Japan Part 3


Posted on February 04 2011

Picking up where we left off, we had just finished up our day 2 visit to the Tokyo Auto Salon a bit early.   Instead of just jumping back on the train to Shinjuku, we thought we would have a look around the parking lot to see what people were actually driving on the streets in contrast to what was being shown at the salon.  This was of particular interest to me because contrary to what you may believe about Japan, not everyone is driving around in cars straight off the pages of Option magazine, especially in the compacted confines of Tokyo where kei cars, hybrids and taxi cabs are king.

When we first stepped out I was puzzled with what we first saw which could have easily been a parking lot at your local Walmart in the good ol’ USA.    Yep, that would be a Lincoln navigator, some random RV’s, a couple of Escalades, a Suburban and Chevy Astro van to top off the lineup.  WTF??!!

I’m sure the majority of these may be from outside Tokyo but I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be to get around some of the insanely narrow streets and parking spots in the area in any of these things.  I now now why kei cars are so popular here.   Not to be deterred we headed on and the first car of interest wasn’t  even Japanese…

While not too many Renaults have ever appealed to me outside of the Espace F1 van and the awesome group B inspired R5 Turbos,  I have always thought the mid-engined  Clio, or Lutecia as I guess it is apparently referred to in Japan to be something I could actually consider owning though.

Next up is the family car of my dreams, the JZX100 Chaser.  A nicely tuned 1JZ-GTE under the hood would get the kiddies to grandma’s house in no time.  White on white Work XD-9′s look proper.

And a nicely fitted front mount assures this thing means business.  So clean.

As far as S-chassis cars go there were far more S-15′s on the streets than any other model.   And these two Vertex kitted example show why.  I think the S-15 may be possibly one of the most beautiful Nissans ever made next to the Hakosuka and S30 of course ;)

And as some of you may recall I’m a bit of a Subaru guy as well, especially the GC8′s which will prove to be a collector car in 20 years without a doubt.    This Version V Type R looked vaguely familiar.

Mine is only missing the shorter rear bumper, roof vent, and the WRX stickers which I must say I’m not particularly fond of.  I’m not really one to throw stuff on my cars just because it’s JDM.  Only if it’s better than what was on the USDM cars which is almost everything.

And while we’re on the topic of Subarus,  where else are you going to see an S203 parked right next to an S402?  And check the plate on the Impreza for you rally geeks.

Speaking of rally geeks, it doesn’t get much geekier than this Carlos Sainz inspired Celica GT-Four.

An EVO VI has also always been pretty high up on my list for my dream car garage.

Another S-15 also wearing the Vertex aero, this one especially dumped on some wheels that are a bit shiny for my taste.

This one however had me picking my jaw up from off the parking lot.  Not exactly a hue I would consider but there’s no denying it works well on this car.  Not sure what bumper is on this one but I’m a fan.  Quite possibly be one of the best S15′s I’ve ever seen…..  pssst…  ditch those center caps though, race wheels don’t need center caps ;)

GT-R’s were in herds as well but I didn’t see much out of the ordinary worth showing except this clean 34.   Painted grills are something that always drive me nuts though….  sorry to be so critical but I can’t help it.

And while I don’t consider myself to be the worlds best tuner I suspect this R32 is running a bit rich.  The Panasports G7 C5C’s are era-correct perfect for this car IMO.

There were plenty of  FD RX-7′s running around as well,  and this one was one of the best examples I came across.  You don’t see too many in the states running around with crazy splitter/canard setups like this, that’s for sure.    And the new RGII’s and RG-D’s are pretty cool I guess but the original RG’s will remain to be one of my favorite wheels of all time.

Another fine Chaser rump on Advan Model 7′s…..   I need to sop obsessing over wheels already.  Sorry.

And yes, cars like this do exist.  I believe this one was on a “static” drop as the fitment kids would say because I saw him driving through the lot a little later that day.   An alignment shops worst nightmare in physical form right there. Do you think camber gauges read in double digits?

And before you ask if there were any nostalgics in the lot, no, there weren’t.   Not that I saw anyways except this tidy little Levin which barely makes the nostalgic cutoff.

And a pretty plain Jane DR30…..  not quite as nice as ours I might add ;)

At this point it we were getting pretty numb from the cold and we had to make our way back to meet our good friends Hiro and Koji for some delicious sashimi.  I think if I make my way back to the TAS  I will definitely allow myself to check out more of the parking lot because in my opinion that is where you find the REAL cars.

After dinner we made a stop by Akihabara hoping to find some good scale models.  This place was absolutely insane…

Multi-level arcades were everywhere.

And nothing like I was used to seeing….  mostly consisted of smoke filled levels of photo booths, and multiplayer games connected where people would play out of sight and  across from each other instead of next to each other.  While arcades are somewhat of a dying breed in the states they still seemed to be very much alive in Japan.

After playing a few round of Wangan Midnight and Initial D we made our way through some of the crazy multi-leveled anime and manga otaku collectible stores we were able to find a few amazing shops that specialized specifically in scale model die cast and plastic models.  So amazing in fact that I didn’t even remember to take pictures, sorry about that.  I did however manage to pick up a pretty awesome works hakosuka model that I need to find some time to put together.

And after another long and tiring day it was time to make our way past the super cool Gundam Cafe and back to the train station for some well needed R&R if we planned on visiting some of the shops we had planned for tomorrow.

We’ll be visiting Protec/Classica auto gallery, Star Road, Flex Auto as well as a few other in the next few days so check back for some pure S20 heaven.

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