I probably sound like a broken record when I say that Japanese car enthusiasts are into everything and anything. There’s no better demonstration of this, than the regular Tokyo Coffee & Cars events.
These Sunday morning gatherings held at the Prince Hotel in Minato kicked off last spring, and since then we’ve had country-specific themes from English cars to those from France, Italy and Germany. This time around though, it was American cars, and I knew there would be a good turnout.
After a decade covering Mooneyes events in Yokohama and Odaiba, I’ve seen firsthand how much love there is for American car culture in Japan. From factory spec cars to hot rods, muscle cars and everything in between, there’s a passionate following here.
That said, my expectations for this event were high, and the early morning meet-up did not disappoint.
Beginning with the Corvette contingent, let’s take a look at what the American car edition of Tokyo Coffee & Cars was all about.
The reason I’m starting with the ‘Vettes is simple: the main area of the parking lot was reserved for America’s most well-known sports car.
Most models were represented, but it was the C1 and C2 Stingrays that initially caught my attention.
There were an array of C3 models too, some stock, some modified and one a drop top.
The way these Corvettes were positioned in the lot made for some great photo opportunities…
…Even if there were a few cars that probably didn’t belong in the line-up. How could you be mad though?!
It’s interesting to see how the Corvette emblem has evolved over the years, right up to the badge on the new mid-engined C8.
These cars are becoming a more regular sight at enthusiast meets in Japan. The last few times I’ve attended gatherings at Daikoku and Tatsumi parking areas, there have at least been a couple of examples out for a drive.
Seeing as the Corvette has evolved from FR to MR, this would be a cool car to experience. Maybe I should hit up GM Japan and see if I can borrow one for a couple of days…
Of all the Corvettes at the meet, it was this early C2 convertible dropped on a suitably-meaty wheel and tire combo that had me continuously returning for another look. In fact, I was surprised how many pictures I ended up taking of it without realizing, and you can see more further down the post.
Having covered the Corvette area, it was time to check out the other cars that had dropped by.
And it wasn’t too long before I spotted something very special.
I’m not sure there’s any car quite as dramatic looking as a Ford GT40, especially when it’s wearing a carbon fiber aero package and is dropped on aftermarket wheels. This thing sounded absolutely sensational too.
It’s pretty hard to attend an American car meet in Japan and not spot a Corvair.
Technically speaking, the DMC DeLorean can’t be considered an American car, can it? I mean, it was built in Northern Ireland, had a stainless steel body penned by Giugiaro of Italdesign, a chassis and suspension designed and developed by Colin Chapman at Lotus, and was powered by an asthmatic PRV V6 when the whole NSU rotary plan fell through.
But whatever, it was in Back to the Future and that makes it as American as it needs to, and to fit in rather nicely at a meeting like this.
I still have deep want for a DMC-12. The first thing I’d do is dump the crappy V6 and have RE Amemiya replace it with one of their 20B three-rotor engine packages. 0-88mph would surely be a little more fun then.
Am I the only one who thinks this is a stunning color for a second-gen Camaro?
It was really cool to see the Rod Motors-built Evolution-Ray C1 out in the wild. Some of you might remember the spotlight I did on this car a few years back at the Yokohama Hot Rod Custom Show.
I’m always stunned by the variety at American car meets in Japan; people really like to mix and enjoy these vehicles in all their unique guises. And I mean, why wouldn’t you want to drive an El Camino in Japan?!
You can’t beat a genuine Cobra, and all these were real-deal cars. One even had Carroll Shelby’s signature on the dash; awe-inspiring to say the least.
This cool rod was owned by a Swiss guy who is truly embracing American culture in a place where it’s totally understood and respected. I bet he receives plenty of attention driving this thing around Tokyo.
This Camaro on RAYS Volk Racing TE37s had me sprinting across the parking lot to grab a picture before it left.
Japan really is a country of contrasts; a melting pot of all that is good and that should be appreciated.
Now that these events have pretty much covered all the main car-producing countries, I wonder what theme is next for Tokyo Coffee & Cars? Regardless, I’ll be there…
Dino Dalle Carbonare