Don’t think that I’ve forgotten the ‘Garage House’ series that I kicked off earlier this year with a look at Chiba-san’s amazing collection. As I mentioned in that feature, this story type would only be coming around every once in a while, as it’s dependent on what I can gain access to and of course the type of place I’m looking at.
You see, for how amazing and inspirational high-end garages, houses and exotic cars may be, Speedhunters is all about balance. So despite having some pretty amazing Garage House shoots in the bank already, I was waiting for something a little more relatable to pop up for my second post.
So welcome to Good Hills Speed, a recently completed garage in the outskirts of Tokyo owned by Shinji-san – an old friend and longtime member of the RWB family. Shinji has been driving and racing Nakai-built 911s way before RWB became the international success it is today. Before the internet and social media were even a thing, in fact!
The reason I chose to feature this garage – aside from the obvious jewels within – is that, for me, Shinji represents all that is right about Japanese tuning culture; the culture that I decided to embed myself both as a passion and a career.
Shinji’s garage is built around driving (and riding) hard, fast, and for the pure pleasure of it. These things have always been at the very core of what I like so much about Japanese car culture, to see people like Shinji follow their passion and hobbies while staying so true to their beliefs, continues to inspire and fascinate me.The Red Cars
Shinji has an interest in both grip and drift, and his two top choices for each of these disciplines are pretty hard to fault. Let’s get started with the car on the left, his AE86 Toyota Trueno.
This Hachiroku is primarily used for drifting, so it’s all geared towards reliability. You won’t find wild mods in the engine bay, just the right additions to have the AE111 20-valve 4A-GE ‘Blacktop’ engine conversion performing at its best.
Shinji bought the car about two years back from Nojima-san, the man behind Noji Real and a true AE86 scene personality in Japan. Most people will know him as the man that paints 911s for Nakai though.
The Trueno was treated to a full respray earlier in the year, which is why it’s looking especially shiny and spotless. Of course it was Nojima who painted it, as is the case with the car parked alongside.
For Shinji, the Toyota is a keeper, so he’s going all-out to have it looking just right.
The red/black two-tone is almost as iconic as the white/black panda scheme, and it looks so right sitting next to the red Porsche.
As for the wheels, you can’t go wrong with RS Watanabes on an AE86, and they give the Toyota that timeless look and feel. These cars looked great this way in the ’90s, and nothing has changed 20 to 30 years on.
Swing open the driver’s side door and you find a hip-gripping Recaro bucket seat, a bolt-in half cage, but otherwise a mostly original cabin. Every once in a while it’s nice to see an AE86 interior that hasn’t been gutted out.
The engine is managed through an HKS F-CON V Pro, and some Defi gauges have been fitted for additional monitoring.
And now on to the Porsche…
This 964 RS – yes it’s a real RS – is Shinji’s second RWB. He built his first one in 2006 – a white 964 Carrera 2 – which he enjoyed for a few years.
In 2009 the opportunity came up to purchase the RS, an RWB build from 2007. Interested in the more track-oriented underpinnings, Shinji pulled the plug on his white 911 and got into this.
The day he took delivery of the car at Tsukuba, just after Nakai had given it a refresh and shakedown, was the day I met Shinji. The picture I took of Nakai applying the ‘Good Hills Speed’ sticker on the sill is an image Shinji has printed out and put on his wall.
And 11 years on, that sticker is still looking nice and fresh. If you are wondering what ‘Good Hills Speed’ means or comes from, it’s the English translation from the kanji characters that make up Shinji’s surname. Now that is cool!
To my knowledge this is the only RAUH-Welt Begriff 964 RS in existence. It’s packed with unique touches too, including the blended-in fenders, and one-off grill section where the middle light bar usually sits. The latter is something Shinji told me Nakai came up with one night.
The RS sits on gold SSRs, again painted by Nojima, and wrapped in Kumho cut slicks.
Back in 2011, Luke and Aaron from Maiham Media made a short film about Shinji and his car, which you can see above.
The interior embraces the ‘Rough World’ ideology; it’s stripped out, has a welded-in roll cage, and what wasn’t needed has been removed. Shinji is a busy family man who runs his own medical clinic, so he’s not able to take the 911 out as often as he was back in the day. When he does, he makes each outing enjoyable.The Garage
Before we take a look at Shinji’s two other cars, let’s concentrate on the garage itself, which was completed earlier in the year. It sits next right next to Shinji’s timber house, which was imported from Finland.
The coolest thing about this garage is that it was designed and built by Matsumoto-san, the owner of the turbocharged RWB 993 we’ve seen countless times at both Idlers events and on the lift at Promodet getting work done. Matsumoto is in construction and has fixed up and remodelled the interior of the RWB shop as well as Shinji’s clinic.
So it’s all very much about keeping it in the family.
The garage offers plenty of space to house of all of Shinji’s car-related collectables, memorabilia and of course spare parts. There’s a work bench on one side of the wall, and plenty of tools to take care of minor maintenance jobs and small repairs too.
No man cave would be complete without a lounge area, and that’s what the theoretical third parking space in the garage has been reserved for. Shinji can still comfortably park his bike, while having plenty of room to relax with friends.
I really loved the vibe of this space; it’s nicely laid out, has a warm welcoming feel about it, and has so much to look at.
Shinji has raced in countless Idlers events, both at Tsukuba as well as Motegi for the big 12-hour race. Seeing these awards brought back so many memories of participating in and covering these epic events.
It’s funny I touch on this right now, as Fatlace has just announced it’s bringing Idlers to the US. Now that should be fun; it’s time for all the stateside RWB cars to race against each other.The Other Cars
But wait, there’s more…
This is Shinji’s fun car, an old Mini which he enjoys driving every now and then.
The car oozes character.
And Shinji’s daily driver/family car – a trusty Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon.
I really do need to put a story together of just how popular G-Wagons are in Japan. Shinji’s version is the gentleman’s choice, a G350d which trades in the V8 burble everyone expects to come out of a ‘G’ for a more easy-to-live-with and economical approach to G-Wagoning.
I forgot to ask if he does, but this would be a stylish tow truck to trailer his RWB to the track with. Silly me, of course not, Rough World means you drive your RWB to the track, on slicks, rain or shine!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this second story in our Garage House series (Japan Edition), and I have to give a big thank you to Shinji and his family for opening their home to the Speedhunters cameras.
Dino Dalle Carbonare