Bringing In 2018, Japanese Style
Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu

Japan never rests; it never shuts down. There is never a real pause to proceedings, just a little time alone with loved ones over the first couple of days of the year. It’s then right back to business as usual, starting where everyone left off, but boosted by that newfound energy we all summon up at the beginning of January.

And it’s sort of been a tradition these last few years that we kick off coverage from Japan with the Daikoku Parking Area’s New Year Meeting, an informal, organic event that always manages to put a big smile on our faces while preparing us for what will be a huge month of Speedhunting in the Land of the Rising Sun.


To make the most of the day, I decided to get down to Daikoku PA nice and early. With family celebrations in full swing, most people would only be taking the morning out of their schedule for automotive activities.


But by 8:30am the place was already buzzing; there was a constant stream of cars coming into the world famous parking area, and all available spots were quickly snapped up.


I had time for a quick coffee to jump-start the system and shift me from holiday-mode to work-mode.

To be honest though, it was a struggle to figure out where I should start; the sheer variety of machinery passing by was a constant distraction.


When faced with a situation like this you just end up shooting everything. It doesn’t matter either, because you know you’re immortalizing pure automotive awesomeness, from old to new and from domestic to import.


It’s always amusing to see clubs and groups of friends that have come in early together taking up blocks of parking spots, in the process creating line-ups like this.


To RS or not to RS, that is the question…


Just take a look at this trio: BMW E30 M3 meets Lancia Delta Integrale meets R34 Skyline GT-R.


It’s hard to choose between these three, but if you really had to, which one would you go for? Obviously you guys already know my answer…


I’ve just replaced my trusty old Legacy with another wagon that delivers a little more fun, and in choosing a replacement for the Subaru the Nissan Stagea was definitely on my shortlist, but not my ultimate choice. No regrets though; I think one RB-powered machine in the house is enough.

Spot The Rarities

This first gathering of the year is always guaranteed to turn up a few rarities, and later on in the morning there was some impressive metal about the place.


One of the first I spotted was this 993 RS – the real deal, not a replica. It’s a car I’ve come across in previous years, but it still looks every bit the precise driving instrument Porsche designed it to be.


The second is another car from Stuttgart, the Carrera GT. Actually, there were two of these, but no 918s, at least while I was there.


Let’s move onto something Japanese and a little more vintage. This beautiful Star Road-built Datsun S30 Fairlady Z was getting a ton of attention, and rightly so. It’s not often that I see a Star Road build outside of a show hall, but how good does this look out in the sun!


If resto-modded kyushas aren’t your thing, you may find pleasure in this pairing – a legit 1973 240ZG finished off in the maroon that defined the long-nose version of the S30, and Mazda’s first rotary-engined production car, the Cosmo.


Doesn’t the 10A-powered Cosmo make you wonder if another rotary car from Mazda will ever happen? We can only live in hope…


When it comes to cars, Japan manages to mix everything up into an automotive cocktail that just can’t be matched. Think about it; where else in the world could you come across a stunning shakotan Z10 Soarer like this, and then turn around to see something so different you can’t help but utter ‘WTF?!’


What a pairing.


And the vintage awesomeness just kept on coming. This is a very rare S50 Prince Skyline from the late-’60s, the second iteration of the Skyline generation. It’s not something you see every day, that’s for sure.


This widened BCNR33 Skyline GT-R redefined ‘presence’ as it rolled down the off-ramp that feeds Daikoku PA from the Yokohama Bay Bridge.


It’s never really a New Year Meet until you introduce some unobtainable exotics into the mix, and tuned up examples no less, only as the Japanese are able to do.

The Japanese & Their Exotics

While Morohoshi’s crew didn’t make a showing that morning, the guys from Anijia did. This is another group of supercar owners who aren’t afraid to personalize their expensive Euro metal.


In case you are wondering, yes, this exhaust system was rather loud. But it was a fitting sound to accompany the stream of colorful Lambos that pulled in.

