But Nissan should also build a new Silvia (S16, maybe?) and let's hope that the new Toyota Supra has an I6 (even if it's a BMW motor, it wouldn't be bad at all).
I can say only being in japan once in my life and seeing a variety of different cars i truly stand by my opinion that the Japanese car scene is a lot more warm welcoming than from what i've seen stateside.
@ChuChu2 More about cars and less about likes/thumbs and being in scenes?
Beautiful pictures of beautiful cars. Almost every picture makes me want to know and see more about the car, or the car parked next to it.
The diversity seems to be great at those Japanese meets.
Maybe to help prevent that Hiace from being stolen they slapped that blue sticker on the left side of bumper to bring down the value lol
Honestly, if the owner wants to prevent that Hiace from being stolen he could try and install a quick release wheel and bag it. I know I might sound like some sort of trendy ricer but think about it. If there is no steering wheel and the front fenders are covering the front wheels you cant steer the car. Its just an Idea
Great article DINO!!!! I cant wait to see what else you and the rest of speedhunters have in store for 2017
@deleted_117624410_NismoTom Wait, car theft is a thing in Japan?
@Ice Age That's what i said i'm actually a little shock by this
I always look forward to your parking lot photos. The cars look like they could be in a museum or Gran Turismo.
@beach_samurai a great way to welcome the New Year Indeed!
just so you know, that wasn't a dodge ram next to that chevy 350ss. it's a dodge dakota, the ram's smaller brother. just to clear that up.
@awesomefearwave Yeah I've fixed it, quite the rare spot as it turns out.
@MaciekWarda You're telling me? haha
That Mini reminds me of the Mini ERA Turbo from the 逮捕しちゃうぞ (You're Under Arrest) manga/anime.
And is it just me, or has Morohoshi-san gone soft? :-D
@Censport In what way?
@speedhunters_dino Something about putting Pikachu on a Lamborghini just doesn't seem so... butch. :-D I'm not gonna tell him that to his face, of course. (haha!)
My niece thinks it's awesome though, and her opinion might mean more to him than mine.
man that stock seven is so beautiful. One day I will own a yellow fd and leave it stock looking like that, one day
Wow I've never seen a Blue R32 before looks really nice and I wish I had the cash to import one to Canada now. But gonna stick with my Scion tC and go for the BRZ/86 as my next car one day.
@KKWL There was a nice metallic blue BNR32 in BC (that's British Columbia for those who don't know Canadian provinces. Its ok I only know like 12 of the 52 states) anyway the R32 had a speedhunters sticker on the spoiler and was quite low to the ground. It moved in a few houses down a few weeks befor I moved. it was heart breaking having to leave lol
@KKWL Yes it is a very rare color, I've only ever seen less than a handful of them and from google search the paint code is TH1 - Dark Blue Pearl...
@Waltizzle @KKWL It's a shame more of the blues weren't built. TH1 and BL0 look awesome on the R32 (I'm a KH2 owner, rare gunmetal grey colour :P /sarcasm).
@Rapid_Butterfly their editor is autocorrect. I've grown tired of pointing it out to them how rookie that is.
An A70 Supra in the cover shot, and a GMT400 350SS. Good to see at least a few people in Japan share my tastes. Personal bias, of course.
@JackScharr That GM did unexpected things for me.
That wasn't a Ram looked like Dakota RT .. 5.9 V8 .. rare is USA let alone Japan .. only built from 1998-2003 total production 16000.. I own a solar yellow / Viper yellow Version .. with only a bit over 24,000 original miles ...great to tune .. supercharge or turbo ..
@JeffTCurtis I was about to say! Good call
They handle great.. I have a hotchkis kit and track bar setup going in mine.. qa1 double adjustable shocks.: Viper brakes also bolt on fairly easy because Dakota and Viper share same lug pattern. I'm doing a forged internal V8 with interest cooled turbo setup.: BTR racing Drifts a Dakota RT
There has been a couple F12 TDF's in the shop here, and I am a bit at odds. The 599's lines are far better suited for an elegantly-aggressive GT car. The F12's are too forced, the lines are almost "gimmicky". IMO.
That being said, OOF, that FD3S! Thank you for everything, and here is to a great new year!
@AceAndrew2 I don't know I find the F12 sexy as hell...FD3S doesn't seem to age! It's absolutely incredible!
@nightrift97 Never is! TAS is next week so it's Japan overload :)
@speedhunters_dino Given the way the Japanese customize their vehicles, I bet there's going to be loads of wild builds posted on here real soon. No style of customization is too crazy for Japan!
@370 Hemi haha sorry
The Chevy Truck is cool but it's a shame it's (presumably) a 350 tuned and stickered-up rather than a legit 454SS. My Dad had one of those in the late 90s here in the uk. It was a 911-baiter, in a straight line at least
@ma7mgte Well spotted!
@ma7mgte Mk. III all the way, baby!