GruppeM: Evolving Is An Art

My first interaction with GruppeM dates back to a time when the business was a fraction of the size it is now. This is going back a while, before online automotive media really existed and print was still king.

At that time, one of my many editorial jobs was being the ‘man in Japan’ for the US publication AutoWeek, which was actually still a weekly back then. One of my assignments was to hunt out a company in Japan that was the official importer for K&N filters, which was also doing interesting things with tuning parts, mainly a supercharger kit for the Honda NSX. That’s how I met Mamoru Ogose, the man behind GruppeM, and a real gentleman in the Japanese aftermarket industry. If you want to read that story, it’s actually been put online here.


More than a decade and a half later, GruppeM has moved shop to the outskirts of Tokyo, a stone’s throw away from the Honda R&D Center and Mugen HQ. It’s now also a significantly larger operation.

While the air filter and air intake side of GruppeM continues to evolve as new performance cars hit the market, it’s a previously undisclosed side of Ogose-san’s business that is really now starting to thrive.


The last few times I visited GruppeM at their original location, I noticed more and more cars in the carpark and workshop – generally rare models too. Previously, Ogose-san and his team did maintenance, small repair work, and the odd part restoration for some of its customers, but with their move to a new (and larger) shop, that’s now been expanded to an advertised service.


And with many people spending up large on cars like classic Porsches, parts and restorations at the moment, this new side of GruppeM’s business is really cranking.


The reason I mention Porsche is because it’s where GruppeM’s expertise really lies. Turn up with pretty much any Porsche, and Ogose’s team can give it anything from a quick once-over and an oil change, to a ground-up restoration.


If you can cast you mind back five years, you might remember the feature I did on Ogose’s personal Porsche 911 RSR replica while we had it up in Ebisu recording engine sounds for the NFS 2015 game. That car is one of the two vintage 911s in the GruppeM showroom.


While I was over at GruppeM recently having one of their air boxes installed on Project Quattro, I thought I’d take a look around and show you what the workshop is looking like these days.


As I mentioned a moment ago, business has picked up tremendously this year. It’s to the point that there is now a long waiting list to have your car worked on.


You can always expect to feast your eyes on rare metal at GruppeM, and this caged 993 RS in for a little refresh is a good example.


More intricate and major work is handled in the far corner of the shop. Here, cars are dismantled, repaired and prepped for paint. Having an in-house spray booth makes GruppeM a real one-stop shop for this sort of restoration work.


One of the most common asks of any Porsche-specialist shop is engine overhauls, which nearly always end up incorporating slightly better or more modern parts in the pursuit of higher performance and reliability. That said, GruppeM’s mechanics are able to do factory-precise rebuilds too – it just depends on what each individual customer requires.


This is such an impressive facility, that anytime I drive by now, I will need to stop in for a little look at what’s being worked on.


I was once told that there were more buyers of brand new 930 Turbos ticking the ‘flachbau’ option in Japan than in other countries, and I believe it too. For such a rare car, I see so many examples on the streets and in the shops of Tokyo.


There happened to be two at GruppeM on this particular afternoon.


Here’s a back view of Ogose’s RS and RSR replicas. Both cars are immaculate builds executed in very period-focused ways, just as I’d expect a motorsport shop of their era might have done for a customer that wanted a good road and weekend track toy.


It was nice to see a couple of Italian cars in the shop too, including this clean example of the almost-forgotten 612 Scaglietti 2+2, one of the cheapest ways to get into a front-engined V12 Ferrari these days.


This and the 456GT of course. I wonder if that abandoned one I found a couple of years back is still there?


When you see cars being stored high up and wrapped like candy, you know they are worth some serious money.


I’m not sure what Ferrari 275 GTBs go for these days, but I’d imagine it would be close to the GDP of a small country. It’s absolutely mind-blowing to see such a work of art.


This deep maroon-colored RUF is getting a full engine rebuild and an overall tidy up. It was in remarkably good condition despite having been well used throughout its life.


For me, exploring shops like this has always been the essence of Speedhunting. It’s not just about finding and hunting the cars that drive our passion, but going behind the scenes to see how shops entrusted with maintaining jewels of the past actually work and go about their tasks.


Getting to nose over old engines as they are pulled out and understanding how they fit together is something I will never get tired of.


I have to give a big thank you to GruppeM for allowing me to look around and get close to some very special cars.


Ogose-san has created a successful business out of his passion, and now he’s able to offer high-end services to those that seek it. GruppeM is doing its part to help keep this obsession of ours alive – one little fix or one big restoration at a time.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: dino_dalle_carbonare



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Great coverage of another shop!

On a sidenote, I can't believe that it's already been two years since you posted those "abandoned cars" articles!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yeah crazy. But guess what. Got another coming up.... ;)


Great stuff Dino. I always wondered what happened to this company. Seems to be doing quite well from what I am seeing.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

That they are, yes. Always great to see great businesses flourish.