You could easily hang around the entrance to the parking area for hours without getting bored, but once I heard a bit of commotion followed by muffled voices on the PA system I had to go and see what was going on.


As is the case with pretty much every meeting at Daikoku PA, the police showed up to kindly tell everyone who had parked a car in the truck designated spots that they had to move.


Other announcements followed along the lines of, ‘this is a rest stop, not a place to park up and look at each other’s cars.’ I thought that was quite comical as people have been doing this sort of thing for decades at Daikoku, and the police station has been right there the whole time. It makes you wonder…


As the supercars were being kicked out of the truck spots, I returned to the regular car spots to check out this pair of 911s. The owner of the black Carrera 3.2, who follows Speedhunters, told me about an abandoned car not too far from where I live, so once the mayhem of Tokyo Auto Salon ends I’ll have to go out and take a look. From what I was told, it’ll definitely have us shedding a tear or two.

What meeting in Japan, or anywhere in the world for that matter, would be complete without a few Liberty Walk creations. If you checked out my recent shop tour of SunBeam you’ll probably recall seeing the M4, now equipped with the AP Racing brakes it was being fitted with.


If you’re after gems from the golden years of the Japanese car industry, then this gathering never disappoints. The owner of this Autozam AZ-1 drove it all the way up from Nagoya.


I took special notice of this ST165 Toyota Celica GT-Four because of its simple but effective execution: TE37s, a decent suspension drop, and a nice big titanium exhaust system.

And then all of a sudden I ran. Believe me, this is a rare occasion – there has to be something really special to get me to up my pace and actually run. A Sierra Cosworth RS500 will do that, and when I saw this one reverse out of its parking spot to leave I had to make sure I snapped a couple of shots. These cars are beyond rare in Japan; we’ve seen Escort Cosworths before, but Sierras are a whole different thing. Amazing.


There was constant movement around the parking area; cars that left were quickly replaced by others, which kept things really entertaining.


And it doesn’t get more entertaining than a pair of Ferrari Dino 246s heading out one behind the other.


Meanwhile, on the very top of the parking area a little mini-meet had materialized.


I had heard that a bunch of lowriders would be meeting in Odaiba on the same day, and some must’ve decided to stop by Daikoku for a little look.


They didn’t time their entrance too well unfortunately, cruising in as the police were doing their second clear-out pass of the day through the truck parking area. That said, this image perfectly captures the kindness and courtesy that the Japanese police show when they talk to people. I’m pretty sure no other place on the planet could compare.


It’s a pity these guys took off so quick as there was some awesome metal to be seen, this SS Monte Carlo  being one example.

Mind you, while some left, others completely ignored the police and just stayed put.


It was soon time for me to call it a day, but as I was making my way back to the car some more special machinery showed up – a Radical followed by something of Swedish provenance.


The Koenigsegg CCX might be a little over 10 years old, but it’s still very much able to command complete attention of a big crowd of car guys. It’s quite the creation.


As I was thinking, ‘man, how lucky to have spotted an ‘egg’ right before leaving,’ this popped up. The sight of a Saker GT at Daikoku PA perfectly sums up this annual event as well as Japanese car culture. 2018, here we come!

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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Dino, that's not a GNX/Grand National , it's a Chevy Montecarlo, probably an SS. Unusual sighting in Japan nonetheless.


Yup, definitely a Monte Carlo SS. Designed to resemble the NASCAR vehicle they ran at the time.

Dino Dalle Carbonare



Requesting a full feature of that GORGEOUS wide-bodied white R33 Please!
(Somehow reminds me of that mythical R33 GT-R LM road car!)




I seriously sh*t myself when I saw it! That was the prettiest R33 I've ever seen.
And @dino please do a feature!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Gotta track the guy down!


I did some digging and that kit seems to be a Behrman-GT kit for the R33

Александр Трофименков

Not a grand national (read in rcr voice)


Regarding the E30/ Delta Integrale / R34 GT-R:
all will vote for the R34 but since you already have an R34 and you mentioned that 1 RB in enough, I will take risks and vote for the Integrale (You have Italian roots in the end).


