What would your ultimate garage collection comprise of?
Despite the comments section at times, I hold the Speedhunting community in high esteem, and I’d like to think that, each in our own individual and unique way, we’re all connoisseurs of car culture.
I dare say that the answers to the above question would be as interesting as they are varied, and unusual as they are eclectic.
Unfortunately, if you ask the same question to many non-car people (we occasionally do have to fraternise with them) then the answer you’ll get is likely to be far more predictable. This tends to form the basis of many car collections.
You’d likely find a handful of token modern supercars, a smattering of super or performance cars that were around when the lucky owner was a kid or growing up, obviously a classic 911 or seven and maybe – maybe if you’re lucky – something a bit out there and obscure that actually tells you a little bit about who that person is, or gives you an insight into their personality.
The latter are cars that I’d like to think would fill a Speedhunters’ collection. Supercars are nice and all but they’re just ‘things’ that can be bought if you have enough money. Can I be candid for a moment? I don’t care why you specced your new Senna in those awful colours, but I do want to know why there’s an Opel Calibra 4×4 Turbo under a dust cover at the back of your hypothetical collection…
And this is exactly the reason why we find the contents of Rocky Auto in Okazaki, Japan so fascinating. It’s a treasure-trove of the weird and wonderful. The collection at Rocky Auto tells you everything that you need to know about owner Yoshiya Watanabe.
He’s a bonafide, 100% vintage JDM car aficionado, and his collection offers a good representation of pretty much every variation of Skyline and Z-car, with a few other obscurities thrown in the mix.
This isn’t the first visit we’ve paid to Watanabe-san’s charismatic shop near Nagoya, but in case you’re not familiar, Rocky Auto’s business focuses on taking classic Japanese Nissans and Toyotas and swapping in more modern power plants to make them usable as everyday cars. I’d suggest having a read through our other stories if you need more background.
The bulk of the swaps are RB-based, so if your heart desires you can order a Kenmeri Skyline, Fairlady Z or Toyota 2000GT replica with a complete R32 GT-R swap – electronics, engine, drivetrain, the lot.
Rocky Auto also caters for those looking to restore their classic Nissans and Toyotas with a more sympathetic approach, and while some of the cars that you see here are customers’ orders, a good portion are Watanabe-san’s personal collection.
I don’t know about you, but to me this is far more appealing than seeing if someone can collect every colour Veyron, or how few miles someone’s LaFerrari has done. This is a car collection fuelled by passion.
Damn it, there is a classic 911 in there. Does everyone have one of those tucked away except me?!
A big thank you to Watanabe-san for opening up his doors to us once more.