Japan never stops impressing. The sheer amount of collectable metal that exists in this country is simply mind-blowing, to the point that it’s hard to really quantify just what is tucked away deep in collections or at the back of some dusty barn out in the boonies.
So you can expect to see some pretty nice cars show up at any car meeting in Japan, and even more so if the meet is held in the heart of Tokyo.
This is the second event of a new meet – Tokyo Coffee & Cars – that’s being put together through a collaboration of Octane magazine (Japan edition), Ralph Lauren, and an events company. The two first gatherings have been themed, with the inaugural meet held in October open only to British cars, while this second one was dedicated to German metal.
Seeing as the British event had a pretty big turnout, I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss shooting the German-themed follow-up. And it didn’t disappoint; there was much to drool over in the Tokyo Prince Hotel parking lot, starting off in the Porsche camp with this meticulous 964 3.6 Turbo.
It was parked next to a pair of original Turbos – a welcoming sight for everyone who arrived through the gates on this cold autumn morning.
For the fans of a rawer, naturally aspirated 911, this 2.7 RS commanded attention as it slowly drove through to join a bunch of other air-cooled cars at the far side of the parking lot.
I’ve seen this yellow 993 around Tokyo a few times; it’s hard to miss with a nicely executed look that draws inspiration from the Porsche model it ended up parking next to. The Fuchs-look wheels and ducktail spoiler set it off rather nicely, don’t you think?
Upon entering the meet I was given a number to place on my dashboard and directed to a corner where some other BMWs were parked up.
I still have to give you guys a proper introduction to Project Drop Top 2.0, but I think I will do so once I get the first round of mods fitted.
This car has the BMW version of an ‘air scarf’ that shoots hot air onto and around your neck from a couple of vents underneath the headrest. It means you can get away with top-down motoring, even on chilly days.
Shall I ignore the A90 Supra that parked up next to me? I’ll let you guys unleash in the comments… please entertain me!
This cream-colored 928 S4 was the reason I decided to follow up this event with a post. I published a picture of it on my social channels and was bombarded with messages asking me to post hi-res images. Well, here you go…
It’s easily one of the cleanest 928s I’ve seen, let alone being finished in such a rare color. Do you remember the abandoned one I found?
Parked behind the 928 was what I can only describe as 356 perfection, a car meticulously restored and I’m sure looking even cleaner than the day it rolled off the production line in 1956.
The biggest surprise of all came when Japan’s only Singer build rolled in. I heard it a mile away, its fully rebuilt and massaged Ed Pink 4.0-liter flat-six sounding pissed off with its lumpy cams.
I hold these cars in the highest of regards and I don’t really care what the purists think. I was once lucky enough to sample a Singer 911 in the canyons outside LA, an experience I will forever cherish. In fact, that’s a story I still want to share with you guys some day. I thought the images were totally lost to a failed hard drive, but we’ve since been able to retrieve a whole bunch of them.
Moments after the Singer made its jaw-dropping entrance, this true unicorn arrived at the entrance gate, oozing elegance like only a piano black 300 SL can. Gangster points for the owner rolling in with his gullwing door swung open too!
The 300 SL had a steady crowd around it for the entire morning, and it’s not hard to see why. That interior – speechless.
It was nice to see a 914 in the lines of cars too. This is a model often snobbed by the 911 guys, but it’s still a Porsche and one that steers like a proper driver’s car to boot.
While the BMW showing wasn’t so bad with a few M3s and a Z8, it was Alpina that stole the show. Firstly, they officially entered with a small display of their latest cars, including the potent new B3.
That was cool, but it was the line-up of Alpina classics that really wowed the audience, starting with this white 535i E28-based B10 3.5 from 1986. 261hp might not sound like much these days, but back in the mid-’80s it made for a pretty fast – and oh-so-sweet-sounding – high performance sedan.
If you like them extra rare, check out this B6 3.5S based on an E30 M3 but powered by Alpina’s reworked 3.5L six cylinder, as used in the B10.
So pretty much from the beginning of the M3 lineage, Alpina has had their own interpretation of it. Which one would you go for?
This little Alpina trio was completed with a narrow-body C2 based on the E30 325i.
A couple of spaces up was another rarity, a car owned by the founder of Nicole, Japan’s official Alpina importer.
This model was built on the E12 528i from the late-’70s, but thanks to a turbo setup was able to generate 300hp and 462Nm of torque. That output made the Alpina B7 Turbo one of the fastest sedans of its era. I’d love to feel the turbo lag in this thing!
It was probably my favorite Alpina at the event.
Another car from the same collection was this Z1 Alpina. Apparently only 66 of these were ever made, and this particular car is the very first one. It was the cool disappearing (half) doors that made this first Z car (no relation to the Fairlady Z) so unique.
Curiously though, the Z1 was never supposed to be a true performance car, hence why BMW equipped it with the 2.5L M20 straight six. In stock form this engine pushed out 168hp, while in the Alpina version of the car it was rated at closer to 200hp – hardly exhilarating numbers.
But what this roadster lacked in outright performance it made up for with its unique open top appearance and creamy-smooth straight-six soundtrack.
With only 12,500km on the odometer, this Z1 is a true collectable.
Crazily, there were two other Z1s present – one more Alpina and this regular (if you could even call it that) BMW iteration.
The event organizers quickly realized that the Singer was parked too far away from the main area, so they had the owner move it, in the process creating an impressive line-up of Porsches.
Let’s not forget a few of the more modern 911s.
Even as the event neared its end, cars were still arriving, so there were always new things to see.
Curiously enough though, there was only one Audi that showed up – a TTRS that didn’t stay for long. I also heard that no station wagons were allowed into the meet, which honestly makes no sense at all given all the performance wagons that German manufacturers are renowned for. It’s the reason I didn’t bring along Project Quattro. This really seemed like a big oversight from the organizers, and I’m sure it didn’t sit well with all the RS3/4/6 Avant owners, not to mention the RSQ/AMG/M SUV guys (Alpina had their demo X4 there). Hopefully the ‘no wagon’ rule is reversed for next time; there was definitely plenty of space left in the carpark for them.
Cabriolets were allowed of course, meaning I could actually bring something, and we could all feast our eyes on this W124 320 CE pairing.
As is the norm in Japan, both cars were in excellent condition despite the fact that they had obviously been used extensively over their close-to-30-year life.
Too bad there weren’t any W201 190E 2.5-16 Evo or Evo 2s in attendance; they would have represented the Benz camp rather well. I should tell the J-Auto guys to bring some of their cars over next time.
One of the last cars to arrive was this vintage 911 that had been resto-modded in a simple yet extremely effective way. Some simple color matching and a few modern touches to bring its inner functionality and classic beauty through.
When the Singer’s engine was put on display, everyone flocked over for a look – yours truly included.
Talk about beautiful inside and out. Singer has managed to do the impossible – make a 964 engine look less like a washing machine. Those intake plenums with the filter hidden away in the center section certainly are a superb solution and a big reason that so many ancillaries were able to be removed. And considering this is a five-year-old build, the quilted purple leather heat shielding/trim has stood up to the test of time really well. That’s what you pay for though.
It’s purple to match the interior color chosen for this particular commission.
That’s all from the German edition of Tokyo Coffee & Cars. Now the question is, do you want to have a look at the British-themed event from the month prior? How many die-hard fans of English cars do we have? Let me know in the comments section, and if enough people put their hands up I’ll throw a quick gallery together.
Dino Dalle Carbonare