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