A Chance Encounter At Mobara

During one of my visits to Japan, I came across an interesting character in the paddock of Mobara Circuit.

At first I noticed his car; a white Nissan 180SX sporting all sorts of custom track-oriented aerodynamics and riding at just the right height before functionality slips away.

I was so intrigued by all the details of this car I got up the nerve to test out my very, very infantile Japanese language capabilities on the owner. It went something along the lines of: “My name is Sully, I am from Seattle. Your car is really cool,” and “I don’t speak Japanese.” The irony being I said it all in Japanese.

Google Translate then took the reigns on the rest of the conversation, and I found out he lived very close to where I was staying in the countryside of Chiba Prefecture. We also happened to have mutual friends – what a strange small world. With his generosity, he opened up his doors to me and we ended up spending quite a bit of time together. Ultimately, we created the video above.

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Besides sharing with us his two beautiful Nissans, both featuring aerodynamics which he fully customized by himself, he explained a simple and great strategy for what automotive tuning should be: It should look good, it should perform, and there should be community.

SH_IATS_Masao Desu.00_05_52_03.Still037
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From long days at the track, to stretching the legs on his 600hp R34 in the middle of the night, to just sharing conversation over a meal – it was truly a pleasure getting to know him along the way. Undoubtedly, I can say I have another close friend across the Pacific, a friend I will never forget.

His name is Masao.

Instagram: sullyroams.auto


How To join the IATS program: We have always welcomed readers to contact us with examples of their work and believe that the best Speedhunter is always the person closest to the culture itself, right there on the street or local parking lot. If you think you have what it takes and would like to share your work with us then you should apply to become part of the IAMTHESPEEDHUNTER program. Read how to get involved here.



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Quinlyn Bernstein

How the heck could you not mention that he did all of the body and paintwork for Re-Amemiya!? Man, people who don't know that it don't read Super Street are gonna miss that massive part of information.

Shakeeb Ebrahimi

Hey Quinlyn, Masao actually did not want that to be known to public knowledge that he may have done sub contract work for them and was quite upset at the fact it was blown out of proportion. Because those cars were produced by RE Amemia and he has not done anything in recent years with them for their demo cars. What Sully wanted to capture was Masao’s character and his own personality. The work he has done for other people is irrevelant and I hope we can all respect Masao’s wishes.
Hope you enjoyed the video!


What if I told you he actually didn't want that to be mentioned out of respect for RE-Amemiya since technically he was sub-contracted for the work. Super Streets article on him totally blew that out of the water sadly made it seem like the main part of the article. I had a conversation with him about it after the SS article came out and He made it clear; he may have done body work on some of Amemiya's previous auto salon cars, but still the cars were produced BY RE, and he mentioned he hasn't worked on any of the RE cars in recent years, so make what you will about the SS article but I felt it was a bit conflated.


That´s a cool article and I always love, how close the car community is. Making friends on the other side of the world because of cars is just awesome.

Was it a holiday trip, or what was the reason for you being in Japan? If it was for holidays, I believe those were the best holidays you ever had. :)


Just for a holiday but I have spent quite a bit of time over there the last couple years. Love that island to death.


Thanks for sharing. I love it. It's so down to earth. Raw and honest. No bullshit.


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Hey Sully! Great work. Any chance you have more pictures or details on the side mirrors? I can tell they're craftsquare, but the extra little titanium arm on top is a cool addition.


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This was an awesome article! Thanks for sharing, I would love to see an isolated shoot + story for that 180.