2021. It’s here. Will it be better to humanity than 2020 was? That I cannot answer, but what I can do is show you that spirits were high during the now legendary New Year Meeting at Daikoku Parking Area last Sunday.
For a few days leading up to the unofficial event, I had heard that the police were not going to allow it to happen and would be closing down the PA, meaning that it might shift to various other parking areas around the Tokyo and Yokohama areas.
To play it safe, I woke before sunrise and headed straight to Daikoku, figuring that if I managed to get in early, I’d be able to shoot whatever else made it there, and then if were all forced to migrate to other PAs, the post could just reflect that.
The reality is, that didn’t have to happen. The police, who have a station inside the PA, did make a few announcements over the public address system reminding people to be quiet and behave, but that was pretty much it.
People appreciated the leniency and did just that. Not that car guys at Daikoku usually misbehave, but there was far less engine revving than in the past. Even the bosozoku that turned up later in the morning were unexpectedly quiet.
I think everyone appreciated the time we were allowed to stay at the parking area, and with that it became one of the best Daikoku PA New Year Meetings I’ve ever experienced.
There are 100 pictures (well a few more, but who’s counting?!) that I’d like to share with you, but I will keep my ramblings to a minimum so that you can all just appreciate the beautiful and at times unexpected machines that Japanese car culture dished up on this particular morning.
Yes, that Honda City Turbo II was one of the top three cars of the whole day for me.
It’s too bad I didn’t have the chance to take a closer look at this Mazda Cosmo Sport, which only ended up staying a few minutes.
Daikoku on a good night is an awesome place to check out, but on the 3rd of January it’s where you can see it all. From an obscure little French rear-engined car, to an R35 GT-R rolling in behind a lifted Big Foot replica Ford truck.
One of the best places to enjoy the spectacle from is near the parking area’s entrance, which is usually lined with people filming it all with their cellphones.
That’s where this 991 GT2RS and 993 RS entered in the space of 15 seconds. I say this often, but Japan almost turns you numb to sightings like these. It’s only when you remind yourself what you are seeing that it really hits home.
The beginning of the year is also a time to ponder what the next 12 months will bring. Global pandemic aside, I wonder how much we’ll see the values of Skyline GT-Rs rise? Leave your guesses in the comments section.
So much variety in only a few pictures.
How about a Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary pairing for your enjoyment. I’m a big fan of these cars, but owners should really resist fitting bigger, modern wheels to these things – it usually doesn’t end up working well.
And what could I possibly show you after a couple of iconic Lambos? A customized Nissan Elgrand, of course. This is Japan after all…
If you fancy something more modern it’s pretty incredible what the Alphard guys are doing these days. It’s hard not to want one of these things when you see an example like this. Who’s with me?
Daikoku for the New Year Meeting is a place where all your automotive dreams can come true, and where purists often need to cover their eyes. I love it!
Before I put down my long lens I managed to snap a picture of this complete Lorinser E Class. I really want to dive a little deeper into the Mercedes-Benz scene in Japan this year; I’m fascinated by how big it is and how long it’s been around.Going Wide
Here’s the first thing I shot with my wide zoom on the day – what had to be the best car present at the 2021 Daikoku PA New Year Meeting. Yes, a Fiat Panda.
If a deep-dive on the Mercedes world in Japan has to be done, then I really need to do one piece on the strange love Japanese enthusiasts have for the original Panda. I once asked why people love this car so much and received an amazing response: ‘Well, because Giugiaro designed it, of course!’ I need to investigate this more…
I was very happy to see this Lotec W126 that I spotted last year. What I forgot to note in 2020 was the absolute awesome messaging contained within the rear badge.
In case you are wondering, there is no particular order to the cars you’re seeing in this post. They’re pretty much shown in the same sequence I shot them, just to further emphasize the variety at this gathering.
Toyota’s Century is the perfect expression of Japanese automotive conservatism.
This one even had the lace seat trim and rear curtains. In my mind, you should be able to spec lace trim on any car!
I have no idea what this exceptionally long coupe actually is, but it was very long. Did I mention it was long?
V12 Ferraris are the best.
328 or Countach – what’s your pick?
The Lambo for sure, especially in red with gold wheels.Hypercars & Everything Else
Then there was this thing, the Zonda Anija. This must be the fourth or fifth custom iteration of this one-off Zonda that I’ve seen, and it seems far better finished off now than it was a couple of years ago.
The big question here is, would you? I would never say that there are some cars you should never touch, but then again… there are some cars that you should never touch. Do you agree?
Parked behind the Zonda was this Koenig-inspired 512 from the same car club.
And here’s a pair of unmolested ones. I have to say, the Testarossa looks sensational in dark metallic gray. I also have to say that the wheels on the 512M were a horrendous design failure at the time, and they haven’t improved 25 years on.
The Junior Z is one of my all-time favorite Alfa Romeos. Penned by Zagato, this was one of the first models to move Alfa away from elegant and rounded curves of the previous decades, to a more angular, aggressive and pointy design. Think of it as the Italian CR-X of the 1970s. It’s incredible how many of these I see in Japan considering how rare the Junior Z is.
I wondered if I’d come across a GR Yaris at this meet, as I’ve been seeing quite a lot of these around town. So much want!
A Prince Skyline parked up next to a few Ferraris. This was my first time seeing the F8 Tributo. There are no SF90 Stradales in Japan yet though. The 812 still wins for me.
A 412, next to another RWB no less.
Nothing like some custom American metal to break it all up a bit, this is Yokohama after all.
More classic Italian sightings, and this X1/9 with the snorkel was so cool. Come on Fiat, start pumping out cool cars like these again since you are all about retro-inspired everything these days.
And then came the movie cars, first a sweet DeLorean…
… And hidden away in a far corner of the lot, this Seibu Keisatsu-inspired S130 Z.
Yep, it even had replica guns popping out of the hood.
And staying with Nissan, I also found this awesome example of an R31 GTS-R. All the rarities were out at Daikoku for the New Year Meeting.
But no New Year Meeting at Daikoku would be complete without a showing from the bosozoku, and as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, their convoy rolled in making far less noise than usual. A few bikes did rev their engines, but after the police gave them a friendly reminder about keeping noise to a minimum, they left pretty quickly, perhaps not wanting to be the guys blamed with shutting the whole gathering down.
Then this arrived, accompanied my me uttering out some expletives. When I was still in high school, a 306 Maxi rally replica was pretty much the ultimate dream car.
Oh Japan, I love you!
And just like that it was time for me to leave. I actually ended up stopping by Tsuzuki PA on the Daisan-Keihin expressway on the way home and was greeted by another impressive gathering. I didn’t have time to hang around, but it was a beautiful reminder that Japan continues to lead the world when it comes to loving, appreciating and enjoying cars.
Let’s make 2021 a good one!
Dino Dalle Carbonare