Seeing photos of a garage full of classic Porsches is never a bad thing.
And yes the 612, and 456 are great oddball Ferraris, recently i was overtaken by a 456 on the motorway, and i can tell you it looks really good and that i was tempted to speed up to get another view.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I've always liked the 612. Would love to see one dropped nicely on a set of BBS rims (and the old Ferrari wheels burned!)


It's unbelievable how GruppeM could run the workshop so efficiently yet keeping the place so tidy and clean.
Look forward to seeing more great workshops from you, Dino.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I think it's testament to the way shops approach work as a whole. This is not to knock those dirty, grimy old workshops, they ooze a very different type of character but I know which ones I prefer.



I blacked out after I read this! OMG! That yellow 993 is my ultimate Porsche! Do they have any job openings? Amazing place. Nice pics as usual!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Haha that's Japan for you, the safe keeper of so many amazing cars.


Man the cars here are just amazing


To me, the strange thing about the Porsche 911 is how I've done a total 180 on it.

When I was a kid, the 930 was still being manufactured and I thought it looked ugly and dumpy compared to the Countach and the F40.

Nowadays, with exotic cars being heavy, overstyled and saddled with slushboxes, I've learned to appreciate the virtues of old 911s.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I hear you. I think those old 911s did things so well, we didn't really realize until all the other cars were approaching things totally wrong.


Reading through, inspired a serious question:
1994 Ferrari F355 engine. Water cooled, 3.51 V8, 5 valves per cylinder, hydraulic lifters, forged titanium rods, forged aluminum pistons, 8700rpm limit, 380 hp and 109 hp per liter. State of art engine and as close to a race car engine as you can get... And it's a Ferrari.
1995 Porsche Carrera 3.8 RS engine. Air cooler, 3.81 Flat-6, 4 valves per cylinder, rocker arms, cast aluminum rods, forged aluminum pistons, 7100rpm limit, 300 hp and 78hp per liter. Smooth and powerful, but... An OEM S2000 will smoke it all day, another purebreed yes, but by Honda with gems at around twenty or thirty K.
Well, let's get to the point, The engines (engine craft), styling (looks, aero) and handling (suspension layout, weight distribution) is incomparable, of course all in favor of Ferrari, especially if we would compare F355 Challenge version vs Carrera RS. However, the values on the market of these two cars are worlds apart and this time in favor of Porsche.
I try really hard to understand what's causing the hype? Are the prices overinflated and not much sells actually?
Newer generations seem to praise Porsche far more than Ferrari, with MOAR fans, so why's that? Is it the new generation of Porsche like 991 RS, 911R, and GT4 RS that's really making the name for Porsche and consequently raises the desirability like a sea level of the OG Porsche models?
Personally, if we put the market values aside, how would anyone NOT take F355 key's over RS? Crazy times, but no one right in the head says that this Porsche-fevah doesn't have a hard crash one day...
...then again, will the market give a damn about any 80's/90's "also rans" (obviously discounting concours level Countach, EB110, Delorean, etc icons) when the base Tesla drifts autonomous circles around them on any track?
That will be an interesting day...

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Interesting thought, and it totally makes sense to raise the question. I don't think I still know or understand the answer but it might have something to do with the fact that the 911 achieved performance comparable to its peers of the time with a far more simplistic approach. It also stubbornly stuck to a layout that won it as much praise as it did criticism but one that gave the car a unique character. Maybe this fuss-free approach to performance is what attracts people to this day? I know it does for me. The F355 was a great and I'm not for one second going to argue that the RS was the better car, they are just 2 different cars that achieved similar results through different and unique approaches. Probably the reason I personally would love to have both rather than pick one!


Dino the man with the sick articles, wouldn't we all want to open that garage door to have the moonlight wash over an RS and a Challenge Stradale. And some people do...

Back to the Porsche/Ferrari weirdness; back in the 90's the Porsche wasn't seen as the Ferrari's equal, but as a sort of "entry level" to the really exciting and crazy machines. Today, they feel the same generally speaking (not in how they drive at the limit, I've driven a 993 and the F335 and they're a whole mental reprogramming apart - how owning/paying for one rewards one back) but even though the common propaganda is that "Porsche stuck to their guns", and it was actually Enzo Ferrari that did this first, but that was just how powerful people were back then. Innovation was important, but "the way things have been done" was still wearing the crown. One of Enzo's last cars was the F40 ong a whole vunch of steel chassis with a V12 in the front, as Ferdinand's were trying out the 928/944/948/914/916... And let's not mention the boxster followed up by the Cayenne. The idea that "Porsche stuck to it" is fake - they were just surviving with the tools they had just like everyone not from Japan was doing. Japan revolutionized cars when these models were being made no different than Tesla/America has today. It's straight awesome that you featured an NSX in the opening shots because it's right on the money when talking about GruppeM and the air cooled 911's sharing space with two Ferraris. The NSX, like the Toyota 2000GT, shook the sleepy vintage marques wide awake, and we all won given the aftermath.


I was casually reading, enjoying the neato flatnoses, and that 275 gtb punched me in the jaw. GruppeM is high up on the places-to-visit bucket list.


The GruppeM group are really doing heaven's work, in terms of restoring cars of the yesteryears.