They’re all lovely but I’ve got a soft spot for that Alfa 155 off to their right!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yeah but they break all the time haha


Always jealous of the first meeting at Daikoku for the year. So many awesome cars


i want to live in japan and drive a r32 rwd all over it

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Why not a GT-R?


The New Year's meet is always one of my favorite posts of the year. Dino, you never disappoint!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thanks man! Hardest one of the year for me, sneaking out during family celebrations...


Stunning shots

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thank you Kevin!


I can't believe it. You've finally found a shakotan build I actually like. The suspension looks like it might actually have just enough clearance (if it's stupid stiff, anyway) to work effectively. I'm not going to automatically assume it's a goer, but it looks a lot more like one than a lot of such cars do.


Why do Japanese cops wear motorcycle helmets when they're using a CAR?

Is the helmet part of the uniform, or are they expected to hop on a bike at a moment's notice?


They are Japan's Traffic Police Force.
They have an obligation to wear helmets when getting on a police car.


Yeah, but we've got traffic cops here, and they don't wear helmets.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

It's just one of those weird thing? Maybe to protect from hale storms? Whihc we never have in Japan...falling bricks? lol


Damn that's a nice group of cars. Wonder how much a CGT goes for in Japan. The Saker GT is one of my favorites in the group. Pretty neat car. So many awesome machines though.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Same as everywhere else I'd imagine, values for those type of cars follow global prices


Interesting. So around 300-400k USD. Ouch...


Bucket list meet to attend thank you for taking us along

Dino Dalle Carbonare

My pleasure Ricko!


That is a chevy Monte Carlo. Not a Buick GN. That were both built on the G body platform and look similar. Awesome to see one in Japan.

Thelamus Ceasar

Ok I want to know more about that widened R33. That thing is bad ass to me. Great New Years article Dino. That is an SS Monte Carlo. The Japanese are killing the game when it comes to cars.


This please! Its a beautiful boat, I need to see more

Zubair Siddiqui

I always enjoy looking and reading about these meets in Japan and I always look hopefully to see at least 1 Supra... seems that that this Japanese legend is a bit rare.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Getting quite rare yes


I'm just here for comments on the "GNX"

Dino Dalle Carbonare

It's a Monte Carlo!! Come on man, get with the program hahahaha ;)


Some stunning cars there especially that 993 , but I am not a ford fanatic but I am pretty sure that the genuine RS500 had a front bumper with a extra vent below the main grill for the larger RS500 spec inter cooler , this white car doesn’t have that but does have the extra boot lid spoiler


I was stuck on the Integrale VS E30 VS R34 for so long. I think I might choose the Lancia, just ‘cause you don’t see enough personalized examples out there. It’s be fun to toy with.




So many cars with Adachi plates, but I never see them around the neighborhood. Perhaps I should step out of the yakitori diners once in a while...

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Nah, keep eating chicken on a stick! :)

Rory Downshiftaus

Woooooow, hold the phone! Is that a street legal Ferrari 599XX, because that has forever been my ultimate "impossible" dream car and I cannot believe someone has done it.

Imagine the noise.....

Dino Dalle Carbonare

It is not, a replica. The 599XX could never pass noise emissions, even in Japan!


that Pantera though, insane levels of 80's coolness.


Its what makes me happy. and I don't really want thousands of torque or hp just naturally aspired power and enjoy driving it everyday.


Hi Dino, by any chance you have some more pics of the red Axela w/ white rims in the 5th picture's background?


When is the next Tokyo car meet? Preferably Tokyo Fresh Meet


That '59 Impala was pretty well known in the US lowrider community. Known as "Aqua Boogie" it was built/owned by Yasuri Igarashi, a gentleman who came to the US from Japan (and ended up going back too). My friend, Mike Ishiki built the hydraulics setup. Like many well-regarded high-end lowriders built in the US it found its way to Japan. That's not to say the Japanese aren't building top-notch lowriders in thier homeland either!